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Installing your Orca Core

This article covers the installation of your Orca Core. It covers the following topics:

  1. What is included in my package?

  2. Where and how should I mount my Orca Core?

  3. Which tools and equipment do I need to install the Orca Core?

  4. Step-by-step: How do I install my Orca Core?

1. What is included in my package?

If you purchased your Orca Core without an Orca Display, your package will contain:

  • 1x Orca Core with an NMEA 2000 cable

  • 1x NMEA Power Cable

  • 1x Industrial-grade bonding tape pad

  • 1x NMEA2000 Micro-C T-connector

  • 1x Information leaflet

If you purchased an Orca Display, your Core package will contain:

  • 1x Orca Core with NMEA 2000, power-in and power-out cables

  • 2x Marine-grade Faston connectors

  • 1x Industrial-grade bonding tape pad

  • 1x NMEA2000 Micro-C T-connector

  • 1x Information leaflet

Should you miss anything in your package, contact us at hello@getorca.com

2. Where and how should I mount my Orca Core?

If you purchased an Orca Display: The Orca Core needs to be installed near the Orca Display, as the Orca Core provides charging of the Display via its power-out cable. The total available cable length between the two devices is ~ 1.5m.

If you don’t plan on getting an Orca Display, you can install your Orca Core freely in your boat following the considerations in the next section. The following mounting options are recommended.

Option 1: Topside with drill-through mount

The Orca Core is secured with the drill-through mount on a flat surface, such as a cockpit surface.

This option requires drilling a single 26-30mm diameter hole on a flat surface. It can be mounted in any orientation. It is recommended for fast, planing boats subject to shocks and vibrations from waves. It is the sturdiest mounting option and be used by anyone who is open to drilling a hole in their cockpit to install the Orca Core.

Option 2: Concealed topside with bonding tape

The Orca Core is fastened with an industrial-grade bonding tape, resting upside-down on a flat surface. This option is easier and requires no drilling – but is not recommended for fast boats.

Bonding tape should only be used at locations where the Orca Core is not exposed to the elements as moisture will degrade the bonding tape over time. This option is great if you want to install the Core inside your cockpit dashboard, in an electrical compartment, and in similar locations.

When deciding how to mount your Orca Core, review the following considerations. If you are unsure what options fit your boat, reach out to hello@getorca.com for mounting recommendations.

GPS reception

The Orca Core has a built-in high-sensitivity GPS. For the best GPS signal reception, the Core should have a clear line of sight to the sky in a wide cone above it. 

GPS signals reliably penetrate glass and glassfiber surfaces, but at the cost of some GPS accuracy. GPS signals are not able to penetrate metal surfaces.

The Orca Core has an omnidirectional GPS receiver, meaning that it can be mounted upside down or at an angle without any significant loss of accuracy.

Generally, mounting option 1 described above provides the best potential GPS reception. Option 2 is dependent on the thickness and material of the enclosure.

If you have an external NMEA 2000 GPS receiver, you can use that as your GPS source in Orca and fully ignore the mounting considerations for GPS reception of the Orca Core.

Compass interference

The Orca Core has a built-in compass to find your heading. Our recommendation, also known as the Compass Safe Distance, is to mount the Orca Core 1 meter away from other magnetical sources.

Do not mount it in the pathway of a radar beam or within 1 meter of a VHF antenna or engine.

That said, it is not uncommon for the Orca Core to be installed within the Compass Safe Distance to a vessel's compass or the Orca Display located at the helm. In this case, you will be able to compensate for the interference when you calibrate your Orca Core.

Other compasses or magnetically sensitive equipment may be affected by the magnetic field from the Orca Display and Orca Core, and those may need to be recalibrated after your installation.

If you have an external NMEA 2000 compass, you can use that as your compass source in Orca and ignore the mounting considerations for compass interference.

Wireless signal

The Orca Core uses WiFi and Bluetooth to transfer data to the Orca Display and devices running the Orca Mobile Applications.

Our recommendation is to install the Orca Core close to where you will be using your Orca Display or Orca Mobile Application for a strong and reliable wireless connection.

If your vessel is made of steel or aluminum, has thick bulwarks, or other heavy structures between your Orca Core and the position where you intend to navigate from – make sure that you are able to discover and connect to the Core from your intended steering position before you commit to the installation location.

3. Which tools and equipment do I need to install the Orca Core?

1) Power drill with a 26-30mm drill bit suitable for drilling in your mounting material.

This is needed for mounting option 1.

Depending on your main drill bit, you may also want a thinner drill bit to create a pilot hole. Bring a pencil to mark your drill location, some masking tape, and sanding paper to smooth the drill edge if you are drilling in a gelcoat surface.

2) Cleaning agent and an M4 torx-head screwdriver.

This is needed for mounting option 2.

Use the cleaning agent to clean the surface for the bonding tape and the screwdriver to remove the drill-through mount from the Orca Core.

3) Multimeter to measure polarity and voltage.

This is recommended to verify the polarity for the power circuit that you connect your Orca Core to.

4) Crimp plier and zip ties to connect the Faston connectors to the Orca Core’s power cable and fasten loose cables.

Crimp pliers are recommended, but you can achieve a similar result with a regular pair of pliers. If you use different connectors, you may need different tools for connecting.

5) Power cable connectors to connect the Core to your vessel's power supply.

Alternative A) If you purchased an Orca Display, your Core will be powered via a dedicated power cable: You may use the supplied marine-grade 250 series Faston connectors or provide your own.

Alternative B) If you purchased a standalone Orca Core and have an NMEA 2000 backbone: You do not need power cable connectors. Connect the Core to your NMEA 2000 backbone and it will power on.

Alternative C) If you purchased a standalone Orca Core, and do not have an NMEA 2000 backbone: You need to supply your own power cable connectors for the power extension cable.

6) A mobile device with the Orca Mobile Application and a cellular internet connection to set up and pair with the Orca Core.

For the initial setup and pairing of the Orca Core to your Orca account, an active cellular internet connection is required. You can also use the Orca Display for this process, but you need to insert a SIM card and have an active cellular internet connection during this initial setup and pairing.

For connections to the Orca Core after the initial account pairing, an active internet connection is not required.

We recommend that you have installed the Orca Mobile Application, logged in, and familiarize yourself with the application prior to the installation.

4. Step-by-step: How do I install my Orca Core?

Step 1: Determine your Orca Core mounting location and method

Start by determining the mounting location and method of your Orca Core based on the recommendations in the section “Where and how should I mount Orca Core?”. 

Place the Orca Core roughly at that location where you want to mount it and turn off your power supply and NMEA 2000 network.

Step 2: Connect the Orca Core to your boat’s power supply

Alternative A) If you purchased an Orca Display: Your Core will be powered via a dedicated power cable. Crimp the supplied Faston connectors or your own connectors to the power cable and connect the power cable to a fused circuit with a minimum 5A fuse.

The brown power cable from the Orca Core should be connected to the positive power terminal and the white cable should be connected to the negative terminal.

Alternative B) If you purchased a standalone Orca Core and have an NMEA 2000 backbone: Extend your NMEA 2000 backbone with the supplied T-connector and connect the Core to your backbone.

Alternative C) If you purchased a standalone Orca Core, and do not have an NMEA 2000 backbone: Connect the power extension cable to the NMEA cable on your Orca Core and crimp your own power cable connectors to the power extension cable.

Step 3: Verifying that the Orca Core is powering on

After turning on the power supply, the Orca Core will power up automatically. 

A green light will be visible on the top of the Orca Core. The light will disappear after 10 seconds – when the Orca Core has finished booting.

Should the green light not appear, or the color of the light be orange, check the polarity of your connectors and review your power supply with the multimeter. The power supply needs to deliver at least 11V to start the Orca Core.

If you are unable to verify that the Orca Core is powered up via the green light, you can also check this with the Orca Mobile Application.

To do so, launch the Orca Mobile Application on your phone and hold it within 1 meter from your Orca Core. Open the main menu by tapping the circle in the top left corner and select Settings > Orca Core from the menu. Let the Orca Mobile Application search for at least a minute.

If you are unable to verify that the Orca Core is powered on, reach out to us at hello@getorca.com and we’ll assist you.

Step 4: Connect the Orca Core to your NMEA 2000 network

If you don’t have an NMEA2000 network aboard or if you already connected the Core to your network, skip this step.

Step 5: Pair the Orca Core to your Orca account

Turn on your Orca Core and your NMEA 2000 network.

Launch the Orca Mobile Application on your phone or another device that has a cellular internet connection. Open the main menu by tapping the circle in the top left corner and select Settings > Orca Core from the main menu.

Your application should discover the Orca Core. Follow the instructions and pair it with your Orca account, and update your Orca Core if any updates are available.

If you have an NMEA 2000 network, verify that the Core can discover your devices via Settings > Orca Core > Connected Devices.

If you own an Orca Display, verify that you are able to guide the Orca Display charging cable to the location where you intend to install your Orca Charging Mount. The total available cable length is 1.5mt from the foot of the Display Mount to the Orca Core.

You are now ready to finalize your installation.

Step 6a: Mounting the Orca Core with the drill-through mount

This step only applies to mounting option 1.

Cover your drill area in masking tape to protect the gelcoat surface.

Mark the center point of your drill hole. Your drill point needs sufficient clearance for the Orca Core’s 105x105x50mm housing .

Drill a pilot hole, and then a 26-30mm wide hole. 

If you are drilling fiberglass covered in gelcoat, apply light pressure when drilling gelcoat to avoid cracking. Use sandpaper to smooth the hole’s perimeter and create a small chamfer in the gelcoat to avoid gelcoat cracking from vibrations.

Remove the masking tape and wash away any dust.

Remove the locking nut from the Orca Core’s mount and insert the Orca Core’s cables and mounting bolt from the top side of the hole.

Beneath the locking nut resides two plastic gaskets. One gasket contains bonding tape on one side – remove the bonding tape and glue the gasket to the underside of the Orca Core's mount. This gasket will create a watertight seal around your drill hole.

The second rubber gasket can optionally be used between the underside of the drilling surface and the Core's locking bolt in case the underside material does not provide enough friction to properly fasten the bolt.

Thread the locking nut through the cables, all the way up to the locking bolt, and fasten the nut. It should be firmly tightened to create a watertight seal and prevent movement from waves and vibrations, but don’t over-tighten the nut.

Step 6b: Mounting the Orca Core with the bonding tape

This step only applies to mounting option 2.

Begin by removing the drill-through mount from the Orca Core. To do so:

  1. Unscrew the locking nut

  2. Remove the rubber gaskets

  3. Remove the three M4 torx screws connecting the mount to the Orca Core

Clean the attachment area with a suitable cleaning agent. Remove any dust, residue, and grease from the surface, and make sure the area is dry before you continue. Repeat the process for the top side of your Orca Core.

Remove the plastic covering on the underside of the bonding tape and attach the tape to the flat top surface of your Orca Core. Apply pressure to ensure proper bonding.

Remove the plastic covering on the upper side of the bonding tape and carefully attach the Orca Core to your boat. Apply pressure to ensure proper bonding.

Step 7: Reconnect the cable and secure cables with zip ties 

With your boat’s main power off, reconnect all cables to the Core. Turn the power on and recheck that the Orca Core boots up. Use zip ties to secure the cables.

If you opted for a bonding tape option, check that the cables’ weight is primarily carried by zip ties.

Next steps

If you've purchased an Orca Display, head over to the Display installation guide for details on how to install it.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to hello@getorca.com

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