For sometime now, I have thought about re-positioning
the engine instrument panel. The present position is on the
starboard side cockpit seat bulkhead which is both prone to seawater
immersion and difficulty in ease of gauge readings. Originally, it
also housed a key operated 'ignition' system, but I had twice stepped
down from the seat and caught the key with my heel, breaking it off in
the process, so I had removed that and replaced it with a simple switch
just inside the companionway whilst in Marmaris, which is coupled to a push
button start. It also had a defunct VHF speaker and a disconnected
Stowe speed instrument. Another recurring problem was the 'stop'
cable which because of it's wet position would rust and jam up.
As we cannot go anywhere during this Covid 19
pandemic due to movement control orders, I decided to buy new gauges and
move the whole thing to an eye level position to the right of the
companionway. The old gauges are all VDO, and I decided to stay
with that make as I wouldn't have to change the sender units. It
wasn't quite that simple! Firstly, the old instruments only had a
simple 3 wire connection whereas the new units have 8 wires each - a
technological 'advance' which only serves to make things more
complicated and beyond the 'keep it simple stupid' plan. Secondly,
when I got the new gauges and tested the tachometer, it didn't work!
When I contacted Veratron, the makers of VDO, they freely admitted that
the tacho I had chosen was totally unreliable and they had stopped
manufacture of it. They recommended I buy their upgraded version
complete with hours meter, which I didn't necessarily want, but went
First job........make a new instrument pod to house
the gauges. I made a template from 3mm plywood to get an idea of
the size required, then cut out a 12mm ply front which I then made
sides, back and top for, using co-axial fibre glass and resin. I
know I could have made a mould, then 'cast' a new pod from it, but it
was easier to make it this way, cover it all with filler, sand it and
paint it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!
When that was all filled, sanded and sprayed white, I
bolted it down to the coachroof and began the task of running new cables
and cutting out the old. The 'stop' cable was re-routed and is now
just inside the after cabin doorway.
It just remained to cover the now sad looking
previous gauge site. The recess is over 25mm deep, so I used two pieces
of 12mm plywood, soaked in thinned resin and glued together with epoxy
glue. Over the top of those, I laid two sheets of chopped strand
matting and resin, then filled with epoxy filler, sanded it smooth and
sprayed it white before refitting to the cut out portion of the
I know that it looks very
white, but I am sure the paint will yellow a lot quicker than the
surrounding gel coat and will need repainting again very soon, but I am
far happier with the new location of the engine instrument panel.