I, too, do a lot of electronics installs. Here are my suggestions:
1. New electronics generally integrate with each other. Trying to integrate old electronics with new ones is often a head-basher. Therefore....
2. Once you finally get the electronics to work, you have to learn to use them effectively, and use them regularly to stay sharp. Therefore, do your homework before you buy. Many people prefer Simrad
(Navico,Lowrance) because of the efforts made by the engineers to make user-friendly equipment
. Many people are sucked into equipment
that looks powerful and fascinating in the showroom, only to find that they can't make it perform to the rated abilities of the gear
, and that they can't explain to their crew (or spouse) how to use it. That's a waste of resources and patience.
3. As with computers
and cameras, next year's model will have cooler whizbangs. What do you need? Is today's model flexible enough to meet tomorrow's improvement?
4. Despite the trend to networked components, you are going to find that Raymarine network cables
and Simrad cables
, and....) are just a wee bit different from each other to hook together without expensive doo-dads. Even if they are all using their own tee-fittings, proprietary messing about makes it impossible to get a Garmin NMEA
2000 tee to screw to the wall when hooked to a Simrad tee-fitting. The little detente in the mating surfaces is a few degree out of sync, resulting in a twisted grouping of tee-fittings. It's frustrating, but true, that NMEA 2000 hasn't brought uniformity to the marketplace, exactly. Therefore, you must learn that these network cables are composed of four wires, fortunately, color-coded the same. Sometimes, cutting off the ends of cables and wiring
them through terminal strips can make things much simpler. This applies to radar cables, also. Don't mess with the depthsounder cables, though.
5. Get the "technician's" hotline number from your electronics salesman. You will need it at some point to clarify, reassure, or maybe muddy the waters a bit more.
6. Buy a Brother label maker and label each end of every cable, saying what it hooks into and where it's going. You will be most happy six months from now, or maybe six minutes.