TackTick Transducers

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Postby Guest » Fri Mar 30, 2001 3:39 pm

I have the TackTick Sail Master for my new J/80 (USA 341). Like many sailors, I don't like making holes through the hull. My intention now is to put the speed transducer through the reinforced area on the starboard side and epoxy the depth transducer to the hull on the port side. Does anyone have experience with the depth transducer performance through the cored part of the hull? An alternative is to put the speed transducer on the port side through the cored hull and the depth inside on the starboard side through the solid hull. Any experience with that configuration? Thanks to all.

Postby Guest » Fri Mar 30, 2001 8:53 pm

Hi Ron-

I installed the SailMaster on my boat #334 "Boomerang". After researching this topic this is what I found out:

The speed transducer should not be mounted within 18 inches of any surface that will change the flow of the water. This piece of info is a guideline offered by CompuKeel, the maker of the templates that I used for my keel. I checked this with a few industry experts and they agreed. The ideal location for the speed transducer is to mount it in front of the keel and on the centerline. This makes the solid glass area on the starboard side of the keel a poor location for two reasons: too close to the keel, turbulence will create bad readings and too far off the centerline.

The depth transducer may not work through the balsa cored hull, the best thing to do is to try it in several depths to see if it produces reliable readings. I live on an inland lake that is used for flood control and the lake levels can dramatically fluctuate. I need a very reliable depth reading and elected to mount mine in the glassed area. It seems to work fine. I did not feel comfortable taking a chance on putting this transducer where it may not produce reliable readings-kind of defeats its purpose.

If you do decide to mount the transducer in another location you could consider the following: Make a hole in the inner skin slightly larger then the transducer. Remove all of the balsa and then pour in epoxy with a high quality filler. Or use fiberglass and resin. Properly done you should not compromise your hull strength and probably will make it stronger.

For the speed transducer I elected to mount mine 20 inches behind the keel on the starboard side as close to the centerline as possible. I chose this location as I wanted to keep my hull as fair as possible ahead of the keel, where fairness is the most important. After the keel disrupts the flow a little paddle wheel sticking out won't have much impact. (probably doesn't in front of the keel either!). The method of installation was to cut a hole completely through the hull just large enough for the neck of the transducer to fit through. We then bent a nail at 90 degrees with the length of the bent part protuding about 1/2 inch. We chucked this into a drill motor and removed the balsa around the edge of the hole. This area was thoroughly cleaned of any balsa and then filled with an epoxy filler combination. (I use the word We as I did not have the intestinal fortitude to drill big holes in the hull of my new boat, however after seeing it done I could now feel comfortable doing it-it wasn't bad). The epoxy seals and protects the hull from absorbing water in case of any leaks around the transducer. It also prevents compression of the hull when the fitting is tightened as the epoxy adds strength. After the epoxy set up we then countersunk the large "flange" part of the transducer to reduce the amount of protusion from the hull. The transducer was then sealed into the hole with 3M 5200. I'm sure there are many that will say the 5200 is a little too permanent but I'm pretty conservative when I approach the possibility of leaks. I have heard that other J80 owners have actually countersunk this transducer a little deeper then I did and gel coated over the flange, leaving just the paddle wheel sticking out. That would be the way I would do it if I mounted it ahead of the keel. My only concern would be the ability of the gel coat to stick to the plastic transducer.

I'm not sure if my location is a problem or not. I regard the knotmeter as a "fun meter" and not a gauge that I really want to rely on, thus the location. I launched the boat in November and the knotmeter provided data all of the time. I went and calibrated it (It was 6% optimistic BTW-I was really impressed with my new J80 when it routinely hit 7.4 upwind!)
In the last month or so it has been intermittent on the readings. I have checked all of the electrical connections and that seems OK. So I'm not sure why the knotmeter has become intermittent-I don't think its the location. I'm really busy with the J80 Southern Circuit but when I get a break I may send it in to have it checked. Aslo one side of the displays mode button does not work.

Hope this helps! In closing I really love this boat and I really like this instrumentation package. Its simple, doesn't require a battery and provides more then enough data.

Good luck with your installation!


Postby Guest » Sat Mar 31, 2001 1:09 pm

Greetings Scott,

Thank you for taking the time to write a comprehensive response! I sincerely appreciate the information. I know how much time each of us can spend researching some point so I appreciate having the benefit of your research. I will await any other responses and see if some kind of concensus emerges. Your choices seem very sound and as I looked over the boat today I am inclined to agree with your suggestions.

Best regards,

USA 341

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 02, 2001 9:22 pm


The Tic-Tac wasn't around when I installed my speedo and depth and I used the Silva Nexus instruments. Since I need a battery for lights anyway that's not an issue.

Regardless of instrument make, the transducers are basically the same (except for speed mate). I mounted the depth inside the hull in the non-cored recess, and put the speedo several inches away from it.

Like Scott, the speedo is more of a "fun meter" but it does seem to give consistent readings, except when it comes out of the water on starboard in heavy air.

When I mounted the speedo I followed the recomendations of the manufacturer for inside mounting. Being careful to avoid air pockets, I built up a pile of silicone on the hull. I then pressed the transducer down in the silicone until it touched the hull and left it to set up. Works great and would be easier to remove for service than if I had epoxied it in.

The manufacturer also recommended that the mounting location be tested first by placing a plastic bag of water between the hull and the transducer. Inconsistent readings might indicate an air void (or core material) in that hull location.

Good Luck.

Postby Guest » Sun May 06, 2001 7:14 am

Just took delivery of my new J/80 from a dealer 900 miles away from me (ie, I could not watch the work in progress). At my request, the dealer added genoa tracks, VHF, SpeedMaster and did the bottom epoxy/VC-17, all the work looks to be well done. However, I noticed the speed and depth transducers are about 16" off centerline. When I asked him why so far off center, he told me because that's where the solid, uncored section was so that's where TPI must have intended for them to go. And as I look inside, he's right. I'm trying to get this sorted out with TPI and the dealer, but I'm concerned that I won't have accurate (or any) speed readings on stbd tack as the paddle will be near the surface or out of the water heeling upwind. Is this where everyone else's transducers are or did I get a hull with the solid section misplaced? I'm going to launch in a week and I'd sure like to get the transducer moved before then if it's not going to read half the time.

Postby Guest » Mon May 07, 2001 2:27 pm


I just wanted to put in a positive word for TickTack via Layline. My display buttons (the mode button on left side) had become intermittent. I had obtained this unit from TackTick as part of the Fall Special package deal (I paid the difference and upgraded to the SailMaster). After sending me an e-mail TackTick referred me to Layline.

Layline was great and shipped me what I needed the very next day. Great product support for anything seems to be a rare commodity today so I wanted to drop in a post to let all of you TackTick users and Layline customers know that you can count on them for follow up support.

Scott Spurlin
Boomerang #334

Postby Guest » Mon May 07, 2001 2:34 pm


My 10" square no core area was on the starboard side next to the keel, slightly ahead of the mast butt location. Assuming mounting the knotmeter in the center of this square area I doubt if it would be anywhere close to 16" off center. Haven't measured so my guesstimate would be around 6 to 10" at most.

I would contact TPI and ask them. With your hull number information they should be able to tell you exactly where the non-cored location is.

BTW-I would certainly make sure that if the ducers are in a cored area that the core is sealed. This will make sure the boat doesn't turn into a sponge!

See ya

"Boomerang" 334

Postby Guest » Mon May 07, 2001 11:32 pm

My solid hull area on hull No. 341 is as described by Scott. I have elected not to install the speed transducer for now; I would like to hear more experience concerning location and performance of the speed transducer.

I installed the depth transducer inside the hull over the solid area. I will report on its performance after I have more experience with it.

Postby Guest » Mon Jul 16, 2001 8:24 pm

Have reviewed the previous contributions re the TackTick tranducers. I have installed my depth in the 10", or so, square area on the starboard side, near the mast step. I thought this was the designated location provided by TPI to facilitate depth return. Not working! I get a return on the T-ducer when put in the water by the hull so know everything is ok with connections, etc. Guess I will have to go thru-hull which I did with the speed paddlewheel & which works well. Note that the depth is supposed to be able to access standard "feet" or Metric. I can not get a display in feet-how do you do that?? I understand the calibration procedure but get no all american display in footage. Thanks again for your help all wise J80 owners!

Postby Guest » Wed Mar 13, 2002 4:32 pm

Has anyone tried the Speedmate speedo? Seems like there were comments on the forum before, but cannot find them. The benefit, aside from low cost and no connection to onboard electric system, is not having to drill a hole in the hull to mount the transducer. Any comments?

Postby Guest » Sat Apr 06, 2002 4:41 am

Try this location for the SpeedMate

http://www.epinions.com/otdr-Windsurf_E ... _Knotmeter

Postby Guest » Fri Aug 30, 2002 2:49 am

Okay, I succumbed and bought the tactick speedmaster. Some questions:

1. Has anyone put the 2 transducers in the same 10" patch of the hull. The 2 I got require holes in the hull. Any problems with that?

2. Instructions recommend washer between hull and plastic nut on the flange. It's like an inch and 3 quarters. Did other folks use a washer inside the hull.

3. Any other pointers. I am nervous about drilling holes in the bottom.

Bob Stephenson

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