The Electronic Angler/ part six "Kayak Lighting and Wiring"

Part Six "Kayak Lighting and Wiring"

The Kayak Angler is always in a process of evolution when it comes to gear and setup of their kayak. There is a need to not only personalize ones kayak but as the kayak anglers skills and nerve grow their kayak will reflect this progression also. As the Kayak Angler begins to hone their skills they will begin to venture out further, fish after sundown, and other activities where more safety and operational concerns begin to become a real factor.

One of the ways that people will pimp out their yak is by adding electronics like lighting, imaging and sonar devices, cameras, power stake out devices, electric motors and power supplies for various electronic devices. This article is not and in depth, step by step installation guide as much as a general guideline for the do's and don'ts when installing electronics in you yak.

1. Keeping the kayak water tight. You will eventually pass wiring from inside the hull to the outside. Most kayaks already get a small amount of water inside the hull as it is, you will not want to add more water because of leaky fittings, as too much water in a hull will cause the kayak to become unstable and hard to paddle. The best way to prevent this is to; use water tight seals where you pass wiring through the hull. there are many types and some are better than others. The Hobie Thru Hull Wiring Kit works decently and gives you a lot of options. another one that I like is the Marine Plastic Mini Deck Seal  these work the best.

2. Keeping your connections corrosion free. Water and especially salt water creates a situation where connections will corrode. Corroded connections will cause most electronics and wiring to not work or over heat and will cause damage. any wires that are spliced together must be water tight. Any lugs on the back of switches must be protected. (Note) when using switches make sure that they are the type that has a water proof boot on the outside keeping water from penetrating into the switch. You can use a product like Lexell to cover and protect the back of the switch by covering any lugs and exposed connectors. For wire splices you can use what is called a Environmental butt splice. Blue Butt Connector 16-14 Gauge Heat Shrink. Splice Connectors Has Adhesive Lining For Watertight Seal. See illustration below.
This type of connector is crimped on just like a normal butt splice, however once crimped on it is heated on each end and has solder inside to make a better connection and the ends shrink around the wire to create a water tight seal.

3. Power supply (battery). This one should be a no brainer, however you would be surprised how much confusion is out there concerning what type of battery to use and how to install it. I have found that the Sealed Lead Acid Battery like the ones that are used as Home alarm system back up batteries work great. There is a plethora of sizes and ratings available. So I will give you a general guideline on which will work best for you.

If you are only using the battery for a fish finder then a battery rated at 12 volt and 7 to 9 amp hours will power your gear for several trips. If you are running other peripherals like lights, ect. Then you might want to step up to a 10 or 12 amp hour battery. These can be acquired at any Batteries plus bulbs store.

12V 7.2Ah SLA Rechargeable Battery for Security Systems/ Replaces Standard 7.0Ah

12V 12AH Replacement for Yuasa NP12-12 + 12V Charger - Mighty Max Battery brand product

These batteries are water proof and do not need to be placed into a water tight container. However it should be secured so it can not slide around inside your hull. You will also want to seal the connections on top of the battery once you wiring is connected to it with Lexell. This will keep the corrosion from forming on your battery posts. (note) if you do seal the terminals on the battery make sure too wire in a charging plug to hook you battery charger to the wiring harness.

4. Kayak lighting. There are some pretty cool LED lighting kits on the market today. These are very bright and consume very little battery power. They can be used to light up your cockpit, Bait well and on the outside of your kayak for visibility to powered craft on the water. One more benefit of LED lighting on the outside of your yak is that it will draw in bait fish in around your kayak. Green works best as the green wavelength penetrates the water deeper.When the bait fish show up it will not be long before the predator fish show up to take advantage of this situation.

You will have to attach the LED strips on the exterior of your kayak. These usually have a strip of 3M adhesive on them. You will have to drill a small hole in your hull just big enough to feed the wires into your hull to be connected to your wiring and switches. Once you have the strips in place you can seal the hole by using Sashco 13013 5oz Sashco Sealants Clear Lexel Adhesive Caulk, 5-Ounce.

These are just some general guidelines, take your time and do it right the first time and it will bring you many years of enjoyment.

Tight lines,

1 comment:

Pops said...

Thanks. Walt, for the tips. I am a 72 year old novice yakker who finally acquiesed to my younger brother's enthusiastic propaganda about the beauty and benefits of fishing from a kayak. I liked my first adventure so much (even though I took a spill in some class 2 rapids and got pinned against a sunken log for a few minutes) that I bought a Perception 9' 6" angling yak, and am starting to make it my own. I want to add lighting and outlets for fishfinders, etc, so your article is very timely for me. Looking forward to meeting some of the other members some day.