How to Install a Replacement Radio in My Pontoon Boat

How to Install a Replacement Radio in My Pontoon Boat
Replacing the AM-FM radio on your pontoon boat is one way to spend some time working on your boat that will improve your boating experience by bringing back the music that was lost when your old radio failed. If you've replaced a car's radio in the past, you may find several similarities, but you'll also find a big difference: the splash cover on the front of the radio helps to prevent the kind of failure that car radios never face. Even so, the splash cover is no harder to install than the dash cover found on any automobile.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Magnetic-tipped screwdriver
  • Magnetic-tipped screwdriver
Step 1
Look under your boat's console and find the three wires that lead from your radio; one is brown or black, one is red and one plugs into the back of the unit. Disconnect the plug in wire--the antenna. Disconnect the brown or black ground wire from the boat's common ground or grounding buss and the red wire from the common power buss located in or under the console.
Step 2
Insert the blade of a screwdriver with a magnetic tip under the dash cover plate of the radio and gently pry the plate off. Unscrew the radio (the magnetized screwdriver will prevent the loss of the mounting screws; pocket them in case you need an extra) and slide it out of the dashboard. Disconnect the speaker connectors and the antenna connector from the back of the radio. Set the old radio aside.
Step 3
Connect the brown (negative, ground) wire from the new radio to the boat's common ground or grounding buss. Connect the red wire (the power lead) from the new radio to the boat's power buss. Plug the speaker connectors into the appropriate jacks on the rear of the new radio. Push the antenna connector into the antenna jack on the back of the radio.
Step 4
Slide the new radio and mounting bracket into the console. Turn the radio on and ensure that the power, tuner and speakers are in working order. If so, use the screwdriver to insert and tighten the mounting screws.
Step 5
Set the dash cover/splash cover over the opening in the dash and the radio, and press into place.

Tips & Warnings

 
Marine AM/FM radios are designed to take the hammering that boating gives electronics, but must be mounted horizontally to take advantage of this added protection.
 
Marine AM/FM radios are designed to take the hammering that boating gives electronics, but must be mounted horizontally to take advantage of this added protection.

Article Written By Will Charpentier

Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.

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