Electrics - CD/radios in US boats

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Well you learn something new every day....

It would appear that 'Car Stereos' fitted to US boats may not function fully in the European market.  This is because FM radios in the US step on the 'odd' frequencies eg 97.5, 97.7, 97.9 etc whereas we in Europe (and NZ) step on 'even', eg 97.6 and between, eg 97.65.  Thus whilst the range of frequencies is similar, a US radio is not a lot of use in Europe as it will only lock onto a 'few' broadcasts...

So the moral is if radio is important to you, don't pay more for a boat with an expensive Alpine unit in the US as you'll probably want to change this, unless of course you don't use the radio part in which case the CD, DVD and iPod functions will work fine.

Wiring a EU radio in a US boat

The first thing to note is that the standard ISO connectors used (as supplied) in Europe are NOT used in the US.  Thus the rear connector from a US radio will not just plug and play in your new EU radio.  That said translating the wiring between US and EU is quite straight forward making this more of a cut, crimp and play than plug and play install.  Colour codes 'appear' relatively consistent so it should be easy to work out.  


Written By: Rowland Smith

Rowland Smith is a Naval Architect and founder of Gablemarine.  His industry experience includes Lloyds Register, British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Ltd, Cammell Lairds, BP Shipping Ltd & Conoco.  He has a degree in Naval Architecture, a Diploma in Marketing (CIM) and an MBA (Cranfield School of Management).  He has also held Director level positions in a number of technology and engineering companies, including CEproof, which provides RCD compliance software to builders. 

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