We completed two quick upgrades this weekend.
First, was putting on the Lewmar folding steering wheel we got at the Defender annual sale. They are normally about $750 but we got it for $450 on a closeout sale.
This is a great comfort upgrade and makes the cockpit feel even bigger. I still have to re-install the autopilot. The OEM wheel had 12mm spokes and the new wheel has 16mm spokes. So I have to order new clamps for the autopilot ($20 from Defender) and possibly drill and tap the drive wheel.
The other upgrade was we added a new stereo. I had been pining over our friend Stu’s new stereo last year because he had wired remotes at the helm and in the cockpit (he has a power boat with a raised helm deck). Our stereo had a remote, but it was infra-red and you had to be within sight of the stereo for it to work.
I was looking at the Fusion with the iPod/iPhone dock. But that’s a $500 unit plus about a $100 for the remote. Not exactly a budget friendly item. I was looking at this unit during the boat show and a salesman from West Marine told me I should check out their new radio. It comes with two remotes; one is infra-red but the other is radio frequency. That means it doesn’t need line of sight and it was supposed to have a 30 foot range. I watched West Marine for it to go on sale and picked up the radio for $169.
Here are the installed pictures.
The first unit had a broken LCD screen. The cell in the middle of the screen didn’t display correctly. So I brought just the face plate back to West Marine and we tried it on their display unit. Same thing. So they swapped out the face plate and when I put that on it worked perfect.
It is iPhone/iPod compatible. Using the USB cord you can charge and control your iPhone. You can even play Pandora and podcasts over the system from your iPhone. The RF remote only does source, fast forward, rewind, volume and mute. The IR remote can actually search your iPhone and display on the LCD screen. So your playlists are fully playable, as is selecting by artist, genera, album, etc.
The RF remote is great. It easily worked at the helm and even worked about 10-15 feet up the dock. It’s water proof and based on the range, I could be swimming or hanging on a float behind the boat and be able to work the remote.
The installation is a little over kill as far as the bus bar. I suppose I could have just used butt connectors like the PO did, but after all of the electrical system work it just didn’t feel right. So that was about another $20 on the installation.
Last night we did have a little problem. While watching TV every now and then there is a cross over in signals. The radio would turn on while trying to change the TV channel. I will have to do some more reasearch on this.