The following is part 2 of my series of posts on “What’s connected on Summer Dreams?”.  You can read part 1 here.  Of course, like part 1 this is a re-post from with some updates to make it more current and correct.

Over the winter 2010, I received all the parts and began assembly. First up was dry fitting all the components, those being the ScanStrut mount, RD218, 33STV, light bar, and Sirius radio antenna. Here’s a picture of everything dry fitted:

With everything attached the total weight is 42 lbs. I knew that fiberglass arch (Sea Ray calls it a “spoiler”) is strong but I worried about the weight on the arch, especially when hitting waves/chop. 42 lbs can turn into shear force of hundreds of lbs. After a few calls to Sea Ray regarding the arch, I was informed that I could stand on it; the weight will not be a problems. Moreover, Sea Ray described where the access hole are and, of course, all Sea Ray models have conduit and abrasion bumpers for cabling located throughout.  First up is to sculpt the interface plate; the plate that I determined I needed for the arch surface as shown in Part 1. Here’s a close up of the plate so far…

Of course, the bottom will be shaped to the arch’s contour. As for a backing plate, I want something beefy and spread larger than 8″x8″. Unfortunately, my access hole is about 6″ in diameter. To do a larger backing plate, I thought I could cut starboard into two “L” shaped brackets with a rabbet joint on each end. The “L” should allow it to be inserted through the access hole. The two brackets bolted (with washers) I could achieve a surface area of 12″x12″ and being starboard I can shape it to the contours of the arch underneath.

After waiting on parts, specifically a 20 amp 12V DC accessory breaker from Sea Ray, my installation is progressing. In regards to the breaker, I bought what I thought was the right breaker (looked correct from the front), as it turns out the back was completely wrong. On my 270/280, the MDP uses bus bars (copper bars) that the breakers screw into. The breaker I bought wasn’t even close to lining up to the bars. In any case, I wanted to show how the radar/satdome install turned out. I’ll leave the MDP wiring for later but here is a picture of my panel.

The above shows Summer Dreams main distribution panel/cabinet. You can see the Sony head end, Bell ExpressVu receiver, power panels, the 33STV ACU, Xantrex inverter, iPhone dock, and IR repeater.


Well, starting from where I left off, I shaped the interface plate to the contour of the arch. As the below pic shows, I roughed up the bottom two insure a good mechanical bond for the 3M 5200 marine sealant/adhesive.

The next step was to open up all the access hole to the arch:

Taking off the speaker grills was a pain-in-the-butt as they don’t come off easily and can be easily broken. Luckily a tech from the marina showed me how. The grills have to be rotated clockwise while pulling out (with moderate force) and hopefully they’ll pop off.

The one thing that I noticed was how well everything was done/made by Sea Ray. All the sharp corners/cutouts had bumpers (ent-tubing actually) on them, all wires were tied, and there was ent-tubing exactly where Sea Ray said there was. Unfortunately, it was too over the top as Sea Ray put gobs of silicon in all the access holes. The ones that had no wires going through was easily drilled out, but the ones with wires required some inventive solutions. Essentially I had to drill new holes which took a while since the arch fiberglass was a 1/2 inch thick (that sucker is strong!). Where the arch meets the hull, I had to drill through 1 1/2″ of fiberglass hoping I would not catch any nearby wires (that were 1/4″ away in one spot). Of course, I started drilling in the unseen areas first just so that if I’m going to pay the stupid tax, I wasn’t going to advertise it. After making my prayers to the man upstairs to not allow me to mess up my $100,000 investment, I began drilling into the arch.

I removed the existing anchor light and positioned the interface plate first and used it as a guide to drill the holes for the bolts. After that, I used a counter sink bit on the holes to smooth out the holes (stops spidering in the gelcoat). Next I temporarily mounted the plate and drilled the center hole (for the cables) through the interface plate and into the arch. I removed the plate and sanded/roughed up the gelcoat after putting masking tape everywhere I didn’t want touched (especially by the usually messy 5200).

Mounting time! I put a bead of 5200 around the outline of plate, all holes, and in any transition/contour. Then I put down the plate on the bead, then the gasket, then the mount, nylon bolt sleeves, and finally the bolts. From underneath, I then put several extra large stainless steel washers and lock nuts. I then ran into my first problem. The bolts I purchased had too long shanks and I didn’t have enough washers. So quickly I went to the hardware store (5200 is forgiving that way) and returned. Then realized that I still didn’t have enough washers, back to the store. Finally I got the bolts on with extra large washers. I tightened down the bolts so that the 5200 squeezed out (and onto the masking tape!). I touched up the bead in the corners and removed any excess off the masking tape. Then I let the 5200 set up for the night (it takes 7-8 hours to set up; several days to fully cure). The next day I removed (carefully) the masking tape before the tape became a permanent part of the 5200. By afternoon, I had the radar and satdome installed.

After that, I got all the cables run from the MDP and the helm up to the arch. Running the cables to the TV in the cabin is another post. In the end, I was able to close everything back up. Show Here is the final result:


The completed install… However, this is just the beginning in answering “What’s connected on Summer Dreams?”.


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