The editors at Yachting have teamed up with the experts at Imtra to bring you advice on how to keep your boat in Bristol condition and get the most from your hours spent out on the water. For more great tips, see Next Level Yachting with Imtra »
Vimar is one of the world’s top manufacturers of decorative switching and outlet systems, particularly popular in the marine industry thanks to the vast selection of styles and designs. The seemingly endless options mean that Vimar always has a solution to match the interior of any boat, yacht, ship or vehicle, but the options can also make the initial selection process a bit overwhelming. In this piece we’ll take a look at how to put a system together that is best for your specific application.
Basic Components of a Vimar System
All Vimar switching & outlet systems are comprised of three components: devices, mounting frames and cover plates. The devices are the functional part of the system: switches, outlets, plugs, data ports, etc. The devices snap into place in mounting frames, which are screwed into the wall or bulkhead to mount the devices. Vimar devices are all modular so getting the size right for the mounting frame is not a concern.
For example, if you wanted to mount two light switches and a power outlet together, you would simply buy a “3-module” mounting frame which has three slots for a device to snap into. The system is then finished off with a decorative cover plate that snaps over the mounting frame, hiding the mounting screws and any wiring for a clean, finished look. The cover plates are sized the same way as the mounting frames, so using the previous example you would simply purchase a 3-module cover plate to snap over the 3-module mounting frame.
Those are the 3 basic components of every Vimar system, but they offer lots of other items in addition to including mounting boxes for flush-mounting, mounting boxes for surface-mounting, water resistant covers & enclosures, LED bulbs for illuminable switches, and more. All these additional items make it so that you can install a Vimar system just about anywhere you want.
Product Lines Within Vimar
Much like car manufacturers, Vimar offers multiple different lines of products with differing dimensions and styles. The primary Vimar product lines found on boats are the Idea, Eikon & Arké series. All the Vimar series offer essentially the same options for switches, outlets, plugs, data ports and other devices and they differ mainly in their styles and dimensions. Because of those differences, the products within each series are not interchangeable.
So just like you wouldn’t buy a bumper for a Honda Civic to install on an Accord, you can’t install an Eikon cover plate on an Idea mounting frame, and so on. Therefore the first decision you’ll make when purchasing a Vimar system is what series of products you want to use. This decision is based solely on preference and what style you think looks best in the space you’re working with.
Other Factors to Consider
Even once you’ve picked the series of products you’ll still find dozens of options for the look and finish of the cover plates, so there are a couple more ways to narrow down your choices. The first is the material of the cover plate. Vimar offers cover plates made of metal, composite plastic and wood, so picking a material will start to narrow down your choices. There is also a significant cost difference with the metal and wood cover plates being more expensive than the plastic, so having a budget in mind can also help you decide. The last stylistic choice to make before selecting a cover plate is whether you want them to have hard, square corners, or more rounded ones. Once you’ve narrowed those factors down, all that’s left is picking the color you like best.
Once you’ve selected the series and cover plates, it’s time to walk through the boat, ship or vehicle and map out the locations of all the switches and devices you plan to use. If you’re refitting an older switching system, it’s usually easiest to make note of what’s already there and try to match it to minimize too much re-wiring work.
If you’re starting from scratch you’ll have a lot more thinking to do. You’ll want to carefully consider how many lighting circuits there are, where you’ll want switches for those lights, whether or not you’ll want switches for things like fans, electronics, water pumps, etc. and where you’re most likely to want power outlets. Once you’ve tallied all those up, it simply becomes a matter of getting the right number of devices and the corresponding number of mounting frames and cover plates.
Of course, the experts at Imtra would be happy to help you through the process, so feel free to contact us with any questions!