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Old 13-05-2016, 07:08   #1
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Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

SPX30 on 2007 Beneteau 473. i70 reads No Pilot. This began as an intermittent issue but has progressed to not working at all. When switching on the AP a very noticeable 'clunk' sound can be heard from somewhere near the engine compartment. A tech has said the the AP is sharing power with the engine starter and this is not good, or a weak link. He's several weeks out from fixing it. I'm very novice at this kind of thing but look forward to fixing it with guidance. So a KISS solution is greatly appreciated.


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Old 14-05-2016, 19:57   #2
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoMyHealth View Post
SPX30 on 2007 Beneteau 473. i70 reads No Pilot. This began as an intermittent issue but has progressed to not working at all. When switching on the AP a very noticeable 'clunk' sound can be heard from somewhere near the engine compartment. A tech has said the the AP is sharing power with the engine starter and this is not good, or a weak link. He's several weeks out from fixing it. I'm very novice at this kind of thing but look forward to fixing it with guidance. So a KISS solution is greatly appreciated.


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That does not sound right to me.

THE starter does not take any power unless you are starting the engine. The solenoid is a normally open switch and thus would not care if the AP was powered on.

The starter also is often on its own battery and thus you should not have a design that uses the start battery for power.

I have just bought a SPX-30 and know only what I've read about them. I do have an SPX-5 and have looked at the schematics of both. The start "inrush" current should be quite low.... The SPX-30 could draw a lot of power but only when driving the motor hard.

I do wonder if the pump solenoid is cycling as the unit comes up.

I will be installing my SPX-30 sometime over the next month or few. I am thinking about where I want to get power for it from. It can draw upwards of 30 amps >>When your pump needs it<<.

I would trace the route that the power cable to the AP takes, Looking for the wire size, fusing, and where the ap gets its power from.

Plus. You might consider having someone toggle the AP power while listening in an effort to identify the actual source.

Regards
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Old 14-05-2016, 23:29   #3
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Sounds like you may have a solenoid between the starter post or start battery and ap to power it, controlled by the switch or your ap breaker. Which could be The loud clunk you hear.

step one find out how it is wired and why it's not working

Step 2 fix...

Since this guy has already looked and knows how's it's wired. And we are just guessing. I'd just let him come back.

But the fact that's it's coming from the engine battery shouldn't effect it working. Since it always was. Spend time figuring why it's not working before trying to solve the 2nd issue of draining the engine battery instead of house battery.
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Old 15-05-2016, 15:38   #4
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

I have a 473 and a SPX30 also with a linear drive to the quadrant.
I agree the techs answer about the starter sounds silly. The power to the AP should come from the breaker panel.
How do you energize the SPX30? That's the first clue. Do you have a breaker labeled "AutoPilot" or "NAV Instruments"? The clunk could mean your linear drive is loose where it is bolted to the boat. It happened to me because the original fasteners were straight nuts with lock washers vice nylon locking nuts. And..Even nylock nuts come loose if they have been reused several times.
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Old 15-05-2016, 17:50   #5
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Wiring with a solenoid and via the starter would be somewhat odd but not 100% unlikely.

All boats I have sailed on had everything AP wired into the house bank. The only thing wired to the starter battery is, oftenmost, the starter only.

Track the AP power leads - see where they go to. Then track AP drive unit wires.

You may discover things under the sun ;-)

b.
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Old 15-05-2016, 18:37   #6
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoMyHealth View Post
SPX30 on 2007 Beneteau 473. i70 reads No Pilot. This began as an intermittent issue but has progressed to not working at all. When switching on the AP a very noticeable 'clunk' sound can be heard from somewhere near the engine compartment. A tech has said the the AP is sharing power with the engine starter and this is not good, or a weak link. He's several weeks out from fixing it. I'm very novice at this kind of thing but look forward to fixing it with guidance. So a KISS solution is greatly appreciated.


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You need to figure out how it's wired. If you can't do that, you need to wait for your tech.

If you come back and tell us how it's wired, we can give advice, but there's not enough info in your post to give you a meaningful kiss solution.
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Old 15-05-2016, 19:12   #7
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoMyHealth View Post
SPX30 on 2007 Beneteau 473. i70 reads No Pilot. This began as an intermittent issue but has progressed to not working at all. When switching on the AP a very noticeable 'clunk' sound can be heard from somewhere near the engine compartment. A tech has said the the AP is sharing power with the engine starter and this is not good, or a weak link. He's several weeks out from fixing it. I'm very novice at this kind of thing but look forward to fixing it with guidance. So a KISS solution is greatly appreciated.


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No Pilot usually means the control head and computer are not talking. Check fuses as well as the connections at the Smartpilot computer. They are under the lower cover.
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Old 16-05-2016, 08:22   #8
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

I do have a separate breaker switch on the panel for the autopilot. Makes me wonder why there would be another switch by the battery bank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
I have a 473 and a SPX30 also with a linear drive to the quadrant.
I agree the techs answer about the starter sounds silly. The power to the AP should come from the breaker panel.
How do you energize the SPX30? That's the first clue. Do you have a breaker labeled "AutoPilot" or "NAV Instruments"? The clunk could mean your linear drive is loose where it is bolted to the boat. It happened to me because the original fasteners were straight nuts with lock washers vice nylon locking nuts. And..Even nylock nuts come loose if they have been reused several times.
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Old 16-05-2016, 08:28   #9
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

I wouldn't let the tech back on the boat for reasons outside this topic. But the sound emminating from the battery bank area whilst switching on and off the autopilot at the breaker sure does sound like a solenoid. I'll need another set of hands on the boat tomorrow to identify the exact source.

I guess my newbie question would be: Why not provide power directly from the breaker panel to the AP?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Sounds like you may have a solenoid between the starter post or start battery and ap to power it, controlled by the switch or your ap breaker. Which could be The loud clunk you hear.

step one find out how it is wired and why it's not working

Step 2 fix...

Since this guy has already looked and knows how's it's wired. And we are just guessing. I'd just let him come back.

But the fact that's it's coming from the engine battery shouldn't effect it working. Since it always was. Spend time figuring why it's not working before trying to solve the 2nd issue of draining the engine battery instead of house battery.
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Old 16-05-2016, 08:57   #10
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

I'm looking forward to your findings on this.

One thing we just discovered last week while underway with the SPX30 and a P70 Control Head was that repeated low voltage episodes can dump the memory. That is spelled out in the manual.
That might also be a clue as to why you are getting the "No Pilot" display.
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Old 16-05-2016, 10:51   #11
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

IntoMyHealth,
Opie gave you a fairly good answer and advice....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie91 View Post
No Pilot usually means the control head and computer are not talking. Check fuses as well as the connections at the Smartpilot computer. They are under the lower cover.





As for the other question you have...
I can answer that, but a bit hesitant to do...please don't take offense...
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoMyHealth View Post
I guess my newbie question would be: Why not provide power directly from the breaker panel to the AP?
Of course the "proper" way to power most low-current and medium-current devices is from the breaker panel...but, in some instances / on some boats the breaker panel itself and its wiring (both the wiring feeding the panel, as well as the wiring / strapping in the panel itself), are not adequate to power medium-current devices (such as linear-drive autopilots or hydraulic pumps).

I've only spent a few minutes on a Bene 473, but if it's like some other Bene's I've spent quite some time on (deliveries, friends' boats, etc.), then the above is a distinct possibility...

And, when you add in what "SilentOption" just wrote here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
One thing we just discovered last week while underway with the SPX30 and a P70 Control Head was that repeated low voltage episodes can dump the memory. That is spelled out in the manual.
That might also be a clue as to why you are getting the "No Pilot" display.
It appears quite likely that your breaker panel was not up to the task...



BTW, in my 4 and half decades of electronics experience (both marine electronics and on-shore) and > 30 years running an electronics / communications firm, I can tell you one hard truth:
It is the wiring and installation that make or break the system!!
Absolutely no question that poor installation, improper wiring, haphazard commission, etc. cause > 90% of "electronics" problems!!!


If like most sailors, you're a "layperson" when it comes to electronics, please ask the guy who you're hiring (or thinking of hiring), for references of other sailors / other boat owners (hopefully of similar boat design / size) that he has recently done work for....and YOU call those other customers as ask them what they had done, how happy they are, etc...
Not doing this is like flushing $100 bills down the head to see if your "Y-valve" is open...
But even if you do get some positive recommendations from former customers/clients, be aware that they are probably laypersons as well, so their "understanding" of how its all supposed to work versus how it is all really supposed to work (and how much or how little cost is really involved), should be factored into your decision to who to hire...


My best advice, learn as much as you can yourself (like your doing here), and you may end up knowing more than the "tech" that you're looking at hiring!!
(As of now, you certainly know as much as that "tech" that was already there!)



I do hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 16-05-2016, 12:29   #12
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

John,

Your input is very helpful. My thought on Opie's advice was that a compromised fuse would simply cause the AP to not work, and not apply because the issue is intermittent. Maybe I'm wrong here and should be looking at the Smartpilot unit. And I will.

There's a very good chance that we will hire a new firm to survey and comment on the entire system regardless of whether I'm able to resolve this specific issue. I want to be a level or two above bewildered before we choose a firm because I want to know our boat better. This thread, so far, is giving me (and hopefully others) great insight and I fully appreciate every comment.


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Old 16-05-2016, 13:56   #13
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

IntoMyHealth,
Not specifically the "fuses", but the "connections"...

Here's another fact about electronics...
They either work or they don't!

What I mean is:
a) analog devices, such as 12vdc motors, pumps, etc. can "run slow", and can be "intermittent"...but digital devices are either "on" or "off"...
b) solid state circuits, transistors, integrated circuits, etc. (like autopilot course computers, and control heads) either work or they don't....the only "intermittents" are caused by heat (i.e., works when cold, but not when hot)

Wiring and connections are like "analog" devices....they can be intermittent and can have enough resistance to work one time and not another....work in one morning, but not the afternoon, and then not the next morning, but work fine the next afternoon, etc. etc....
This is how "marine electronics" can be intermittent....it ain't usually the "electronics" themselves, but the wiring...


{now the software/firmware that runs a lot of this stuff, now there can be lots of weird happenings there, but usually that's evident as many issues arise....and many of them stay....less "intermittent" and more "weird"!!}

Again, the wiring / installation / commissioning of this stuff is what makes or breaks it!!!
You can take a 15-20 year old autopilot and if wired/installed correctly, rely on it for a trans-Atlantic passage, but take a brand new NMEA2000 enabled super-wiz-bang autopilot that's poorly installed/wired, and I wouldn't trust it to take me across Biscayne Bay!!

Ever wonder why you see so many real offshore cruising boats with older gear that still works??? and lots of boats with newer gear always having problems???
Yes, sometimes it because some of the new stuff is CRAP!!!
(you couldn't pay me to have new B&G stuff on my boat)
But, most times it's because the old stuff was either properly wired/installed originally or was re-done by the guy sailing the boat!!
Hence the old stuff works great!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by IntoMyHealth View Post
My thought on Opie's advice was that a compromised fuse would simply cause the AP to not work, and not apply because the issue is intermittent. Maybe I'm wrong here and should be looking at the Smartpilot unit. And I will.
Yes, in addition to figuring out how the darn thing is wired/installed, please look at ALL the wiring/connections!!

There's a very good chance that we will hire a new firm to survey and comment on the entire system regardless of whether I'm able to resolve this specific issue. I want to be a level or two above bewildered before we choose a firm because I want to know our boat better.
Absolutely fantastic idea!!

This thread, so far, is giving me (and hopefully others) great insight and I fully appreciate every comment.
Please forgive me for repeating this...but I've been working with electronics for about 45 years now....and this is a fact!
The wiring / installation / commissioning of this stuff is what makes or breaks it!!!


Fair winds..

John
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Old 16-05-2016, 14:38   #14
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

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John,

Your input is very helpful. My thought on Opie's advice was that a compromised fuse would simply cause the AP to not work, and not apply because the issue is intermittent. Maybe I'm wrong here and should be looking at the Smartpilot unit. And I will.

There's a very good chance that we will hire a new firm to survey and comment on the entire system regardless of whether I'm able to resolve this specific issue. I want to be a level or two above bewildered before we choose a firm because I want to know our boat better. This thread, so far, is giving me (and hopefully others) great insight and I fully appreciate every comment.


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You said you do not know a lot. I tried to give you some simple advise that might help you out. The problem could easily be a simple connection.

Also there are multiple fuses down there. Pull them out and stick them back in. This process will help clean up the fuse connection.

That noise you are hearing could be a relay not getting the proper current. (Aka bad connection)
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Old 16-05-2016, 14:54   #15
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Re: Raymarine SPX-30 Power Source

Once you are sure you do not have a power issue, you should make sure all your gear is on the latest firmware.

GPX30 should be v3.05
Software Update: SPX5, SPX10, SPX30, SPXSOL, SPXCAN

p70 should be v2.17
Software Update: p70/p70r Pilot Control Head

Not sure what else you have, but the latest firmware on our e127 fixed an issue the autopilot caused with the chart not displaying properly.
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