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Old 05-04-2016, 09:14   #1
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Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

Just bought a new Garmin GHP20 reactor autopilot with the JEFA drive unit(mechanical steering). Installed 3 month ago and nothing but problems since then. There is a periodic failure that Garmin/JEFA wants to fix, but other than that, it steers really poor. The wheel(and boat) goes from side to side all the time, it is not nearly as good as me nor our old Raymarine.
I have talked to others that have somewhat the same experience, but there models are GHP10 or 12. Can this really be? Shouldnt it be as good as Raymarine? And far better than the 15 years pld Raymarine i had before? Ex, there is NO way i can tack with it😟.
What are your experience with the Garmin autopilot?
My boat is a 42 foot danish sailboat.


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Old 05-05-2016, 20:38   #2
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

Bump. This didn't get any traction the first time around, but I am interested in hearing a response from anyone familiar with the autopilot.


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Old 06-05-2016, 07:43   #3
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

I have the same setup and have not had any problems like you describe. Have you adjusted the max amp rating? The steering damping? The gain?

Under what conditions are you experiencing this issue?
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Old 26-12-2016, 17:20   #4
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

I have similar problems with the GHP 20 on my sailing cat. I have updated software 3 times as requested by Garmin. Some improvement each time but the system fails in any moderate sea state. Wanders off course by up to 30 degrees which is unacceptable when sailing. Compass does not update for magnetic variation when cruising. Garmin's last advice was to wait for next update that will give sea state input at helm station. Mean while we only sail in daylight. We will report on update when it come out.. maybe Feb 2017..
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Old 26-12-2016, 19:09   #5
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

I have noticed that the settings for calm-ish weather is not as effective for more robust conditions and vice versa.

I have ended up developing a couple of settings based on the conditions we are in. For example, if we are cruising down the ICW where there are not waves then I change the settings in Dealermode for that configuration. If we are out coastal sailing and its getting a little more rough then I update the settings also using the dealermode.
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Old 27-12-2016, 00:11   #6
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

Thanks Zboss, Yes I have varied the Rudder gains and counter gains in Dealer mode. It does make a difference but the main problem is that the Reactor auto pilot always puts on the wrong helm to adjust the course and then after a few seconds it tries to correct it. Okay in smooth waters but as soon as a small sea state is present it takes too long to settle down. Garmin rep has been on board and apparently this is a known problem since March 2015. I will push for a fix from Garmin as they accept that there is a problem. Not the install but software.
Each time you upgrade the software you must do the Wizards. So I am told.
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Old 04-01-2017, 15:50   #7
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Re: Any experience with the Garmin GHP autopilot?

That doesn't surprise me at all. It took me a really long time of playing around in dealer mode to find the right settings for each state. When I found them I took a picture on my phone and then put them into an excel grid. You really should not have to do that! No doubt the upgrade will come in hardware form rather than an update to the software
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