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Old 30-08-2015, 22:29   #1
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tiller autopilot - weighing options

I've had issues with a raymarine st4000+ for years now and am now looking at replacing. Looking at either an ev-100 or maybe a redundant pair of st2000s.

I'm finding user reviews on the ev-100 are pretty tough to come by, despite being on the market for a while now. This is the most detailed I've seen: Raymarine EV100 Tiller pilot review

He seemed to have gotten a defective unit initially so the review is perhaps a bit skewed til the end. Otherwise, what I've seen seems mostly positive. Nevertheless, a search for "ev-100 reviews" and most of what comes back is marketing gloss.

The ev-100 looks wonderful, but I don't necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles or interfacing. Plus, I could buy 2 st2000s for less than the ev-100 have a complete backup onhand, ready for what in my experience has been the parade of failures of drives, control heads, flux compasses..

Is there a compelling reason I should not go for the simpler st2000? It's a 6 ton boat and has a windvane as well.

Thanks!
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Old 30-08-2015, 23:09   #2
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

The ST2000+ is only rated by Raymarine up to about 4.5 ton. I would not rate it as "overpowered" by any means on my 3.5 ton boat. So I'd say it would be a very short-term/light weather option only on your 6 tons.

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Old 30-08-2015, 23:40   #3
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Doesn't the ev-100 come with an st4000? Is t it just that they updated the computer and compass, making it smarter.

What about navico or one of the higher end models? I know garmin has a pretty expensive one as well. I think raymarine dominates the market in lesser expensive autopilots.
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Old 31-08-2015, 00:50   #4
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

have you considered connecting a small tiller pilot to the windvane? Way less power required but with a bit of careful design very effective - basically remove the airfoil and connect the tiller pilot to the vane axle.
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Old 31-08-2015, 01:05   #5
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

I have also been struggling to justify the cost of the ev 100 system. At one stage I even considered (for my wheel steered boat) using the emergency tiller as an option and adding a tillerpilot instead. Mainly as my need for an autopilot is limited to a few coastal trips. Sadly, in my case, there is too much friction in the system for a tillerpilot to work efficiently.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:39   #6
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Check out Pelagic Autopilots.
http://pelagicautopilot.com/
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:41   #7
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

"What about navico or one of the higher end models? I know garmin has a pretty expensive one as well. I think raymarine dominates the market in lesser expensive autopilots." ~Northoceanbeach

IMHO and having experience with Raymarine autopilots, I think a more accurate statement would be that Raymarine dominates the market in 'cheap' autopilots. While inexpensive and easily installed, the ST4000 and the SPX-5 are poorly engineered, and not terribly robust to last for extended use. The folks at FLIR/Raymarine are not particularly honest nor helpful when it comes to resolving performance issues with their autopilots. Extended support is at best disingenuous but more often non-existent.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:42   #8
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

I can't speak about the other tiller pilots, but I use an ST2000+ on my 9000 pound Pearson 30. It works great, very robust, very strong, very reliable. If someone is standing too close to the tiller the ST2000+ has no qualms about pushing them out of the way.
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:00   #9
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

I've been using the SPX-5 for about a year, coastal cruising in the PNW on a 6.5 ton Baba 30. I'd say it's been preforming admirably. I am sure that there are better solutions out there, but as far as bang for the buck, I've been pleased. I bought it right when the EV-100 came out, and got a good deal. I believe it's using the same drive as the EV-100, just with older electronics. I use it motoring & 15kts without even thinking about boat balance, passed 15 or so though all she needs is a balanced boat and I've had it guide me up and down the Sound in up to 30kts or so. All sorts of weather and seas.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:16   #10
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

I have used multiple Autohelm/Ratheon/Raymarine tillerpilots for more than 30 years. The controllers have always been very reliable but the linear drives have been anything but. I have broken drives with the ST2000, ST4000T/GP and ST4000+T/GP, and don't expect better from the identical SPX5 currently aboard. If you don't plan on ocean passages or rough weather they will work a treat; get a substantial quartering wave yawing the boat hard and the drive can quickly overload and break. Been there multiple times. I talked to the engineers at the Southampton boat show 20 years ago, and they suggested that I buy a below decks unit and work out how to mount and waterproof it; they couldn't be bothered to offer a solution. For less than a third of the price for a replacement drive it is possible to buy a far superior linear drive on the open market, but the RM controller output would be inadequate.

I am aware of an independent effort which looks very good - I have corresponded with him for the last several years and am quite impressed with what he has produced - I will probably buy from him next: PelagicAutopilot | Sailing Autopilot Technologies Take a look if what you want is a simple, powerful, and very effective autopilot without the bling (display, networking, etc).

Greg
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:40   #11
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

I'm on my second St4000GP. I get quite confused with what exactly the terminology is referring to when it comes to Raymarine, so I'll point out I'm referring to the control ram which is an ST4000GP. This second one I purchased only in November last year. They are still available in Australia, though I understand they are not making them anymore. The difference between the St4000 and GP is considerable. My boats about 14 tonnes, so it's way outside the specs of the unit. But I struggle big time to organise something other. In the future I have no doubt I'll move to some sort of windvane.

Last year, inbetween the two Raymarine units I tried a brand new Simrad TP12. I used it once and decided immediately if I didn't off load it I'd end up breaking it.

The GP unit on the other hand seems to handle most sea states. The first unit was on the boat apparently for over 12 years. When I sent it back to Raymarine when it stopped working, it had leaked and around the motor there was a lot of rust. A new motor is about $1000 and that's just for me to fit it myself.

Unlike, some of you here, I have found the Raymarine to be the only ram type tiller pilot with reliability and strengh. Raymarine in Australia seem very helpful and pay return freight. There not at all helpful in giving me assistance in designing an alternative autopilot system and simply suggested I get a heavier internal unit and work out how to water proof it and put it indoors. Very difficult on my transome hung rudder boat.

Now, if you actually asking about the new Evolution unit that replaces the Fluxgate compass, then from what I've heard they are great and eliminate the need for the at times complex set up.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:50   #12
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I have used multiple
I am aware of an independent effort which looks very good - I have corresponded with him for the last several years and am quite impressed with what he has produced - I will probably buy from him next: PelagicAutopilot | Sailing Autopilot Technologies Take a look if what you want is a simple, powerful, and very effective autopilot without the bling (display, networking, etc).

Greg
They look really interesting and not pricey either. But What tonnage will they take. The web page is not really informative.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:54   #13
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Leave a message for Brian via the web site and I am sure he will get back to you. I am certain it is powerful enough to power a strong drive, and if he doesn't offer a strong enough drive there are other sources for that part.

Greg
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:56   #14
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Quote:
For less than a third of the price for a replacement drive it is possible to buy a far superior linear drive on the open market, but the RM controller output would be inadequate.
Could you post a link to such a drive, please? I'd be interested.

And as to the inadequacy of the control head to provide adequate current for such a drive, a pair of simple 12 volt relays would solve that problem.

Cheers,

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Old 31-08-2015, 17:08   #15
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
They look really interesting and not pricey either. But What tonnage will they take. The web page is not really informative.

Looking at the site, it seems about the same power as ST2000... 156lb vs 169lb of thrust.


Actuator Lift Testing | PelagicAutopilot

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ST1000 & ST2000 Tiller Pilots | Raymarine
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