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Old 13-10-2018, 10:46   #1
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Recommendations for Autopilot

Planning to install autopilot on a '97 Beneteau Oceanis 381. Any suggestions/recommendations are appreciated.
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Old 13-10-2018, 10:53   #2
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

What's the intended use? Local cruising, offshore passage making, single handed.......?
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Old 13-10-2018, 10:53   #3
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

CPT autopilot
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Old 13-10-2018, 11:02   #4
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

What are you looking for, a below deck hydraulic, below deck electric or wheel driven above deck AP??

Obvious choices are Raymarine /Garmin or could look at something like Pypilot.
We are currently running Sean's newer unit to control a very large below deck hydraulic pump (Accu-steer HRP-35). We have the ability to steer by compass, wind (apparent or true), or GPS.

So far, so good and it didn't break the bank. We've done a decent amount of testing and his controller is very energy efficient (average total of 4-6 amp hrs/10 hr run time). His controllers can do hydraulic, electric and tiller drive units.


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Old 13-10-2018, 11:05   #5
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

First do you want a below decks unit or a wheel/tiller pilot. Below decks more expensive but overall more robust and best for long passages (although many have had good luck with some of the wheel/tiller pilots like the CPT).

If below decks, what kind of drive?. If the boat steering is hydraulic then adding a hydraulic drive is usually easier. My boat came with an electric, linear drive motor which I decided to keep.

What brand will be the biggest decision. I went with B&G/Simrad (same company, some variation in the units) due to their long history and solid rep. Garmin is new to the AP market but so far seem to have good results. Then there's several independents like White and Alpha.

Two notes. First my Simrad/B&G unit is NMEA2000 compatible and I linked it easily to my Garmin plotter and with a little more work and an adapter to my old Raymarine speed/depth. So mixing brands if NMEA2000 compliant should be no problem. Second, any brand of computer can run any brand of drive as long as the computer power output is rated high enough for the drive and boat.
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Old 13-10-2018, 11:10   #6
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

CPT autopilot is too ugly for the price , better raynarine Ev 100 or different ...

I am with raynarine Ev 100 tiller it performs really well and doesn't consume much , all the issues I had have been solved under warranty.

If you can add an under the deck autopilot , and more important a hydraulic system the performance is really nice , wheel pilots make noise and don't perform well .
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Old 13-10-2018, 19:10   #7
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

Thanks,
Looking for below deck, probably electric. Currently we cruise the Chesapeake but will be coastal cruising, New England to Fla and Bahamas. Not planning on extended offshore. Not singlehand, crew of two.
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Old 13-10-2018, 20:49   #8
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

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Originally Posted by Chardonnay View Post
Thanks,
Looking for below deck, probably electric. Currently we cruise the Chesapeake but will be coastal cruising, New England to Fla and Bahamas. Not planning on extended offshore. Not singlehand, crew of two.
There are two major components to an autopilot: the computer and the drive, and the choices are not completely independent of each other, but to a very large extent you can mix and match.

So... for the computer, what instrument brand(s) do you currently have on board? Do you like them? Do you have a NMEA 2000 network? Network data from an existing electronic compass? from your wind instruments? I assume you are a 12 Volt boat? Are there any particular autopilot features that you covet? In general, I would recommend sticking with the same brand AP computer as your other instruments, but there are exceptions.

For the drive, it really depends on the physical layout, but I'll have a couple of comments: I have been really impressed with the Raymarine Linear drive. VERY quiet, reliable, and powerful. Ours is under a berth that get used for sleeping while we are underway. It is that quiet. If it can be made to fit, it would be my first recommendation. If a chain drive unit is more suited to your installation, same again, Raymarine. I have not always been a fan of Raymarine stuff, but I do like their AP drives.

Hydraulic units can be a lot noisier, but sometimes easier to fit in tight spaces and stock modular spare parts for. I have used one from Octopus, and it performed very well.
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Old 22-10-2019, 23:23   #9
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

Same question here. We have a Kelly Peterson 44, on which we want to go cruising from mid next year on. We'll stay in the Sea of Cortez for quite some time before heading down direction Panama and then intend a Pacific crossing.

She's already equipped with a wind vane and a tiller autopilot, but we'd like to add a below deck hydraulic autopilot to have a third option. We'd like to setup a NMEA 2000 network and interface the autopilot with the existing B&G Zeus Touch 8 plotter on the helm with a Simrad NAC-3 Core Pack.

We have looked into the following linear drives:
B&G Pilot Ram-T2:
https://www.bandg.com/en-gb/bg/type/...ic-ram-t2-12v/

Lecomble & Schmitt 50 ST 20 Newave:
https://www.ls-france.com/en/power-p...ical-steering/

Octopus 45mm Bore Line Actuator:
http://www.octopuseurope.com/images/...ar%20Drive.pdf

Any thoughts or experiences?
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Old 23-10-2019, 22:43   #10
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

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Originally Posted by Fidu666 View Post
Same question here. We have a Kelly Peterson 44, on which we want to go cruising from mid next year on. We'll stay in the Sea of Cortez for quite some time before heading down direction Panama and then intend a Pacific crossing.

She's already equipped with a wind vane and a tiller autopilot, but we'd like to add a below deck hydraulic autopilot to have a third option. We'd like to setup a NMEA 2000 network and interface the autopilot with the existing B&G Zeus Touch 8 plotter on the helm with a Simrad NAC-3 Core Pack.

We have looked into the following linear drives:
B&G Pilot Ram-T2:
https://www.bandg.com/en-gb/bg/type/...ic-ram-t2-12v/

Lecomble & Schmitt 50 ST 20 Newave:
https://www.ls-france.com/en/power-p...ical-steering/

Octopus 45mm Bore Line Actuator:
http://www.octopuseurope.com/images/...ar%20Drive.pdf

Any thoughts or experiences?
We have had excellent service from our L&S drive, in use exclusively for over 30,000 miles.
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Old 23-10-2019, 22:54   #11
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Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

You might want to add to your list of options, a Raymarine linear drive, I think a type 1 would be the right size for your boat.

They are very robust, and VERY quiet. We sleep on top of ours underway. Try that with one of the small hydraulic units.

We have put 25,000 miles on ours, and it came with the boat, which had a lot of miles on her. It is currently interfaced with a B&G AC42.

Biggest downside: they need more physical room to install, but if they fit they are a nice piece of gear.
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Old 15-11-2019, 18:42   #12
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Angry Re: Recommendations for Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidu666 View Post
Same question here. We have a Kelly Peterson 44, on which we want to go cruising from mid next year on. We'll stay in the Sea of Cortez for quite some time before heading down direction Panama and then intend a Pacific crossing.

She's already equipped with a wind vane and a tiller autopilot, but we'd like to add a below deck hydraulic autopilot to have a third option. We'd like to setup a NMEA 2000 network and interface the autopilot with the existing B&G Zeus Touch 8 plotter on the helm with a Simrad NAC-3 Core Pack.


Lecomble & Schmitt 50 ST 20 Newave:
https://www.ls-france.com/en/power-p...ical-steering/



Any thoughts or experiences?
I have Zuess 2, NAC 3 & Lecomble & Schmitt ST 20 fitted to a Farr 43.
Set up includes rudder feedback unit, Precision 9 compass, L & S Eco valve, AP control, Bluetooth remote, B&G log / wind transducers displaying on Trident 1 & 2 instruments.

The mechanical steering and the AP are always connected. No clutch or disconnect is required. Manual steering is slightly damped. Taking
hold of the wheel will disengage the AP.

The L&S produces about the same volume of noise as the mechanical linkages in the existing steering system (chain cable & quadrant).

Very happy with the performance under all conditions even up to and slightly beyond the point I don't want to be in the cockpit.

35 knots and sloppy seas the AP gives up unless a very well balanced sail plan can be maintained i.e. crew on deck.

Eco valve reduces AP power consumption to insignificant compared to refrigeration. 120 amp hr AGM runs the AP for 2 + days. Increasing the flow rate from the pump was required after fitting the eco unit to restore commanding input.

Upgrade to the Precision 9 compass over the RC42 unit improved steering performance to borderline predictive. With a regular swell pattern and additional wind generated wave from a different direction the NAC 3 will swing the wheel as or before the stern rises in a quartering sea holding an average course well within the set 5 degree wander limit.

I'm curious what sort of perfomance boost an H5000 controller would have made but I've made the investment in the NAC 3.

Tunning the NAC 3 AP via the Zuess unit is somewhat intuitive although it would be nice to have a simple gain knob to cope with variable conditions.
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