Does anyone know whether Raymarine will check a Smartpilot S3 course computer for faults, if I send it in to them?
I don't think they can but you could ask. For the most part you are expected to work with a dealer and they will swap out the parts
until they find what needs to be replaced. It means they can stock hot swap parts
where you have to buy them and pay restocking fees
. No one actually fixes anything and I doubt they have service
technicians that will or can do a full factory test. This stuff is all made by contractors. The bench testing gear
is expensive. The technicians that can do it cost a lot too. Replacement parts on the shelf cost little and a shipping
clerk can handle all the technical details.
Main thing is divide and conquer. You can test the sensors that feed the computer. Note that all data out of the computer is corrected by the computer and retransmitted in a proper format. Nothing else will read the Fluxgate data or the rudder feedback. It needs to be that way so the deviation table adjustments get added in to the result and the rudder converts to degrees and re calibrates based on the drive unit. The course computer just outputs standard stuff based on what it gets in. That can also include waypoint data as well as GPS
. It's not like an instrument that just displays signals.
A bad control head can make a mess of things as well. I've never had to trouble shoot a control head.
With all the wires that run around it's easy to have a wiring
problem, but of course finding the right one becomes a trick. You can make bridges and test segments one at a time. Unless the wire is really shorted it can be hard to find. Any wire that flops about would be suspect. Being lucky still counts. Be methodical and persistent.