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Old 25-05-2015, 21:27   #1
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Autopilot Drive Selection

Hey all, I'm looking for opinions, pros/cons, etc on these three particular autopilot drives.

Raymarine M81130, Type 1 Electro-Mechanical Linear Drive

Simrad HLD350 Mk2, Type 1 Hydraulic Drive

Simrad DD15, "the other drive"


The drive will be the last part of the system that I need. The system is Navico based. (Zeus, AC12, RC42, RF300) The limiting factor as I see it so far is the AC12 computer. I can't use the larger drives available. But I don't really think I'll need those either. These are the drives that I know of that fit the budget available ($2kish), the boat size, and the AC12.

Boat details, 36' sloop, that is around 15,000-16,000 displacement "loaded normally". The published displacement is around 13500.

I don't plan on crossing oceans anytime soon. My largest trips are basically 2-3 days North or South of San Diego. Should the time come I get the chance to cross an ocean I'll most likely fit a windvane.

Also, the current autopilot is a wheel mount ST4000. It does ok and has never been overloaded while I've sailed it.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in Advance.
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Old 25-05-2015, 22:00   #2
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Raymarine type 1 linear drive. Runs forever, quiet and sips the juice.

We're around 15,000 miles on ours and its been flawless.

Matt
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Old 25-05-2015, 22:48   #3
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

The Raymarine Linear is an amazing drive, I had one (when a British company) for 14 years and 35000 miles, the old style Autohelm 6 computer packed up a couple of times but drive never missed a stroke, and as previous poster says, seemed to use very little power. It could downwind on 20' seas surfing and hold and correct almost as good as manual steering, better at night.

I had a 4000 wheel as a back up which was OK but downwind on an Ocean wasn't fast enough.

boat was 40' steel 43,000lbs.

Now have raymarine hydraulic but not Oceaned it yet but seems OK, fast, but on bigger boat.

My vote is go with the Raymarine linear....you won't need a hydrovane later if you have to up sticks suddenly!

PS: I had names for my sailing helpers: Otto (Linear) and Helmut (ST4000)
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Old 28-05-2015, 13:15   #4
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

What a coincidence.

I just finished the installation an AP that consists of a Zeus 2 MFD, AC42 computer, RF25 rudder sensor, Airmar H2183 heading sensor, Triton displays and Pilot and a Simrad DD-15 drive on my Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37.

It has a bit more displacement (18000-20000, normally loaded ) and is tiller steered but otherwise very similar to your boat.

I selected the DD-15 because I wanted a fully electric drive that uses, relatively, low power consumption. The DD-15 is actually a JEFA unit built in Germany ( I think ) and very well regarded, worldwide for durability and efficiency. One other plus for me was that it can work in the inverted position, which I needed due to my particular installation needs.

I haven't even done the on water commissioning portion of the installation yet. But, I have tested the system in my slip and it appears to work correctly.

I will mention that I initially had problems with the Zeus recognizing the various components on the network, but I had read somewhere that the Tritons were able to configure the system on their own, which is what I ended up doing. It worked perfectly and after then insuring that the various sensors were designated "default" in the Zeus "sources" menu it all works happily now.

I don't know anything about the other drives you are considering, so I cannot give an informed opinion about them. The DD-15 appears to be very high quality and I had no problem getting the needed drag link from PYI in Seattle.
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Old 28-05-2015, 13:36   #5
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

By the way, here is more than anyone wants to know about the Simrad DD-15 (JEFA DD1) drives, including the low power usage.

Jefa direct drive unit type I

Good luck with your system.
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Old 28-05-2015, 19:03   #6
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Did you do any research on the internet about these units?
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:20   #7
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Of the 3 units you have named I would go with the Simrad DD15. Before you buy be sure to do the math on the available space so that you know that the selected unit and its required connections will fit.

One of these might also suit. They are full on dead set simple and yes, I have used one with success.

Jefa Steering Systems
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:25   #8
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

I've done a little bit of research on the all of the drives listed and a few others not listed. I've narrowed down the choice to these three because I think they're the best options for the boat, the steering system (Whitlock Cobra), the previously bought equipment (AC12), and the budget.

I'm basically hoping that others here may have experience good or bad with the AC12 any of the listed drives. I've read all the manuals and understand all the specs and I believe that the listed drives and the AC12 should be able to work together but I know that in the real world what the manuals say and what the equipment actually does can sometimes differ. I'm hoping to learn through the experiences of others what combo may work well or more importantly not work well.

The Raymarine Type 1 and the Simrad HLD350 are basically the same price point and specs from what I can see. The simrad 350 has little more power I think but also would use/need a little power. They seem to have about the same foot print as well. The Raymarine has more flexibility in mounting options (upside down, on the side, etc...) than the hydraulic simrad.

I'm considering the DD15 because its foot print is completely different then the other two and it might actually be the best fit for my boat and steering system. The potential negatives are that there just isn't much info out there available on it. I've seen one or two examples where it was used and driven by the Ac12 and it seemed to be working out but Simrad says to drive it with an AC42. It doesn't seem to draw that much power according to the specs.
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:34   #9
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Quite a few problems reported with the DD15. Whether those problem areas have been taken care of yet I couldn't say. Of course we see problems with just about every system.
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:49   #10
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Quite a few problems reported with the DD15. Whether those problem areas have been taken care of yet I couldn't say. Of course we see problems with just about every system.
In all my googling and various forums searching I can't recall seeing anything negative about the DD15. I'm certainly interested to know the gist of the issues.

for the most part I didn't really find much at all on the DD15. A little bit about Hanse owners using it because it fit the limited space available in their boats. There was also one member of this forum that talked about using it a few years ago. I've tried PM'ing that member to see how things are still going with it but so far no response.
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Old 28-05-2015, 20:54   #11
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Quite a few problems reported with the DD15. Whether those problem areas have been taken care of yet I couldn't say. Of course we see problems with just about every system.
I would be interested in seeing those as well because my DD15 has been working like a champ for two years now.
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Old 28-05-2015, 22:06   #12
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Let google by your guide. It didn't take me long to find a number of different forum entries plus I remember there is a thread on here about one boater being stuck somewhere in the south Pac. That was the reason I looked. Try looking under the original manufacturer's designation.
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Old 29-05-2015, 01:51   #13
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Not having looked at the Simrad until until this AM, (its raining here in Brighton UK and nothing better to do sadly) was surprised by its design.

As far as I could tell looking at specs and pricing my choice would still be the Raymarine Linear as cheaper ($900 unless I am looking in the wrong place) and to me a simpler, stronger looking design. The only reason the Simrad would be a choice for me is a space thing, if absolutely necessary. As I posted earlier, having had the Raymarine for 14 years on my previous 40' boat with only one seals change and 35000 miles I am bit biased.

Also am pretty certain the raymarine delivers more thrust less lock to lock although the Simrad spec says it can deliver more than 24 hours performance a day, don't quite understand how this is possible on this planet, also there is some confusion on their website about boat lengths, one one part of the spec says 40' max, and on the same page 45'..... being a bit of a nerd that would put me off...

my tuppence worth/.
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Old 29-05-2015, 01:52   #14
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

I have an old Raymarine ST4000 head driving a home made 24V bike drive motor (pretty bullet proof because I drive it with 12V) with a 1/2" bike chain and sprocket speed reducer which drives a Gates auto timing belt which friction drives a drum made from a Regal cookware frying pan on the wheel. Looks like hell but it does not have any nylon gears and the only spares I need is a spare motor.

I bought another Raymarine to get a spare head and threw the wheelpilot part away because it is rubbish and I was caught steering the boat with a vice grip on the wheel shaft whilst I changed the 7mm wide Synchroflex belt a number of times.
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Old 29-05-2015, 02:00   #15
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Raymond, there is a pontoon in Brighton Marina tucked away from the trendy shops and restaurants especially for boats like yours
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