Starlink On Our Sailboat (12v Conversion How-To)

This post will detail our Starlink setup on our boat and list links to the items we purchased and used for it. Here are the items we used so that you can easily find and order them. Of course there are some other slick equipment options now on the market which will discuss after we show you what we are using.

Is Starlink Worth It For Offshore Sailing

The addition of Starlink has been a game changer for offshore sailing. Previous to this only large boats with huge budgets had the capability to access this level of data while offshore. Gone are the days of waiting 15 minutes to download a grib. Welcome to the connected world where you can view weather radar in real time, live weather stations and bouys, and pull up to the minute gribs in seconds.

As a huge bonus it allows for full connection for everything else, including to other boats near by but out of radio range. You can now text and VOIP just like on land. The internet connection on board our boat is now better than it was at my office on land just a few years ago! We haven’t turned on our IridiumGO! since installing the Starlink, it is that good! (We still keep our GO as a backup though for true offshore work, just as we also have on board an SSB radio.)

DIY Starlink 12v Conversion Steps for a Sailboat

We will add step by step instructions at some point, but we found the hardest part of the process was obtaining the correct parts to do it as there is some confusion out there.

Here is what we used to install and convert Starlink RV to 12v on our sailboat.

Parts to Replace Your OEM Starlink Router

Starlink Ethernet Adapter

The Starlink ethernet adapter is required if you wish to be able to do the conversion without cutting the cable to the Starlink dish, essentially allowing you to easily revert to using the original Starlink power supply and wireless router if you wish. We suggest this for beginners. Of course, advanced users, or those that are more confident in their wiring skills can save money by just cutting the Starlink cable and connecting it directly to the POE.

12v to 48v Converter

This is required to step-up the power on your boat from 12v to the 48v that the Starlink dish requires. It goes between your 12v battery power source (usually the breaker and fuse) and the POE power supply.

Tycon POE Injector

We used this simple, lightweight and cheap POE injector. POE stands for Power Over Ethernet. This allows the 48v power to be inserted into the Cat6 cable, replacing the power supply that is internal, inside of your now obsolete OEM Starlink router.

inHand 305 Router (Cellular Sim Card & Wifi)

You will need some type of your own wired or wireless router. We chose this industrial router for our boat. It is powered by 12v, which makes it plug and play into our existing electrical system with no need for an inverter, which is why we are also converting the Starlink anyway. This router is handy as it can be configured for wired and wireless routing, as well as a failover WAN to two different 4g SIM cards. This type of redundancy is excellent if you are using Starlink for work, or if you are switching to local cellular networks to save money on Starlink ocean pricing while near shore.

Starlink 12v Wiring

Shielded Cat6 Plug Ends (Field Installable)

These connectors make it easy to install new ends in your Cat5/Cat6 cables. It can be done on board with no special tools or crimpers. The best thing is, if you make a mistake, you can take it apart and re-use it. They are also clearly numbered and color marked for wire positions, allowing you to be sure you have the Starlink wire arrangement correct.

Cat5/Cat6 Cables

Of course, what network would be complete without cables! You will need one standard Cat5/Cat6 cable to run between your POE and your WAN port on your router.

15 amp Breaker

Some boats use different systems, but this fits our existing electrical panel, allowing us to turn on and off the power to our 12v Starlink conversion on our boat easily from our navigation station.

12v 10 amp Fuse Holder

We try to fuse everything. An ounce of prevention is great insurance. The Starlink 12v can consume up to 6amps at 12v so you should insert a 10 amp fuse in this.

14 Gauge Marine Wire

Always use marine grade wire of proper guage for the length of the run on board to prevent voltage drop and fire risk.

Heat Shrink Wire Connectors

No boat venturing out cruising around the world should be without a kit of these on board. We used these to connect our breaker and fuse to our 12v to 48v step up converter.

Other Starlink 12v Conversion Parts Options

Now there is another really slick option out there from YAOSHENG. We weren’t able to get these in the remote corner of the world where we are sailing, but it is a nice and slick way to do the conversion. We would surely try this if we were closer to home, but it is slightly more expensive.

Of course, the last option is the direct wire from the Starlink dish to a lightweight router. Of course, going direct without the Starlink adapter is a little more wiring intensive, but completely doable. It worked fine on board the racing boat and saved a few ounces and a few bucks.

We installed Starlink on a racing sailboat in this way and it worked very well. We used a small USB powered TP Link wireless router which worked like a charm.

Easy Starlink Mounting Options on a Sailboat

Rail Mount Fishing Rod Holder for Starlink RV

This is what we used on board our boat, as we already had several on board. It fit almost perfectly, but required drilling out a bit of the plastic bottom to accommodate the insertion of the Starlink wire. It is almost a direct fit. A little bit of tape is all that is required around the top to seal it from weather and stop the Starlink from spinning inside as it looks for satellites when you are in motion.

Cable Clam

This is needed to seal the Starlink wire going through the deck for a permanent installation. We think the BlueSea stuff is pretty good quality, and the .83″ version was just large enough to pass the dish end of the OEM Starlink cable through. Yes, this will require drilling a hole in your shiny fiberglass, but it is well worth it for the game changing level of internet connectivity your boat will now have, plus it will look like a pro install and be water tight!

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