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Old 21-03-2010, 20:04   #1
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Alpha Autopilot

Just heard from a good friend sailing in Puerto Rico. His Alpha autopilot finally packed it in after 27 yrs and over 75,000 miles. Now that is a great piece of equiptment!
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Old 21-03-2010, 20:28   #2
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Interesting evidence.
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Old 21-03-2010, 21:11   #3
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What part of the AP died?
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Old 21-03-2010, 21:19   #4
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I have had my Alpha in the shop three different times and it works for a short while and then stops working. I've spent almost 2 boat units on it. I gave up and am buying a WH Autopilot. This is not a statistically significant number of people but . ...
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Old 21-03-2010, 21:29   #5
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autopilot

I have emailed my friend trying to get more specific info and will post when I know more. The boat was a Hardin 45 and had hydraulic steering.
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Old 21-03-2010, 22:22   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
I have had my Alpha in the shop three different times and it works for a short while and then stops working. I've spent almost 2 boat units on it. I gave up and am buying a WH Autopilot. This is not a statistically significant number of people but . ...
In the shop as in back to the manufacturer ie Alpha or to a local shop?
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Old 22-03-2010, 07:21   #7
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In the shop as in back to the manufacturer ie Alpha or to a local shop?
back to Alpha
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Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 22-03-2010, 07:36   #8
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I have a 20 year old Alpha Spectra on my boat, going strong. I'd be curious to know what failed.
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Old 22-03-2010, 08:29   #9
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I don't know. At this point the control arm just turns the boat hard to port and stays there. Previous attempt to get it to work were different problems. It would steer a course and hold it but that was not the course we had put in to the autopilot. eg. If I wanted to steer a course of 120 degrees I might have to type in a course of 137 degrees. I could never figure out the exact difference.
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Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 22-03-2010, 18:55   #10
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alpha autopilot

My friends who is having trouble with his alpha autopilot has a model 3000. He states that when he is out at sea it wanders 80degrees from one side of the set course to the other side of the set course. He has checked out the compass and its contol box, the ram unit at the rudder and just this morning changed out the control head(the brains of the system). He will need to take the boat out to sea to test the changes. He will need to take the boat out to see if any of these changes cures the problem. He also feels that there is a valve in the hydraulic pump system that controls his steering systems and inferfaces with the Alpha because when he sets his course and activates the autopilot under normal working the wheel freewheels when turned. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. thanks
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Old 23-03-2010, 11:34   #11
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We bought our boat last year, and all summer, I had trouble getting the autopilot to engage the quadrant. Well, this past winter we went bilge diving, and we found that there is an arm, bolted to the rudder stock, above the quadrant, that had worked loose.

We are still on the hard, and I don't know if our problems are solved, but it might be that the wandering could be related to a loose arm.

Good luck!
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Old 23-03-2010, 11:34   #12
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autopilot

Just trying to get some info for my friend in Puerto Rico who has the Alpha Autopilot that is acting up. He has emailed that he has this 27yr old Alpha 3000. It has worked flawlessly for over 75,000 miles but now when he sets his course the pilot will wander 80 degrees back and forth to the port and then the stab of the set course. He has checked out the compass and its control box, the ram unit at the rubber, and has just now changed out the control head. So far he has not found any obvious problem although he will need to take it out for a trial to see if changing the control head has solved the problem. In addition he has hydraulic steering so when he activates the pilot the hyraulics do not control the helm so if the wheel is turned it just free wheels this is the norm and has not changed.
Any suggestions, comments etc are appreciated
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Old 29-03-2010, 21:05   #13
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Alpha 3000 power consumption

Hi,

I am comparing the power consumption of various autopilot to make an informed decision to purchase one. Would anyone know the power consumption of the Alpha 3000 series? Boat is a 46ft long Keel sailboat, Pan Oceanic. Of course, any more info, advise and pearls of wisdom would be most appreciated.

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Old 30-03-2010, 07:28   #14
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Their website only indicates “... far less electrical power than other pilots ...”.
Alpha Marine Systems - 3000 General Information

You might ask Alpha for specifics
ALPHA MARINE SYSTEMS, INC.
6809 - 96th Avenue, S.E., MERCER ISLAND, Wa 98040
Tel: 800-257-4225 ~or~ (206) 275-1200
Email: sales@alphamarinesystems.com ~or~ service@alphamarinesystems.com
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:24   #15
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Problems with Alpha Marine

I have a long history of problems with both my Alpha Marine Autopilot, and dealing with the company itself. I purchased my boat with a 4404 some ten years ago. It did not work at the time, but I began to systematically go through it to get it operational. I had to replace the main controller. The new one, an Alpha 3000 is not backwardly compatible with the auxiliary controller (at nav station), so I had to replace that as well. The drive unit then failed, which they would not repair because it had been upgraded to a newer one with a drive belt, and supposedly a better motor. So I replaced that as well. I have about five yeas of light duty on the drive unit, and it failed this past summer when I was offshore. I took the cover off drive unit it to confirm that it was not something like a simple belt failure. When I finally returned it to Chris at Alpha this past week, he claimed that water had gotten to the motor, said he could see that the cover had been removed, and basically accused me of allowing it to get wet. So I am out another $400 having them replace the motor. But at this stage, my back is against a wall. To anyone listening, I would seriously consider alternatives to Alpha Marine. I am ready to rip mine out.
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