Here is a pic of the difference in the size of the screens, between the 168 and the EX. The functions are the same, but the screen and the display unit (and mounting bracket) are larger. We get quite a few questions from tubers and tooners just getting started with sonar on their craft. Most of those questions revolve around how to mount a transducer or where and how to set up the display. I took step by step pics while installing my new 168EX, and came up with a couple of new wrinkles during that process. Hope you enjoy and benefit by the following. INITIAL ASSEMBLY This is a pic of the basic components you get in the package for a Cuda 168EX. There is the display unit, mounting bracket, transducer and wiring. There is also a fuse package to install, but with the low voltage and amperage, and no other accessories being run off the SLA battery, I have never felt the need to install the fuse. Actually, the first step is to put together the parts for the transducer mount. It takes some dexterity (and some choice words) to get everything to go into place. There is adjustability, so you can decide how you want the transducer attached...to the outside or underside of the PVC shaft. It works either way. The next step is to make the transducer shaft. Start by cutting a piece of 1/2" PVC about 10" - 12" long, depending on the size of your air chamber and how high you want it to protrude while in use. Attach (but do not glue) a "tee" on each end. Then, just inside the end of each tee, drill a 3/8" hole. These will be the holes for the wiring , after you run it up through the shaft and glue the tees in place. Now, remove the unglued tees, and use a small hacksaw to cut a slot to the holes, leaving a channel for the wires. Next, starting with the pin connector end of the cable, run the wire up through the PVC shaft, clear to the transducer. Once the wire is inside the PVC, glue the tees in place with PVC cement. The wires can still slide freely within the shaft, but you will have to cut the shaft if you want to remove the wires for any reason. One of the tees will be used to attach the transducer mounts, the other tee will serve as a good anchor point for your bungee, rope or stretch cord. On the end where the transducer ends up, place the holes of the mounting bracket over the tee and mark two places to drill the pilot holes for the machine screws provided. You can position the mount anywhere on the tee...front or bottom. Adjustability allows you to move the transducer after installation to achieve perpendicular sonar beams. Attach the mounting bracket for the transducer. Tighten the screws well, and also cinch down the adjustment screw on the sides of the transducer mount to make sure the transducer stands straight out, and shoots straight down. The short wire coming out of the pin connector is for attaching the battery. For tubes and toons, it is just about the right length, unless you want to carry the battery in a location further away from the display mount. Then you will have to splice wires for additional length. Otherwise, use an electricians wire tool to remove a few inches of the black protective covering, to expose more of the red and black battery wires. Then strip about a half inch or so of the coating off each wire. You can use any kind of battery connector you want. Some anglers like "alligator clips". I find that they dislodge easily when the battery is being shoved around inside a pocket. I prefer the "spade connectors". They usually fit just right on most 12 volt SLA batteries. In fact, you sometimes have to (gently) use a screwdriver or something to slightly widen the gap, if it is too tight. Once you have the connections secured, attach them to your (charged) battery and turn on the unit to check everything for operation. Many sonar units have a "demo mode" on the menu. If you are not familiar with your new unit, this is a good way to put it through the paces and learn the functions. MOUNTING THE BASE Just about every tube and toon has different topside and pocket configurations, as well as different number and placement of D rings, etc. This installation is on an Outcast Fat Cat. Most Outcast tubes (including Fish Cats) have the "drink pockets" on the fronts of the main tackle pockets, on each side of the craft. Those are what I have used as a place to mount my display base. These are the parts for mounting a display. You receive a display and mounting bracket in your package. In this picture, I have included the little blue electrical box I use to secure it to my tube. This is a closeup of the sturdy fiberglass (not flimsy plastic) electrical box I got for $2.69 at Home Depot. It also shows the 10-32 machine screw (3/4"), washers, nut and wing nut to complete the mounting base. The first step is to drill a hole in the center of the recessed spot on top of the box, large enough to allow you to insert the machine bolt. Push the washered bolt up through the hole and use the standard nut to cinch it down tight, so that you can attach the mounting bracket with the wing nut. To set up the sonar for use, you can keep the mounting bracket permanently attached to the display, and then just attach it to the center hole with the wing nut whenever you go afloat. By having a single center bolt attachment, the unit swivels easily for view adjustment. (Always carry an extra wing nut in case you lose one) The hollow electrical box provides almost enough space to coil up all the extra transducer cord. Stow as much as you can inside and then wrap any unneeded extra around the top portion of the box. I have used white duct tape in this picture to secure the cable inside and the outside wraps, leaving enough to mount the transducer with a bit of slack. A closer pic of the beautiful Christmas wrap job. If you are neat and creative, you should be able to do even better. With the mounting bracket unattached, set up the base mount inside the pocket of your tube. It will ride okay, without being secured by a strap or otherwise, but it will ride better if you anchor it. I used to use a 1" strap and buckle, through the mounting box base. However, I recently came up with the idea of attaching it directly to the pocket material with screws and washers. There are winged tabs on the top part of this box, that permit drilling and screwing without the points of the screws going inside the box to potentially damage the cable. It has worked like a champ on my first two trips since installing it. INSTALL AND USE Sometimes theory and practice turn out to be different. That is true of installing sonar on your tube or toon too. But, as long as you have the basics, the rest is just a matter of placement and adjustment. Here is a pic of the Cuda 168EX installed on my Super Fat cat. This is one way to set up the transducer shaft, using a piece of stretch cord to wrap around the tube to hold the shaft vertical during use. It also makes it easy to rotate the shaft up out of the water during launching or beaching, to prevent damage to the transducer. New transducers cost about $60. You learn a hard lesson the first time you crack one by not taking proper care of it. This is another alternative I just tried, and it worked well. I bought a package of four plastic-end bungee cords...24" long at Home Depot. They are just the right length to hold the transducer shaft securely, but still allow easy rotation or removal. With the center bolt and wing nut installation base, you can remove the display unit and mounting bracket when not in use, and stow them attached together in a pocket...unless you carry your whole tackle supply on every trip. Improvise. When the display and mounting bracket are attached to the base, they are secure but swivel and adjust easily for ideal viewing, under all light conditions. This pic was taken a week or two ago, when the water temps were still under 50 degrees. You can see fish displayed on the screen, but they were probably some of the numerous carp that were hanging out in the protected bay I was fishing. At least that's what I told myself since I couldn't get them to bite on my lures.
I am having a hard time finding this unit online to buy. Any help? thanks
Nice pictorial and explanation Tubedude. I like the idea of attaching the mounting base to the pocket with screws and washers. Great idea! I need to get going on mine and I'll get some pictures as I go!
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