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Old 04-09-2016, 18:39   #1
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Simrad Pilot issue/question

Hi- so I have a ap24 pilot on my boat that was installed ~4years ago. She was always reliable and kept a solid track in flat or disturbed seas. She was a stand alone system and was not connected to any chartplotter. In short, never had any issues. 3 weeks ago, we installed the new B&G Zeus system and synced it up with the Simrad pilot. The original installation went well and everything seemed to be calluberated and operating correctly. Fast forward, we are now having issues with the Simrad system because it does not "save" the commissioning instructions and when I go to turn back on and push "Auto" the pilot registers "rudder feedback failure." We tried almost everything, brand new network, new pilot computer. Any other ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Btw. Love every other aspect of th Simrad and B&G products. Very smooth and user friendly.
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Old 07-09-2016, 21:25   #2
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

I had a problem somewhat like this, but not exactly. For kicks, make sure you always power up the AC12 or AC24 (whichever you have) before you apply power to the Zeus. On my system if I power up the NSO EVO II before powering up the AC12, the AC would be forever gone and unrecognizable to other devices. To get it out of this hiung state, you need to cycle power on the NMEA 2000 bus. Cycling power on the AC12 or AC42 is not enough. You need to cycle power on the N2K bus. Then as long as the AC12/24 is always powered up first, it woudl work fine. We wasted a lot of time and returned a couple of AC12s before I figured out what was going on and how to recover from it.
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Old 07-09-2016, 23:28   #3
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

it should not matter what is turned on first.

nothing in the pilot should have been changed or recommissioned when the screen was added. so I don't see what adding the screen would do to the pilot.

the only thing that may have happened (unless the installer played with the pilot for some reason) is when you did the auto source select on the plotter it may have chossen the rudder feedback for itself. and if something wrong was chosen it may have changed the pilot setting as well.

which feedback unit do you have? is it the nmea 2000 one or is it direct to the pilot? (I think one is the 300 and one is the 25?)

if it's giving you a feedback error I would start there. the screen should have no effect
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:15   #4
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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it should not matter what is turned on first.
I agree it "shouldn't" matter, but we found this very obscure bug where it did matter. Once I figured out the sequence, it was 100% reproducible and I could lock up the AC12 at will. It would remain locked up across power cycles (turning off the breakers), and appeared to be a dead AC12. Our N2K bus was powered from another breaker, and it turned out that cycling that breaker brought the AC12 back to life.

I don't know what interaction between what components caused it - only how to make it happen and then recover from it. I don't know if the OP is encountering something similar, but it's real easy (probably) to kill power to everything, including the N2K bus, then power up the bus and AC12/24 BEFORE powering up the Zeus. If it doesn't help then he as wasted little time and can move on. If it does work, it will have saved him a lot of aggravation.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:24   #5
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

Yah, try making sure the NMEA bus is powered up first before anything else.

Then make sure the correct rudder feedback unit is selected. Make sure they are all on the same instance as well.
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Old 21-08-2017, 19:53   #6
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

I wonder how this was resolved. I also have the AP24 and it has some odd features. My system is locked in the default "outboard" boat setting. There's no way to get out of this setting so that the autopilot can sail to the wind -- which requires the unit to be in the "sailboat" setting. The AP24 recognizes the wind input but can't do anything with it. It seems that the AP24 requires input from a speed log transducer to operate properly. Otherwise it defaults to the "outboard" boat setting. I don't have a speed log (and don't want one). Other autopilots I have owned (including Simrad) have a way to enter speed manually, but the AP24 doesn't seem to have such an option. (I say "seem" because I just cannot believe it, despite having gone through the menu countless times.)

Has anyone encountered this sort of issue with the AP24? How does one utilize its capabilities, including wind steering, without having a speed log sensor installed? I spent quite big money on wind instruments (also by Navico) so that the autopilot could steer to the wind, but it seems the money was wasted -- I have to sit at the autopilot and adjust it as the wind shifts, which defeats the purpose of having an autopilot.

Of course I have asked Simrad/Navico about this, but they haven't replied and I don't hold out much hope of getting a reply.
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:41   #7
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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Originally Posted by Lantau View Post
I wonder how this was resolved. I also have the AP24 and it has some odd features. My system is locked in the default "outboard" boat setting. There's no way to get out of this setting so that the autopilot can sail to the wind -- which requires the unit to be in the "sailboat" setting. The AP24 recognizes the wind input but can't do anything with it. It seems that the AP24 requires input from a speed log transducer to operate properly. Otherwise it defaults to the "outboard" boat setting. I don't have a speed log (and don't want one). Other autopilots I have owned (including Simrad) have a way to enter speed manually, but the AP24 doesn't seem to have such an option. (I say "seem" because I just cannot believe it, despite having gone through the menu countless times.)

Has anyone encountered this sort of issue with the AP24? How does one utilize its capabilities, including wind steering, without having a speed log sensor installed? I spent quite big money on wind instruments (also by Navico) so that the autopilot could steer to the wind, but it seems the money was wasted -- I have to sit at the autopilot and adjust it as the wind shifts, which defeats the purpose of having an autopilot.

Of course I have asked Simrad/Navico about this, but they haven't replied and I don't hold out much hope of getting a reply.
You need to go into the set-up menu and select "sail" as the boat type. In case you don't have it click on "Owners Manual" and roll down to page 60 for instructions. Once that's selected, you can select "Wind" from the control head.
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Old 22-08-2017, 23:57   #8
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

If it's stuck on outboard. It's probably because you don't have a rudder feedback? And it's in vrf mode.
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Old 24-08-2017, 16:36   #9
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
You need to go into the set-up menu and select "sail" as the boat type. In case you don't have it click on "Owners Manual" and roll down to page 60 for instructions. Once that's selected, you can select "Wind" from the control head.
Alas, that won't work. I tried it maybe a hundred times because it SHOULD work. But then I started to read the manual very carefully. It's a bit cryptic, but I came to the conclusion from a couple unexplained references in the manual that this autopilot will not leave the default setting ("outboard") without first receiving data from a SPEED log transducer. Speed does matter of course -- the autopilot likes to know that to determine how much and how fast to turn the rudder -- but in other autopilots I have owned (including Simrad!) it's possible to input speed manually. I can find no way to do it on this one. So I'm stuck in "outboard" mode, which will not use the wind data that's going to the autopilot. It's driving me more than a little crazy, not least because I was recently in some extremely bad conditions and I NEEDED the autopilot to steer to the wind after hours at the helm doing it myself.
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Old 24-08-2017, 16:47   #10
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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If it's stuck on outboard. It's probably because you don't have a rudder feedback? And it's in vrf mode.
Now that's another weird thing. The autopilot does have rudder feedback. It works just fine when sailing to a heading, and in fact I use the autopilot to tell me the rudder angle (there's no other way to know it with my hydraulic steering). But, as I recall, when I go to standby for manual steering, the system then says VRF. Maybe that's normal, but I've thought it doesn't seem right because it most definitely has rudder feedback (and shows it on the display and shows it in the menu indicating the sources of data its receiving).

Oddly, it seems that what's missing is speed data to escape the default "outboard" mode. I really don't want to install a speed transducer. I wish there were a way to trick the system to think it's receiving speed, or a way to enter it manually (as with other autopilots I've had -- including a Simrad autopilot on my last boat!).
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Old 24-08-2017, 20:57   #11
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

Is your simrad pilot updated to the last software/firmware update?
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Old 24-08-2017, 21:26   #12
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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Is your simrad pilot updated to the last software/firmware update?
Good question. I previously checked the Simrad website and my interpretation was that there is no update for the AP24 (at least not one that matters; I think there's one that updates serial numbers or something like that).

Needless to say I have contacted Navico/Simrad about my problem. No joy.
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Old 25-08-2017, 23:29   #13
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

You should have rudder gauge / feedback all the time. Even in standby. If you have one. The rudder it's showing is a virtural one by guessing on pump movement. (Vfr = virtural rudder feedback).

This is what you should be looking into. Look for a rudder feedback device at your steering system . And wired into the pilot brain. (Ie rf-300)

You won't get out of outboard with out one working.
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Old 26-08-2017, 01:19   #14
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Re: Simrad Pilot issue/question

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
You should have rudder gauge / feedback all the time. Even in standby. If you have one. The rudder it's showing is a virtural one by guessing on pump movement. (Vfr = virtural rudder feedback).

This is what you should be looking into. Look for a rudder feedback device at your steering system . And wired into the pilot brain. (Ie rf-300)

You won't get out of outboard with out one working.
Thanks for the suggestions! The unit is getting rudder feedback from the sensor attached to the rudder stock/tiller. The AP24 detects this most of the time, so the data is definitely getting through. My careful reading of the owner's manual is that what the AP24 wants is SPEED input, which I don't give it. I have found no way to input speed manually, which I definitely did with my last boat (also a Simrad autopilot, as it happens). I need some way to trick the system into thinking its getting speed. (It's a slow boat that varies in speed by only a couple knots between idle and cruise power, so there's no significant need for the autopilot to detect speed changes.)

According to the manual, when the pilot is in virtual rudder feedback there is NO rudder angle indicated ("When the autopilot is operating on Virtual Rudder Feedback (VRF), the rudder angle bargraph is empty in Standby mode."). I always have rudder angle showing (and I know that it's accurate -- or at least the rudder is at 0 degrees when I center it to 0 on the angle indicator). The manual also says that actual feedback isn't needed for the pilot to work; it's just more precise with it. Hence I cannot see how not having it matters for the purpose of getting the system to accept wind input. But, again, it's definitely getting rudder feedback.

That said, I'm going to follow up your suggestion and dig into this more, i.e., look for bugs in the rudder feedback system the next time I'm on the boat.

I think I'll be forced to get a technician on the boat. Hopefully it won't be like my usual experience: they end up trying to do exactly what I have done -- do what seems obvious, then study the manual, then contact Navico! I hate to pay for that, especially if they tell me to upgrade to a new system.
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