Originally Posted by Jim Cate
Just had a look at the Pelagic site... an interesting product. The price
seems quite attractive to me, especially when I paid over 800 AUD a few years ago for just the drive unit for a Raymarine ST4000.
However, their site leaves me with a vague uneasyness: they are kinda coy about specifications. For instance, I couldn't find what the max travel for the ram was, anything about the control box
or how the software
worked, whether there was an input for wind
direction or STW to aid their calculations, or even what size/displacement vessels it would suit in their opinion. Then there was their "comparison test with the competition", where they didn't identify said competition. Was it a Ray 1000 or a 4000GT? or something else. Makes a big difference!
I have used a ST4000 as a backup on our boat, and it is inadequate... been through several motors and two drives so far, and have given up on further replacements
. Have considered using an industrial linear drive
with the ST4000 control plus some load relays, but this Pelagic might be a good intermediate option... but as I said, the website has me a bit worried! I'll give it some more thought...
Jim- It might help to explain that the Pelagic product is the result of a single
, very talented engineer
. He has spent years developing the AP, and continues to improve its design (and add features). The web site is not where he is concentrating his efforts. It has been about half a year since I saw him, and at that time he had already added the ability to receive wind info via 0183. He may add other sentences in the future, possibly XTE, but his concept
is a self-contained system which does one thing great: steer the boat straight in all conditions. No fancy display. No route
following (very problematic feature IMHO). Just a great AP. Inside the controller is a surface mount PCB with microcontroller and heading, acceleration, and gyro sensors (he designs his own layouts). The second box has the drive circuit (high power transistors) - check the max current
spec. The magic is in the programming, of course, but how to explain that?
His work has been on developing the electronics
and firmware, which can work on any number of drive types and sizes. He has a price for just that if you want to provide your own drive. Personally I was looking at a different linear drive for my boat than the one he offers. No problem.
He is extremely helpful, so if you do have any questions you should just ask him, either through his website or here (@brianb00).