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Nautic Laugic GPS Speed Installation

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  • Nautic Laugic GPS Speed Installation

    Thought I would go ahead and do a review and installation “how to” on the Nautic Laugic GPS speed conversion kit that is on the market since I had decided to do this upgrade on my boat. If you’ve considered this upgrade maybe this will either push to get it done or skip it completely, so here we go…..

    Why do the upgrade?
    For me it ended up being somewhat of a necessity. I have been letting the kids use the boat and the way my lift is set up and the location the paddle wheel was installed in the boat became somewhat of a conflict. Previous boats I’ve owned had the paddle wheel and depth transducers pretty much located on the inner chines but with this smaller boat Nautique decided to put the paddlewheel between the first and second chine which is pretty much where my bunks are. I had the bunks adjusted so I had about 4” of clearance but you really needed to be careful putting the boat back on the lift with just that much clearance. It doesn’t take much to bend an ear on the paddlewheel guides which depending on the direction it bends will interfere and make the paddlewheel inoperative. After running into this problem the last 2 times I decided to just get rid of that portion of the sender. Another reason was accuracy which I believed to be off. As you’ll see later there are ways to adjust this but I seemed to have problems in both directions (too slow, too fast) depending on if I was surfing or skiing. GPS doesn’t care about water flow so this seemed to be a good solution for both. Those running in river conditions will see more accuracy as well as again water flow plays no part in determining speed with GPS.

    Options for upgrade
    With the decision made to upgrade, in my case I was left with few options. I have Nautique Cruise (or something like that) not perfect pass so changing out to Perfect Pass StarGazer as I had done with other boats was not an option. I could have gone with Zero Off but doing so on my boat would have left me with no display for the ballast, no water temp, air temp or depth as those are all displayed on my single gauge and Zero Off support informed me that Zero Off only does Zero Off, no other functions. The only option I could find was a somewhat cost effective ($300) GPS solution from Nautic Laugic (

    NL has retro fit solutions for a variety of make/model boats and supports many Nautiques. After looking at reviews, installation instructions and other posts from people who had done the installation and lived with it I decided I’d give this a try.

    Installation can be very easy and quick however I can see how on larger boats it could be a bit could be more challenging. On my 20’ Sport Nautique everything seemed to just fall in place. The kit itself is really straight forward with only 3 components, the NL4 Controller, the GPS Receiver and some double-sided Velcro (which I didn’t use).

    With that said let’s jump into the installation…..

    Before doing anything, I decided that since I was going to pull the kick panel under the dash where my power panel is located I’d play it safe and disconnect the battery. This is probably a good idea regardless and is a step in the installation instructions (which I read after I installed everything. Yeah typically guy thing, right?) but honestly if my power panel wasn’t there and I could switch off the power there’s not really anything hot that should cause a problem. But then again you be the judge and do what’s right for your installation.

    First thing you'll need to do is find your paddlewheel transducer in the hull. This is going to typically be by the engine on both a vDrive or Inboard as this is where the smoothest water flow is going to be on the hull. These will be through hull fittings and you’ll typically have 2 that will look very similar. Look on the bottom of the boat to get a general idea where yours in located and find it on the inside of the hull. On newer boats (2012 – 2019) you’ll have a Deustch connector that will attach the transducer to the wiring harness. As seen in the picture the NL4 controller will have 2 connectors that will allow you to attach both the paddlewheel and the NL4 controller to the harness. This is done to preserve the water temp feature as the paddlewheel transducer being used also provides the input for water temp as well. The part I mentioned that could be a challenge is that this cable is only 12’ long. In my case I ended up with about 6” of length to spare for where I considered the ideal location to mount the controller. In a larger boat you may have to get creative on where you mount the controller. Also, while you can’t add length to the controller cable you do get 6’ of cable for the GPS receiver which uses a standard PS/2 keyboard cable which can be extended if needed.

    As a side note… I ran the controller cable from the front of the dash along the gunnel tie wrapping the cable to the existing wiring harness then to the bilge and connected the connectors. The connectors are much smaller and easier route than the controller would ever be.

    Once you have the cable run and have mounted the controller you’ve pretty much completed the hardest part of the installation, at least it was on mine. At this point it’s time to find a location where you want to mount the GPS receiver. I’m not big on drilling holes in my boat so I decided I’d mount mine on the dash pad by loosening up the screws that held it in place then sneaking the connector/cable at the dash pad seam. This provided a clear shot to the sky while not being too intrusive. Even though the GPS receiver is quite small I may look to relocate to a less noticeable area behind the gauge pod later but for now this is where it’s going to live. I used some lower adhesion double-sided tape to mount my receiver as I wanted to be able to move it later without scaring the dash pad. As long as this prove adequate, I’ll leave this in place.

    Calibration and operation
    Once everything was installed that was pretty much all there was to it. For me the worst of it was bending my old body in unnatural positions to tie wrap the cables in place and mount the controller under the dash. The rest is just “plug and play”. After reconnecting the battery, I lowered the boat in the water and took the boat for a spin. The GPS itself takes about 30 – 40 seconds to sync from a cold start (power switch off to on). I’s seems like about 10 seconds from a warm start (engine off to engine start) which at first I found a bit unnerving. After several cycles throughout the day it became second nature and I really didn’t notice it any longer.

    Once you have everything running you’ll probably need to calibrate the GPS signal with the speed control and your dash gauge. These can all be a bit different but on my boat you hit the menu key then use the up and down arrows to get in the paddlewheel calibration menu. I downloaded a GPS speed app on my phone to use but it pretty much sucks and if someone has a good one I’d love to know what you’re using. The problem with the one I got was that it’s not sensitive enough as it only does whole numbers (5, 6, 7, etc.) and not speeds inbetween (5.2, 5.3, 5.4, etc.). I’d really like something a lot more accurate. What I did do to try and get as close as possible was to take the boat up to 20 MPH, set the paddlewheel calibration to that speed then slowed to 19. The while watching the phone GPS I accelerated slowly back to 20 and marked the speed on the paddlewheel as soon as GPS hit 20. I then adjusted the calibration to match which in my case I was off by about .2 MPH. Made several runs doing the same thing until I was comfortable, I was as close as I could get the speed to match.

    At this point I call the installation complete and took a surf run. The cruise worked flawlessly.

    Pros and cons
    So here’s my take on the unit…..

    On the positive side it is very easy to install and in the little time I’ve used it, it seems to work well and as advertised. The GPS receiver is very small (about the size of a Cheez-it) and easy to mount.

    On the negative side, there’s the cost, I’d like to have a longer controller cable (but that seems to be a design limitation with the controller) and you do notice when the receiver is looking for the link. It’s only seconds but it is there. I also wish they would have used a smaller connector on the receiver but in my case I was able to weasel it down the dash pad which made it a "no hole" installation. If I had to drill a hole it would have been at least ” and difficult to hide.

    So that’s it. Hope someone finds this helpful.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by bturner; 2 weeks ago.

  • #2
    nice write up!