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Old 18-06-2014, 04:28   #1
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Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Display did not work, motor turned when turned on, sometimes buzzed when turned on. Display fogged when sunny. When sea talk cable connected to wind instrument there is a sea talk fault (2 blinking squares).

This morning removed and took apart. 1/2 cup water spilled out. Tasted like salt. Rinsed board in fresh water and now leaving to dry.

Any suggestions? What are likely problems now? Should I try to pry board off carefully to get to back side? Have never had this apart. What components are likely blown?

Should I just dry it out and then try it?
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Old 18-06-2014, 04:42   #2
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

At the very least, you should thoroughly rinse it in fresh water and let it dry completely before turning it back on.

Edit: I see you already did that. Make sure it is really dry. If you're lucky, it will work.
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Old 19-06-2014, 20:12   #3
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Two days drying after fresh water wash both sides of board without removing it.
Then noticed key press contacts were taped down and had water and we're getting white from salt or corrosion. Removed the scotch tape and metal pressure keys and cleaned entire exposed surface with alcohol and q-tips. Let dry again. Then placed keys very carefully with contact side down and used scotch tape small piece to hold in place. Then reassembled and tested keys for action. One not clicking. Connected all wiring anyway and tested it. It seemed to work except the problem key. Removed control head again and repositioned the concave button so that it worked better and was placed so the three outside contacts are underneath and the center one connects when depressed.

Have reassembled and tightened case screws with vase line on seal and screws and reconnected wiring. Will see if it works tomorrow and if it does, will then seal entire case joint with black butal rigging tape tape. Will advise about trial tomorrow.
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Old 19-06-2014, 20:19   #4
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Have found control head is discontinued so my only choices are to fix it or replace entire system at great cost. What are the service companies who still can / will repair this unit? It does the job for me and I don't need to spend 2-3k on this feature.

First priority is a chartplotter / radar.
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Old 19-06-2014, 20:29   #5
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Have found control head is discontinued so my only choices are to fix it or replace entire system at great cost. What are the service companies who still can / will repair this unit? It does the job for me and I don't need to spend 2-3k on this feature.

First priority is a chartplotter / radar.
I sold the control head for my ST4000 Plus so can't help you there. Have the computer module for an X5 and two wheel drives. Would like $400 for the X5 computer. You'd still need the control head but think you can use any control head for the X5 and later. Would like $250 for the wheel drives, if you want a spare.
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Old 19-06-2014, 20:32   #6
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Interesting idea. Are you suggesting that I could use current wheel drive with the computer x5 + control head?

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Old 19-06-2014, 21:31   #7
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Yes. The wheel drives look the same for the 4000 series, X5 and even the newer ones. The X5 has a computer module with upgraded control ability that resides below deck. Uses the 4000 series compass for heading input and will control a 4000 and later wheel drive. The separate control head came in various models. The least expensive one looks like the 4000 control head but it's just a repeater and input module. The 4000 series control head contained the brains for controlling the A/P directly. Don't know this for sure but believe the later control heads will work with the X5 computer component but would want to verify that with Raymarine.
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Old 20-06-2014, 16:20   #8
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Dear Peter O roverhi,

Thankyou for the explanation about the parts and compatibility. From what I understand the x5 control is much better than st4000 control even though I presently think st4000 is perfectly ok. It is nice that the fluxgate and existing wheel motor will work. I'll check on the compatible remote heads for the x5. The offer for an x5 sounds good, what is its history?

We just sailed back to Mystic ct from Port Jefferson, about 60nm today and the st4000 did the majority of the steering. I did notice that I need to calibrate the fluxgate and reset the settings because it was hunting more than before. I don't know how long this will last but have put butyl tape around outside to prevent further water damage. I think it might be prudent to clean and inspect the wheel and fluxgate and start to move to newer equipment, so I am interested, however my priorities have been new multifunction and broadband radar, then ais.

I have been considering a windows 8 Tablet running opencpn and the radar plugin for broadband.

Thanks for your knowledge and suggestions re wheel pilot!
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Old 20-06-2014, 18:08   #9
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Had it on my Pearson 35. There were problems with the weather helm under sail that the wheel drive couldn't handle. Used the pilot for motoring only. Bought the unit in 2010. Used it mainly to power back to SF when the self steering vane tried to leave the boat on the way to Hawaii. Did a major refit on the boat in 2012 removing the wheel and going to tiller steering. Never had a boat with wheel steering before and will never again, hate the wheel. The pilot has been sitting in a box in the garage ever since. Had to buy an X5 tiller pilot basic pack as Raymarine wouldn't sell the tiller pilot ram by itself. The basic pack included a computer module and compass so the wheel pilot parts are redundant now. I used the auto pilot so seldom don't feel the need for a backup.
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Old 26-06-2014, 20:18   #10
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Dear Peter O roverhi,

Thankyou for the explanation about the parts and compatibility. From what I understand the x5 control is much better than st4000 control even though I presently think st4000 is perfectly ok. It is nice that the fluxgate and existing wheel motor will work. I'll check on the compatible remote heads for the x5. The offer for an x5 sounds good, what is its history?

We just sailed back to Mystic ct from Port Jefferson, about 60nm today and the st4000 did the majority of the steering. I did notice that I need to calibrate the fluxgate and reset the settings because it was hunting more than before. I don't know how long this will last but have put butyl tape around outside to prevent further water damage. I think it might be prudent to clean and inspect the wheel and fluxgate and start to move to newer equipment, so I am interested, however my priorities have been new multifunction and broadband radar, then ais.

I have been considering a windows 8 Tablet running opencpn and the radar plugin for broadband.

Thanks for your knowledge and suggestions re wheel pilot!
Rick,

I have a new fluxgate if you are looking for one. Did you get a chance to check out the Miix2? How did the Miix2 look to you?
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Old 05-07-2014, 00:21   #11
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

Our st4000 tillerdrive died 3 days ago. Think it's the control unit, no parts available, after disassembled flux gate compass etc and doing all voltage/ continuity tests possible. Ordered a Raymarine evo 100, supposed to be a direct replacement with the same actuator, $1600 all up, can let you know how it goes if you interested? If you find anyone able to repair be great to hear. Good luck.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:25   #12
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Re: Autohelm 1993 ST4000 Wheel Drive Autopilot

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