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Old 09-05-2011, 07:05   #1
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Beeping Autopilot Drive

My Raymarine mechanical rotary drive unit is making a "beeping" noise when operating. It's just loud enough to make me crazy and I spent a bunch of time looking for the source because it sounds like an alarm (I was even checking the bilge because that alarm is mounted on the steering pedstral). I finally pulled the tray and storage box off the pedestral that gets me to the drive and it definally is the drive evey time it moves (and it stops if I put the AP in standby).

I sent the question to RM who may or may not answer with anything of use (based on my experience).

Anyone else have/had this problem?

PS - just got a response from RM who says if the system is more than 10 years old (it probably is excatly 10 years old) that it MAY be the course computer. Guess they just want me to start buying new componets and hope for the best (money for them that is).
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:43   #2
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Re: beeping autopilot drive

There was a number of threads on here a few years ago about beeping but I don't remember if there was a resolution.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:52   #3
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

I used to have an AutoHelm that would beep if it was unable to hold the programed/selected course. This would happen if it was unable to hold a heading or follow a GPS course through seatalk. I am guessing that you have something programed that the equipment is looking at and is unable to comply with. It used to take me a whole pot of coffee to set the dang thing up. Then it would be good for that days navigation.

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:17   #4
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

"Captain Ron", our autopilot (same kind Autohelm wheel) is not beeping when acting on the helm. What I heard is a kind of buzzing when the electric motor is acting.
Beeping is only an alarm when it is not anymore able to maintain is course.
Perhaps you have a resonance effect in the pedestal and the movement of the electric motor start this beeping by resonance?
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Old 09-05-2011, 15:21   #5
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

There wasn't any programmed course in the unit. It is not the control head (that would beep if there was a course holding issue, at least on my old Garmin unit) it is definitley coming from the drive motor. It's like the system sends the drive a signal to turn and it beeps every time. I can tell it does it only does it when the motor is moving.

I got another response from RM after I pushed back. They told me my course computer was out of production which is werid because I didn't even tell what unit I had for the course computer (maybe they all are out of producton if you have gotten it before this year). They at least this time told me a way to check if it is the drive by connecting power directly to it and see if it beeps then.
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Old 29-06-2011, 05:03   #6
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

Going back to this, because I haven't done anything on it yet other than turn the radio up louder.

Does anyone else's autopilot beep? I'm talking when it is operating that it beeps EVERYTIME the computer powers the drive motor?
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Old 29-06-2011, 05:15   #7
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

I have a RM ST5000 Autopilot. It beeps when it experiences a high load. This usually happens when I try to make a manual course correction and leave it in auto. I have to reef on the wheel pretty hard to get it to beep.

Is there something making it hard for your auto to turn the rudder?
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Old 29-06-2011, 05:21   #8
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

My beeps ALL the time, and in ALL steering conditions.

My Hunter 410 rack and pinion does have tight steering compared to my last boat with a cable system. Maybe the tight steering is itself the problem, but I can not think of a way to fix that other than pulling the rudder and havig the shaft or bushings machined (this could be less expensive that a new course computer that RM says is the issue).
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Old 29-06-2011, 05:30   #9
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

The beep from the drive unit is some fault and it might be a low voltage alarm or an overload alarm. Simple question - Does it work? It could be why they asked you to power it directly. Bad wires are a nortotious problem with almost anything on a boat and an autopilot has a lot of then running around in all those old familiar places. Rechecking as many connections as possible might find it.

If it is 10 years old the course computer is out of date. Not a problem. You can get a new one that works with the control head you have. It's the control head that determines the course computer that will work. You may not need one. Funny part it is the most expensive component.

RM won't actually fix anything any more. It's very hard to find someone that actually knows how to do board level work.

Mine is far older than 10 years and I can get a new course computer for it and am in the process of replacing mine.
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Old 29-06-2011, 05:36   #10
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

The system works GREAT! It has no problems steering at all. No problems with power to the unit (it even steered with the old bad batteries).

Get no error messages at all.

The wires all look to be correct size and if they were bad I would expect the system to have problems in tough conditions. But it is the same in calm conditions as those that are hard to hold course on.

I can believe it is the course computer, but aren't going to go down that road till I've checked everything else. I even posted on the Hunter site to see if it is a common 410 problem and plan to ask Hunter the same.
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Old 29-06-2011, 06:21   #11
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

Quote:
I even posted on the Hunter site to see if it is a common 410 problem and plan to ask Hunter the same.
I doubt it has anything to do with Hunter unless they tend to screw up autopilot installations. It is easier to install them as part of a factory build so it is not likely. I still would double check the connections by moving them and gently pulling on them to see if it could be a bad connection or probably a weak connection that comes and goes.
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Old 29-06-2011, 07:32   #12
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

You recently replaced your batteries.

Is this when it started?
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Old 29-06-2011, 07:36   #13
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

With the motor running or under sail? If the former, could be interference of some kind? I have an old autohelm 3000, which sometimes gets the yips when it's turned on under power.

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Old 29-06-2011, 09:43   #14
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

Have you checked all the wiring/cables. I had an intermitent problem with mine and checked everything without success. Then some months later I had to lay some cable for new equipment and found when bundling the new that my autopilot cable had worn itself to bare wires . Replaced it and problem solved.

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Old 25-06-2012, 05:18   #15
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Re: Beeping Autopilot Drive

So, because the AP was sometimes going a little crazy and the beeping seemed to be louder; I replaced the course computer (and the controller because I had to for the new computer. Still have the old rotary drive motor that was beeping before.

The beeping from the drive motor stopped!

So if your drive unit is beeping all the time start planning for replacing your course computer!
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