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Old 02-09-2005, 20:59   #16
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Ummmm, this is actually one reason why I have never like Autohelm. The Rudder reference unit is NOT optional, even though it is sold as if it is. The unit does need it if you want it to perform correctly. Without it, the computor is brainless as to where the rudder actaully is positioned. It doesn't know how far it has turned the rudder, except via the fact that the course on the compass maybe changing. So you end up with poor rate change and sometimes a "hunting" affect as the boat sort of snakes along a path. The Rudder ref unit tells the computor how far it was turned and and exactly where the rudder now lies.

So being cable steered, I presume you have a belt to wheel steering unit??? Another area on concern with these, the Belts. They chew through belts something bad. You can get a drive unit, called a Linear drive. This is effectively a motor that drives the wheel and can be chain driven. This allows you to fit any autopilot that is capable of driving a pump system. The reason why I like the Navman, apart from ease of setup, is that it has a "rate Gyro" inside the computor. It auto senses and adjusts for any given sea state. A very handy device to ensure the most ecomic use of power. Any manually set sea state will only ever give the rudder the control you dial in. the auto one constantly monitors and adjusts to the imediate conditon. this maybe just a wave set. Over the course of a journey, this can add up to great control with the minimum use of battery power.
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Old 02-09-2005, 22:13   #17
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Quote:
Ummmm, this is actually one reason why I have never like Autohelm. The Rudder reference unit is NOT optional, even though it is sold as if it is
Yeah, that was my tought as well, the pilot would probably work much better with the rudder sensor.
I was thinking of trying without one first, then later install the sensor if performance was not up to snuff.

But, one might as well bite the bullet and get the thing right from day ONE.

Just got off the phone with a guy that rented my dock recently and while here, had an ST 4000 Plus MK II wheel pilot installed, then sailed his Pacific Seacraft 34 to Texas from Florida.

He reported that the unit worked just fine, but they only had light winds, so lots of motoring was on the menu.

(I specifically asked if the boat could hold a course in a stiff breeze with some weather helm on the wheel...He did not know as the wind was below 10 knots most of the time.)

Still thinking about getting one of these for meh boat.
Has anybody found cheaper internet prices than Defender Industries? ($789.99)
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Old 02-09-2005, 23:37   #18
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we swapped out the flux gate and we were getting accurate headings, until we flipped the power back on for last check after feeding wire, mounting same and install complete, and the 100 degree error was back. power down and power up and it was accurate again. nothing in lockers around flux gate so i don't think this mounting location is the issue. i wonder if there is something wrong in the display unit (head?) that could cause the come and go.
solved the other issue with correcting - power was jacked in backward (2 pin plug can go in either way), so it corrected the wrong way, so then it corrected even more.
also found the nav display didn't have inputs - strange - just looks cool but no data. the wire harness is frayed clean thru some of the feeds so i will remove tomorrow and see if that helps with compass issue.
also found clutch adjustment (i think) near drive.
unit does support sea-talk, so we will install raymarine gps as stand alone for now, but with ability to interface with auto helm and radar (if ever added)
progress !
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Old 02-09-2005, 23:59   #19
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If you foudnfrayed wires, get them fixed before anything else. I bet that is where you issue lies. It may even be as simple as induced noise via the wires makeign a breaking or interference getting in through the sheilding or what ever. The cable needs fixing before you go any further.
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Old 03-09-2005, 00:56   #20
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yep - wires feed to/from auto helm display to nav. display. there is no gps or other instrument feeding data, so the cable (and nav display)does nothing. it can not do what it is supposed to do - allow you to use "go to" functions or lat/long. will disconnect cable at auto helm. we do not want/ need navigation tied to auto helm since separate gps tells us if we are affected by currents and we like to plot anyway. no fun if you just push buttons, and bad practice not to use plotting/nav skills. probably wasted money on flux, but actually found the new ones work on the older 4000, so again, we are finding you can upgrade the system one piece at a time, and that is reassuring.
as to rudder sensor - i know nothing but was told - don't need it under power and in moderate conditions. remember everyone lived without it for years but the improvement suggests the original system had limits. will add it if we replace "head"
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:36   #21
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Arrrrrr, the rudder ref unit has been around for at least 12-15yrs. I don't ever remember there Not being one. As I said, the pilot really does need it. IMO, It is NOT an opptional extra, it just gets sold that way. Now maybe, the wheels pilot counts the number of turns of the wheel. I can't remember, it has been 12yrs for me since I was an official Autohelm service/installer. But I would suggest that if the ability to connect a Rudder ref is there, it most likely needs it. You definatly had to, if it was a hyd. install. As I said, there is just no way of the computer knowing how much rudder was applied and how fast and where it is and and and, unless the rudder ref was fitted.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:47   #22
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i think you're right about not knowing how much, it just responds to heading, but if the rudder sensor has been around that long, i'll go diving in the lazarette tomorrow and see for myself. if not there, sounds like a no brainer to add it. thanks. capt. lar
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:23   #23
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Autohelm Heading problem

Concerning the Autohelm heading being way off... I just purchased new boat with this unit, and noted that heading was about 200 degrees off.
I solved the problem by unscrewing the fluxgate doodad and reversing it 180 degrees and screwing it back onto the bulkhead. The rounded side, with "Autohelm" is now against the bulkhead. Not pretty, but it solved the problem. It is important that the unit is aligned with the centerline of the boat... find a surface that is parallel to the centerline of the boat, bow to stern.
Hope this works for you.
I'm surprised the previous owner didn't address this...
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Old 22-07-2012, 19:34   #24
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Angry Re: Autohelm ST 4000

Forget about contacting Ray Marine unless you want them to tell you to disassemble your boat and send it to them to fix it by the hour. I had a simple question to them about installing a software update for their GPS and when returned my e-mail question two days later, they told me to "take it off your boat and send it to them for repair. I told them it wasn't broke, I just needed a software update and I didn't know where I made a mistake loading it. Forget talking to them, it was "send it to them for a big FEE" or go away!! I've heard the same thing about Ray Marine mant times before so I'm changing to Garmin from now on.
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Old 04-09-2012, 18:43   #25
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Re: Autohelm ST 4000

I had a problem with my St4000 that sounds similar. It didn't steer straight and always wanted to turn in one direction. The compass was not the problem. The circuit board in the control/display unit had been damaged by water and was misbehaving. A new circuit board was $200 and it has worked fine for five years since repair. I am happy with Raymarine technician repair service.
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