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Old 04-12-2011, 17:37   #1
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Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymarine

Since KVH is holding my 'under warranty' heading sensor hostage (sent it in for warranty work..and no condition was found..so they are charging me $150 to get it back)...I still think there is something wrong.. so we are locking horns..

Since I (stubornly) refuse to pay their ransom.. I figure it was time to get a new one.

My choices are using the original autohelm heading sensor hooked to the autopilot. The original owner of my boad did not like the performance of it..and installed the KVH and liked the performance..

Or should I buy another KVH (about $300 or so) (or get mine out of jail for $150)

I found the Airman (about $600 or so) but it works on NMEA, NMEA2000 and looks pretty neat..

I know I am being pig-headed with KVH..but charging me for a product under warranty without telling me up front is just wrong..IMO anyway..

Any opinion on the Autohelm/raymarine stock sensor.. or the airman...or any other heading sensor that I should consider?

Thanks!

Paul
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Old 04-12-2011, 18:24   #2
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Re: Time for a new heading sensor... KVH or Airmar or (original) Autohelm/raymarine

You can get an "almost" new KVH for $225 here: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...new-72662.html
Maybe for less if you dicker a bit.

I don't think the Autohelm can auto adjust for deviation. I haven't used the airmar, but I suspect it's very good.
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Old 04-12-2011, 18:34   #3
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Re: Time for a new heading sensor... KVH or Airmar or (original) Autohelm/raymarine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
You can get an "almost" new KVH for $225 here: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...new-72662.html
Maybe for less if you dicker a bit.

I don't think the Autohelm can auto adjust for deviation. I haven't used the airmar, but I suspect it's very good.
I did see the one for sale in the link.. but for 75 more i can get a new one with a warranty (for all thats good for!!) Plus I have a sour taste in my mouth and am a bit reluctant continuing to support KVH..If I were..I could get mine out of jail for $150

I like the idea of the airmar having both nmea and nmea2000..i could send the nmea to the autopilot and the n2000 to the chartplotter..but at $600+....
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Old 04-12-2011, 20:16   #4
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Take a close look at the Maretron SSC200. It outputs heel & pitch in addition to gyro stabilzed heading over n2k and 0183.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 04-12-2011, 20:58   #5
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Take a close look at the Maretron SSC200. It outputs heel & pitch in addition to gyro stabilzed heading over n2k and 0183.

cheers,
Nick.
Looks good too.. looks similar to the airmar..

Is the premium for these worth it over the original autohelm unit?
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomracer

Looks good too.. looks similar to the airmar..

Is the premium for these worth it over the original autohelm unit?
Which original unit do you mean? The little round black fluxgate? If so then yes, because these are all gyro stabilized.

ciao!
Nick
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:42   #7
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Which original unit do you mean? The little round black fluxgate? If so then yes, because these are all gyro stabilized.

ciao!
Nick

Yes the one that looks like the one below.

Any preference of Maretron or Airmar? Both look great..


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Old 05-12-2011, 07:16   #8
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

I will call Maretron and see if there is a workaround.. but I see a potential issue with it..

I want to use N2k (to my chartplotter), and N0183 (to my autopilot). It seems to get the power from the N2K connection, but if the chartplotter is off.. will the compass get power??

According to the directions http://www.maretron.com/support/manu...C200UM_1.7.pdf if using n0183 only, you need to use an adapter on the n2k port..but the nk2 wire going to the plotter is already plugged in there..

I often leave the plotter off, but use the AP quite often.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:18   #9
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomracer View Post
I know I am being pig-headed with KVH..but charging me for a product under warranty without telling me up front is just wrong..IMO anyway..
I do not think you are being pig headed. To charge you anything is bad public relations and half its value is ridiculous.
Shame on you KVH.

I would put this story in the other cruising forums so the word gets out.

Good luck finding a suitable replacement.
My autohelm fluxgate compass works well. The corepack has gyro stabilization, but before replacement due to a lightning strike it was non gyro and still steered the boat very well.
I am sure a dedicated gyro compass would do a better job, but its hard to imagine how this would improve things, in a practical sense, given how well my autopilot steers downwind.
Autohelm fluxgate compasses must be cheap on eBay, is one worth a try. It would be a good spare and fluxgate compasses often fail.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:49   #10
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Thanks..

I do have the original autohelm/raymarine heading sensor that came with the AP.

I am tempted to give it a try..as it is free.. and does work. I plugged it into the AP and it did work.

I do like the idea of connecting the fluxgate/gyro to the AP and the plotter at the same time..but is it worth the price, plus adding a N2000 backbone, connectors, terminators, etc

With KVH, I am so pissed I can't see straight.. I have never, in my life, been charged for warranty work, whether a condition was found or not. That's what I get for trying to support a local company.. You would have thought the rep would have at least alerted me that there would be a charge if the complaint couldn't be verified when he gave me the RMA.. It was well within warranty. I am just used to marine companies bending over backwards to support boaters..Guess KVH's main business is dealing with big governmenet contracts..and could care less about the little guy..
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:52   #11
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomracer View Post
I want to use N2k (to my chartplotter), and N0183 (to my autopilot). It seems to get the power from the N2K connection, but if the chartplotter is off.. will the compass get power??
I might have answered my own question.. I guess I need a N2k 'system' - backone, connectors, etc.. which will have power even if the plotter is off..

I thought there would just be one cable between the fluxgate and the plotter.. guess that is not the case..
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomracer

I might have answered my own question.. I guess I need a N2k 'system' - backone, connectors, etc.. which will have power even if the plotter is off..

I thought there would just be one cable between the fluxgate and the plotter.. guess that is not the case..
Correct, you need at minimum:

- power-T
- 2x regular T
- 2x terminator
- some cables depending on your equipment placement.

Do not hesitate doing this, you will love it. I think the Maretron sensors are top of the line, mostly because of their (near?) perfect software implementation of N2K standards. Their GPS and wind/weather sensors are also favorites of me.

Raymarine used to sell a gyro that could be coupled with that ancient fluxgate, but it will be not as good and just as costly IIRC.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:11   #13
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Correct, you need at minimum:

- power-T
- 2x regular T
- 2x terminator
- some cables depending on your equipment placement.

Do not hesitate doing this, you will love it. I think the Maretron sensors are top of the line, mostly because of their (near?) perfect software implementation of N2K standards. Their GPS and wind/weather sensors are also favorites of me.

Raymarine used to sell a gyro that could be coupled with that ancient fluxgate, but it will be not as good and just as costly IIRC.

cheers,
Nick.
Thanks..

I am sooooooooo not looking forward to running more wire in my boat (68 Ohlson 38). Plus where the old KVH was (inside the wood table) had a custom made SS conduit made...way too small for 2 cables to be snaked down. Thats going to be the biggest hurdle.. installing it without making it look like crap.

A lot of work and money to avoid paying ransom to KVH!! Spend about $1000 in a new sensor, wiring, connectors, and beer to save $150!! But I think it will be a better way to go in the long run..and have the satisfaction of not giving in!
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Old 05-12-2011, 18:29   #14
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomracer View Post
Thanks..

I am sooooooooo not looking forward to running more wire in my boat (68 Ohlson 38). Plus where the old KVH was (inside the wood table) had a custom made SS conduit made...way too small for 2 cables to be snaked down. Thats going to be the biggest hurdle.. installing it without making it look like crap.

A lot of work and money to avoid paying ransom to KVH!! Spend about $1000 in a new sensor, wiring, connectors, and beer to save $150!! But I think it will be a better way to go in the long run..and have the satisfaction of not giving in!
If you haven't tried it already, I would write them a letter stating that since they have not informed you of the fee ahead of time, in your opinion you are not obligated to pay it and you are requesting return of your property. You should state that you are willing to cover the cost of return shipping and insurance. I would also cc Practical Sailor (state this in the letter.) You could also threaten them with referring this to the Rhode Island Attorney General's office (I assume that's where they're incorporated)

If I were in your shoes, getting the unit back would feel more satisfying than paying $1000 for a new sensor.

The most you stand to lose is the time spent writing the letter.

Unless of course the $150 fee is stated in their terms of warranty...
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Old 05-12-2011, 18:38   #15
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Re: Time for a New Heading Sensor . . . KVH or Airmar or (Original) Autohelm / Raymar

FYI--a quick reading of the warranty terms (here: http://www.kvh.com/Pages/Warranty/Warranty-Coverage-US/~/media/Site%20Documents/Warranties/540301B.ashx) does not mention anything about $150 dollar fee. I would enclose a copy of the warranty in the letter.

Make sure to send it by the old fashioned snail mail, preferably certified or return receipt.

Good luck
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