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Old 19-12-2007, 12:32   #1
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plotter to drive autopilot

I have a Raymarine E80 nav system. I would like to goto a waypoint on the plotter and have the boat drive to that point. How do I get the plotter to set the heading for the autopilot?
thanks.. Ted
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Old 19-12-2007, 20:41   #2
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That really has more to do with your autopilot than your chartplotter... If the autopilot accepts NMEA or SeaTalk input, then it probably is capable of doing this, I'm certain the E-series will spit out the appropriate NMEA sentences, as well as over SeaTalk.

However, consider that this may not work quite as you expect. The autopilots I'm aware of that support this will not automatically change course, but beep and instruct you to push some button to change course. To me, this makes sense, I wouldn't want the autopilot suddenly changing course and causing an accidental gybe.
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Old 19-12-2007, 20:53   #3
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I have an E-80 at the helm of my boat (came with it) and a Simrad AP-26 autopilot....from what I have read in the AP-26 manual the plotter will direct the autopilot but the autopilot will NOT change course...you have to do it yourself....the reason is as above...safety...you can set a perimeter though for the waypoint (say 5 miles or 8 miles or whatever) so you get warning it is coming up. Frankly I don't want an autopilot to sail the boat completely like that......I may as well fly...it is quicker.....
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Old 19-12-2007, 21:20   #4
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Your idea is a bad one although many have this set up. Consult your autopilot manual for connecting a GPS and then use the NMEA connection and cable on the back of the E80 to make the connections unless your autopilot is Raymarine then you use the Seatalk connection.
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Old 20-12-2007, 04:05   #5
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Having an instrument drive your steering without your active participation may not be wise. It's motor boat stuff and leads to accidents because lazy boaters program routes and go mess with their bars, or with their fishing gear.

If your plotter/GPS provides you heading info to a chosen waypoint, you should setting the autopilot, checking your progress and maintaining watch.

Regardless, if you sail, you often cannot fetch a waypoint and rarely a series of them as in a route.

And why would you want that?
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Old 20-12-2007, 05:56   #6
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I have a Garmin 2010 plotter connected to my autopilot which I use a lot. I can plan a route using a large number of waypoints, direct the plotter to navigate and then I have the choice of steering the course myself or locking the autopilot to the plotter which will result in the course being navigated as though the boat were on tracks. At anytime, I can modify the waypoints by dragging them or add waypoints to an active route. The plotter adjusts to the new info and the AP just follows the commands from the plotter. I like having choices. I have found that navigating tight passages is better done with a well planned route and an autopilot than by hand. And no one should ever use an autopilot without standing watch.
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Old 20-12-2007, 08:03   #7
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Ohhh ok.. its important to have someone on watch, thanks for the tip.

The system is all raymarine and integrated together. There are certain times this feature would be desireable while motor sailing, but not all the time.
Raymarine support is useless, I thought somebody out there might have the same system and had this figured out.
thanks..
Ted
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Old 20-12-2007, 09:02   #8
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I have found the Raymarine manuals to be pretty good, and would be surprised if this wasn't pretty well written up. They even have PDFs online of manuals. I guess that's where I would start, since things are already all networked together.
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Old 20-12-2007, 11:26   #9
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Ted, All you need to know is in your autopilot and E80 manuals.
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Old 20-12-2007, 12:19   #10
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I found it on Raymarine.com!!
After setting the waypoint on the plotter you select the "track" feature on the autopilot. The autopilot will then track to the plotter heading.
Here is what I got from Raymarine:

Once you are close to your intended track line, and your rudder is amidships, press the AUTO key on the autopilot. The pilot will lock onto the current course. At that point, press the TRACK (or NAV on some models) key. the pilot will pause momentarily as it looks for the presence of a destination on the network, and calculates the course it must steer. The pilot will alarm, and will indicate visually on screen the direction it intends to turn (port or starboard), and the course it will be turning to. You should verify that there is no danger of collision or grounding in that direction, and when ready, press the TRACK key again. Now, the autopilot is in control, and will steer to the bearing and cross-track-error information sent to it by the GPS or chart plotter.
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