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Old 12-08-2011, 08:22   #1
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Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

Recently on a 5 day trip my chartplotter and autopilot lost power twice. Both times it was so short that the chartplotter restarted on it's own.

These units are powered off my main DC panel, but each has a its' own breaker. Both times I know the batteries were at least 85% charged. I had the refrigator, radio, instructments on and the amp draw was around 7 amps. I also know that the second time (and probably the first time) that the boat was balanced and there was only a few degrees of rudder so the AP wasn't working too hard.

The only thing I can think of in common is the power feed to the main DC panel and will check all that wiring tomorrow. But wondered if others have seen this type of problem and whether there is some other thing I should check at the same time.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:28   #2
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot power loss

I have noticed that folks always assume first that the problem is in the power supply (+) side of a system/instrument. Check out the "other" side (-), most instrument's negative side goes to a common terminal that is usually overloaded with too many wires crammed under each screw. You may find a bad connection or bad wire crimp in the negative leads.
- - Of course, the same can happen on the positive side with a bad crimp or corroded terminal. Just don't forget that what power goes in also has to be able to go out.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:32   #3
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

Don,
Sure sounds like a voltage drop. The circuits they have in common are the feed from the batteries to the panel and the battery ground. Corrosion or loose/broken terminal are the things I would look for.
Probably neither the chartplotter not the AP are the source of the problem. They are just the electronic devices most sensitive to voltage spikes.

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Old 12-08-2011, 09:18   #4
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

The ground is a good idea. A couple of weeks ago I installed a battery monitor, maybe that ground connection has come loose. But I will check the main ground bus also.

I don't know where the AP and chartplotter ground wire leads to, but now need to find if they are common somewhere.

Wonder if my AP drive beeping problem is related???? Would be real cool to find that all have a common problem of a ground connection.
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Old 14-08-2011, 11:30   #5
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstevens View Post
Don,
Sure sounds like a voltage drop.
I was thinking of this too.

Don, You mention in the original post you have a refrigator on at the same time. I'm thinking it (or something else) could have kicked on, drawing more amps and causing the voltage drop in the other electronics. It sounds like there's something drawing more power that pulls it away from the rest.
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Old 14-08-2011, 12:45   #6
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

Motors have a high initial current drain as they turn on that goes away as soon as they are up and running. The refrigeration compressor probably caused a voltage drop when it's start up need for amps hit the battery when it cycled on. Could be an indication of a motor issue with your compressor or just normal.
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Old 14-08-2011, 12:51   #7
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Re: Chartplotter & Autopilot Power Loss

Had you keyed a mic around the time the problem occurred? Sometimes a radio will interfere with the autopilot and possibly the chart plotter as well.
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