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  1. #1

    Ultra LX Depth Sounder Install

    Thought I would share my winter down time project in case someone else out there is looking to add one in.
    After spending the last month patching gel coat and pulling the pump to remove impeller dings I decided I needed to be more careful when approaching beaches to anchor. A depth finder seems just the ticket to know when to cut the motor and anchor when you cannot see bottom clearly.

    There are lot of options out there - fish finder combos, etc. I decided I wanted just depth info and a simple in hull transducer. I ended up getting a Faria model.

    I wired the gauge circuit with a off/on toggle switch on the dash so I could control its operation.

    I used a motorcycle gauge pod in a look down orientation to hold the gauge. This works great as the dash on the Ultra LX is pretty small and there are not a lot of areas to mount a gauge without it sticking out and interfering with the cover sticking on the ski etc.

    The transducer it came with is a Airmar P-79. This is a wet mount transducer that has an adjustable housing to allow to mount it against hull dead rise. It is pretty big - way overkill for jet ski probably but it is simple to install. I have only tested it at the boat ramp so far so not sure how it will do at speed but it is pretty accurate even at low depth. I was getting accurate readings down to 1 ft even though it is rated to 3 ft at the low end.

    I mounted the transducer on the port side of ski just forward of the water box. This is approximately where the sponsons are on the ski. I had to chip away some excess resin around the water box mount to allow the transducer to fit against the hull. There are not a lot of options on where to mount the transducer. Forward of the engine is out of water at plane speed and most of the rear is occupied by machinery. So far this has been a good spot when testing at low speeds which is when it serves its purpose anyways.

    The transducer mount compensates for the hull dead rise (About 24 degrees in this area). You just adjust it until the transducer top is level when mounted and silicone it in. Once cured you fill it with propylene glycol. Pretty simple to install and easy to move if I ever have to.

    For the wiring I had an existing circuit for my bilge pump that comes from the battery. I spliced a parallel circuit for the gauge into that. For the depth sounder circuit I used a 2 amp fuse. I bundled the transducer wire and gauge circuit together into flex tube and ran it up the dashboard breather tube. I removed the side panel and mounted the switch next to my existing bilge pump toggle. I use Blue Sea Weatherdeck switches which are marine rated and come with a waterproof boot. I coat them with liquid electrical tape as well. The transducer cable I ran out to the mount via the gap at the panel bottom (blue cable bundle in the third photo below). This saved me from drilling a hole.

    For the gauge pod I used a power coated steel motorcycle pod with stainless steel hardware. Not sure how this will hold up in salt water..... We'll see. I coated it with Fluid Film and sealed gaps with silicone. The gauge itself is splash rated. The pod is easy to switch out if it ever starts to go. The mount I bolted to the ski's side panel. I used a lock nut washer and bolt instead of the plastic hardware that came with the pod. This holds it really tight in place. The plastic pod holders were just too flimsy for my tastes.

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    Last edited by OffshoreUltraLx; 03-22-2016 at 09:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Very Nice! and a very practical addition, I did have a depth sounder on one of my sea doo s good to have.

  3. #3

    Follow Up

    Just wanted to follow up with how this setup held up.
    So far have done about 30 hours with it.
    Depth has been spot on and it reads depth even at 45 mph in 100ft water.

    The steel pod has been surprisingly good despite its use in salt water.
    No rust on the outside at least despite the many times waves have dunked it.
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  4. +1 by:

  5. #4
    nicjak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Warragul, Downunder
    i fitted a hawkeye a few yrs back check post 7 here

    gauges would never last (filling with water) company sent me many replacements under warranty until i gave up. and transducers would never stay stuck to the hull, due to how it flexes in the rough.

  6. #5
    What year is your Ultra LX? I have an '07. I can't see an open space like you have in your pictures. You installed on the port side correct? The side with the oil separator? I have all kinds of hoses over the area where I think you installed it The other side has the steering cable in the way. How did you make room for a 4 inch transducer?

    Do you think it would work in just in front of the engine?


  7. #6
    I figured where you mounted the transducer. It is more outward from the water box. I have some Styrofoam there. I will cut a little out to make room. I have it on both sides of the jetski along side of the water boxes. I guess it is for floatation. It looks like a great spot for the transducer.
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  8. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Myrtle Beach
    I just installed a Hawkeye in the same places you did yours this weekend. Only lasted about 20 minutes and the gauge was filled with water.

    Any ideas?

  9. #8
    I pretty much installed the same depth finder the same way as the original poster did. I have not tested it yet. Much thanks for the original post! I used waterproof switches that were completely sealed with no spade terminals (just wires). I also fished the wires down the air tube pointing at the gas tank. Drilling holes for wire can lead to water instrusion. I used a flexible but somewhat stiff piece of polyethylene tubing to fish with. I jammed it in from the top. It bent when it hit the turn and kept going through with a little effort. I however mounted the depth finder in the handlebar pad. I cut the handlebar pad cover and styrofoam separately with a 2 in hole saw. I had to enlarge the styrofoam hole with a file for the dash mount to fit inside. I used the dash mount that came with the unit. I clamped it against the pad cover. Since the pad surface has a slight curve there was a slight gap between the depth finder and the pad. I could see light through it. I played around from tight to almost loose on the panel mount but still could see light. I bought some large o-rings. One was placed on the outside under the depth finder and the other placed under the pad cover against the depth finder from the back side. The dash mount compresses both o-rings. It sealed up real nice. I can't see light any more and am confident it will stay dry. I was able to fish wires up near the steering shaft and then covered them with wire loom. I kept the transducer wire separate to minimize interference. I mounted the transducer on the starboard side (cooler side) and ran the transducer wire down the port side to minimize electrical interference from ignition and fuel injectors. FYI they make marine shrink tubing and marine butt connectors. The shrink tubing has glue inside and shrinks down to 1/3 of its size. Normal shrink tubing shrinks down to 1/2 of its size. The butt connectors also have glue inside and shrink down. In most connections I used both but I do not like how the butt connectors shrink down. I don't think you need both. Use normal butt connectors and marine shrink tubing. Harbor Freight carries both marine shrink tubing and marine butt connectors. I used insulated spade connectors on the depth finder and switches so for removal. I lengthened the wires on the depth finder for easier installation and removal.
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