In the mad rush to lay up your boat for the winter, it’s easy to forget your electronics. But a few checks now will ensure your equipment stays safe and in tip-top condition, so that you can start the spring with a full suite of working, up-to-date electronics on board. Here’s how to lay up your instruments.
- If you can, take the masthead wind transducer off and store it somewhere safe for the winter.
- Fit the blanking plug for the paddlewheel transducer if the boat is being lifted to avoid damage – and while you’re at it, grease the O rings on the speed and depth transducers with silicone.
- Keep an eye out for any software upgrades over the winter for your plotter – either by downloading them from the B&G website or by connecting to the GoFree store to check for updates.
- Make sure the sun covers are fitted securely over the winter to avoid the worst that the weather can throw at your displays.
- Keep your house battery trickle charged over the winter to avoid damage and to ensure your electronics get the voltage they need next year – but be wary of keeping a battery charger connected to shore power for long periods over the winter if afloat in a marina. Either remove the batteries and store them at home or fit a galvanic isolator to the shore power circuit to reduce the risk of galvanic corrosion to underwater gear.
- Check wiring and electrical connections for chafe, damage and corrosion, and replace if necessary.
- Rinse and clean screens with fresh water and dry with a soft microfibre cloth. Don’t be tempted to use anything else as it risks damaging the coating on the display.
- Write down your total log value. If you need to reset your system or replace a unit you might need it again as starting value.
- Based on this value it might be nice to calculate your total distance sailed this year.
- Make a note when your chart expires and update your subscription in time to ensure the cartography stays up to date.
- Watch out for theft: if you can easily remove equipment somebody else can as well – so take it home and store it safely for the winter.
- Make a backup of all your routes, waypoints and tracks (pages/settings/export) to a spare micro SD card for safe keeping.
- If you have a H5000 CPU you can backup its settings including any polars you created or updated this year – irreplaceable data!
- It’s also worth backing up your chartplotter. Create a report (pages/settings/about/report) and store it on an empty micro SD card. This *.nif file contains all your MFD settings which can be used to restore it if it loses your settings or you accidentally perform a factory reset.
- If you have a spare few minutes, take the time to make a sketch of your installation. It will help you to plan upgrades or locate any issues next season.
- Ensure all electrical connections, especially battery cables are secure. Loose connections can arc causing heat and a fire hazard.
- Running a dehumidifier helps reduce any condensation over the winter, preserving the inside of the boat and any exposed electrical connections from corrosion. Ideally, all electrical connections should be crimped.
Dream of warm breezes and gentle sails while the wind howls outside!