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Old 30-08-2012, 13:34   #1
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Robertson Autopilot Wandering.....

Robertson AP 200 Autopilot Issues
I have had a Robertson AP 200 Sail autopilot on my CSY 44 that has performed flawlessly for the last 16 years, but as of the last month, has started wandering more and more. The MO is to keep a course when first turned on, but then less and less response from ram, almost as if it loses power.
A quick look at voltage showed good voltage coming into control head, but not much on return.
I took the berth apart to look at connections around quadrant, rudder feedback sensor, and hydraulic pump and all look good. Gave hydraulic pump (Robertson HLD 2000L) a couple raps with wrench and it sprang back to life with a terrible grinding sound and heavy clicking when it initiated a move. Oil reservoir looked to be 2/3 full and no sign of leakage.
Has anybody experienced this or have any ideas? Are these pumps serviceable? I called Simrad/Northstar/Eagle......and all the others, and this pump is still in production. Has anybody serviced or brought one back from the dead?
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Old 30-08-2012, 13:38   #2
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Re: Robertson autopilot wandering.....

they best be serviceable--they cost as much as replacing the entire boat. contact simrad. i believe simrad is robertson, now,??, but i am not sure--i have simrad hdl 2000 and love it.
i havent tried to look up online as mine is running fine and i dont want to jinx it.
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Old 30-08-2012, 13:54   #3
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Re: Robertson Autopilot Wandering.....

I don't know anything about your specific Robertson drive, but in general, these hydraulic drives have a reversible electric motor driving a hydraulic pump that is engaged by an electric solenoid controlled valve.

If you are hearing noises from the motor, most likely it needs servicing. Sixteen years of moderate to heavy usage is about the expected time for them. Like any electric motor of this type, it has brushes and bearings with defined lifetimes. These motors are very easily serviced and brushes and bearings are relatively inexpensive. Depending on your skills, this may be something you can do. If not, any good electric motor shop or, probably, autoelectric shop can service it.

Brushes at end of life could explain your loss of power and wandering. Grinding noises could be bearings or a brush end bottoming on the commutator. Clicking noises could be the solenoid engaging as normal, then disengaging because the motor is drawing too many amps or not responding at all due to needing service (that would be expected behavior for it).

It is unlikely the actual hydraulics are the problem.

Good luck,

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
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