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Old 25-07-2009, 08:43   #1
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Autopilot Shopping

So I'm shopping for an autopilot for my boat that already has a hydraulic steering system, pump and cylinder and toggle switch. What I think I need is the screen, computerized controller, and the compass in a system that will talk to my directional valve, 12v double solenoid left or right. I'm looking for something simple, as I don't want to do figure 8s fishing or sailing but all the units I see for vessels my size, 63', 65 ton, are really expensive and elaborate. Will a simple unit designed for a smaller boat do fine keeping me on course? I know that if the seas get rough I'll have to steer manually.
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Old 27-07-2009, 14:52   #2
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Unfortunately, most of the yachting autopilots are set up to work with reversing motors, so you will be paying for a lot of unnecessary circuitry for powering motors with variable speeds when all you need is some solenoid outputs. Look at Comnav, WH, and Coursemaster. Some companies market their autopilots based on boat length, but you don't need any more than a basic small boat system--its harder to keep a small boat on course than a big one, and you don't need any extra power to control your rudder. A rate compass will provide better control in rough seas.
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Old 27-07-2009, 15:56   #3
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Lorenzo you have a big yacht and expensive to own and operate. My suggestion is you contact a competent marine mechanic who does autpopilot installs and pay him to install an autopilot for your boat with or without the gear you have.

I can suggest someone in the LIS area if you need someone.
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Old 27-07-2009, 19:30   #4
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my yacht

Dude, you would laugh your butt off if you saw my "yacht". It's a 30 yr old trashed out shrimp boat abused by some cajun dirtbag who took a serious header into a gin bottle when the fuel prices shot up last year. The bank gave it to me for 32k and it had 6k in fuel on her.
Needless to say, I've spent a bomb fixing her up, but she still looks like a 30 yr old shrimpboat. I'm keeping all the systems really simple and I'd like a simple straight forward autopilot. If it can interface with my Raymarine E120 chart plotter that would be cool but if not, that's OK.
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Old 27-07-2009, 19:49   #5
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Lorenzo... that's funny. Who knew?

Good luck with the A/P.
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Old 27-07-2009, 19:49   #6
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Check out W.H. Autopilots.
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Old 28-07-2009, 16:04   #7
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Autopilot

I think I've finally getting this sorted out.
Thanks for all the help.
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Old 28-07-2009, 17:10   #8
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Lorenzo--

If the "yacht" has a good steering system already, why not use a simple wheel pilot like a WP-32? (see WP32 Wheelpilot | Simrad Yachting) N'any case--good luck!
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Old 29-07-2009, 16:21   #9
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Coursemaster

I'm lusting after a Coursemaster CM650, anyone have input?
The only reservation I have is that it's sweet spot is 20 degrees @ 6 secs which would put my hard over to hard over at 18 secs at 1500 rpm. That will feel like eternity as I'm about to ram your sailboat. Given that I've got this heavy unresponsive cow of a boat it probably wouldn't matter anyway, if we're destined to meet we're destined to meet.
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