Make Your Fishfinder Portable!

By Ralph D'Angelo

Turn any fishfinder into a portable unit!

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Recently, a few of my friends asked me to show them how I made my Humminbird 798 fishfinder into a portable unit. It's not very difficult. Over the years I got a few ideas from other people, and ultimately I came up with this solution, although I have seen many other, very clever versions done by other people.

The way mine is set-up, the display can be used "in the bag" or removed and clamped onto the gunnel of a small boat or canoe. The transducer is mounted onto a small shelf bracket, with a spring clamp bolted onto it so it too can be quickly attached or released. I got that idea from a gentleman named "Russ" who used to give trout trolling seminars a few years back. It worked so well, I have been using the same bracket for 20 years now! It's cheap, and only takes a second to clamp onto the stern of your boat.

First, the transducer gets bolted on to the 20" shelf track, then the 6" Spring clamp gets bolted to the opposite side of the shelf track. Both items can be purchased at any hardware store. You will need some stainless nuts and bolts to connect them. You will also need a drill. A couple of cable ties, and your all set.

For the fishfinder bracket, you will need to purchase a Tite-Lock "Gunnel Clamp" ($18 at BassPro or Cabela's) to which you will mount a small piece of wood or Starboard. I used a small piece of bamboo cutting board I purchased for $4 (Bed Bath & Beyond)...thanks Rob! To this piece of wood I mounted the fishfinder bracket. Depending on the bag you purchase, you need to play with the size of the wood and the mounting position to get everything to fit just right. Once you have that determined, you can bolt everything together. Just make sure to fit everything in your bag first!

DSC 6566For the bag, I use soft lunch box coolers. I had a few I bought from the local drug stores...but then I found a "Husky" brand lunch cooler at Home Depot. It's REALLY strong and only costs $19. It's padded to protect your equipment, and also has pockets for some tackle and a bottle of water or two.

Inside the bag you will need a 12 volt sealed battery. They come in a variety of sizes. But something between 7 amps and 12 amps should usually suffice. I used to have a 7 amp with my old black & white lcd fishfinder, but now with my new color fishfinder, I needed something more powerful, so I went with a 12 amp. This battery lasts me all day, but I am careful to dim the display to conserve power. I think the fact that this unit has a GPS and Sidescan makes it consume more power than my old one, in addition to the backlit display. You can find these batteries online for around $20, just be sure to buy a decent charger. I have had good luck with the Power-Sonic PS-1270 F2 (7 amp) and the Power-Sonic PS-12120 F2 (12 amp) batteries I purchased online at  www.atbatt.com

You may have noticed that I made my transducer able to disconnect. To do that I had to purchase a transducer extension cable from Humminbird and then spliced it in. It's a little tricky if your not comfortable splicing and soldering small wires. But you don't need to make it detachable, you simply hardwire the transducer to the back of your fishfinder. In fact, when I have built these portable units for friends, we did not make the transducer detachable, and it hardly makes any difference.

Below is a video, that helps better illustrate how this works. There is also a list of items you will need. This article is not necessarily intended as an instruction guide, but rather to give you some ideas how you may assemble your own portable fishfinder. if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

TRANSDUCER BRACKET
- 20" shelf track
- 6" spring clamp
- Stainless nuts and bolts
- Cable ties

FISHFINDER BRACKET
- Tite-Lok Gunnel Clamp
- Small piece of wood
- Nuts and washers

FISHFINDER BAG
- Small lunch cooler bag
- 12v 12amp sealed battery
- Wire connectors


**UPDATE 6/23/16 - in the video you see the transducer cable is detachable. To do this, you need to buy a "Humminbird EC W10 - Transducer extension cable - 10 ft" for about $30. It's a little pricey, but for me, it is worth having the convenience. Since the video, I have also added a set of extension leads from the battery, so I don't have to pull the unit out to charge. Makes it easier.

Next I am adding a USB charging port (to charge my iPhone), a 12v "cigarette lighter style" receptacle (to make recharging easier), and an LED light. Also, when my battery dies, I will replace with a Lithium Ion battery. This will make the whole thing about 5lbs lighter. Although, they are not cheap, about $150 for the battery. I wil post photos when I have it ready!

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