"I wonder why wheel AP makers don't use more robust motors and gears..."
I think that was the original point when the CPT was developed by a couple out in the SF Bay
area. Then Charles Pukit (a guy in Ft. Lauderdale) bought the rights to it, added a 'waterproof circuit board', and sold it as the 'tractor a/p' and antagonized w-a-y too many of his customers. To amend that problem, he sold it to the Scanmar folks as Hans thought it might be a niche product for those of us spending so much money
vanes that we didn't have enough left over for a below-decks a/p. (Smart guy, Hans...usually). But the manufacturability issues drove the price
up even more, I suspect they weren't accustomed to the kind of post-sales support an electronics
product demands (not like selling wind
vanes) and itjust didn't produce the profit they were hoping. At that point, I stopped following its commercial
path...but as you can see, it's always been a bit of an orphan.
The problems I had were in part the power of the motor (it's set up to 'give' above a certain counterforce, to protect the motor so I was told, and I've found it never coped well with even modest weather helm
- and despite a factory 'tune up'), but ultimately with the little plastic gears in the course control unit. There was enough play in that unit's assembly that the gears would misalign and that meant loss of steering
. The Scanmar product I was using had a course control unit that was not designed to be 'adjusted' and, ultimately when doing the Frisian Is. of Germany
, I gave up on repairing the CCU and began using a tiller pilot with our vane until we could get a 4000+ sent to us.
So ironically, most of my gripes with the CPT were despite the big motor and toothed belt. OTOH I find the 4000+ has far more power to deal with WHOOSH's helm
despite the motor being much smaller, as it doesn't give up like the CPT motor did. It doesn't surprise me when Dave told me he was very pleased with his, because Dave's a good tinkerer and likes to 'make things work'. But it also doesn't surprise me to learn he gave up on the CCU and has used the brain & flux gate compass
of the Raymarine unit.
$2K for a CPT? A friend bought & installed a Raymarine below-decks unit earlier this year, purchased on line, for $4K all-up. I think that's f-a-r better value.