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Old 25-09-2017, 19:40   #1
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ST4000 = drunken sailor

Have been trying to sort out my Raymarine ST4000+ Wheel Pilot and have hit the limits of what to try.

Basically, on some courses I get decent performance (in calm water, haven't tested in rougher conditions), but on other courses this thing wanders like a very drunken sailor... swerving 30-40+ degrees each way.

I have done the resistance tests on the fluxgate compass and it tests out OK. I tried to calibrate (motoring in circles) with compass where it was mounted by PO (who swore it worked well, at least according to broker) and couldn't get better than 40 degrees deviation, so moved the compass to another (temporary) location and got the average deviation down to 8 degrees, but I still get really bad performance on some/most headings.

Any ideas what to do next? Do I just buy a new compass and hope it was that? I have tried some settings (I'm up in Pacific Northwest so set auto adapt to north and set latitude to 48 deg, which seemed to help a bit) and have played with the rudder gain to no real effect.

For clarification, this is wheel pilot on Gulf 32 Pilothouse, no rudder sensor, just trying to run on compass course (no GPS or wind direction or anything).

Any tips much appreciated.

-- Bass
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Old 25-09-2017, 20:54   #2
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Configuration settings can make a big difference.

I suggest you review the following settings:

Rudder Gain
Turn Rate
Rudder Damping
Cruise Speed
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Old 25-09-2017, 21:32   #3
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

You didn't by any chance put some thing made of metal anywhere near the compass did you.
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Old 25-09-2017, 21:58   #4
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

I have the same problem with my CT Autopilot. I have tried messing with the setting and the best i can ge it is about a 40 degree swing. Sailing down wind is the worst, and i cannot use it close halled. When it crosses over my heading, it keeps steering in the wrong direction untill it finaly comes about when it reaches about 15-20 deg off course. Then it comes back and crosses over to the other side and repeats. I have adjusted the sensitivity and gain but to no avail.
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Old 25-09-2017, 22:35   #5
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
You didn't by any chance put some thing made of metal anywhere near the compass did you.
Nope, been very careful about this, using magnetic field sensor on my phone to test and think I'm fine on this front.

-- Bass
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Old 25-09-2017, 22:36   #6
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

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Originally Posted by SV Windrush II View Post
I have the same problem with my CT Autopilot. I have tried messing with the setting and the best i can ge it is about a 40 degree swing. Sailing down wind is the worst, and i cannot use it close halled. When it crosses over my heading, it keeps steering in the wrong direction untill it finaly comes about when it reaches about 15-20 deg off course. Then it comes back and crosses over to the other side and repeats. I have adjusted the sensitivity and gain but to no avail.
Booo... this is what I'm afraid of, some of my searcmakes it sound like this could be existing, intractable problem. Thanks for reply. Bass
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:30   #7
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Mine did the same thing, drove me nuts. It's all in the settings though and how rigid you want the boat to follow an exact course. I thought if I narrowed the course deviation and tightened everything up it would keep it on course better.....nope.
Loosen the settings up so the boat can follow its own course a little and it will improve a lot. Trim your sails too so the pilot isn't fighting so hard.
And watch out for shallow submarine / communication cables if you're in the Gulf of Mexico. The ST4000 will follow that cable straight to the oil rig.......like a train on tracks.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:41   #8
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

The ST4000 does struggle in following seas. Everyone I know turns it off downwind in seas.

Already been suggested to play with the configurations.

It also depends on how the boat is configured. I typically fly a 150 which means that the boat responds to gusts, which the 4000 can struggle to keep up with.

You should not get any difference in performance based on compass if you are motoring (no sails) in flat water. So that's where to start with the details.

First, remove variables like sails and sea state. Then start recording performance (the problem) and defining it.
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Old 26-09-2017, 05:47   #9
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by basssears View Post
Any ideas what to do next? Do I just buy a new compass and hope it was that? I have tried some settings (I'm up in Pacific Northwest so set auto adapt to north and set latitude to 48 deg, which seemed to help a bit) and have played with the rudder gain to no real effect.

For clarification, this is wheel pilot on Gulf 32 Pilothouse, no rudder sensor, just trying to run on compass course (no GPS or wind direction or anything).

Any tips much appreciated. -- Bass
Two thoughts, firstly I thought fitting a rudder reference unit drastically improved the ST4000s performance? and it is only the very latest Evo versions that don't really need a RR unit? so that might be worth a try.

I have a spare Autohelm compass unit with the wires cut short. Happy to post it to you from England if you want.

Pete
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Old 26-09-2017, 08:59   #10
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Being totally ignorant of the settings, I would guess the sensitivity should be reduced. At the helm you don't react immediately to every time the boat yaws in a seaway.
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Old 26-09-2017, 09:08   #11
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Sell the parts on eBay and buy an evo 100. night and day difference in performance.
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Old 26-09-2017, 09:14   #12
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Hi ,

I had a very similar issue with a Raymarine 7000 with an early course 100 series computer. It was doing the exact same thing yours is. I checked out everything like you did. I didn't resolve the issue until much later when I found that one of my new 4D batteries was sitting on top of the wire from my Rudder sensor so it had a small, sometime short in it. Moral is just because you checked you Fluxgate Compass or rudder sensor doesn't mean there is a good signal at the computer unless you checked it there. In my case I might not have even found it there since it was a sporadic thing
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Old 26-09-2017, 09:35   #13
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Having exactly the same problem with exactly the same set-up. I made sure there was not any metal close to the unit that wasn't there from the factory and I changed the little battery in the flux gate compass. Hoping someone can give us a solution and by being part of the discussion I can post any solutions I may find. I was not able to get the deviation settings done by sailing in circles because for over 30 minutes I motored the biggest circle you can imagine going into and out of gear because I would just get the "too fast" message.
I did manage to calibrate the unit to the Chartplotter on two occasions but the next thing you know the AP heading is 70-120 degrees off the known heading. Thinking seriously about replacing the whole lot!
I have only owned the boat for a year and have never seen the AP work properly so I cannot say metal isn't a problem but the Flux Gate compass looks like it has been there since new cut into the cockpit coaming about 2' aft of the instrument cluster on the starboard side.
All advice is welcome!
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Old 26-09-2017, 09:36   #14
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

Thanks everyone for replies. All my testing has been under power in dead calm, so it's not a sail balance thing. I will make my compass move permanent and start playing with settings. -- Bass
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Old 26-09-2017, 09:45   #15
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Re: ST4000 = drunken sailor

danstanford,

Battery in the fluxgate compass? Is this a ST4000 compass?
I have one, but if there's a battery in there, it's news to me.

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