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Garmin 500 series flush mount installation

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I just wanted to post some pictures and loose description on what is entailed in installing a Garmin 500 series flush mount kit on Chaparral models with the square digital gauges; namely the 2008-2013 Sunesta WT models, and the 2009-2013 SSi WT with the optional square gauges.

The analog gauge package pictured below that was also offered on the SSi WT models obviously won't work for this particular installation.


The job itself is not overly taxing. Patience and some basic tools are really all that is required.

For most installs, I went with a Garmin 526s, 536s, or 546s, depending on availability and price. If a transducer is wanted, than I recommend the 20 degree offset version so the beam shots straight down to match the vee of the hull. Mounting a regular (non offset) thru hull transducer version results in the beam following the tilted angle of the vee, which can have the affect of skewing your depth numbers and readings.

At any rate, here is what I normally do.

Step 2. Turn the battery switch to the 'off' position.


Step 3. Remove the stock panel in place where the GPS unit will eventually go. There are 4 nuts on the back side of the panel that need to be removed. Once the 4 nuts and their washers have been removed, the panel can be pulled out from the dash (towards the stern of the boat) and set aside.

NOTE: access here may be frustrating, and cuts to your hands from roughly cut tie straps are to be expected. No pain, no gain...



Step 4. Find the 12 volt positive and ground buss bars that are behind the dash itself. 12 volt positive will most likely be a single post with a red protective cover tie strapped to the red cable(s), while the 12 volt ground buss barr with be yellow, with multiple yellow cables going to it.

NOTE: the yellow buss bar will have a transparent protective cover that will need to be gently removed.


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Step 5. Cut the tie strap(s) that hold the red protective cover over the main red 12 volt power cable on the 12 volt positive buss bar. Next, remove the nylock nut on the 12 volt positive buss bar post.


Step 6. Source and install the correct size ring terminal to fit the stud for the 12 volt power supply harness wire for the GPS unit itself. I believe the inline fuse comes with the Garmin GPS unit. Simply need to crimp on a correct ring terminal.



Step 7. Install the 12 volt power supply wire and ring terminal onto the post. Ensure all previous cables are in place as well. Install nut and washer, and tighten.


Step 8. Pick an empty position on the yellow 12 volt negative buss bar, and remove a screw that is easily accessible. A short # 2 Phillips screwdriver works well here.


Step 9. Install the correct size ring terminal onto the black negative wire on the GPS wiring harness.


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Step 10. Install the 12 volt negative wire and ring terminal onto the yellow negative buss bar. Ensure the screw is good and snug when finished. Carefully install the clear plastic protective cover over the yellow negative buss bar - fits onto the upper and lower studs of the buss bar.

Step 11. Install the red 12 volt positive cover over the positive buss bar post, and secure in place with a tie strap. (this is usually a fun exercise due to space) and the tie strap will need to be thin and small enough to fit in the slots of the red protective cover. Personally, my hands at this point start to cramp up, and I sadly utter a few F' bombs about my plight in the world...


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Step 12. Place the flush mount kit into the dash. It should fit properly with no issues. Install the 4 threaded screws into their respective holes. Arrows on the flush mount kit bracket face up/skyward.




Step 13. Install the hold down brackets and hardware, and snug butterfly nuts.




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Step 14. Double check all wiring connections, ensure protective covers are in place. If everything is all right, proceed with Step 15. If not, correct issue(s).

Step 15. Connect power harness to GPS. Harness can only connect the one 1 way.

Step 16. Turn the battery switch to the 'on' position.

Step 17. Power up the GPS. Should power on, and do everything properly. If the install is taking place inside a building, it will be hard for the unit to acquire satellites...

Step 18. If everything has gone according to plan and works properly, push the GPS into the flush mount kit. Snug fit, but you'll hear the 2 audible clicks as the flush mount kit grips onto the sides of the GPS and locks it into place.


Step 19. Tie strap the any loose wires under the dash.

Step 20. Enjoy. Recommend purchasing and using a local G2 Vision chart card to get the most out of your unit. Don't recommend the download version however, as you can't use it in any other compatible Garmin device.

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Lastly, this post references Garmin 500 series chartplotters and chartplotter sounders. That description is a little vague. When the Sunesta WT and SSi WT digital dashes were designed back in 2008-2009, they were made specifically to fit then current Garmin 500 series with the optional flush mount kit.

Applicable models (for North America at least) included the Garmin 520,520s, 525, 525s, 530, 535s, 540, 540s, and 545s. 'S' versions of course indicate that particular Garmin GPS chartplotter is a 'Sounder' version that can easily accept a Garmin transducer to give water depth and temperature. Models ending in '5' had twice the pixel quality for easier viewing - especially nice with a Garmin G2 Vision chart card.

Garmin then came out with faster processor models. 521,521s, 526, 526s, 531, 536s, 541, and 546s, Models for these series ending in '6' had the greater pixel clarity.

NOTE: the above 'S' models all employed a Garmin 6 pin transducer. Clear as mud??

In late 2012, Garmin introduced a new line, with faster processing power again, but the sizing and colours changed a bit as well. The model line up was shortened however, probably to help with inventory considerations and greater simplicity.

Now there is the 527, 527xs, and 547, and 547xs. The 'S' models now use a more advanced 8 pin transducer.

I have asked Garmin if a 527/547 series can fit in place of the older 500 series, and the answer was, yes, but it might not fit 100% like the older style did.

Dimensions of the older 541 are: 5.9" x 6.4" x 2.9" (15.0 x 16.3 x 7.4 cm)

Dimensions of the current 547 are: 5.9" x 6.1" x 2.4" (15.0 x 15.5 x 6.1 cm)

Older 520/521/540/546 flush mount kit dimensions


Current 527/547 flush mount kit dimensions


Hope this helps those who might be considering taking the GPS plunge. The new models with the 700 series Garmin touch screen chartplotter/sounders are really nice, and I encourage prospective buyers to click off that particular option box.

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Thanks Shep. Great post and timely for me, looks like Perfect Pass no longer makes the display for my 244 X, but I can use the square gauge they now make, replace my speedometer and drop a GPS in the old PP location... at least that's what I'm contemplating. Have you seen this done?


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Truthfully JR, I have not personally done the square speedometer Perfect Pass install on a boat with your dash layout, but that was what I envisioned when I asked Perfect Pass 4 years ago to make the gauge. A pretty good bet there were other dealers out there asking for the same thing.

Took a few years of pleading before the project bore some fruit, but IMHO, it makes a lot more sense than the original unit Perfect Pass was asked to do.

As far as I understand, your particular version of PP uses a paddle wheel to obtain speed infomation, while the newer square speedo gauge will use GPS like the later large PP display models for the Xtreme's did. The paddle wheel connection I don't think will need, or be able to be hooked up, but I could be wrong.

If I were to do such as install, my first step would be to remove the large PP display from the dash, then remove the speedometer. For the speedometer, you'll want to plug the speedo hose going to the gauge with Mercury part # 22-85822 (really cheap) to prevent water dripping onto your feet as you drive the boat.

I would install the new PP unit first, then install the GPS unit. This should allow more room to work with.

Hope this answers your questions. If you have any more, feel free fire away.


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