Overview

Product introduction

Installing Orca in your boat

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Installing your Orca Core

This article covers the installation of your Orca Core. It will cover 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?

What is included in my package?

Your Orca Core package contains:

  • 1x Orca Core with NMEA 2000, power-in and power-out cables (1mt length)

  • 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

Where and how should I mount my Orca Core?

Orca Core was designed to give you multiple mounting options, as summarized in the illustrations below.

For Orca Display Owners: 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 about 1.5mt.

If you don’t intend to use the Orca Display, you can install your Orca Core freely in your boat following the considerations in the next section. With that in mind, we recommend installing the Orca Core in your cockpit or at the helm whenever possible.

The mounting options for the Orca Core can be summarized in the following three categories.

A1) 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 in a flat surface. 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.

A2) 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 requires no drilling. It is the recommended mounting option for anyone who does not want to drill holes to install the Orca Core.

Bonding tape should only be used at locations where the Orca Core is not exposed to the elements as water and moisture will degrade the bonding tape over time. The recommended location would typically be inside your cockpit dashboard, in an electrical compartment, or other similar locations.

A3) Concealed underside cockpit with bonding tape

The Orca Core is fastened with an industrial-grade bonding tape, hanging from a flat surface inside the cockpit dashboard. This option requires no drilling. It is only recommended for slower, non-planing boats and only if option A2 is not feasible in your boat.

When deciding how to mount your Orca Core, review the following considerations:

1) 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. 

Due to the high sensitivity of the GPS receiver, this line of sight can be obstructed to some extent before accuracy degrades. GPS signals reliably penetrate thin glass and glassfiber surfaces, but at the cost of some GPS accuracy. Bear in mind that 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 A1 described above provides the best potential GPS reception. A2 and A3 are dependent on the thickness of the glass fiber enclosure. If you pick one of the latter options, pay extra attention to your GPS accuracy when you conduct your GPS tests in Step 7 of the installation guide.

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.

2) Compass interference

The Orca Core has a built-in compass to find your heading. The general recommendation, also known as the Compass Safe Distance, is to mount the Orca Core 1 meter away from all other magnetical sources. Don’t 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. If you install the Orca core within Compass Safe Distance, pay extra attention to your compass readouts when you conduct your test installation in Step 7 of this guide.

You should also remember that 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.

3) Wireless signal

The Orca Core uses WiFi to transfer data to the Orca Display and devices running the Orca Mobile Applications. These devices will discover the Orca Core via a Bluetooth signal.

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

In general, WiFi and Bluetooth signals penetrate glassfiber without much loss in strength, and in most boats, wireless signal reception will likely not limit the mounting location options of your Orca Core.

If your vessel consists of a steel or aluminum enclosure, thick bulwarks, or other heavy structures between your Orca Core and the position where you intend to navigate from – pay extra attention to the wireless signal test in Step 7 of the installation guide.

If you are unsure what options fit your boat, reach out to hello@getorca.com for mounting recommendations.

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 the A1 mounting option.

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 hex-head screwdriver.

This is needed for the A2 and A3 mounting options.

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 and current 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) Alternative power connectors in case the supplied Faston connectors do not fit your boat’s power connectors.

The Orca Core is supplied with two marine-grade 250 series Faston connectors with splits.

Should you not have any suitable 250 series Faston connection points, you’ll need to provide your own connectors that you crimp to the Orca Core’s power cable.

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

For the initial setup and bonding 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 will need to insert a SIM card and have an active cellular internet connection during this initial setup and bonding.

For connections to the Orca Core after the initial account bonding, 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.

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.

Step 2: Determine how to connect the Orca Core to your boat’s power supply

We strongly recommend that you review and plan how to connect the Orca Core to your boat’s power supply in advance of the actual installation. If you need different connectors than the ones supplied with the Orca Core, you may find yourself in need to visit a local electronics or marine utility shop.

First up, determine how to connect the Orca Core to your boat’s power supply. The Orca Core can be connected to power supplies ranging from 12V to 24V.

We recommend connecting the Orca Core to your “instruments” circuit, should you have one. Alternatively, connect it to your “utility” circuit. Either way – ensure that you connect it behind a fuse and a power switch.

The Orca Core will draw approximately 200mA during regular operation, and up to 3A when charging the Orca Display Kit. Make sure your fuse provides sufficient capacity for the Orca Core and the other devices connected to this circuit.

Step 3a: If you have Faston connectors in your boat at the desired connection point

Crimp the supplied Faston connectors to the Orca Core power cables and connect the Faston connectors at your connection point.

The supplied Faston connectors have a piggyback connector that allows you to insert them between two existing Faston connectors if needed.

Step 3b: If you don’t have Faston connectors at the desired connection point

Use alternative connectors – such as ring connectors or other connectors that fit your boat’s electric system. These connectors should be marine-grade connectors that offer proper marine corrosion resistance.

Step 4: Connect to and test the power supply

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

Once you have connected the Orca Core, turn on your boat’s main power to test the supply.

Step 5: 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 be present, check the polarity of your connectors and review your power supply with the multimeter. The power supply needs to deliver at least 9V at load to boot 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 Orca Core from the menu. Let the Orca Mobile Application search for at least a minute.

If the application discovers your Core, continue to the next step – but don’t connect via the app just yet.

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 6: Connect the Orca Core to your NMEA 2000 network

If you don’t have an NMEA2000 network aboard, skip this step.

Power off your boat’s main power switch, and ensure that the NMEA 2000 network is powered down.

Extend your NMEA 2000 backbone by removing a terminator, insert the supplied Micro-C T-connector and add the terminator to the end of the new T-connector.

Connect the Orca Core’s drop cable to the new T-connector.

Step 7: Pair the Orca Core to your Orca account and test the system

Before continuing, make sure the Orca Core is powered on. If you have an NMEA 2000 network, ensure that it is also powered on.

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 Orca Core from the main menu.

Your application should discover the Orca Core. Pair it with your Orca account and follow the instructions presented.

Verify the following installation checks: (1) Wireless connection strength, (2) Power supply voltage, (3) GPS reception, (4) compass stability, and (5) the NMEA 2000 connection.

If any of these checks are not successful, follow the recommendations from the application. If you are unable to resolve these checks, reach out to us at hello@getorca.com and we’ll assist you.

If you own an Orca Display Kit, 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! Turn off your main power and disconnect the Orca Core from the NMEA 2000 network and the power supply.

Step 8a: Mounting the Orca Core with the drill-through mount

This step only applies to mounting option A1.

Begin by covering your drill area in masking tape to protect the gelcoat surface.

Mark the center point of your drill hole with a pen. Double-check that your drill point has sufficient clearance for the Orca Core’s housing at 105x105x50mm.

If you need to, drill a pilot hole with your smaller drill bit first. Next, drill with the 26-30mm drill bit. 

If you are drilling fiberglass covered in gelcoat, apply light pressure when drilling gelcoat to avoid cracking. Once you’ve drilled through, 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. Make sure the soft rubber gasket is resting flat between the Orca Core and the top side of your drill surface.

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

You don’t need to apply sealant around the hole as the rubber gasket on the underside of the Orca Core will create a watertight seal when the locking nut is fastened.

Step 8b: Mounting the Orca Core with the bonding tape

This step only applies to mounting options A2 and A3.

Begin by removing the drill-through mount from the Orca Core. To do so, unscrew the locking nut, remove the rubber gasket and remove the three M4 screws connecting the mount to the Orca Core. We recommend you keep these parts for later, should you want to install the Orca Core at a different location or boat.

Next up, clean the area where you will attach the bonding tape pad with a suitable cleaning agent. Remove any dust, residue, and grease from the surface, and make sure the area is dry before you continue. Make also sure that the top part of the Orca Core is clean and dust-free.

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 some 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 some pressure to ensure strong bonding.

The bonding tape is designed to handle the weight of the Core itself, but the weight and force of the cables should not be carried by the tape. It is therefore important that you secure all cables with zip ties in such a way that the zip ties carry the weight of the cable during the next step.

Make sure that the cables are not subjected to sharp bends, as these may damage the cables.

Step 9: Reconnect the power and NMEA 2000 cable and secure cables with zip ties 

Well done, you’re almost there!

With your boat’s main power off, reconnect the power and NMEA 2000 cable. Turn the power on and recheck that the Orca Core boots up. Use zip ties to secure the cables. If you don’t own a Display Kit, we recommend that you coil the Display’s power cable and fasten it with a zip tie.

If you opted for a bonding tape option, be particularly careful to ensure that the cables’ weight is primarily carried by zip ties.

In the coming weeks, we’ll release more information about how to install your Orca Display. Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to hello@getorca.com

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