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Thread: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    What has your experience with them been like?

    I’m considering one for my B&G Vulcan 7 chart plotter so that I can work on it below in the shade at the Nav’ station but still have it in clear view while sailing.

    "RAM" seem to have cornered the market on them and the only other option that I’ve seen so far is a “Railblaza”.

    But how sturdy are they in practice? And what are they like to work on? Aside from looking somewhat chunky and ugly - they look to me like they might be somewhat flimsy when folded out.

    Is it so flimsy that the chart plotter bounces all over the place while trying to work on it - ie so that you essentially have to hold it with the other hand? Or do they provide a reasonably solid base?

    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    This is where a real store is nice - you can actually touch something before you buy it. I have my radar & fishfinder on a simple swing unit that I made, but I don't have to touch them they way one would a chartplotter.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Greg...

    Your Vulcan 7 is a newer, "networkable" plotter with WiFi. It grants you the ability to see it via your phone or tablet. So, the fixed mount stays where it is and you can take the info, and control the unit, anywhere else on the boat that you need or want. No install or purchase required ( assuming you have a smartphone or tablet).

    Simply posing for your consideration.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Greg...

    Your Vulcan 7 is a newer, "networkable" plotter with WiFi. It grants you the ability to see it via your phone or tablet. So, the fixed mount stays where it is and you can take the info, and control the unit, anywhere else on the boat that you need or want. No install or purchase required ( assuming you have a smartphone or tablet).

    Simply posing for your consideration.

    Kevin

    You are right Kevin and I do plan to use that function to a certain degree, but to be honest I’d been thinking of it more as a repeater and hadn’t thought of it being a substitute for plotting/data entry type work.....can the phone or iPad be used like that?

    Until I start using it I don’t really understand its full functionality and capability (I’m an electronics numpty) but my thinking is that I want the Vulcan screen visible from the helm, but not fixed and without having to fit and replace it each time to a fixed mount......which might look OK on a power boat but I don’t see any "visually appealing" option for it on my H28.

    And I really don’t want to be constantly worrying about an iPad or phone rolling about getting wet in the cockpit with a screen that is difficult to see in the sun and worrying about loosing it overboard.

    Part of the appeal of the Vulcan 7 was its weather resistance and supposed "easy to see" in all conditions display so it would seem rather counterintuitive to park it inside and rely on an iPad or phone for an external display.

    But...if the iPad can be used as a control point (down below out of the sun and weather) and not just a repeater I could think again about flush mounting the Vulcan unit in the cockpit and building a lockable and discreet wooden cover over it.....????
    Last edited by Larks; 07-02-2021 at 07:05 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Hi Greg,
    while waiting for my boat to arrive, I have already bought the same chartplotter as you. I've gone through the whole process of getting it connected to the ipad/phone. Depending upon the app you install, the portable device will then act as a repeater or as a fully functioning second screen with touch control and data entry possible.

    Like you, I don't want to mount my Vulcan in the cockpit but rather, down below. The trouble with using the portable devices in the cockpit is as you said above, plus battery drain.

    My issue is that I find the standard swing arms for plotters butt ugly, unsightly in the boat, and they result in a bit of a rat's nest of wiring around them to enable the full swing.

    So I've been looking at how others have done the same job in wood, and I'm sure that's what I'll end up doing. I've collected a few images from across the web, but none that really satisfy me, though I think all of them are an improvement on the black metal ones.

    It's more complicated because of the Vulcan mounting format using the sides, so everything gets even bigger and more unsightly. I keep puzzling it over, but now I'm thinking we might be able to work something out together! If I can find something of what I've seen, I'll post it here. But none of them are as good as it could be done I think. Otherwise, I'll email them to you.

    Another possibility is clipped on to the barge board. And another possibility is to branch the wiring so that the chart plotter can be easily connected in two locations - inside at chart table and outside. I will have a suitable location for outside use below the companionway but above the cockpit sole, in much the same location you sometimes see engine switch and instruments.

    1_n.jpg

    Radar6a.jpg

    wood.jpg
    Last edited by johnno; 07-02-2021 at 08:27 PM.
    Flat bottomed boats, you make the rockin' world go round.............

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Thanks Johnno, sounds like we are completely on the same page - I’d also started to look for wooden mounting ideas



    Though as you say the Vulcan unit has a pretty clunky mounting system itself and I wonder whether it will end up being a nuisance when folded out into the companionway.

    I have also been having possibly rather whacky ideas about mounting it in the bulkhead over the nav station in some sort of two way box, sort of like a two way fireplace, so that either the Vulcan or the whole box pivots on the spot from being accessible in the cabin to then facing the helm - rather than swinging out into the companionway. The box would need to be weatherproof both sides so that it isn’t apparent from the cockpit with the boat shut up but would also be weatherproof from behind when in use from the cockpit......


    Having said all that - I didn’t realise that the iPad can act essentially as a control panel from down below as well as a repeater screen, so I'm wondering now whether I might mount it in the cockpit but concealed behind the stbd side bulkhead panel made up to match the port side when in place - lockable in place from inside the boat. Although I have a bridge deck on my H28, the inspiration for my cabin sides and bulkhead panels is Jays Bright Star (though mine will be in Huon Pine) and I can vaguely see how I can make the floating panel on one side removable but still appear complete when in place, while having it fully sealed from the interior......

    Bright Star cockpit bulkhead and hatch.jpg
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Greg, yes, there's no reason why you couldn't also reverse the idea and have the Vulcan externally and the iPad inside, but in the end the mirrored device doesn't have the same functionality as the Vulcan. We're all familiar with the difficulties of getting iPad touch screens to have the easy functionality of a keyboard or indeed the touch screen functions of a Vulcan. So ultimately I think to be sitting at the chart table trying to use the iPad to mirror the Vulcan would be frustrating.

    My particular reason for not just mounting the Vulcan externally on the bulkhead of my Eclipse (the obvious place where 99% of people put it) is that because the bulkhead is glass with a foam core sandwich, the hole will be messy to make watertight, no matter what, and added to that, the Vulcan is not a right-angle edged cube but actually a rather strangely shaped prism. So inside it was going to look yuck. Plus, when trailering, I don't like the idea of external instruments - too easy to pinch. Like you, I did also contemplate a two way kind of system. Some people even just have a glass panel and look through.

    If you want to start playing with the connection, there is the new 'B&G' app and there is also the older 'Link: Connect Your Boat app'. They work with Simrad, Lowrance and B&G as they're all the same company essentially. With the caveat that these things keep being updated, and the last time I played with this was around February, some things might even have changed. I did spend a fair bit of time talking online with the B&G guys who recommended the B&G app, and also helped me get everything connected when I was having a bit of trouble with the Link app. They said the Link app was going out of date. I initially had the Link app, bit that was because I've had Simrad on my fly fishing boat for a few years.

    In the end, and B&G confirmed this, the B&G app on the iPad could only mirror the Vulcan screen, but with no control functionality. So I went back to the Link app and eventually got it working, and with that, the iPad has control functionality. I was very relieved when I finaly got it going, and now all my settings are saved so it links up straight away.

    I ended up with a little 12V motorbike battery and a fuse for powering up the Vulcan, so I can play with it all as much as I like setting things up at home instead of having to go down to the boat all the time.
    Flat bottomed boats, you make the rockin' world go round.............

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Hey Greg. Here’s a photo of mine. Very simple.
    .

    I also bought something similar to this. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/7-Androi...154756-20017-0

    it has an android system and its own gps aerial. The android system allows you to download savvy navvy or navionics apps and it essentially becomes its own chart plotter with is own aerial. It’s a back up more than anything. a couple of speakers there is the stereo situation sorted as well.
    steve
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Geftb; 07-03-2021 at 02:37 AM. Reason: Stuffed up the photos

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnno View Post
    Greg, yes, there's no reason why you couldn't also reverse the idea and have the Vulcan externally and the iPad inside, but in the end the mirrored device doesn't have the same functionality as the Vulcan. We're all familiar with the difficulties of getting iPad touch screens to have the easy functionality of a keyboard or indeed the touch screen functions of a Vulcan. So ultimately I think to be sitting at the chart table trying to use the iPad to mirror the Vulcan would be frustrating.

    My particular reason for not just mounting the Vulcan externally on the bulkhead of my Eclipse (the obvious place where 99% of people put it) is that because the bulkhead is glass with a foam core sandwich, the hole will be messy to make watertight, no matter what, and added to that, the Vulcan is not a right-angle edged cube but actually a rather strangely shaped prism. So inside it was going to look yuck. Plus, when trailering, I don't like the idea of external instruments - too easy to pinch. Like you, I did also contemplate a two way kind of system. Some people even just have a glass panel and look through.

    If you want to start playing with the connection, there is the new 'B&G' app and there is also the older 'Link: Connect Your Boat app'. They work with Simrad, Lowrance and B&G as they're all the same company essentially. With the caveat that these things keep being updated, and the last time I played with this was around February, some things might even have changed. I did spend a fair bit of time talking online with the B&G guys who recommended the B&G app, and also helped me get everything connected when I was having a bit of trouble with the Link app. They said the Link app was going out of date. I initially had the Link app, bit that was because I've had Simrad on my fly fishing boat for a few years.

    In the end, and B&G confirmed this, the B&G app on the iPad could only mirror the Vulcan screen, but with no control functionality. So I went back to the Link app and eventually got it working, and with that, the iPad has control functionality. I was very relieved when I finaly got it going, and now all my settings are saved so it links up straight away.

    I ended up with a little 12V motorbike battery and a fuse for powering up the Vulcan, so I can play with it all as much as I like setting things up at home instead of having to go down to the boat all the time.

    Thanks Johnno, I’ve got a 12v set up that I can use so will start having a play with it - I’d not thought to do so before.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geftb View Post
    Hey Greg. Here’s a photo of mine. Very simple.
    .

    I also bought something similar to this. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/7-Androi...154756-20017-0

    it has an android system and its own gps aerial. The android system allows you to download savvy navvy or navionics apps and it essentially becomes its own chart plotter with is own aerial. It’s a back up more than anything. a couple of speakers there is the stereo situation sorted as well.
    steve
    Thanks Steve, nice and simple, I like it
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    rk.....can the phone or iPad be used like that?
    Yes. An iPad offers full control.A phone is a limited function repeater.

    The point about phones and iPads visibility in sunlight is a real concern. So, we are back to specifics. Is there a Bimini that's typically up when you are sailing? Visibility is no problem in some sort of shade.

    Also--how often will you need to look at it? At six knots aboard a sailing vessel, your position doesn't change so rapidly that you may not need to constantly view the screen.You can, perhaps, safely drop your view of the water and hunch over a screen to shade it for a moment so you can see it. On a planing powerboat, one may need to refer to the screen with greater frequency. Of course, a narrow-winding channel, or a very crowded waterway, ( or both!) may require quick course changes and more frequent chart reference; while on open, empty, water a general heading is often " good enough." The needs that these factors drive are personal in that only you know what is " normal" for you.

    For $50 or $60 usd you can buy a case that is basically drop-proof.

    Th aesthetics of cockpit-mounting the chartplotter are personal.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Thanks Kevin, no plans for a bimini though. I’ll also have my depth and wind on the Vulcan as well as being able to use it as a heads up compass for night sailing so I do want it clearly and comfortably visible from the helm.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone using a swing arm mount for chart plotter?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnno View Post
    e new 'B&G' app and there is also the older 'Link: Connect Your Boat app'. They work with Simrad, Lowrance and B&G as they're all the same company essentially. With the caveat that these things keep being updated, and the last time I played with this was around February, some things might even have changed. I did spend a fair bit of time talking online with the B&G guys who recommended the B&G app, and also helped me get everything connected when I was having a bit of trouble with the Link app. They said the Link app was going out of date. I initially had the Link app, bit that was because I've had Simrad on my fly fishing boat for a few years.

    In the end, and B&G confirmed this, the B&G app on the iPad could only mirror the Vulcan screen, but with no control functionality. So I went back to the Link app and eventually got it working, and with that, the iPad has control functionality. I was very relieved when I finaly got it going, and now all my settings are saved so it links up straight away.

    I ended up with a little 12V motorbike battery and a fuse for powering up the Vulcan, so I can play with it all as much as I like setting things up at home instead of having to go down to the boat all the time.
    Success - thanks John, it works a treat with the iPad. I reckon I’ll be happy mounting the Vulcan behind a discreet removable and lockable panel in the cockpit and using the iPad below for plotting and so on using the Link app.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

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