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Old 21-01-2015, 08:16   #1
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Autopilot

we are new to the sailing world and was wondering what is the best below deck autopilot we were looking at the Raymarine EV 100 we have a 37 ft boat that weighs 18,000 lbs. Any suggestions
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Old 21-01-2015, 17:34   #2
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Re: autopilot

How is the rudder post/ steering quadrant set up. One of Hunter designs had this part of the drive system on a molded channel right under the helm. Kind of an exposed arrangement for a below decks actuator. Picture might be helpful.

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Old 21-01-2015, 20:05   #3
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Re: autopilot

I have owned both a Raymarine Evolution pilot and a Simrad (Navico) AC12 based pilot. Despite all the refinements of the Evolution, I found the Simrad product to be superior in almost all regards. It was smoother, it integrated with their plotters and instruments better, there were better control head options etc. The one real advantage and selling point to the Evolution is that it self calibrates. This is also my biggest gripe. I find it to be jerky and at the same time, non responsive to heading/waypoint changes. This is usually tunable via several different settings but on the Evolution you seemingly have none (there are three coarse tunes but these don't seem to fine tune the system.)


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Old 22-01-2015, 06:52   #4
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Re: autopilot

Currently going through the same process as you, but at 38 feet and 16k of displacement. I have the normal cable steering to a quadrant.

An autopilot system is made of two parts.

First, the computer. I have come to the conclusion that it is best to stick with the same brand as the chart plotter. This should lead to full integration with the least amount of headaches. You could cross brands, but you will be on your own to get the systems I work together. Having the AP integrated with the plotter for waypoints and wind direction is a huge benefit. You really have the choice between Navico (which makes B&G and Simrad), Garmin and Raymarine.

You are not going to get a good answer on which one is better. Just a few personal stories from whoever sees this post. All will work and get you from point to point. Maybe one handles waves better for your boat. Maybe not.

Second is the drive unit. The brand of drive is generally interchangeable. For type 1 you have the choice between the type of drive Navico makes and one from Jafe (which Garmin uses). Jafe claims theirs is more efficient and holds up better.

Make sure you get the compass and rudder sensor.

All that said, I am leaning towards B&G's AP12 because I like their Zeus chart plotters and don't want to deal with getting two different brands to play nice together. Then going with a Jafe because their hype seems reasonable.


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Old 22-01-2015, 07:12   #5
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Re: autopilot

Is your 18000 pound 37 foot Hunter a Cherubin cutter? If so a wheel pilot will work fine. That boat is easy on the helm and hold course well. A below deck would be nicer if you have the cash. The wheel pilots are annoyingly loud.
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Old 22-01-2015, 07:27   #6
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Re: autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingeggs View Post
An autopilot system is made of two parts.

First, the computer. I have come to the conclusion that it is best to stick with the same brand as the chart plotter. This should lead to full integration with the least amount of headaches. You could cross brands, but you will be on your own to get the systems I work together. Having the AP integrated with the plotter for waypoints and wind direction is a huge benefit. You really have the choice between Navico (which makes B&G and Simrad), Garmin and Raymarine.
……..
Second is the drive unit. The brand of drive is generally interchangeable. For type 1 you have the choice between the type of drive Navico makes and one from Jafe (which Garmin uses). Jafe claims theirs is more efficient and holds up better.
An autopilot consists of a computer, a controlling device, a compass, a drive, and a rudder feedback unit. All of these are necessary for operation, although the RFU can be left out in some applications.

The only advantage of having the same brand AP as chart plotter is in the ability to control it from the chart plotter instead of the control head (assuming one chooses gear that allows this). Other than that, all data that the AP uses - wind, compass, GPS, and even navigational data from a chart plotter - is provided through standardized communication protocols. One can choose any brand of sensors, plotters, etc without worry on this point.

Raymarine used to use proprietary data for their AP's, and last I knew still do, so Raymarine may not be a good choice for the above.

Like you say, the drive units are all interchangeable - but there are certainly more than two types/brands out there, made by more than two companies.

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Old 22-01-2015, 08:00   #7
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Re: autopilot

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
An autopilot consists of a computer, a controlling device, a compass, a drive, and a rudder feedback unit. All of these are necessary for operation, although the RFU can be left out in some applications.

The only advantage of having the same brand AP as chart plotter is in the ability to control it from the chart plotter instead of the control head (assuming one chooses gear that allows this). Other than that, all data that the AP uses - wind, compass, GPS, and even navigational data from a chart plotter - is provided through standardized communication protocols. One can choose any brand of sensors, plotters, etc without worry on this point.

Raymarine used to use proprietary data for their AP's, and last I knew still do, so Raymarine may not be a good choice for the above.

Like you say, the drive units are all interchangeable - but there are certainly more than two types/brands out there, made by more than two companies.

Mark

This somewhat of a generalisation, today's AP computers will all use a combination of public protocols typically NMEA 2000 and also private protocols. We certainly are not at the stage where you can mix control heads.
Rayamarine is no more open or closed then any others

In the absence of any up other superior criteria , it's always best to stay within the " brand "

There is a wide variety of actuators out there by the main AP manufacturers and third parties like jefa, SOME are interchangeable, but you need to be comfortable with electrical specs and deciding things from them.

In general in my experience I would avoid wheel pilots if at all possible. Too weak and too exposed

Try and size the under deck actuator WELL in excess of the stated loads. Nothing kills rams and causes poor performance then penny pinching on the actuator size

If you are self installing, that another thread subject

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Old 22-01-2015, 08:02   #8
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Re: autopilot

I have been talking to a professional installer recently who has installed and serviced well over 1000 auto pilot units of all brands. I am in the process of replacing my autopilot as well. In his opinion it is in this order: Simrad, Furuno.....last Raymarine.
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Old 22-01-2015, 08:20   #9
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Re: autopilot

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
I have been talking to a professional installer recently who has installed and serviced well over 1000 auto pilot units of all brands. I am in the process of replacing my autopilot as well. In his opinion it is in this order: Simrad, Furuno.....last Raymarine.

Furuno is lunatic money for an AP that's not neither mainstream or optimised for sailing IMHO.

Looking around my marina , I know raymarine is very common Simrad less so, and a few Garmin , personally I have found raymarine to be a reasonable and robust AP. I like Simrad as they have lots of linear arm options.

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Old 22-01-2015, 08:22   #10
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Re: autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I have been talking to a professional installer recently who has installed and serviced well over 1000 auto pilot units of all brands. I am in the process of replacing my autopilot as well. In his opinion it is in this order: Simrad, Furuno.....last Raymarine.
Their Evolution pilot seems to be a pretty dramatic improvement from their previous products; so if one hasn't used it and is only familiar with their older products this comes as no surprise. I would say that the EV system does start to approach where some of the other manufacturers are, even with its faults (see my previous post in this thread).
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Old 22-01-2015, 08:22   #11
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Re: autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
This somewhat of a generalisation, today's AP computers will all use a combination of public protocols typically NMEA 2000 and also private protocols. We certainly are not at the stage where you can mix control heads.
Rayamarine is no more open or closed then any others

In the absence of any up other superior criteria , it's always best to stay within the " brand "

There is a wide variety of actuators out there by the main AP manufacturers and third parties like jefa, SOME are interchangeable, but you need to be comfortable with electrical specs and deciding things from them.

In general in my experience I would avoid wheel pilots if at all possible. Too weak and too exposed

Try and size the under deck actuator WELL in excess of the stated loads. Nothing kills rams and causes poor performance then penny pinching on the actuator size

If you are self installing, that another thread subject

Dave
I wasn't suggesting mixing control heads. I was just correcting the information that stated the AP and CP had to be of the same vendor. This is only necessary if one wants to control the AP from the CP instead of from the control head. The control head and computer need to be of the same basic vendor (all Navico products - B&G, Simrad, Lowrance - are interchangeable), but all other parts can be mixed and matched without problem because their outputs are standardized protocols.

Things may have changed, but up to very recently, RM used a proprietary extension for their AP control. People were having fits trying to control and communicate with them through PC charting programs. However, I don't follow this much.

One thing very much against Raymarine is their doggedly stupid adherence to using proprietary connectors. They are alone in this, I believe.

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Old 22-01-2015, 08:23   #12
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Re: autopilot

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Furuno is lunatic money for an AP that's not neither mainstream or optimised for sailing IMHO.

Looking around my marina , I know raymarine is very common Simrad less so, and a few Garmin , personally I have found raymarine to be a reasonable and robust AP. I like Simrad as they have lots of linear arm options.

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Respectfully, that's your opinion Dave. I was going by what an expert with tons of experience told me. That is more of a quantitative thing with more than enough sampling of all the brands of autopilots typically used for pleasure boats and small workboats.

For me at least, Furuno is not "lunatic money" because it is extremely reliable. In my situation I cannot be captaining a boat that flakes out on a frequent basis. For example, spending an extra thousand or two is worth it to not lose a cruise worth over $10,000 in revenue.

I think most cruisers are willing to pay more for more reliable equipment as well.
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Old 22-01-2015, 08:25   #13
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Re: autopilot

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Looking around my marina , I know raymarine is very common Simrad less so, and a few Garmin
I'll bet this more reflects OEM boat equipment than choice. I think Group Beneteau just switched to B&G, so things may look different in a few years.

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Old 22-01-2015, 10:20   #14
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Re: autopilot

I suspect the biggest single item in a successful AP install is the actuator and how it is connected to the rudder system. Most non hydraulic systems use a brushed DC motor driving either a ball screw linear drive or a chain and sprocket rotary set up. I think several of the current crop of AP suppliers are using rebranded actuators to keep things simple (more profit margin in electronics). A related issue is will the electronic drive unit handle the current requirements of the motor. Apparently there is a lot of smoke and mirrors going on in that arena.

From an energy consumption perspective there are real advantages in driving from the steering shaft, but that is often hard to do (except wheel pilots). The good old IP "thru the legs" arrangement being one great exception.
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:25   #15
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Re: autopilot

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
Respectfully, that's your opinion Dave. I was going by what an expert with tons of experience told me. That is more of a quantitative thing with more than enough sampling of all the brands of autopilots typically used for pleasure boats and small workboats.

For me at least, Furuno is not "lunatic money" because it is extremely reliable. In my situation I cannot be captaining a boat that flakes out on a frequent basis. For example, spending an extra thousand or two is worth it to not lose a cruise worth over $10,000 in revenue.

I think most cruisers are willing to pay more for more reliable equipment as well.

Of course, if you have a workboat or a commercial operation furuno makes perfect sense, that's the market it's agents are set up to support and where it's products are focused

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