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Old 29-10-2011, 11:59   #1
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2011
Boat: Gulfstar 50
Posts: 662
Autopilot Backups . . .

I have an older boat that I am restoring. It had an older pilot with a hydraulic ram and pump set. (Navico HP8000 I think). The older Navico has not been hooked up yet but may work.

I did buy a Raymarine SportPilot X5 that did a fine job on a trip down the Washington coast. Not sure how much of a beating the Wheel drive would take on a longer passage.

At some point I'll see if the Navico can be made to work. On to the questions.

I am assuming that one could manually drive the hydraulic pump with a switch so as to have an emergency "tiller". It is on my list to test that out and if I like the way it works I'll wire it up so as to be able to do that. Is this commonly done?

Does anybody have any experience taking the motor drive signal from a wheel pilot like the X5 and using it to drive a hydraulic pump. Ether through a set of diodes and relays or an H-Bridge driver?

Of course one could buy a pilot designed for a pump. I was just wondering if anyone did a DIY on the X5 for more drive power. Could be a nice spare/ cheaper AP head.

Regards, Ethan
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Old 29-10-2011, 13:15   #2
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,229
Re: Autopilot Backups . . .

No, I haven't, but if your hydraulics have a bypass and you can fit a tiller pilot AND you have a really solid place to mount the tillerpilot, you can go that way.

Of course, if you are handy, you can fabricate a windvane and use that with a tiller to back up your wheel hydraulics plus AP.
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