I wrote the following about five months ago and have some additional notes since then to add. First, it was with considerable trepidation that I decided to drill some rather large holes in an expensive kayak. My decision to do so was based on the fact that I would have a clean rail to assist with loading and storage and, allow a little faster rigging in the field. I do like this unit, but...it took two tries with Lowrance (Navico) to get the correct unit and three tries to get the correct short cable which connects the Lowrance FF to the socket. To Navico's credit, they did make everything right; it was just frustrating not receiving what was correctly ordered the first time. Order carefully should you decide to go this route. Granted, I recognize this installation is not for everyone, but for those who choose this method of mounting a FF, I hope this helps.
Installation of the Tallon Socket for the Lowrance Elite Series of fish finders on a 2013 Hobie Outback
Tallon Systems of New Zealand has introduced a unique mounting system for the Lowrance Elite Series of fish finders. Specifically, this system is for the Elite 4, Elite 4 with Down Scan Imaging (DSI), Elite 5, and Elite 5 DSI. When this was written in June of 2013, the only source to purchase this product was online through Navico or, I assume, to order it through a Lowrance dealer. I discovered this product on the Lowrance web page for paddlesports and was intrigued by the potential for a clean rail without protuberances and quick installation of the fish finder once afield.
I previously owned a Lowrance Elite 4 DSI that was mounted on a Wilderness Systems Ride 115. That installation utilized a Ram 1” ball mounted on the Ride’s SlideTrax System rail with a double-socketed long Ram arm coupled to a short Ram arm. This provided enough flexibility for placement to aid my aging eyesight and to ensure the fish finder was not encumbering my paddle stroke.
As I had already owned a couple fishing kayaks, I was acutely aware of the conundrum of paddling and casting. Sure, moving my left hand from the crank on the reel to a make a meager left hand paddle thrust to adjust for position was common, but it was not altogether great for maintaining a consistent retrieve of the lure or holding a position with any wind.
Enter my new 2013 Hobie Mirage Drive Outback. The fish finder installed on the Ride was a great tool but the screen size was just a tad too small so I decided to increase a whole size larger to the Elite 5 Series.
All the items used in this installation were purchased online from two different sources as outlined in the table below:
Lowrance Elite 5 DSI $379.95 Academy Sports
Tallon Socket $99.95 Navico
Lowrance CVR-16 cover $25.95 Navico
Total cost $505.85
Academy Sports academy.com
(This is not intended to endorse either business as these products may be available from other sources.)
Upon receipt of these items, I began to determine the ideal placement of the Tallon Socket on the Outback. A short YouTube video I found depicted a gentleman installing the Tallon Socket on an Outback where the location was on the port rail just in front of the rudder control. I decided that placement as depicted in the video was probably the best location.
The socket is delivered in a black mesh bag with a drawstring enclosing all the contents pictured below.
The Lowrance web site states that the Elite 4 requires the 1” Ram mount ($99.95) while the Elite 5 requires the 1 ½” Ram mount ($149.95). After a good amount of investigation and observing several Elite 5’s mounted on 1” Ram mounts, I ordered the 1” Ram mount socket. There appears to be no appreciable difference in strength of the Tallon Socket between the two different sizes for the unit considered.
The instructions included with the socket are a single double-sided page with the template for drilling on one side and the written instructions on the opposite side.
(A .pdf file of the instructions can be found at: http://www.tallonsocket.com/uploads/Tec ... SB_12V.pdf
.) It would be prudent for one to make a copy of each side as once you cut out the template for the earlier installation stage of drilling, you have made it very difficult to read the opposite side which contains the instructions for completion of the installation. (Whether influenced by sustainability or, more likely, cost reduction, Lowrance could remedy this with a one-sided two-page instruction packet.)
The template should be carefully cut with scissors following the dotted line. After it is cut out, compare it to the original copy to ensure no scale change has occurred after copying.
Place the template cutout in position on the rail as precisely as possible. While holding the template in place, attach it in place with clear adhesive tape in order to maintain its position for the next operation.
With the template securely fastened with the tape, use a 1/8” drill bit to drill pilot holes for the three large holes. Wait until later to drill the smaller screw holes. (Whether you’re installing on an Outback or other model of Hobie, be mindful of the lines or cables below deck. It is possible to temporarily tape them to the side to avoid hitting a line with the drill bits. (The drill bits can cause damage to the lines!)
Once the three pilot holes for the larger holes are drilled, carefully remove the template from the rail. The instructions can be taped back together at this time for those who were unable to make a copy prior to the beginning of installation.
To make the necessary holes for the socket, Tallon sells a “Socket Installation Pack” which includes a 50mm and 30mm hole saws with mandrel and a “grab handle”. I decided to save $30USD and use the Forstner bits that I happened to have for woodworking. The hole nearest the bow requires a 2” (50mm) bit while the two smaller holes require a 1 3/16” (30mm) bit. The smaller screw holes are drilled later after the socket is secured in place from the underside.
Once the three large holes have been drilled out, align the cover plate for the socket over the large holes and mark the location of the three small screw holes with a fine point Sharpie.
Remove the cover plate and drill the three small holes with an 9/64”” bit. You are now ready to attach the actual socket. The socket consists of two parts, male and female, as pictured below.
Insert the black part into the large hole and then reach underneath and screw the white part on until it is just snug. The two adjacent screws will fix it in place later.
It’s now time to prepare the faceplate for installation. Not in the instructions is the preparation of the transducer/power cable for installation on the faceplate. As you can see in the photos below, the cable has a housing which normally attaches to the back of the fishfinder and secures the cable with a twist lock. This housing must be removed from the cable in order for the cable to fit the back of the cover plate. I used a pair of diagonal wire cutters to carefully remove this. The two photos directly below show the cable with the housing and with the housing removed (I apologize for the poor quality photos).
Once the housing is removed, the short black heat shrink tubing, included with the socket kit, must be placed over the cable prior to placing the cable in the cover plate.
Now the transducer cable should be inserted into the cover plate and locked in position with the two cable tabs aligned with the tabs in the cover plate.
Once the cable is locked in place, heat can be carefully applied to the heat shrink to aid in securing the cable in place.
Three covers must be attached as the cover is placed over the installed socket. One cover is for the Ram socket while the other two conceal the transducer outlet and the accessory-charging socket.
The covers are primarily just a friction fit and care must be used when installing. Ensure that each cover’s tab is in its respective slot when flipping the cover over to complete installation of the cover.
Installation of the cover is complete when the three screws are fastened in the predrilled holes. The completed cover will look like the following photo.
Installation of the locking Ram post requires careful reading of the instructions and also viewing of the Tallon web site. It’s important to remember the following: Insert at an angle, bring perpendicular to the cover, and then twist the locking tab.
The locking tab is the black plastic piece and has a marking on it that reads “TOP”. The top should be facing the larger angle when you insert the post at an angle in the socket. When you bring the post up and to the vertical position, twist the plastic tabbed piece clockwise to lock it in place. It may take a couple tries to get the feel.
And with the Lowrance Elite 5 installed.