Dash Chartplotter Installation on 1996 Sea Ray 330

Discussion in 'Installation Photos/Specs' started by Lake Therapy, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Lake Therapy

    Lake Therapy New Member

    Nov 6, 2018
    1996 Sundancer 330DA
    Twin 7.4 Blue Water 454's Hurth Inboards
    Hello, new to owning a Sea Ray and just bought a '96 330 Sundancer from the Ozarks to its new home in Lake Michigan... Lots to go over on the boat to ensure all is well. One thing I want to do this winter is install a dash mounted chartplotter and am fortunate enough not to have any previously installed so I have a fresh panel to install it. I've purchased the Garmin 942 which looks like a good unit and I will eventually get the radar for it as well. My question is prior to cutting into the dash are there any access panels anywhere? For the life of me I couldnt find any. How does one get behind the panel without pulling the gauge or switch panel? Secondly, without knowing what is behind, is there a common busbar back there where I can wire it in? I imagine this has been encountered by many before, I just want to have a clue before I get cutting... I will also attempt to find a wiring schematic...Thanks -Dave
  2. Todd M Caldwell

    Todd M Caldwell Member

    Oct 7, 2018
    Port St Lucie, FL
    1998 290 Sundancer
    5.0 Alpha

    I haven't done any installs on your boat but I have helped a friend do installations on other boats. I suggest getting something like this 15 ft. Mini Cable Snake Fish Tape and a 6 pack... I would love to meet the Engineering Team that designed these boats and ask them "what they were thinking" They never take into consideration the Accessories that the new owners will add to their boats, The Electrical Engineers did but the Structural Engineer didn't.

    Sorry I didn't mean to rant.... I just don't like some engineers, Worked with them in the Navy/Marine Corp (MV-22 and CH-53K)

  3. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    #1, Welcome
    #2, CONGRATS!!

    I had a '96 330. It was a great boat. I never cut into the dash, but it doesn't look all that different from my 400 as far as access goes. I don't have, nor do I need access from behind. Once the opening is cut I bet you'll find it fairly easy to connect your 942 (which I think was a wise choice). My boat has several ground busses as well as a fuse block to tap into. The radar installation can be a different story, so Todd's suggestion is a good one when that time comes.

    I recommend that you consider modern VHF functions during this project. If the current VHF isn't DSC-capable, ditch it for one that is. There's also a lot of discussion about AIS these days... Receivers aren't much more expensive that non-AIS units.

    If you plan to upgrade the audio system, consider one that's NMEA2000 capable. Your 942's audio controls and it's position so close to the companionway can make it a viable remote-control for audio functions.
  4. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    97 270 Sundancer
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    8.2 Mercs,
    7.4 BII
    260hp Alpha 1
    Welcome Aboard!

  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    I think your boat has a breaker/fuse panel mounted directly on the outside of the dash, doesn't it? About where your knees would be? As mentioned, once you cut the hole you can "probably" do everything through that hole. If you don't have the breaker panel, then should be a positive bus bar/fuses behind the dash. But the switch panel should have exposed screws (in that era of your model) and that panel can be removed and set aside in about 5 minutes. Same for the breaker panel. You should find ground bus bar(s) behind the dash once you open things up. All in all, it should be pretty easy.
  6. Lake Therapy

    Lake Therapy New Member

    Nov 6, 2018
    1996 Sundancer 330DA
    Twin 7.4 Blue Water 454's Hurth Inboards
    Hey Thanks for the insight.. and thanks for your service! It'll most likely be whiskey before I'm done with the project but I guess thats kind of how it goes. I think before I introduce the oscillating cutter to the dash I will pilot drill the corners and put my bore scope through just to see what I'm working with. Unrelated, while winterizing I just discovered my engine block raw water drain plug npt fitting is all stripped out as are the block threads... time to cross my fingers and try to chase some threads. Always something...
  7. Lake Therapy

    Lake Therapy New Member

    Nov 6, 2018
    1996 Sundancer 330DA
    Twin 7.4 Blue Water 454's Hurth Inboards
    Thanks, Beautiful looking boat! Good points, I too was considering upgrading my VHF to one with DSC... with two young children and a wife on board I'm not playing around with safety especially once we start taking some trips.
  8. Lake Therapy

    Lake Therapy New Member

    Nov 6, 2018
    1996 Sundancer 330DA
    Twin 7.4 Blue Water 454's Hurth Inboards
    Thanks for the reply! Yes it has a fuse panel at knee level just below where I will be mounting so It would certainly be ideal and I would figure there will be something back there to tie into guess I was just so taken back by the fact that there are no access panels. Iv'e owned a Chaparral 270 and a four winns 205 and both had great access via a hatch so I was wondering if the wiring routed somewhere other than behind the panel.
  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    But... see what I wrote above about the switch panel which is directly to stbd of the area you're interested in. Remove a few screws and you have decent access.
  10. Saverio

    Saverio Member

    Aug 31, 2010
    Long island new york
    1995 330 DA
    Twin 454 Webber Carbs
    V drives
    Fresh water cooled
    welcome aboard, I upgraded mine last season, if you remove the breakers below and the switch panel you will be fine. you have to remove the switch panel to get the power for your garmin, once you remove screws you get about 6-8 inches to work with, that panel if I recall is 3/4 plywood glassed over. so make sure you use lots of blue tape so the glass doesn't chip as much
  11. play dough

    play dough Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    1997 330 Sundancer, 7.4L MPI V-Drive / 2007 Crestliner 1750 Fishhawk
    7.4L MPI Mercruiser / 115 Mercury Optimax
    I will be looking forward to your results. I just obtained a '97 330DA and have the same project on the agenda after I get the boat moved north to Michigan. I am going to investigate whether a 10" Garmin would fit on that panel, otherwise the 942 was going to be my choice as well.

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