Many thanks for the amazing knowledgebase that you have all created here! As a new PA-14 owner I have benefited greatly from your trials, tribulations and successes. Good on ya mates.
My first post here is a note to anyone considering the installation of a Lowrance Elite HDI 5 fish finder unit on their Hobie. I chose the HDI because I wanted GPS, down scan and standard fish finder sonar all visible on the screen at once. It's worth saying that I'm very pleased with the unit, but the install was a lot harder than it needed to be. I'm not trying to warn you off the HDI, just making sure you know what you're getting into.
The transducer install is simple and justifies the "Lowrance Ready" claim by Hobie. The plastic bracket provided with the PA 14 fits the new dual-frequency ducer perfectly so it's a five minute job to screw it together, thread the cables up the scupper and screw the plate back on. No worries.
Next you thread the cable into the through-hull behind the seat. Also no problem if you have long arms. I put my battery in the aft water tight hatch so one cable goes back there, then all three wires get run forward. In my case I put the HDI head on the port side and I was able to snake all the cables out the through-hull there.
That's the point at which you realize you have a problem. The HDI units have two cables with three wires and the combination is way too big to fit into the Hobie through-hull inserts. There's just too much wire and too little slot. You also realize that one of the Lowrance cable connectors won't fit through the nut that secures the through-hull from inside. Bummer.
After some squirming I realized that the only solution was to add another through-hull fitting and put one cable-end through each of them. So I ordered another Hobie through-hull from Austin Kayak and drilled into my pristine Hobie skin for the install.
The final challenge was to get the "Fathead" cable connector through the backing nut for the through-hull. The decision to use a different connector for one of the cables is annoying and it really does invalidate the "Hobie Ready" claim. It's not Hobie's fault but that cable isn't going to work without modification.
In my case that involved a few minutes with a dremel moto tool to grind down the "spines" on the connector locking ring so the backing nut would fit over the connector. Once that's done the rest of the install is clear sailing.
So buyer beware, the Lowrance Elite HDI 5 is a great fish finder and a good choice for your Hobie, but you need to be prepared to do a bit of techie work to get it installed.
Best regards and thanks again for all the great work here.
PS, I'd post pictures of the install process but I haven't figured out how to do that on this board yet....Update: ah ha, Pics aren't that hard after all!
Grind down the connector "Spines"
Maiden Voyage in West Falmouth Harbor