Trim Tab LED level indicator / retrofit - 1998 290 Sundancer

Discussion in 'Sport Cruisers' started by Herrickjde, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. Herrickjde

    Herrickjde Member

    55
    Jul 28, 2019
    Jacksonville, FL
    SeaRay 290 Sundancer 1998
    2 Mercruiser 5.7 350 EFI 310 HP - Drive - Alpha 1 / Gen 2
    I know I have Bennett tabs and not sure if they are electric or Hydraulic. I have the standard setup with toggle switches and no idea where the tabs are. I want to install a Bennett Electronic Indication Control Display shown below and wanted to know if any of you have done this and what did you have to do. I am getting mixed messages from just replace the switches to having to replace from the actuators to the helm. Thanks
    Bennett-Electronic-Indication-Control-Display-1801528473935.gif
     
  2. Jim Rapaport

    Jim Rapaport New Member

    8
    Jun 26, 2019
    2002 290 Amberjack
    357 Mercruisers w/vdrives
    I had this done on my 29’amberjack. I now know where the tabs are at all times. The only issue I had was timing. I wanted the installation done mid summer and even from my reading, did not realize the boat had to be hauled and different actuators had to be installed. I am thinking about increasing the blade size as my bow gets so high before the boat levels but now I will make this a winter project
     
  3. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Something to think about... true tab use is done by "feel". Between water conditions, wind, current, boat load and speed... there are too many variables to try and use data (little lights on an indicator) to properly position the tabs. In most cases (not all), the only people that want tab indicators are those that are relatively new to tab use. Once you get used to them, the indicators simply become a pretty dash ornament.

    What you could do, though, is count how many seconds it takes to go from full down to full up (do this both with one tab and then with both tabs at the same time). This way you would always know that your tabs are fully retracted and can use that as your starting point. Another option is to put in an auto-tab retractor (this is a plug-n-play device) - whenever you shut off the iginition, the tabs will automatically retract - back to their starting position.
     
  4. Jim Rapaport

    Jim Rapaport New Member

    8
    Jun 26, 2019
    2002 290 Amberjack
    357 Mercruisers w/vdrives
    I really don’t agree. I have been boating commencing as a child I am 72. My largest boat was a 46’ Bertram and recently downsized to a 29’ amberjack. Sure you can feel the tabs when you move them and the boat running. 3 of my boats had the lights, I had them installed as I want to know in what position they are at all times. I would not call myself a new boater. When I was a child boating, my Dad used the compass and watched the tide. I remember the predicted log races so I surely would not assume lights on a trim tab switch make you a new boater.
     
  5. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Jim, note my third sentence.

    The point being, it's very common for newer boaters to not feal comfortable with tab use as it's "one more thing" to be learning and it can feel overwhelming. But in many cases, just taking a little more time to familiarize themselves with the boat means the gauge becomes mostly obsolete. Same goes for the drive trim indicator - it's a nice gauge to have for certain things like on/off a trailer and in shallow water, but in actual use the seat of your pants or observing the boats attitude or water spray is much more reliable/accurate for the current conditions.

    This isn't about you. It's an observation from over the years and a recommendation to the OP that is meant to possibly save him some money.
     
  6. Herrickjde

    Herrickjde Member

    55
    Jul 28, 2019
    Jacksonville, FL
    SeaRay 290 Sundancer 1998
    2 Mercruiser 5.7 350 EFI 310 HP - Drive - Alpha 1 / Gen 2
    Thank you Jim and Lazy Dave for your posts and I have decided not to do this at this time as it was more of an investment than I wanted to make. The way my brain is wired I like data and would find the led readout helpful, but after talking to one of the "seasoned captains" at my marina I think I have a better understanding of how to use them as they are installed. How do you guys use your trim tabs? I start with mine down until the boat has planed out and then adjust the trim up/down and lean port/starboard.
     
  7. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Depending on the conditions you may or may not have to use them to get "out of the hole". However, you good engines in the boat - it's just that with only having the Alpha's on that size boat, it kinda hurts hole shot.

    Everybody has their own way of thinking about tab use. But when I'm teaching this, I tell people to only think about the bow and what you want it to do. The port button controls the port bow and the stbd controls the stbd bow. Next, imagine there's a "stick" (like an airplane) extending perpendicularly out from the center of the button. Push the stick forward to push the bow down, pull the stick backwards to lift the bow up.

    And... remember that it takes a second or two for the boat to react. If you hold the button down till the boat reacts to where you want it to be, you held it down too long. You've probably already noticed that! :)
     
  8. Shark

    Shark Member

    58
    Jun 16, 2020
    Sayville, NY
    2001 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI w/Bravo II Drives
    Lazy - I‘m a new boater, and you pretty much described me to a tee. When I got the boat about 7 weeks ago, I immediately wanted drive trim and trim tab indication. Now, I’ve already gotten a feel for the trim tabs, and I’m much more comfortable using them to plane off, and to reduce listing. I just recently started using the drive trim, and I know it takes 4-5 secs to go all the way. After a few seconds “up” today, I noticed the better attitude and the spray moving aft. I’m also a data guy so I wouldn’t mind having indication, but it’s great to see how time and experience increases confidence and enjoyment!
     
  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    And... you know how you can get even more confidence and enjoyment? Go boating more! Doctor's orders! :)
     
  10. Shark

    Shark Member

    58
    Jun 16, 2020
    Sayville, NY
    2001 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.0L EFI w/Bravo II Drives
    Exactly! We’re out there every chance we get, and loving it!
     

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