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Old 11-02-2012, 13:32   #1
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Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Hello all,
I have an intermittent problem with my Raymarine electronics that I hope someone can help with.
I have an E90W chartplotter and ST70 Autopilot and intermittently (for no apparent reason that I can determine) the autopilot stops working and goes into starting mode.
At the same time as the ST70 autopilot stops working an alarm come up on the E90W chartplotter that says “Heading not available”. This alarm lasts for only about 2 seconds then disappears. No alarm comes up on the ST 70 autopilot at all. After the autopilot completes “starting” it goes to “standby” just like it does on a normal startup and seems quite normal until the next time it does this. Sometimes this will happen 3 times in an hour and sometimes we sail for several days without it happening.
Hopefully I am not the first person to have this problem so would very much appreciate any information that can help me track this problem down and fix it.
Barrie
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Old 11-02-2012, 14:21   #2
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

I would suggest looking at both of these things....as a similar thing happened to me.

1) Are the batteries charged? Yeah...I thought mine were charged....putting an amp meter on it showed they weren't, not fully. My boat now has a permanent charger with a hold function.

2) Check your pockets for car keys. I have found that the remote door opener will distort the readings between the autopilot and the compass.....causing a 'heading not available'. My keys not sit in a ziploc placed nicely in my back back stored in the V-berth.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-02-2012, 14:22   #3
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Clarify: That was meant to be 'now' sit in a ziploc.

My 'sausage like' fingers have grown unfamiliar with typing.
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Old 11-02-2012, 14:29   #4
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

What course computer are you using. The message you are seeing is when the output from the electronic fluxgate compass goes missing. The fluxgate compass is connected to the course computer and then fed to the E90W via seatalkng.

I suspect you have an intermittent power connection to the course computer or a faulty one. Go over the connections to the course computer ( not the ST70)

dave
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Old 11-02-2012, 15:00   #5
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
What course computer are you using. The message you are seeing is when the output from the electronic fluxgate compass goes missing. The fluxgate compass is connected to the course computer and then fed to the E90W via seatalkng.

I suspect you have an intermittent power connection to the course computer or a faulty one. Go over the connections to the course computer ( not the ST70)

dave
Thanks for your comments Dave.

I'll check the connections to both the fluxgate compass and the course computer. I'm using an SPX SmartPilot course computer.

Barrie
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Old 12-02-2012, 14:37   #6
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

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Originally Posted by Gelfling View Post
I would suggest looking at both of these things....as a similar thing happened to me.

1) Are the batteries charged? Yeah...I thought mine were charged....putting an amp meter on it showed they weren't, not fully. My boat now has a permanent charger with a hold function.

2) Check your pockets for car keys. I have found that the remote door opener will distort the readings between the autopilot and the compass.....causing a 'heading not available'. My keys not sit in a ziploc placed nicely in my back back stored in the V-berth.

Hope this helps!
Thanks for your comments.
Yep, my batteries are charged...I live on the boat and pretty much keep them above 70%.
No I don't have any car keys in my pocket.
Barrie
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Old 12-02-2012, 14:57   #7
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

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Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
Thanks for your comments Dave.

I'll check the connections to both the fluxgate compass and the course computer. I'm using an SPX SmartPilot course computer.

Barrie
I've checked all connections to both the fluxgate compass and the course computer and all look good....pulled and pushed them all but couldn't induce the "Heading Not Available" alarm.

I did notice that the ground terminal on the SPX course computer was not connected to anything....then read in the installation guide that it "must be connected to ship's ground". They suggest to a ground plate. I'm thinking about connecting it to my ssb ground plate.

Could the absence of a ground connection cause the problem, ie course computer to stop controlling and drop into "starting" mode accompanied by a short "Heading Not Available" alarm on the chartplotter?
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Old 12-02-2012, 15:02   #8
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No it doesn't need to be connected. From your decision it would look like the Spx course computer is rebooting from time to time.


Is there any source of strong radio interference ?

Dave
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Old 12-02-2012, 16:29   #9
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Any chance the fault occurs when you are transmitting on your SSB/Ham radio?
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Old 12-02-2012, 16:38   #10
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Does he need to swing his flux gate compass! I don't have the same system but I have a ray marine SP1 auto pilot and this was the cause of a similar problem...
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Old 13-02-2012, 03:01   #11
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Radio frequency interference from the ssb is something I havee thought about quite a bit. I installed the ssb (Icom M802) about 6 months ago and the problem with the autopilot did start after that. Also, when I transmit on the ssb some of the LED lights in the saloon flash on and off so there is a fair bit of RF power around the boat when the ssb is transmitting.

However, the autopilot problem has never occurred when the ssb is transmitting (or even turned on as far as I can recall). I tried to induce the problem by transmitting on the ssb with the autopilot running but nothing happened...autopilot just kept controlling like it's supposed to.

Barrie
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Old 13-02-2012, 04:10   #12
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

I have had some problems with my Raymarine C80 system with an older S1 Autopilot Computer and ST8001 controller. I'll give you my findings in case they help.

First, occasionally when I broadcast on SSB my autopilot controller locks up. I just reboot the system and go on. I suppose I should look at the cable pathways, shielding, and my SSB ground plane. But that's kind of low on my list of things to do.

Recently I lost the gps signal at the chartplotter (helm) and on my autopilot controller so I've been tracing down the whole system and looking for issues. It was installed by the PO.

My autopilot computer was not grounded, though the manual says it must be grounded. I grounded it to ships ground. I was afraid to ground to my SSB ground plane because I am afraid that when transmitting there might be a lot of RF. I didn't want the potential problem.

With that and tightening up some seatalk connections I had the chartplotter working but the autopilot controller was still saying "No Pilot".

In all of my testing, etc. I found that if I disconnect the fluxgate compass I get the no heading alarm but the chartplotter shows a round dot where the ship is. Instead of the boat shaped icon.

Then, tracing down the seatalk cabling I found that there was a "terminal block" behind one of my lockers where the seatalk data wire (yellow) had broken loose and was just kind of touching the block. Also, at the same block, the ground for the DC power cable from my breaker panel was off. Since the seatalk ground was still good, the instruments were still working but I wonder if there weren't some kinds of ground loops that might have affected the data integrity.

I've run some new cables, changed cable paths and tried to generally clean things up. Hopefully, I'll get it finished today and will be able to do a dockside test. It'll be a week or so before I get to sea test it and I suppose I'll have to recalibrate everything at that point. Just to be safe.

So, I'd suggest that you recheck all cables. There could be a bad splice somewhere. It sounds like your course computer power. The fluxgate signal gets to your chartplotter via the computer (I think).

Also, you might email the Raymarine technical help. I've found them to be very helpful and responsive.

Bill
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Old 13-02-2012, 17:04   #13
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to tell me about your similar experiences.
I will try disconnecting the fluxgate compass from the course computer and see if that causes the same fault. My course computer, autopilot controller and chartplotter are all connected together by seatalk ng cable with no junction boxes (that i have found). I would be very interested to hear what you find when you do your sea trial if you don’t mind.

Also, I’m currently in the San Blas islands in Panama with only a very low speed internet connection so can’t search web sites….do you happen to have an email address for Raymarine technical support?

Many thanks, Barrie
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Old 13-02-2012, 17:28   #14
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

Cruisin Cat, The main factoid we have is that your system is rebooting. Its the reboot that is causing the error on the E90W ( thats a normal error as the heading feed has disappeared).

The heading sensor is connected not via seatlkng, but a dedicated cable into the SPX course computer. I don't believe the fault is related to the heading sensor itself. Loss of heading sensor will not cause a SPX to reboot. Thats where I would focus the issue, whats causing the SPX to reboot.

(a) Poor or intermittent power
(b) Voltage droop, but usually you get a error alarm on the ST70, unless drop is quick
(c) Voltage spikes caused by other large loads , causing the SPX to reboot,
(d) Stray RF energy coupling into the SPX, usually causes erratic operation rather then reboot in my experience.

Rays email help line to their UK HQ ukproduct.support@raymarine.com
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Old 13-02-2012, 17:38   #15
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Re: Raymarine Autopilot - "Heading Not Available" ??

raymarine.com will get you to the tech support or call:

(603) 881-5200 extention 2444.
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