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Old 18-08-2016, 01:58   #1
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Back-up autopilot

We are considering to install a back-up autopilot. Our boat is a Tayana 55.
A wind vane we would not really consider, because of the davits and solar panel arc. Electric power is not a concern.
It has to be a simple, robust stand-alone system. No integration with the primary Raymarine system, no wind vane mode, just steer the choosen course.
Any ideas?



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Old 18-08-2016, 03:18   #2
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Re: Back-up autopilot

I understand you are not looking at a windvane, but please be aware that there are commercial windvanes out there that will work in conjunction with davits etc, so don't rule out that option if you don't have to.

I admit, I am biased, and like to have stuff that does not rely on electricity to work.

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Old 18-08-2016, 04:10   #3
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Re: Back-up autopilot

http://cptautopilot.com

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Old 18-08-2016, 04:24   #4
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Re: Back-up autopilot

Why not just buy spares for the existing Raymarine? If the installed unit dies just swap out parts to get it working again.
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Old 18-08-2016, 12:08   #5
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Re: Back-up autopilot

I plan on installing a second AP hydraulic drive pump in parallel to the main pump in ours, using y-valves and DPDT switches. It's from the old AP, and might as well use it. It won't do any good if the AP computer or control head die, but at least it's a start.
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Old 18-08-2016, 12:17   #6
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Re: Back-up autopilot

Even if you are going to install a completely independent secondary unit it is far better to have two identicle systems than two different types. This way if a component fails on each you can always canabalize one to fix the other.

If you are starting from scratch I would go with NKE, but since you have Raymarine installed I would stick with it. And duplicate everything you have, down to model numbers.
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Old 18-08-2016, 13:33   #7
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Re: Back-up autopilot

For what you want, it seems a CPT is in my opinion a no brainier. It sits below in a box, leave it's brackets mounted to the boat and if you need it, it takes about two minutes to install. My initial plan was to have a "real" autopilot and use the CPT as a backup, but the CPT works so well I believe I will just buy another as a backup.
Now all it will do is hold a heading, nothing else, it won't hold a course or slave to anything, but all I really need is something that will hold a heading.


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Old 18-08-2016, 13:43   #8
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Re: Back-up autopilot

Check out ComNav autopilots.

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Old 18-08-2016, 14:04   #9
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Re: Back-up autopilot

A complete duplicate Raymarine makes sense, except the idea of crawling around below deck in the middle of the night in big seas to change out a component doesn't sound like fun. As said above a wheel pilot can be installed and actuated on a couple minutes if the bracket and drum are already installed. I'd go with the CPT, I had one as my main (only) AP until it finally died from water intrusion a couple years ago. The PO bought it, I don't know how long ago but I'm guessing 25-30 years ago. I doubt you could get that kind of service out of anything from Raymarine. The thing is a real beast, ugly and powerful as hell. The new ones do interface too. The new EVO models from Raymarine are cheaper (if you don't shop West Marine) but I wouldn't rely on them.
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Old 18-08-2016, 14:25   #10
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Re: Back-up autopilot

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
CPT Autopilot Inc.

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I second the CPT. I know of delivery skippers that take them in their carryon luggage in the event of autopilot failure. Easy to install in a pinch. Also, if your Raymarine unit is hydraulic consider caring spare coilpacks for the solenoid valves. Voltage spikes and salty wiring can cause them to fry when you least expect it. I too think its a good idea to have a completely seperate system especially if your main autopilot is hydraulic. These systems although powerful and robust can experience problems such as leaks/burst hoses, broken cylinder ram connection to bulkhead, electrical issues between components..etc Nice to have a simple mechanical unit that attaches to the wheel for emergencies. .
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Old 18-08-2016, 17:49   #11
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Re: Back-up autopilot

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Originally Posted by Sindbad View Post
...A wind vane we would not really consider, because of the davits and solar panel arc...
By substituting an inexpensive tiller pilot in place of the vane, many "wind-vane" self-steering systems can be very efficiently driven electric auto pilots. Some are completely independent of the ship's steering.

TN has an Autohelm wheel pilot and an independent wind-vane self steering, not yet installed.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:07   #12
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Re: Back-up autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Even if you are going to install a completely independent secondary unit it is far better to have two identicle systems than two different types. This way if a component fails on each you can always canabalize one to fix the other.

If you are starting from scratch I would go with NKE, but since you have Raymarine installed I would stick with it. And duplicate everything you have, down to model numbers.
+1 on THIS (above). And duplicate everything right down to the model year, & production run if you can, that way Everything about your #2 AP is the same. Plus, by going this route, you only need to keep one flavor of spare parts onboard. As opposed to having say, both B&G as well as Raymarine spares.
And with the backup AP being the same as the primary, all of your other instruments will be able to talk to it just as easily as to your other AP. Which is no small thing.

The other option is to start over, & buy a pair of NKE's, plus a full suite of NKE instruments. That, or do as a few others have suggested, & get a windvane, along with a small AP to hook up to it.

There's a good section in the Dashew's books on this topic, & since the books are free to download, there's no excuse not to have & READ them (several times). The information's that good.
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Old 18-08-2016, 18:14   #13
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Re: Back-up autopilot

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
A complete duplicate Raymarine makes sense, except the idea of crawling around below deck in the middle of the night in big seas to change out a component doesn't sound like fun.
If it's 1/2 day or night, hand steer. If it's longer, heave-to till the morning, then install the backup. If your main AP is a quality one (not my experience with Ray) then this will be a very rare occurrence.
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Old 18-08-2016, 19:03   #14
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Re: Back-up autopilot

We kept a CPT aboard as a spare to the Raymarine below deck. It seemed like an easy, low cost solution.... the CPTs have a great resale value, especially a mint back-up unit.

Give the CPT a good look.

The new boat is tiller steered. So, we've gone hydraulic below deck and a windvane back up this time around.

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Old 18-08-2016, 19:08   #15
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Re: Back-up autopilot

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
A complete duplicate Raymarine makes sense, except the idea of crawling around below deck in the middle of the night in big seas to change out a component doesn't sound like fun. As said above a wheel pilot can be installed and actuated on a couple minutes if the bracket and drum are already installed. I'd go with the CPT, I had one as my main (only) AP until it finally died from water intrusion a couple years ago. The PO bought it, I don't know how long ago but I'm guessing 25-30 years ago. I doubt you could get that kind of service out of anything from Raymarine. The thing is a real beast, ugly and powerful as hell. The new ones do interface too. The new EVO models from Raymarine are cheaper (if you don't shop West Marine) but I wouldn't rely on them.
Some of how to setup 2 pilots of the same type depends upon the AP, & how it's configured, as well as it's design. But ideally, the idea is to have both units hooked up at the same time, with only one being active, & doing the steering. And then, if the 1st one craps out, the 2nd either auto matically takes over. Or you flip a switch or two, & the 2nd pilot "wakes up" & starts driving.

A good bit of this is covered in the AP section of the Dashew's Crusing Encclopedia Vol. II & is worth reading. And more than likely, there's plenty more info on the topic available via a quick search of the internet. As for example, there's a vast number of Single-Handed & Short-Handed racing boats out there who have their steering/AP gear setup in this way.
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