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Old 13-08-2013, 20:36   #1
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New generation Raymarine A/P's

I'm wondering if there are any forum users who have tried the new generation Raymarine autopilots. The sales blurb is very attractive with no calibration required and autolearn characteristics that will steer the boat better than ever.
I'm specifically interested in the T70153 package and also the T70158.
Thanks for any feedback
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Old 15-08-2013, 20:54   #2
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

For what it's worth, I just finished installing an X5, and a p70 as the AP in my Catalina. The compass wants calibration within 20 minutes of turning the system on, even though the boat hasn't been more than 10 miles from where it was initially calibrated. Ray advertised an "auto tack" feature that turned out to be vapourware and while the system CAN be set to steer to the wind, it seems to have recurring issues with shifts. All that said, it seems to be good and responsive, but I would urge you to look through the feature set -very closely- and cruise the Raymarine Tech Forum before you buy it.
Auto learn is like the transmission in my truck. It's all well and fine if you drive it exactly the same way, day in, day out. Divert from that pattern and see what it does.
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Old 15-08-2013, 21:05   #3
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

I have an X5 that I've gotten a few thousand miles out of, much to everyone's shock.
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Old 15-08-2013, 21:30   #4
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

My underlying point was to read the details closely. Software has a nasty habit of that feature not making it into production, or worse, not doing what the marketing people want you to think it does.
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Old 15-08-2013, 23:14   #5
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

I don't think the last few responders understood this post.

The OP is talking about the Evolution autopilot, right? The X5 is hardly new generation, been around for years.

I too have been reading about the Evo. Haven't heard anybody use it in practice. I do know that FLIR, which now owns Raymarine and supposedly contributed a lot of R&D to the system which on a sensor system more at home in aerospace than on the water.

So word on the street is that Evo is technologically unlike anything in the marine world. Real question is, does it work?

I also have no idea what you mean by "autotack vaporware" -- I was aboard a friend's boat a few weeks ago with a p70 head and the autotack worked perfectly. I have an old ST5000 on my boat and even that 10-year-old unit has the autotack feature, works like a charm. Where's the vaporware?
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Old 15-08-2013, 23:38   #6
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

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Originally Posted by FlyMeAway View Post
I don't think the last few responders understood this post.

The OP is talking about the Evolution autopilot, right? The X5 is hardly new generation, been around for years.

I too have been reading about the Evo. Haven't heard anybody use it in practice. I do know that FLIR, which now owns Raymarine and supposedly contributed a lot of R&D to the system which on a sensor system more at home in aerospace than on the water.

So word on the street is that Evo is technologically unlike anything in the marine world. Real question is, does it work?

I also have no idea what you mean by "autotack vaporware" -- I was aboard a friend's boat a few weeks ago with a p70 head and the autotack worked perfectly. I have an old ST5000 on my boat and even that 10-year-old unit has the autotack feature, works like a charm. Where's the vaporware?
Right. The heart of the new pilot is the EV-1 sensor.. far more than a simple fluxgate

Quote:
EV Sensor Core Benefits

Precision monitoring of heading, pitch, roll, and yaw allowing the autopilot to evolve instantly as sea conditions and vessel dynamics change.
Flexible installation options. Mount above or below deck.
Simple SeaTalkng connectivity to the control head and ACU.
Solid state sensor technology delivers dynamic accuracy to within 2 degrees in all conditions.
Auto-compensation for on board magnetic fields and reliable heading accuracy in the northern and southern extremes.
Fast and reliable heading data for MARPA, radar overlay, and heading modes on Raymarine multifunction displays.
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Old 16-08-2013, 01:01   #7
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

Boy, I love marketing BS. The "EV Sensor Core" appears to be a modern solid state compass with gyro/rate sensors. Like Maretron and Airmar have been selling for years, and virtually all of Raymarine's competitors have offered for years as well. (And a $200 Google Nexus 7 tablet has for that matter.) When many years late to the party it pays to make a big deal of it I suppose.

The drive units appear unchanged, and the control heads are slightly evolutionary. Color me underwhelmed.

They appear to have discontinued the X-5, which is just as well. The clunky gimballed compass was becoming an antique. The computer and control heads were just minor mods of their below-deck APs. And having repaired and replaced many of the GP drives I would have a hard time getting excited about them.

As for the wind following, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the way RM does it (at least with all of the models I have owned). The autopilot follows the magnetic heading input, and the desired heading is modified on the fly based on average wind input. In this way a the AP always has a stable (albeit possibly changing) course to follow; wind inputs - particularly the old wind feathers that RM used to sell as an accessory - are prone to fluttering, and of course the apparent wind direction constantly changes with rolling of the boat, so of necessity this must be averaged through a few cycles before applying to the magnetic heading. The result is too slow a response to effectively "parry the puffs", for which wind vanes are superior. This is distinct from following wind shifts, which should work just fine. I suppose it is possible to improve on that with modern signal processing - it would be interesting to know if any autopilots basically "curve fit" the wind input to detect changes faster than a moving average would do.

I have never had a problem with being requested to re-calibrate the compass, but when I moved to the X-5 from the 4000+ I installed a Maretron solid state compass and stowed the RM compass. Also, I never had a problem with autotack - it worked great every time I used it.

Greg
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Old 16-08-2013, 01:44   #8
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Actually Raymsrine has had gyro stabilised compass ( smart pathfinder ) long before Airmar and Materon. ray make good autopilots in my experience.

Dave
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Old 16-08-2013, 02:17   #9
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
As for the wind following, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the way RM does it (at least with all of the models I have owned). The autopilot follows the magnetic heading input, and the desired heading is modified on the fly based on average wind input. In this way a the AP always has a stable (albeit possibly changing) course to follow; wind inputs - particularly the old wind feathers that RM used to sell as an accessory - are prone to fluttering, and of course the apparent wind direction constantly changes with rolling of the boat, so of necessity this must be averaged through a few cycles before applying to the magnetic heading. The result is too slow a response to effectively "parry the puffs", for which wind vanes are superior.
An autopilot is never going to steer as efficiently as a human helmsmen who can for example see puffs on the water before they hit.
In wind vane mode the Raymarine autopilots integrate gyrostabilised compass information together with the apparent wind angle which seems entirely sensible. The ratio between the relative weighting of these two parameters can be adjusted. The compass information can be devalued if that steers your boat better ( a lightweight racing boat for example).
The wind vane mode is very dependent on the quality of wind information and fitting a better wind vane sensor will improve results (I use a B&G wind sensor with a Raymarine autopilot).

The response of wind vane is slower than an autopilot in wind vane mode, dramatically so in light wind conditions. I am surprised you have apparently found otherwise.

Non of the top solo racing boats where every fraction of a knot is important use a wind vane they all use autopilots (admittedly the best B&G and NKE)

I don't think anyone would contemplate racing a boat at a competitive level with a wind vane. That belongs to another era.
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Old 16-08-2013, 02:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post

As for the wind following, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the way RM does it (at least with all of the models I have owned). The autopilot follows the magnetic heading input, and the desired heading is modified on the fly based on average wind input. In this way a the AP always has a stable (albeit possibly changing) course to follow; wind inputs - particularly the old wind feathers that RM used to sell as an accessory - are prone to fluttering, and of course the apparent wind direction constantly changes with rolling of the boat, so of necessity this must be averaged through a few cycles before applying to the magnetic heading. The result is too slow a response to effectively "parry the puffs", for which wind vanes are superior. This is distinct from following wind shifts, which should work just fine. I suppose it is possible to improve on that with modern signal processing - it would be interesting to know if any autopilots basically "curve fit" the wind input to detect changes faster than a moving average would do.

I have never had a problem with being requested to re-calibrate the compass, but when I moved to the X-5 from the 4000+ I installed a Maretron solid state compass and stowed the RM compass. Also, I never had a problem with autotack - it worked great every time I used it.

Greg

I don't think this is what happens in wind following mode. In that mode, responses to changing wind dir, from the vane , are very heavily damped , they have to be because a light weight wave is " too responsive " and tends to oscillate. Hence the AP effectively implements a low pass filter. By its nature, therefore it cannot respond to " puffs" , but what cruisers sailor bothers responding to that anyway.

What it also does is monitor the wind shift against magnetic and alarms if it detects excessive wind shift. I don't beleive in wind mode that the AP follows magnetic heading. I think again you are confusing the severe damping effect.

An modern autopilot will always outperform a wind vane , in fact many will outperform most helmsmen, especially at night in a stern quartering sea. Witness the % decline in windvanes amongst ARC and other long distance cruisers.

The primarily advantage of a wind wave is power usage. With modern boats that consideration is no longer valid, hence the decline

Dave
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Old 16-08-2013, 03:12   #11
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

I have a Raymarine 4000+ head controlling a wheel steering system made out of the guts from a couple of Chinese battery drills, an auto timing belt and an expensive triple layer frying pan which was pretty useless for cooking but has done an excellent job as an autopilot drive drum for the last eight years. The 4000+ control head is an excellent unit and the only problem I have ever experienced with it was that two of the H bridge MOSFET's burned out when I blew a motor.

I attempted to purchase another head and was informed that they are no longer manufactured being replaced by a unit which has a separate computer installed below decks. I purchased one of these, kept the control head, computer and motor and gave all the other plastic crap away.

I get involved in these development adventures not because I cannot afford the off the shelf items but because I am almost invariably disappointed that having spent a considerable amount of money on them they either don't work as claimed by their manufacturers and distributors or require me to constantly fix them and whilst the Raymarine control head is not a bad piece of equipment the wheel turning part is a piece of plastic junk.

If I go over to one of the Arduino sites I can find a module which has a three axis fluxgate, a three axis accelerometer and a solid state rate gyro included for about $100. Apparently these are used by the folk who muck about with model aircraft autopilots. The spare Raymarine autopilot I purchased does not include any of these devices and still has the old gimbaled, two axis fluxgate.

I do not know what the answer is to the expensive, marine junk problem is but I sure wish someone out there could provide us with a solution.
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Old 16-08-2013, 03:23   #12
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I have a Raymarine 4000+ head controlling a wheel steering system made out of the guts from a couple of Chinese battery drills, an auto timing belt and an expensive triple layer frying pan which was pretty useless for cooking but has done an excellent job as an autopilot drive drum for the last eight years. The 4000+ control head is an excellent unit and the only problem I have ever experienced with it was that two of the H bridge MOSFET's burned out when I blew a motor.

I attempted to purchase another head and was informed that they are no longer manufactured being replaced by a unit which has a separate computer installed below decks. I purchased one of these, kept the control head, computer and motor and gave all the other plastic crap away.

I get involved in these development adventures not because I cannot afford the off the shelf items but because I am almost invariably disappointed that having spent a considerable amount of money on them they either don't work as claimed by their manufacturers and distributors or require me to constantly fix them and whilst the Raymarine control head is not a bad piece of equipment the wheel turning part is a piece of plastic junk.

If I go over to one of the Arduino sites I can find a module which has a three axis fluxgate, a three axis accelerometer and a solid state rate gyro included for about $100. Apparently these are used by the folk who muck about with model aircraft autopilots. The spare Raymarine autopilot I purchased does not include any of these devices and still has the old gimbaled, two axis fluxgate.

I do not know what the answer is to the expensive, marine junk problem is but I sure wish someone out there could provide us with a solution.
All modern Raymarine autopilots have rate gyros. In rays case they were put into the autopilot computer , not the compass head !!! , which is why you still have the old mechanical head.

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Old 16-08-2013, 03:35   #13
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

OK, some responses and then off to bed - it's late here.

RM has gyro-stabilized their compasses for a long time, as noted. But the compasses have remained, until the new product line, physically gimballed flux-gate sensors - not solid state compasses. The gyros were used with this to improve the results, to good effect. The compass was from a bygone era (30+ years ago) and it suffered from design tradeoffs that no one would have made in the last decade or two. For its day, it was great; it just should have been replaced long before now.

As for wind inputs, I was the "beneficiary" of trying to use the RM wind feather, which incessantly fluttered so required averaging anyway to get anything useful out of it. So perhaps I need to re-evaluate my criticism. I don't recall ever seeing any ability to fine tune the handling of wind input data, but an entry-level Raymarine AP is not going to have all of the features of the best B&G and NKE gear. If the new RM APs have controllers as sophisticated as the B&G then that would be something to celebrate - for me right after they offer a powerful tiller drive.

I found my windvane to be very responsive to wind shifts - indeed there simply wasn't much delay to improve upon. Still, with both AP and windvane I found it necessary to overtrim a bit so that I wouldn't get headed before the boat could respond to the helm. That is an issue with a full-keel lead mine tracking a bit too well and not a problem with the AP or windvane; the helm would come over quickly enough (very quickly at times with the vane).

Modern high speed racing boats are a different breed, and I well understand the value of an AP in that case - and the costs ($) are of relatively little importance. And since all of the powerful vanes use some water power via pendulum or trim tab, they would cost some in speed for a low resistance boat. Yes, wind vanes are a thing of the past for the racing crowd. But for a cruising boat I think they still offer some substantial advantages, particularly for smaller tiller-steered vessels which do not have robust autopilot solutions available.

Greg
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Old 16-08-2013, 03:42   #14
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Re: New generation Raymarine A/P's

OK, with all of those posts done while I was writing I will make one comment: I didn't dream up what I said about how wind steering works on the RM units. I was told that by an RM autopilot engineer I talked to at the Southampton boat show (the Autohelm, later RayMarine, autopilots were designed and manufactured nearby). Now that was a while back and applied to the 4000 and 4000+, and it is always possible that they changed it under the hood for the X-5 - I gave up on the wind feather a long time ago.

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Old 16-08-2013, 03:50   #15
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OK, some responses and then off to bed - it's late here.

RM has gyro-stabilized their compasses for a long time, as noted. But the compasses have remained, until the new product line, physically gimballed flux-gate sensors - not solid state compasses. The gyros were used with this to improve the results, to good effect. The compass was from a bygone era (30+ years ago) and it suffered from design tradeoffs that no one would have made in the last decade or two. For its day, it was great; it just should have been replaced long before now.

As for wind inputs, I was the "beneficiary" of trying to use the RM wind feather, which incessantly fluttered so required averaging anyway to get anything useful out of it. So perhaps I need to re-evaluate my criticism. I don't recall ever seeing any ability to fine tune the handling of wind input data, but an entry-level Raymarine AP is not going to have all of the features of the best B&G and NKE gear. If the new RM APs have controllers as sophisticated as the B&G then that would be something to celebrate - for me right after they offer a powerful tiller drive.

I found my windvane to be very responsive to wind shifts - indeed there simply wasn't much delay to improve upon. Still, with both AP and windvane I found it necessary to overtrim a bit so that I wouldn't get headed before the boat could respond to the helm. That is an issue with a full-keel lead mine tracking a bit too well and not a problem with the AP or windvane; the helm would come over quickly enough (very quickly at times with the vane).

Modern high speed racing boats are a different breed, and I well understand the value of an AP in that case - and the costs ($) are of relatively little importance. And since all of the powerful vanes use some water power via pendulum or trim tab, they would cost some in speed for a low resistance boat. Yes, wind vanes are a thing of the past for the racing crowd. But for a cruising boat I think they still offer some substantial advantages, particularly for smaller tiller-steered vessels which do not have robust autopilot solutions available.

Greg
I think you are confused

All modern high quality fluxgate compasses are gimballed. Only cheaply built builds are not gimballed. This is because fluxgates are very effected by dip angle. ( ask Autotonic, who make flux gates for many companies) the gimboling introduces damping and overrun errors , which are filtered out by using angular gyros. 2 axis accelerometers are used to basically generate ROT output and to also improve the HDG output under dynamic conditions. The added stabilisation results in some improvements , it does not replace the fluxgate. If you want real stability and fast response you should try a satellite compass. !

Note that most modern gimballed fluxgates have the gimballing at module level and is undetectable without opening the case , unlike the rather clunky Ray compass , but that still doesn't change the facts.

The old 4000 series was a unreliable dog of a thing anyway. , newer below deck APs are light years ahead. Tiler units will always be too much of a compromise to ever be really good.

Dave
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