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Old 23-11-2015, 09:22   #16
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

my Raymarine A70 is mounted port side but within reach from helm. I like having it next to the engine gauges when motoring. Don't use it much under sail.
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Old 23-11-2015, 09:37   #17
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

Either in the chain locker or in the head under the toilet bowl. Need to make it as inaccessible as possible to prevent inadvertent use of it.
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Old 23-11-2015, 09:50   #18
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

I used a Navpod to put instruments at the helm. I think it would be an elegant solution for placing your autohelm control unit.

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Old 23-11-2015, 11:00   #19
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

I would put the control head by the helm or the companionway and also have a remote (wireless or cable) that you can reach from the helm or companionway. I am not familiar with your boat so take this with a grain of salt.

You didn't specify what kind of mounting options you might have. If you have a pedestal with SS tubing, there are many different mount options there. Some people mount them in the coaming. Whatever you do DO NOT mount it low down like at the lazerette enclosure. You need to be able to operate it and see it when standing at the helm, or at least sitting down. It should be at arm's length and not require you to let go of the wheel for any reason. You also want to get to it to shut it off in a hurry and have your hand on the tiller or the wheel at the same time.
http://www.rammount.com/device/gps_mounts

I crewed on a boat once where the Alpha AP was mounted about 3 inches above the cockpit sole right at the pedestal and you had to get down on your knees and hands to even see what it was set to, or to set it. So you had to take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the sea. Never again. I won't even crew on a boat like that. Took two people to set it when we were in a seaway. Of course that was major old tech but the problem remains the same.

On our ketch we put 15,000nm on using a Simrad AP with the control head on a "dash" above the companionway and not close to the helm. We had a wired remote though. So we could set the initial course at the companionway and used the remote from anywhere in the very large center cockpit. Worked great.

We used a RamMount for a chartplotter at the companion way and another for a GPS at the pedestal. They come with various attachment feet - flat to glass, clamps, etc. Very easy to install and move or remove. You have to deal with the wiring. NavPods work but are expensive and bulky and are not very flexible as to where they go. They can bolt right to some types of pedestals. Lots of other options if you look hard.
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Old 23-11-2015, 11:56   #20
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

I have a wheel pilot so it does have a manual disengage on the wheel. My controls though are mounted next to the companionway. I'm in the PNW and it's nice to get out of the cold and rain under the dodger and just steer the boat from the control. My boat is only 32' so it's not like I have a long way to go to do the disengage - 2 seconds?
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Old 23-11-2015, 11:58   #21
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

Most new autopilots have multi-station ability. Ours will have one above decks, and one below. I could, and may install a 3rd station by the companionway as I make this my poor weather hangout.
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Old 23-11-2015, 12:18   #22
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

Mount at the helm, but put it in a rotatable navpod. This way it can be turned and observed/controlled from below the dodger. I never sit behind the wheel unless close to shore.

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Old 23-11-2015, 13:16   #23
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

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Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
Installing my autopilot now and just wondering if it's normal to mount it by the door down to the cabin or should I mount it on the wheel pedestal? It's a 27ft hunter. If it's really better to mount it on the pedestal what is a good mount to use since my boat has nothing.

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I have to go through this with every AP I install.

I loathe installing anything on the companionway bulkheads, destroying the best seat (backrest actually) in the house.

(I am currently in the process of glassing in 4 x 4" diameter old bulkhead instrument holes, installed at the factory 40 years ago, on my personal boat.)

All instrumentation access at the helm is my normal recommendation, especially for short-handed crew.

So the way I deal with it is to ask, "What hand do you normally steer with the most when under power?"

(This is normally the hand opposite the engine control levers.)

Put the chartplotter (that you will access more than anything) where you can easily operate it with the non-steering hand. Mount the autohelm display (next most frequently accessed instrument) head at the next most convenient place for that hand. (The remote VHF mic should also be on this side, but it often has to be kept away from displays.)

Normally what it means is a pod instrument enclosure, with the charplotter in the centre, and the autohelm controller on the side of the chartplotter that has the engine controls.

The wind instrument (usually much less frequently accessed, if so equipped) is then on the opposite side. If the boat has separate knot, depth wind, autohelm, then chartplotter in centre, depth and speed opposite engine controls, autohelm and wind on engine control side.

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Old 23-11-2015, 13:48   #24
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

Sometimes I have to make slight adjustments on my (tiller) autopilot and it's nice that I can reach it from near the companion way where I'm usually sitting under the dodger when the autopilot is engaged

I wouldn't want to have to go back to the helm if I had a big boat with the control back there every time I needed to make a slight adjustment.

Also when I'm up at the mast raising my mainsail coming out the creek, I usually have the autopilot running the show. Again, it's nice that as soon as I reenter the cockpit I can reach the control in case I have to readjust due to the main's effect on the boat
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Old 23-11-2015, 14:01   #25
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

I would suggest the pedestal if you can. You want it as close as possible
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Old 23-11-2015, 16:02   #26
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

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I would suggest the pedestal if you can. You want it as close as possible
As close as possible to what?

Are you going to be at the helm/pedestal on autopilot?

Is this the movies where the skipper is always at the helm?
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Old 23-11-2015, 16:04   #27
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

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I actually agree with both of these! On my Autohelm 3000, the control box is near the companionway under the dodger, but there is a mechanical disengage lever at the helm. Unfortunately, when the clutch is disengaged, the control box still thinks it's in charge, and the motor goes crazy. A remote control would be nice. However, the whole kit is now almost 30 years old, so the remote will have to wait until I get a new autopilot.
Nearly same situation here... my control box is on the port coaming a bit out of the waves and weather, under the dodger, and close to my instrument panel. The engagement lever is on wheel. Sedna's cockpit is only 7 feet long, when I need to adjust controls on the box it's only one step away. If I need to tweak it too often then I turn off the Autohelm and steer...
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Old 23-11-2015, 16:06   #28
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

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As close as possible to what?

Are you going to be at the helm/pedestal on autopilot?

Is this the movies where the skipper is always at the helm?
That was my point earlier. People are saying you need to be able to respond quick... but if the AP is on... you probably aren't back at the wheel!
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Old 23-11-2015, 17:34   #29
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

Each to there own.....
.....but when I engage the AP I like to be at the helm, in case it fails dramatically...

Also, I like the watchkeeper to STAND once in a while to have an all around look...
Tweaking the AP positioned at the helm....forces the WK to do that as well as disengaging once in a while to feel weather helm.

I think the best solution depends on you boat's configuration and whether you just day sail or make passages.
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Old 23-11-2015, 18:55   #30
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Re: Where do people mount there helm controls for autopilot

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That was my point earlier. People are saying you need to be able to respond quick... but if the AP is on... you probably aren't back at the wheel!
The point is that when you grab the wheel to avoid a net or a log you just spotted you need to be able to immediately disengage the AP so you can actually turn the wheel.
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