Originally Posted by skipmac
Never used one but yes most of the owners love them. I have heard a few unhappy reports about problems with service
and repair but seems rare.
The complex engagement system is so the drive is totally disconnected from the system when not in use so you get no additional friction or loss of sensitivity when hand steering
They also have a very low power
draw at least last time I was able to find any comparative data. And plenty of boaters don't care about integrated systems. Not sure if I would care about integrating an AP with Loran???? anyway. (Did you mean GPS
? Your age is showing.
Their website talks specifically about interfacing with Loran.
Yes, a complete disconnect takes out all friction, but modern drive units have almost no friction now. I certainly cannot tell the difference between our drive connected with the clutch
off and disconnected completely from the quadrant arm. I would certainly find it a pain, if not downright dangerous, to have to align the rudder
and drive unit, then pull a cable and rock the wheel
each time I needed to engage the AP.
Power draw is a function of the drive unit, the boat balance and the steering qualities. Other modern units use ball drives, etc and have low power consumption
. When we replaced our old B&G system with a new Simrad AP, our power draw dropped from 13-15A to 3-5A!
I understand some do not want integration capabilities, but I don't understand why they would pay up to twice as much to not have them.
Again, I'm sure to take heat on this, but I fail to see any reason to get one of these systems - particularly since better performing and more feature-rich systems exist for less money.
I have actually heard from users that Alpha's support and service is very good.