Marine electronics maintenance, how to?
So I’ve begun work on a magazine piece about how to include electronics in your Spring maintenance and commissioning routine. The following are some topics I’ve come up so far. I’d really appreciate your professional or do-it-yourself comments on these or any topics I missed:
* Update your software. Of course products vary a great deal as to how often updates are available and how easy they are to pull off. But these days companies like Raymarine (above), Garmin, Nobeltec, and others often offer improved features (and bug fixes) with little effort or expense.
* Update your data, i.e. electronic charts and related resources. Again there’s a lot of variability here, but most electronic chart dealers offer some way to update their cards or digital data, plus there are a lot of Web resources for catching up with POI and navigational changes. Organizing routes and tracks can improve next season’s boating too.
* Check your connections. Opinions vary about whether or not you should remove electronics from a winter stored boat (what’s yours?), but certainly it’s a good idea to check all connectors in the Spring. Especially ones exposed to the elements or damp bilges. What are your favorite contact cleaners and preservatives? How about tapes to wrap exposed connectors?
* Install dessicant bags in any displays that fogged up last season.
* If possible, check your antennas for possible degradation. They can go bad over time, though a special tool may be needed to catch problems before they’re totally obvious.
* Clean the little darlings. Dust and crud are the enemy of watertight seals, buttons, and screens (which also look a lot better if you develop a successful, and safe, ablutionary routine). Finally, give them a little pat on the bezel; machines feel the love too, don’t they?