I also had to install an X-Wing, an aerator for the bait well which is under the “casting platform”, I just love that feature, and a fish finder. I also had to figure out how to secure the Minnow to the kayak cart. Now this had to be a “YouTube” video just waiting to happen. Back at the house I strapped the Minnow onto the cart for the trip to the back yard. I would hit a bump and she would bounce right off that sucker. I’d get her back up on the cart, strap her back down, and bump; off she’d go again. I swear, I really am a pretty handy guy, but that first trip from the driveway to the back yard had me dumbfounded. That was Christmas Eve.
I spent the next week of my vacation knocking out some items on my severely neglected honey-do list. Each trip out to the work shop reminded me of what needed to be done before I got back out on the water. I put a nice dent in the honey-do list that week. Every time I would think about installing the gadgets; well, the thought of the drilling, screwing, sealing, and wiring that needed to be done to my brand new Stealth kind of freaked me out. How did I get over it? Alcohol, and a New Year’s Day win for the Gator’s. Yeup! I was feeling pretty good after that game.
First up, the X-Wing installation; the directions were straight forward but for anyone who is facing this task pay close attention. I believe the kayak in the diagram is an X-Factor and the measurements are a little different than on the Stealth. Luckily, I didn’t trust myself so I measured again and again and couldn’t make it come out right by the directions. I finally decided that the most important measurement is the distance between the tracks, so I put the X-Wing in the tracks and set them in the location that looked right and marked the holes with a pencil. One other note of caution, make sure you set the tracks forward (towards the bow) enough so the cup on the X-Wing clears the cup holder in the Stealth when the X-Wing is at its closest position to the seat. It would be easy to mount the tracks too far aft without realizing you just blocked your drink holder. I got lucky and realized this on a dry run that knocked my adult beverage right over. A new beer and six screws later, the X-Wing was mounted. That was just about the time my wife came out to check on me, saw the big “X-Wing” printed on the side and asked me if I was going off far, far away to fight the storm-troopers, couldn’t help but to laugh at that one.
Next up, the aerator; my bag of goodies did not have the directions so off to the internet I went. I found a real good video at Malibu.com and after a couple of viewings felt I could make a go of it with out the printed version. Now six small screw holes in the top of my new kayak is one, well six things, but a one inch gaping hole right smack through the bottom? Beer time! And off to the video for one more viewing. Okay I’m good. One hole in the bottom, pump in place; another hole in the side of the bait well, aerator in; a piece of tubing, two hose clamps; and the aerator was plumbed in. Only one note here, the video calls for two ½ inch holes to be drilled through one of the drain tabs at the front of the bait well. As I found out later (I will let you know how when I tell you about the second voyage of the Minnow) this does not allow the water to drain fast enough to keep up with the aerator pump. I could take the tab out, but that would allow smaller sized bait to escape. I am going to modify this and let you know how it goes. For now it’s fine as long as I don’t run the aerator continuously which I don’t think you need to do anyway.
The wiring was easy enough. The video really did a good job showing each step. I had a problem though; I wanted the switch to be mounted on the X-Wing and with no videos for reference it was time for another beer. Instead of one ½ inch hole for the switch I needed three. I needed two for the wires to pass through one on top of the kayak and one at the rear (side facing the bow) of the X-Wing. The other hole, for the switch mount, would be at the front (side facing the stern) of the X-Wing. I could have made smaller holes but I needed holes large enough for the transducer plug to get through as well. A bit of for-thought; dang I was rolling! I drilled the first hole through the top of the kayak just aft of the bungee button for the gator hatch. Placing the hole here allowed the X-Wing to slide the full length of the track with the shortest amount of slack needed in the wiring. I finished my wire connections, and as I still had the fish finder to connect to the battery I decided to connect them both to the same terminal ends. Just a few tips you may need if you decide to have your switch mounted on the X-Wing. I didn’t have any for-thought here that’s why you don’t see them in the pictures. Mine are on order. You will need two wire seals for the deck of the kayak and the back of the X-Wing for the wire pass through holes, one marine two pin connector for the power, and a transducer extension to allow for the X-Wing to be removed. You will not need any added length for the transducer wire but you will need that connector so you can position it between the pass through holes in the kayak and the X-Wing so it can be unplugged. I found an online article where a guy found a connector he cut in t the transducer wire, but it sounded complicated so I ordered the extension from Hummingbird. You will also need four additional marine butt connectors to wire in the two pin marine adaptor. One other note, the guy in the video had a propane blow torch for the shrink wrap on the butt connectors. My grill lighter worked fine.
Now for the fish finder, this should be easy as I already had the wiring pass through holes drilled right? Now ya’ll aren’t going to believe this; not the first piece of paper in that whole box to tell me how to install it. There was a book on how to operate the thing and a small warrantee pamphlet, but not the fist word about how to put it in. Yeup, back to the internet I went. Hummingbird also has a very good installation video posted on their website. It would have been absolutely perfect had I purchased one of those OK’s . They said to install their special transducer well/ mount in the center of the kayak on a flat area, problem is my Stealth has about a one inch channel running down the middle of it, I assume for the yet to be experienced water to run down. I found a couple of other websites where guys did away with the transducer well/ mount and installed the transducer in Marine Goop. They warned of air bubbles in the Goop that could mess up the sonar signal. I also thought I would have to make some sort of brace to hold the transducer level and in place while the Goop dried.
I went with the well/ mount provided with the transducer, and after a beer and a lot of pondering I decided to place it on the same side as the aerator just forward of the rod holder tube. That is the only part of the Stealth hull that is parallel with the water line. This also negated the need to make an adjustment to the transducer well/ mount. Now if you have larger arms than I do you may want to put it aft of the rod tube; it was a tight squeeze past the elbow. Placing the transducer well/ mount where I did also made for strapping the transducer in difficult, but I shouldn’t have to do it again and it is out of the way should I stow anything in the gator hatch.
I also placed a layer of marine adhesive around the transducer well/ mount. I don’t know how necessary this is. Hummingbird said the special 3M Tape which comes with the kit will hold the special transducer grease which goes in the well/ mount just fine, but it gets real hot here in Central Florida and I know how grease likes to run when it gets hot so I figured it couldn’t hurt. If you want this added protection, get the clear Marine Goop that white stuff I used is just plain butt ugly.
I wanted to install the mount for the fish finder on the small ledge just below the top of the X-Wing but the base is too large for that area; further proof that my kayak fish finder was designed for the OK boys not that the picture of the OK on the box would have given me any dang idea of that fact. That left only the top of the X-Wing for the mount to sit. There really isn’t any trick here four screws in the base, secure the transducer and power wires into the base mount with two more screws and I was done.
I coiled the excess transducer wire; zip tied it together and placed it next to the transducer. I could have left the coil in the X-Wing’s dry storage/ battery compartment but why clutter up all that valuable easy access dry storage space. I also wanted to make the two ½ inch wire pass through holes at least semi-water tight while I waited for my two wire seals to arrive. I used electrical tape wrapped around the wires, to a thickness slightly larger than the holes, just above and below where they pass through and some silicone marine sealant (not adhesive) in between to do the job.
That took more words than I thought. So ya’ll just have to wait to hear about my temporary redneck anchor trolley and my second trip out to the lake aboard the Minnow to test out the gadgets.
Limits to you all,
Gilligan, well I guess it’s “The Professor” this time.