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Old 08-07-2015, 05:45   #1
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Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

I recently bought a Raymarine SmartController to save me having to install an autopilot control head in the Cockpit (I already have a P70R in the pilothouse). It is very useful but I have a couple of fundamental issues with it.
The first is battery life, if I leave it on (without even using it) the batteries only last about 16 hours max before it dies. Also if I leave it off from fully charged and return just a few weeks later it is completely dead. Is this the sort of performance others have experienced with a brand new one??
I was expecting much more so phoned Raymarine and the technician told me the batteries should last about 2 weeks with it on! So I took it in and the technician I spoke to as I handed it over told me it should only last about a day but raised his eyebrows when I told him about the battery life with it switched off.
I was worried I had been sold old stock and the batteries had degraded whilst sat on the shelf for years. This concern was then increased as the Assistant said I would have to show proof of purchase as the unit was more than three years old! I had only bought it a few months earlier form Marine Superstore, Portsolent, Portsmouth and I had certainly not paid a discounted old stock price for it!
The other major issue is that when ever power is supplied to it's charging lead the unit switches on and there is no way to switch it off whilst power is supplied or stop this happening (as confirmed by Raymarine). I have wired the charging lead into the yachts Outlet DC circuit (which also powers the usb charging points etc). But if I leave it in it's cradle connected to the power lead whenever someone switches on that circuit at the DC board (to charge phone etc) the StupidController will come on and remain on even when the Outlet power is switched off. So unless you go and manually switch it off (which requires holding a button down for many seconds) every time you switch off the Outlet DC circuit you will find (given the above issue) the Stupid Controllers battery is dead when you need it. It seems the only semi-solution is to have it on it's own circuit (what a nause!).

Sorry for the long winded explanation, any help or information on the above issues is most welcome, at the moment the unit is with Raymarine.

Many Thanks

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Old 08-07-2015, 05:48   #2
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

Smart Controller Battery - Raymarine Technical Forum

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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 08-07-2015, 06:44   #3
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

Gordon's link to the Raymarine Forum is a good place to determine if there is a problem with your unit.
It does sound the like the battery is not up to specs.
I used a remote control as my cockpit AP controller and instrument repeater as you did to avoid having to install a pod at the helm to house a standard control head. That was a ST600R, the old cabled remote control that is no longer manufactured, so I had no issue with battery life.
The St600R eventually had some problems and I needed to send it back for repairs while I was cruising the Med. I purchased a Smartpilot remote that was battery powered as a temporary replacement.
There were several issues with the Smartpilot that made it just a temporary replacement and I went back to the St600R as soon as it was repaired. However, I consistently got over 24 hours of operation on a single charge, not the 16 hours you've experienced. So it seems to me you have a bad battery or the unit is not getting fully charged. Hopefully the tech folks on the Raymarine forum can determine if your battery is not being fully charged or is defective.
Yes, it always comes on when being charged. Still my unit was fully charged after a few hours.
For extended passages even the 24 hour limit on the battery was a problem. Also the unit is slower to respond that a control head cabled into the SeaTalk network.
Eventually the ST600R started to show signs of eventual failure and I replaced it with a standard ST6000x control head, and fabricated my own pod for the cockpit (Instrument Pod).

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Old 08-07-2015, 07:02   #4
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

Return it.

A friend of mine uses a remote control unit on his Raymarine AP that is made by Mad Man, out of Australia. Had it for several years. It comes with two wireless FOB's that are about the size of the one for my Chevy truck. He clips one to his beltloop or on a lanyard around his neck. Four buttons that'll do everything the controller unit does. About 200 USD, plus shipping. Absolutely loves it. On Gulf crossings can sit on the front net of his catamaran reading a book, and give the unit a click now and then to steer clear of platforms.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:07   #5
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

Batteries have been a problem on mine. I have replaced them twice in 8 years. Raymarine does not make the batteries. Best place to buy them is Defender for about $70. Raymarine tech support is great (except for batteries). Sent several items back for repair when out of warranty and was not charged, though the repairs might have been minor.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:12   #6
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

I now have two versions of the remote control to offer, one of which also allows you to use your iPhone, iPad or Android device as a remote control in addition to the fobs. Battery life of the fobs is measured in months and they're always ready to use.

Pm me for more info if you're interested.

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Old 08-07-2015, 14:25   #7
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Re: Raymarine SmartController Remote Battery Life?

Yes, I had similar problems out of the box with the first unit delivered to me, E15023 with data pages. Raymarine (AUS) replaced the battery but it still didn't hold charge for more than 4hrs so they changed it again and I now get about 10-12hrs.
During testing on-shore the battery drain was greater than on the boat which was difficult to explain until I/we figured out it used up more power trying to communicate with a base station which wasn't there. Apparently the radio system is like a mobile phone which cranks up the output power if it doesn't get good communication. I think of it like a household wireless phone. The battery packs are similar but naturally the connector is unique!
I agree that turning the unit on during charging is a design 'flaw'.
Discharge when off over a few weeks also occurs but it seems to recover OK when fully recharged.
Despite the low marks for power management, I really like the features including the data display which allows me to have data wherever I want.

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