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Old 09-09-2016, 20:32   #1
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What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

When I bought my 25 foot Top Hat sailboat, the previous owner handed me his ST2000 autopilot gizmo as well. However the only working instrument I have on the boat is a magnetic compass mounted to the left of the companionway hatch, when viewed from the cockpit.

The boat did have an old German electronic speed and distance log and a depth sounder, but the cables and transponder are gone.

There is an old marine vhf radio, which I will probably update to one with DSC and AIS. But I reckon a GPS chart plotter and a depth gauge would be high on my want list.

I have little money to spend, so I want to do this right. Please can I have your suggestions...

Thanks.



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Old 09-09-2016, 21:11   #2
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PommyDave View Post
When I bought my 25 foot Top Hat sailboat, the previous owner handed me his ST2000 autopilot gizmo as well. However the only working instrument I have on the boat is a magnetic compass mounted to the left of the companionway hatch, when viewed from the cockpit.

The boat did have an old German electronic speed and distance log and a depth sounder, but the cables and transponder are gone.

There is an old marine vhf radio, which I will probably update to one with DSC and AIS. But I reckon a GPS chart plotter and a depth gauge would be high on my want list.

I have little money to spend, so I want to do this right. Please can I have your suggestions...

Thanks.



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G'Day PD,

I'm sure t hat you will get lots of folks who will happily spend your money for you. I'll try to be reasonable!

Depth sounder is essential IMO, but can be a pretty basic instrument.

A decent VHF also, and these days, one with an inbuilt AIS receiver will not add too much cost, but adds a lot of useful collision avoidance info, so I reckon it to be worth the extra bucks.

You seem to have a computer,'cause you are here on CF. If it is a laptop that you can take o n the boat, I'd skip the chartplotter and use the computer with a puck GPS and Open CPN. That's what I do by choice (cost is not what keeps me from a dedicated plotter), and it works so very well for us. This will give you speed and COG info; I personally like to have a knotmeter/log as well, and that can often be incorporated into the depth instrument, but the dollars start to add up.

Now the autopilot... you don't say if it is complete and functional. If it is, it will be a great help to you in all your sailing, either alone or with crew. I may have misunderstood your thread title, but you shouldn't need to add anything to the a/p.

Finally, I see that you are a ham. You might find it interesting to join us on the Comedy Net each morning. It is a m/m net centered on the east coast of Oz, with good coverage out to New Cal and Vanuatu, some coverage of NZ, and excellent coverage up and down the Oz coast as far as Tassie and FNQ. We start at 2140 Z (0740 EAST) on 7.087 MHz LSB every day of the year, with different folks taking turns as net control. We welcome all comers, and about half of t he participants are not yotties but land based folks with an interest in the sea. An informal and friendly group, so give us a call if you can, from your home QTH or on the boat. There are quite a few CF members on the net, BTW,including Sapient Sue and El Pinguino.

Cheers and 73 de Jim VK4GFT/N9GFT m/m
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Old 09-09-2016, 21:33   #3
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

the st2000 will work on it's own. just plug it in. it'll hold a heading.

add a chart plotter with transducer and an AIS receive VHF. then you can feed nav data to the st2000 if you want to steer to waypoints.
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Old 09-09-2016, 21:34   #4
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Thank you Jim, I'm in the process of selling my house and moving at the moment so I don't have an HF antenna setup either on the boat or at my home. Once this changes, you can be pretty sure to hear me on 40 metres. I'm looking forward to it.
73 de David vk2dmh.

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Old 10-09-2016, 11:51   #5
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Skip the Chartplotter and use your laptop or better yet get a decent tablet. Unlike the plotter you can see them in the sunshine. We have Tacktik instruments from Raymarine feeding OpenCPN on a laptop. Going to an ICOM (as a ham you know those folks), that has GPS integrated and a i500 ais recvr feeding the system. As backup we have Navionics app on the tablet out in the cockpit. This kit will drive the Raymarine autohelm. Cost will prove to be reasonable, given you buy a Thinkpad on eBay or better yet use a Raspberry Pi to drive the system.......
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:53   #6
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

AIS transcievers are expensive and really only necessary for those who like to sleep when undersay in high commerial traffic areas. They will tell a ship where you are and let you see on the screen where they are and what they are. Something that can easily be done with the Mark ! eye ball for day sailing and coastal cruising. Yes, if you have a bunch of money left over from buying the necessary things to go sailing with by all means get an AIS. If you sail in an area with perpetual fog/poor visibility and commercial traffic, might put it higher up the list.

Chart plotters have gotten rediculously cheap. They are built for the marine environment so you can locate it where it will be useful from the helm, can be seen in sunlight, without fear of an errant wave wiping out your navigation or having it slide off its perch and shatter on the sole. Have had no luck with Open CPM for a plotter. It's not intuitive for me and find my fossiized brain can't make it work. The first time I used a plotter, turned it on and sailed 50 miles on the open ocean and through one of the busiest ports in the world, easy peasy.

Depth sounders are necessary little devils. Tell you which way things get shallow, warn you of approaching hard things and tell you how much anchor rode to layout for a secure nights sleep.

I like a knotmeter/log. Tells me how I'm doing harnessing the wind and how far I've gone. Necesary for DR navigation and estimating position in conjunction with a depth sounder if the electronics or your source of electricity goes tits up. Not really a must have but I don't leave home without it.

Fixed position VHF radios are the last thing I'd spend money for on a boat. A radio that is down below can't be heard or at least understood from on deck. You can't transmit without an expensive problematic remote mike. Since it's down below and I'm mostly on deck it's almost totally useless for me. A water proof, floating handheld VHF can be clipped to your belt or put in a cubby in the cockpit. It is always ready for use their and can be easily heard but you do have to remember to keep it charged. Only negative to a handheld is it doesn't have as great a range as a built in with a masthead antenna but its range has covered everything I've needed. If I want range for an emergency will set off one of the epirbs.

Personal Epirb clipped to my harness/inflatable vest. Will alert the powers that be almost instantly if there is trouble that can't be handled. Try to clip on when I'm sailing alone but will locate me if I should somehow go over the side. Cost on the personal units have come down and have everything needed with enough transmit time for the CG to find you.

The rest of the electronic gizmos are nice to have items. Radar is useful in fog if you like to scare yourself seeing all the crazy power boaters zipping around at flank speed with no visibility. Find the GPS more than accurate enough to navigate in poor visibility.

You are already into HF communications so a Marine HF radio is an unneeded additional expense unless you have to transmit on the designated marine frequencies.

Windspeed/windpoint instruments are expensive and don't do a lot more than a masthead Windex and a Beaufort scale printout for estimating windspeed.

Switch all your lights over LED's, buy a small solar panel and you will be energy self sufficient.

Have fun and sail the crap out of that boat.
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Old 10-09-2016, 13:46   #7
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

I also use OpenCPN on a laptop by choice. I can see all boat data (position, compass, depth, speed, wind, temp etc) on OpenCPN by using a great little device from Yakbitz that connects the boat to the laptop (there are two models: one converts NMEA0183 to USB, the other NMEA0183 to WiFi). Search eBay for YakBitz or Yakker for more info.
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Old 10-09-2016, 18:51   #8
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Dave,
Start with defining what you want from your boat. Top Hat is a fine little craft, but I suspect you are not taking the ham radio on board and not looking at distant voyaging.
If just cruising Sydney Harbour, or in my case, Pittwater and Hawkesbury, then ALL you need is a depth sounder.
As noted, the Autohelm will be great with a power supply. It does its job perfectly and the 2000 is very capable on a Top Hat.
For speed - who cares, just enjoy yourself, unless racing or doing serious navigation (not pilotage).
For a chart plotter, I use the Avionics app on my I Phone and I Pad, it gives speed as well.
If you are just after very basic depth, PM me and I have an old sounder (Seafarer) you can have next time you are up on Northern Beaches.
If you want more data as you are cruising the coast etc, then look at upgrades from there.
If you are racing and want sophisticated gizmos, then that is a different kettle of fish.
Roger
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Old 11-09-2016, 02:29   #9
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

While we're (sort of) on about ST 2000 autopilots.
I have just bought an ST2000 tiller pilot. Is it meant to self centre at
each Power Up? Let's say I remove it from the tiller with the operating arm fully retracted, ( or fully extended), next time I want to connect it to the tiller, would I then need to bring the tiller hard over in order to be able to drop the arm onto the pin?
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Old 11-09-2016, 14:10   #10
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Thank you, Roger, for such sound advice. I would be very tempted to take up your offer of an old depth sounder. However, as I have to move house imminently, that will be my immediate task. I have discovered there is a small Dear all box in my boat, plus the busted stump of a wind sensor on the stern. That's exciting.

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Old 11-09-2016, 14:28   #11
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

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Originally Posted by holmek View Post
While we're (sort of) on about ST 2000 autopilots.
I have just bought an ST2000 tiller pilot. Is it meant to self centre at
each Power Up? Let's say I remove it from the tiller with the operating arm fully retracted, ( or fully extended), next time I want to connect it to the tiller, would I then need to bring the tiller hard over in order to be able to drop the arm onto the pin?
With the unit in "standby" just press and hold either Red, or Green buttons and the thing drives in, or out so you can adjust it appropriately. Press the "Auto" button and it then does its job.
I presume you have "calibrated" it when first used, as per the instruction manual, so it gets the correct heading on the boat.
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Old 11-09-2016, 14:32   #12
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

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Originally Posted by PommyDave View Post
Thank you, Roger, for such sound advice. I would be very tempted to take up your offer of an old depth sounder. However, as I have to move house imminently, that will be my immediate task. I have discovered there is a small Dear all box in my boat, plus the busted stump of a wind sensor on the stern. That's exciting.

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Any time Dave, whenever you are ready. We are about to get a neighbour building new house alongside us, so I am not planning on spending time gardening, but whenever you are feeling in the need.
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Old 11-09-2016, 22:01   #13
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Re: What do I add to my ST2000 Autohelm?

Thank you Djarraluga, I will try that. H.
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