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Electronics Mounts for Boats

Flexible mounting options to use on your boat.

July 16, 2021
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All helm-station dashboards are not created equal. Some are limited in size, limiting the size of display, and some aren’t angled for optimum view.

The wheel could be in the way, or the windshield lets glare obscure the screen.

We found several effective cures for that in the form of adjustable arm mounts and one electronics pod—all designed for flexible mounting options for your GPS.

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Ram Mounts Short Arm with High-Torque Wrench
The optional wrench handle adjusts for tightening to maximum torque. Randy Vance

Ram Mounts

Short Arm with High-Torque Wrench

Ram-D-115-C-KNOB9H

$127.99; rammount.com

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This is the most experienced company in adjustable electronics mounts. Ram Mounts has been making them for law enforcement, military, rescue, aviation and marine use for decades. The powder-coated aluminum design features a ball and socket at both the boat’s and device’s end mounting plates.

How It Works: The ball-mount system is similar to the ball mount on a tripod. Loosen a single clamping bolt on the center of the arm to adjust the base plate and electronics plates in an infinite number of angles. The cast-aluminum ball has a hardened rubber coating to absorb the shock of boating through chop and seas. The ball might have a mounting plate to affix to a dash or bulkhead, and a second ball plate that accepts the gimbal mount for the device.

We Like: The device is infinitely adjustable. Longer arms are available, and more than one arm can be joined with a double ball joint to wrap the gimbal mount around a corner. The high-torque wrench included ($24.49 when sold separately) has an adjustable lever to offer optimum leverage on the jam nut for a solid hookup—a particularly helpful device in cold weather when the rubber is harder.

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Achilles’ Heel: The device is tricky to adjust without help because loosening the jam nut loosens both the base ball and the gimbal ball, making the mount wiggle like a rubber worm. Gripping the ball you don’t want to adjust can add enough friction to hold it while you adjust and tighten the other.

Mounting Tips: Use 5/16-inch through-bolts with fender washers under Nyloc nuts. For an uneven surface, such as a curved console of a deck boat, use rubber washers to fill gaps.

  • Height: 7.325 in.
  • Gimbal Plate: 6.25-by-2 in.
  • Base Plate: 3.6 in.
  • Ball Size Diameter: 2.25 in.
  • Weight: 2.88 lb.
  • Capacity: 6 lb.
  • Gimbal Plate: Universal
Ram Mounts Swing-Arm Mount
Dual swing arms allow side-wall mounting to swing the display toward the skipper. Randy Vance

Ram Mounts

Swing-Arm Mount

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Ram-109V-1U

$103.49; rammount.com

Ram Mounts makes mounts for electronics from mobile phones to large multifunction displays, with capacities from a few ounces to over 10 pounds, known for their shock-absorbing capacity and military-grade construction.

How It Works: The double swing-arm mount is designed to attach to a vertical bulkhead with a side-mount plate. A tabletop plate is available. Once attached, the device can swivel on two arms, giving many viewing directions but only one horizontal angle. Tighten each arm with a large knob without using any tools.

We Like: The large mounting plate is designed for a vertical bulkhead, but is also curved inside to snug up to 2-inch tubing, adding still another mounting option. Two articulated arms allow it to swing the display forward or back. It can be mounted high for hanging a display overhead, and is made of rugged, powder-coated aluminum.

Achilles’ Heel: The device has no horizontal adjustment as packaged, but a Horizontal Swing Arm with Double Ball Mount is available (PAM-109H-2, $131.49).

Mounting Tips: Heavy rubber washers help adjust the horizontal angle and accommodate uneven surfaces. For more horizontal adjustment, use aluminum spacers with fender washers.

  • Height: 7.125 in. from base to top of gimbal; 11.58 in. overall
  • Gimbal Plate: 6.25-by-2 in.
  • Base Plate: 3.9-by-4.85 in.
  • Ball Size Diameter: NA
  • Weight: 3.71 lb.
  • Capacity: 8 lb.
  • Gimbal Plate: Universal
T-H Marine KVD Kong
The red pinch clamp allows the skipper to remove the display at the end of the day. Randy Vance

T-H Marine

KVD Kong

$409.70; amazon.com

T-H Marine is one of the most fertile grounds for marine innovation in America. Kevin Van Dam, for which this display mount is named, is the most successful angler nationwide and a Nitro Boats fishing pro. So, KVD’s endorsement has some weight to it.

How It Works: Machined from billet aluminum, the device is adjustable at three elbow joints, giving the boater options for vertical and horizontal adjustments. Each elbow has a series of pins on one piece and matching sockets on the other. The desired height and angle are accomplished by choosing the appropriate sockets for the pins. The billet base bolts down on either a horizontal or vertical surface as required.

We Like: First of all, the highly polished, precisely milled construction is sharp to look at. The entire display and post can be easily removed for security by loosening the red locking ring.

Achilles’ Heel: The KVD Kong is not designed to adjust on the water. The optimum mounted position of the device can only be adjusted with a wrench and some amount of effort. Pins on one elbow came out of the sockets with difficulty.

Mounting Tips: Don’t mount the device any higher than necessary. The center arm can be removed entirely, or the gimbal arm can be removed to rotate the display 90 degrees for a side mount.

  • Height: 12 in.
  • Gimbal Plate: 12-by-2 in.
  • Base Plate: 3.5 in. diameter
  • Ball Size Diameter: NA
  • Weight: 3.5 lb.
  • Capacity: Undetermined by manufacturer
  • Gimbal Plate: Universal

Read Next: Protect Marine Electronics from Theft

Balzout 800-1100 Series
The mount ratchets into place. Hand- tighten by using a screwdriver to lever in maximum torque. Randy Vance

Balzout

800-1100 Series

$237.50 with mounting hardware; balzoutllc.com

BalZout is a factory-direct manufacturer that specializes in electronics mounts. The mounts are all cleverly designed and handsome in appearance. Mounting arms of 4, 6, 9 and 12 inches offer many mounting positions and heights. They are made of billet aluminum with adjust-on-the-fly mounting knobs.

How It Works: Three arms are mounted to a base, each one at 90 degrees of the other. Knurled mounting knobs are hand-adjustable, but an optional tightening pin allows for extra-secure adjustments. Each knuckle can be adjusted to many angles and locks in place, thanks to detent sockets and spring/ball stops in the opposing knuckle.

We Like: The construction is handsome, with many color options available to allow custom-coloring of the arms, base and knurled knobs. Adjustment on the fly is not infinite as with the Ram Mounts, but it is an easy single- handed job, thanks to knuckle detents.

Achilles’ Heel: These mounts don’t have the universal adjustability of ball-and-socket mounts, but they do have all the adjustments necessary for a secure, plumb mount. Side mounting the device on a bulkhead reduces adjustability, but an optional pivot knuckle ($50) solves that problem.

  • Height: 7.75 in.
  • Gimbal Plate: 7.75-by-2 in.
  • Base Plate: 3.5 in. diameter
  • Ball Size Diameter: NA
  • Weight: 3.5 lb.
  • Capacity: Undetermined by manufacturer
  • Gimbal Plate: Universal
NavPod PED70-5201
When your dash won’t hold it, this pod supplies a durable, watertight home. Randy Vance

NavPod

PED70-5201

$529; navpod.com

NavPod is part of Ocean Equipment, a large manufacturer, inventor and distribution house of marine accessories and systems. NavPods are used by powerboaters on bow-mount electronics, upper stations and cockpits where systems are apt to be exposed to the weather.

How It Works: NavPods are designed to accept a display just like a dashboard, with an appropriate cutout to fit and the ability to through-bolt or clamp the device from inside. They come in fixed angles, and pod heights from 3 to 8 inches. Power and transducer cables feed through the mounting post, which bolts to the deck or another flat surface.

We Like: The carbon-fiber look is sleek, and housing is UV-protected. It’s watertight clamshell provides the same protection as a dash-mounted device and seals wiring holes as well. It’s height and angle offer excellent viewability and minimize stooping to adjust or change pages.

Achilles’ Heel: Its mounting angle is fixed, with no way to adjust for mounting on an angled surface, and the pod is not able to rotate after mounting.

  • Height: 17 in.
  • Gimbal Plate: 7.75-by-2 in.
  • Base Plate: 6.5 in. diameter
  • Pod Size: 9-by-12 in.
  • Weight: 10 lb.
  • Capacity: 12-in. display
  • Gimbal Plate: NA
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