How to Flush-Mount Electronics

Bezels and special kits make it easy to flush-mount electronics at the helm.

How to Flush-Mount Electronics
Flush-mounting marine electronics is much simpler than it used to be. Here's how to flush-mount a multifunction display.
How to Flush-Mount Electronics
1. Measure Carefully
Make sure you have enough room for the cutout and the actual face of the display. Also check for access behind the helm, remembering that you will need room to route cables and connectors from behind. Check the viewing angle to ensure that you can read and use the touch screen once the unit is mounted. If possible, allow enough room for additional flush-mount units in the future.
How to Flush-Mount Electronics
2. Tape Down the ­Template
Tape off the entire area to prevent scratches and chipping while making the cutout. The HDS-12 comes with a template for the flush-mount cutout. Cut away the excess paper and tape down the template. Align it with a horizontal reference line (vertical reference lines are usually sloping, so using one usually doesn't work as well as a horizontal line). Adjust the template until you are happy with the positioning.
How to Flush-Mount Electronics
3. Drill and Cut the Opening
Using sharp drill bits, drill all marked mounting and pilot holes on the template. Then, using a jigsaw with the appropriate blade, cut along the dotted line bordering the shaded area of the template. Start the saw in a hole bored with your drill. Do not cut outside the line. If afterward you find the fit is too tight, you can open up the cutout a bit using a file, rasp or grinder. Remove the template and tape, and use a countersink to chamfer the edges of the holes for the mounting screws to help prevent cracking.
How to Flush-Mount Electronics
4. Install the Display
Using a small slot screwdriver, remove the bezel around the face frame of the HDS-12. Feed the unit's cables out through the cutout and connect them to the ports on the back of the display. If the unit will be exposed to spray, apply sealant around the edges. Slide the unit into the cutout and install the mounting screws. Replace the bezel by inserting the outermost tabs into the slots on the display frame and gently pressing down on the bezel until it clicks into place.

Flush-mounting marine electronics from brands such as Furuno (furunousa.com), Garmin (garmin.com), Humminbird (humminbird.com), Lowrance (lowrance.com), Raymarine (raymarine.com) and Simrad (simrad-yachting.com) is much simpler than it used to be. For example, today's displays are much thinner and lighter, and operate cooler thanks to advanced LCD flat-panel technology.

The amount of space you need behind the helm is minimal. Also, electronics companies anticipate that you might choose flush-mounting, so they include a lip or frame around the display with mounting holes. Some units may need optional flush-mount kits to create a clean and secure installation. Let’s look at how to flush-mount a multifunction display using the Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch as an example.

Getting Started
Skill Level: 3/5
Time to Complete: 3 hours

Tools and Supplies
*Lowrance HDS-12 Gen2 Touch (from $3,054, amazon.com)
*Drill motor
*Drill-bit set
*Countersink
*Jigsaw
*Small flat-head screwdriver
*Medium Phillips screwdriver
*File or rasp
*Masking tape
*Neutral-cure sealant such as GE Silicone II

Quick Tip: If your helm panel sports a hodgepodge of old cutouts, create a facade from King Starboard marine plastic for a fresh start. Use minimum half-inch-thick material for security. Make sure you through-bolt the unit when using this panel material. ($35.84/12 by 27 inches, jamestowndistributors.com)