Has anyone had problems with the Furuno
Navpilot 520/711 controlling their yacht properly?
Our Navpilot 520, which had roughly the same problems as below, failed after 4 years of summertime use and, as we were en-route to join the Vasco de Gama rally we had to get a new autopilot
(or hand steer!!) A UK dealer told us the course computer wasn't repairable. Not the usual Furuno reliability
one would expect. So, thought I, the new 711 should be an improvement and as the heading sensor, PG 500, rudder
ref and wires are all there we bought the 711.....
On flat, calm water
with "Full Auto" selected it will not steer straight. the course keeping is fine but the pilot produces large wheel
turns as much as half a wheel
spoke to either side so the steering
is constantly working and the vessel steers an erratic course (as though the rudder
gain is far to much). When "Manual Parameters - calm" is selected (set to Weather
0*, gain 1 & Counter rudder 1* the lowest setting) all that happens is wandering is increased as the autopilot
is slower to respond. With rougher conditions (especially down wind) the unit hunts from side to side trying to counteract the roll even if there is no course change. Often it will make a correction and immediately turn back before the boat can respond. When we try different settings in the "Manual - Moderate or Rough" it doesn't seem to make any difference. Having experienced an Autohelm
7000 on a very rolly Island Packet in calm an rolly conditions where the autopilot adjusts the helm
by small increments makes me believe there is a problem with Furuno Navpilots or there is a way of adjusting the course computer that Furuno don't want disclose.
The "SET CENTER RUDDER POS" has been set and re-set I don't know how many times. as has the heading sensor. Our yacht is a Roberts 45, about 17t and does have a rather large rudder. Maybe I'm missing a trick but both installation
guides seems pretty straight forward.
I have tried repeatedly to contact Furuno UK directly and through dealers but to date have only had one reply asking me if the unit was installed by a dealer "because the calabration of these units is critical to the performance" and offering to find more details on setting it up. I replied to them but heard nothing more. Sorry this has been so long-winded.