Wiring Installation Guide
How to Wire Your Wakeboard Tower
Wiring a wakeboard tower is important in order to connect accessories that run on electricity. Some examples of these accessories are speakers, lights and speaker light combination bars. Since every wakeboard tower is a little different, there is no one universal set of instructions. Below is a generic guide that will you the basics. If you run into trouble, please contact us and we can answer questions specific to your tower model.
First, you want to make sure you only have to do this once by counting all the speakers, lights and other wired accessories you'll be installing. By establishing this first, you'll know how many speakers or what kind of wire harness you want to run. If you know you might want to add something later down the road, be sure to factor the number of wires that accessory requires.
Once you have the right wire harness, it's time to start planning the wiring and drilling of the wakeboard tower. For the planning phase, start at the tower of the wakeboard tower at the location you'll be installing something. Let's use wakeboard tower speakers as an example. Decide where you want both speakers of the pair to be mounted. Remember, our speakers specifically are manufactured with drilled-through mounting clamps so that no exposed wires are showing when installed. You will be drilling a hole in the middle of where you plan to clamp on each speaker on the bottom of the tubing.
The wire will be fed through the top hole you drilled and be pushed across and down a side leg section. You want to run it down the same side at where your battery lives on your boat. When you get to a joint, you must drill and exit hole and run the wire out then back in a new hole on the next nearest section. Because the joints are solid billet aluminum, wiring around them is the path of least resistance. For joints that bend when the tower is folded down, be sure to give a little extra slack- otherwise the wire will be pulled and stretched. At the very bottom of the tower a couple of inches before the mounting foot's weld line, create the last exit hole. It's also important to add rubber grommets at the holes to prevent water from entering the tower's tubing or boat's hull.
How to Install Your Wakeboard Tower
All Aerial Wakeboard Towers have been carefully designed to allow anyone with average do-it-yourself skills and access to a set of common tools to complete the installation with no problem in just a few hours.There are just a few important but simple technical tips you'll want to use. Well over 90% of our customers have installed the towers and accessories themselves and have reported back that all went well.
Remember, if you get stuck at anytime, you can call our support team at (949) 407-5009 Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm Pacific time. We'll be happy to walk you though. Remember to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for a list of extra tips and reminders before getting started.
Important Tips and Considerations
The biggest tip we can give you is to measure twice and "cut" once - there's no cutting involved but before you drill the first pilot hole into your boat, be 100% positive it's the right spot and you've double checked with your tape measure.
Second tip is to plan and execute the EXACT same steps for drilling and installing port and starboard. This is especially important for determining where you drill and mount the feet. Having offset mounting feet will result in a wakeboard tower that is off-center and askew. When determining the final drilling spots, use existing features or hardware on the boat to start your measurements(like the base of the windshield, rub rail line, etc.) then repeat on the opposite side(assuming they are located in the same spot).
Third, open the box(es) your tower was shipped in and do an inventory to make sure no parts or hardware is missing. We take extra care to make sure everything is packed in, but it's a good idea just in case - that way if a part is missing of defective, you can contact us to send out a replacement before you begin. Put them all in a safe and uncluttered spot where they won't be lost until you are ready to begin.
Here are some other things to consider for your wakeboard tower installation:
- Have All Tools and Material at the Ready
Remember to create a list from the "tools needed" section and have them all ready before you start. If you want to chamfer after your drilling, add that bit to the list. Have a set of socket wrenches with the correctly sized bits. Only have old worn out drill bits? Add new ones to the list. Did you do a full recharge on your power drill? Have enough painter's tape? Maybe have some 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive ready just in case. Have a tube of Loctite? On the day of your install, it really helps to layout all the parts and hardware on a an old blanket that has some thickness for padding. This will help you visualize what needs to be done, keep you organized and speed up the process.
- Have Someone There to Help You
We highly recommend having a family member or buddy out helping you during the process. Not only will it speed up the install, but also the last thing you want to do is accidently drop a tower section and potentially wreck your fiberglass, your beautiful new tower, or heaven forbid, your noggin.
- Reinforcing the Hull
We usually recommend a backing plate kit to all our customers to provide extra support and strength to the boat's hull just under each tower mounting foot. Depending on the thickness and amount of reinforcing your boat manufacturer originally provided, it might not be necessary. The plates of marine grade plywood will help give a more even distribution of the pressure exerted to the mounting feet from the tower. Over time, an improperly reinforced foot might result in spider cracking or fiberglass damage.The pendulum forces created by a wakeboarder combined with the drag of cutting in on the board transfers a lot of energy to the tower and the boat.
- Drilling Into Your Boat's Hull
Probably the step our customers get most nervous about is taking a drill bit to your baby's fiberglass. It seems unnatural, right? Here are a few simple pointers to follow- if that's not enough, remember there are many online articles and YouTube videos. First, make sure you are using new, sharp drill bits. Once you know the general location your mounting feet are going, add a wide patch of painter's tape before doing your final measurements. That way, when you go to mark the spot with with your Sharpie pen, it will be already taped and then visible. Before you start drilling, make sure you have about a 6 inch diameter of tape around the drill spot to protect your gel coat from accidental scratching from the metal drill and to help keep the fiberglass from splintering.
There are several ways of performing the drill. One way is to run a pilot hole through with a smaller bore bit, followed with the final bit size. To protect the gel coat, run the drill in reverse at medium speed with medium pressure. Remove the tape after then chamfer the edge of the hole to help prevent spider cracking. The best way to do this is to use a chamfer bit using just a little pressure for a few seconds. You can also use a rat tail file or other conical shaped saning bit. Either way, you want to create a 45 degree angle from the get coal to the fiberglass. Why is this an important step? When it comes time to installing the hardware, you do not want a hard edge on the hole- when the hardware tightens down, the pressure on that little extra gel coat material pushed out creating fine spider cracks. Similar to your car's windshield, a small crack will keep spreading over time.
- Wakeboard Tower Maintenance
It's a good idea to regularly break out the tool set and retorque the tower and make sure everything is tight and secure. As previously mentioned, wakeboarders transfer a lot of energy and movement to the tower which can loosen fittings over time. This is true for any wakeboard tower even a factory installed one. Quick debunking: You may have seen videos online of wakeboard tower "shake tests" where the tower looks very wobbley- it's the result of improper maintenance or an improper installation to begin with. For some of the videos, we would even go as far as stating that some were filmed and anonymously posted by a specific manufacturer trying to hurt the reputation of others. They all show a lot of excessive movement at the heim joint, leg joints, top section that can only result from purposely loosening bolts.
Planning on installing wakeboard tower speakers, light bars or other wired tower accessories? Make sure you have all the wiring you need. For the cleanest looking installation, you will want to run all the wires through the inside of the tower. Planning and executing this step now while the tower is unassailable is ideal. To keep water out of the tower's tubing, many customers use rubber grommets available at any home improvement store. For more great tips on how to wire your tower, feel free to give us a call.
- Factory Folding Biminis
If you are hoping to use your existing folding bimini with your tower, be aware that depending on the tower you choose, where the bimini is installed, the bimini dimensions, and where and how you install the tower, it might not work. Most customer can use their old bimini no problem. Many, opt to upgrade to an Aerial Tower Bimini. If you absolutely want to keep your folding bimini, we can't give you a guarantee but you may have options that could give you enough extra width or height to allow your bimini to clear the tower frame. Since our towers have an adjustable width and the mounting feet swivel, your bimini might still work. It just requires a little more planning and measuring.
- Aerial Authorized Installers
For those customers that are simply short on free time or not fully confidant in their own handy work, another option is to reach out to your local boat shop and get a quote on a typical 3-4 hour tower installation. We have a list of Aerial Authorized Installers to help you get started.
Have More Questions About the Installation?
Call (949) 407-5009
MONDAY - FRIDAY / 9 - 5 PACIFIC STANDARD TIME