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Old 04-01-2017, 10:13   #1
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Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

My 6001 randomly goes back to stand-by mode. It does not happen often but it does happen regardless of sea state and apparently of anything else going on, on the boat. In some conditions it can be frightening and dangerous.
I understand that other boat owners have been experiencing the same issue but I am not aware of anyone who has positively identified the origin of the problem and found a solution.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has solved it. Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2017, 13:18   #2
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

The origin of the problem.is Raymarine. There APs seem to think the graceful way to fail is to go to standby. Other APs issue an alarm.and continue to try to stay on course, a much more fail safe approach.
As to a more specific solution, check for low voltage at the AP processor - small power cabling, corrosion, failing battery, etc.
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Old 05-01-2017, 05:12   #3
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

Thank you Paul,
for your reply. I will check connections , it makes sense.
However chasing an intermittent and elusive problem is always tricky; if any of the connections was loose I would expect the problem to happen more often and in particular I would expect it to happen more often when the boat is rolling and yawing in waves, rather than when the boat is in calm seas, but that in my experience does not seem to be the case.

As for the course computer the operation power supply voltage range is 10-15 V and the batteries are always being charged by solar panels and a wind generator, hence, unless any of the voltage regulators were malfunctioning, the voltage on the course computer should be well within that range. Nevertheless it cannot be ruled out that a transient low voltage is the cause of the problem, but because the event is relatively rare, spotting it would not be easy.

Any ideas for any tests that I could carry out while under way to make the AP to default and so identify the cause ?
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Old 05-01-2017, 13:20   #4
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

When the course computer commands a hard move the current required is significant. The high current causes the voltage to drop, especially if there are any high resistance connections in the path.
The 10-15v is just a pipe dream on this ewuipment. I've seen this type of problem on many Ray APs. I went through 3 different processor units on my old boat and they all at times would take flyer. Very random and unpredictable and not safe. Eventually I figured out the bullet proof solution - don't use Ray equipment. My Furuno AP processor has 10's of thousands of miles and has never failed in the way the Rays did.
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Old 06-01-2017, 03:55   #5
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

Paul,
I agree that Furuno equipment is designed and built to a very high standard, (I have a Furuno radar and a gps unit onboard and they both work very well). Before adopting your bullet proof solution however, (and I may well end up doing it), I will chase a solution to the problem for a little while longer !
Alberto
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Old 06-01-2017, 05:59   #6
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

I had a similar problem with my ST6000+ AP 10 years ago in the Med. My solution was to throw money at the problem. First I replaced the drive motor, which seemed to fix the problem, but it came back a few days later. The final solution was to replace the the old T300 course computer with a newer S3 computer. That fixed the problem and the AP still works today.
The problem for you is that the current Raymarine computers may not be compatible with your existing ST control head and fluxgate compass. Check with Raymarine forum on that. In either case you will be faced with a significant cost, so a complete replacement becomes more attractive. You can probably find a used S3 computer on eBay or Craig's List, but it will be a used item.

As to the cause of the failure, I never really found out. I suspect it was a less than optimum SSB installation, which brought both the power and transmission cables too close to the old computer. I had relocated the SSB before the failures started, but I suspect the damage had already been done. The relocation may be the reason the S3 computer has not had any problems.

John

Edited to add: Here is a link to a writeup on my AP problem (http://www.svsarah.com/Sarah/ewElectronics.htm#Sailing Instruments). You have to page down a bit to get to the discussion.
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Old 06-01-2017, 11:58   #7
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

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Originally Posted by Alby1714 View Post
Paul,
I agree that Furuno equipment is designed and built to a very high standard, (I have a Furuno radar and a gps unit onboard and they both work very well). Before adopting your bullet proof solution however, (and I may well end up doing it), I will chase a solution to the problem for a little while longer !
Alberto
Definitely try and chase it down. Always a pain with an intermittent. If you do go to another brand you can keep the drive unit and just swap the processor and display. Simrad has a good reputation for APs and maybe less expensive than a Furuno or a high-end like an NKE. Furunos units are less sailing focused. Either way a newer AP will use a superior heading sensor and should give better performance.
Good luck.
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Old 06-01-2017, 21:05   #8
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

I have been struggling with the exact same issue for the last two years - ST6001 on our Lagoon 420 dropping back to standby whenever it felt like it. For a long time I was convinced it was voltage related as it happened less when I had a motor running or when in full sun with plenty of solar power coming in. This was a red herring and probably stopped me looking for other causes.
The problem is now totally fixed, no cost, no new wiring, no new batteries, thanks to a very talented Raymarine technician in Mooloolaba.
He solved the problem without even coming aboard, just talked me through a long process of trial and error by phone and text.
The problem was a faulty E85001 Interface (a little grey box that allows you to plug a computer into the system). Once that was disconnected the auto helm has not missed a beat.
Yours may not be the same problem but the point is anything on the Seatalk network either upstream or downstream of your ST6001 can create error messages that will trip out the auto helm.
First thing I did was plug ST6001 directly into the computer and disconnect everything else that the auto helm does not need. You can test the system whilst at anchor or in a marina, just turn on and hit auto, turn off all power sources and see what happens.
If you find that auto helm is not dropping out then start plugging things into the Seatalk network and repeat the test. Took me a few days but eventually I found the culprit - an interface that I have never used,
Good luck!


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Old 06-01-2017, 23:02   #9
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

So how often did you see the AP fail with the Seatalk adapter connected? Most of the failures I had on my Ray APs were more like once or twice a month it would take a flyer. If you found the true cause in your case then I still say these APs are poorly designed. If it sees something bad on the Seatalk bus, going to standby is still an unsafe practice. It should fail safe.
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Old 07-01-2017, 01:34   #10
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

Well Paul I'm sorry if me finding a solution to my Raymarine AP problem doesn't fit with your knocking of all things Raymarine.
My AP would drop out after 1 to 2 hours sailing.
Since finding and rectifying the problem we are now over two weeks into a passage from Mooloolaba to Tasmania, AP has been running faultlessly including 3 overnight sails.
If your system was only giving you grief once a month I don't consider you had a problem at all!


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Old 07-01-2017, 11:43   #11
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

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Well Paul I'm sorry if me finding a solution to my Raymarine AP problem doesn't fit with your knocking of all things Raymarine.
My AP would drop out after 1 to 2 hours sailing.
Since finding and rectifying the problem we are now over two weeks into a passage from Mooloolaba to Tasmania, AP has been running faultlessly including 3 overnight sails.
If your system was only giving you grief once a month I don't consider you had a problem at all!


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It's certainly easier to fix a problem that occurs every hour or so, than once a month. That's why I asked. I wonder if you've been sailing downwind in 30+kts with large, steep following seas at night under AP when the AP randomly decides to go to standby thus sending the boat rounding up and beam onto the seas. I suspect if you had you would consider it a problem. I consider it unsafe.

If your solution holds for you that's great. The method of failure is what I object to. It appears that anything that is detected as 'wrong' causes the Ray AP to go to standby, which is unsafe way to fail while offshore.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:36   #12
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

Hi,
Thanks to all of you for contributing to this thread.
I have a number of comments.

The more more I talk to people about this issue the more it becomes apparent that there is more than one way and possibly more than one cause for a Raymarine AP to malfunction and revert to stand-by. Furthermore lack of compatibility among Raymarine products might complicate resolution of the issue.

At this stage it is difficult to say whether failure to stand-by mode is the result of the degradation of an electronic component during use or bad design and poor reliability or both. As for myself, should my search for a solution end with a decision to renew the whole system, I would go for a different manufacturer.

On my boat I do not recall a single instance of the AP switching back to stand-by that happened while the SSB or the VHF were being used, hence I would suspect that the origin of the problem is elsewhere.

My AP fails relatively rarely, however I would entirely agree with Paul: this is a serious and potentially dangerous fault. I have been in the conditions described by Paul, rough seas at night, when the AP suddenly went back to stand-by; the boat gybed before I could do anything. Luckily there were no serious consequences both because I was sailing with three reefs in the main and because the boom brake did his duty wonderfully.

As I said my AP fails rarely. Hence I would have to test any solution for weeks if not months. A few hours at sea or in a marina would not prove anything.

I found interesting the experience of a fellow sailor who had exactly the same problem I have, except he had two control heads. He wrote to me:
“….Most of the time the 6001 autopilot worked fine so it took many months of investigation to track down the problem. I had an electronics company check the entire system-they found no faults. As we had two control heads, I was able to disconnect one of them at a time and use the boat for a couple of months to see if it solved the problem. Eventually I found that the pilot never failed when one of the heads was not connected, so I had narrowed the problem down to that head. The opinion of the electronics company was that we had eliminated all possibilities except that there must be a fault on the PCB on the problematic control head (we didn’t send to Raymarine for testing). They ordered and installed the new PCB and I never had a problem again…. “

Obviously this opens up a new line of investigation. It confirms that a solution can be found, although the reason for the behavior of the problematic control head remains unknown.
It is all rather frustrating but thanks to all of you I have collected lots of clues to troubleshoot.
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Old 08-01-2017, 11:33   #13
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Re: Raymarine 6001 AutoPilot

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.....Luckily there were no serious consequences both because I was sailing with three reefs in the main and because the boom brake did his duty wonderfully.

.......
Fortunately the boom brake didn't go to standby
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