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Old 01-09-2013, 18:35   #16
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

i never hear bad things about the alpha.
they are very simple and low priced.
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Old 01-09-2013, 20:37   #17
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I'll second the CPT autopilot.
Well priced and seems very robust. We've used ours for extended motoring with pleasant results.

No interface, but running course information from the plotter through a human brain cannot be a totally bad thing.
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Old 01-09-2013, 20:52   #18
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

+1 for the Raymarine X5. I use it constantly on my 13000# pilothouse. Simple, robust and easy to change parts if there ever was a problem. The only thing I'd like better is if I could change back and forth from pilothouse to cockpit wheel.
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Old 01-09-2013, 21:17   #19
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

i'll recommend the cpt autopilot too. it's a wheelpilot - connected directly to your wheel - simple, rugged, and powerful. the only wheelpilot recommended for boats over 16000 lbs. easily steers my 20000 lb cutter, even downwind.

the downside is that it's not 'connectable' to any electronic input such as gps. but that's actually what i like about it. it's designed to steer a big boat on a set course. you personally make any course changes that are necessary.

more info here - CPT Autopilot Inc.
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Old 01-09-2013, 21:25   #20
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Anybody have any experience with this Ray-marine remote control?

I built this hatch/seat for the fore deck and thought it would be cool to be able to sit up front and motor through the beautiful scenery in relative quiet.

Will this remote control transmit through aluminum? Or transmit around corners?

I suppose I could mount the receiver (control head?) up near a window for better reception.

Steve
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:46   #21
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Had a CPT for over 15 years and 30,000 miles rebuilt once and still going. So my opinion is,,,CPT.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:44   #22
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

So I am thinking the Wood-Freeman is out of the running due to the physical size (large) of the components. Especially the drive motor.

The X5 is starting to sound a little bit too "light duty". Once an autopilot is on board I can see a trend toward becoming more reliant/dependent on it. It would be nice to use when sailing single handed. When the wind puffs, Panope heels over and the weather helm does get a little heavy.

An under-deck linear type actuator sounds great, but at $2K (just for the actuator) plus another 2K for the brains, this is just too much for me to spend.

So the CPT is starting to sound good. Decent price (Less than 2K). Sounds like it will be powerful enough for use while sailing. Components are a little bigger in size (than X5) but I think they will fit O.K.. Nice that they throw in a remote control (wired so no worries about wireless reception) as part of the deal.

I really appreciate the help you all have given.

Steve
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Old 02-09-2013, 17:28   #23
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

CPT is also a good choice because it is beefy enough. The reason I suggested the Wood-Freeman is cost(relatively cheap), reliability (had good luck and few repairs both commercially and in my DeFever) and parts are relatively available (plus great customer service). I think you are narrowing down the field in a good way. Phil
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Old 02-09-2013, 18:00   #24
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
CPT is also a good choice because it is beefy enough. The reason I suggested the Wood-Freeman is cost(relatively cheap), reliability (had good luck and few repairs both commercially and in my DeFever) and parts are relatively available (plus great customer service). I think you are narrowing down the field in a good way. Phil
I like my X5 (mainly because it hasn't failed) but if I had to do it all over again I'd get the CPT. I was a little spooked about it because of the company ownership changing and I got the whole X5 for roughly 60% of the cost of the CPT.

With the Hydrovane I might actually see if I can just make a ~$400 tiller pilot work. (It's got it's own rudder and little stubby tiller).
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Old 02-09-2013, 18:06   #25
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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But a hydraulic below-decks pilot is a different universe altogether. If you can afford it, go that way. Self-steering is a really important system.
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+1. Go direct to the steering quadrant, if at all possible.

I think there's a great deal to be said about integrated systems where the plotter and pilot are made by the same manufacturer. The more everything works together, the more together it works.
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Old 02-09-2013, 18:23   #26
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Just over the border for you in BC, ComNav. Any arrangement of components you wish. IMHO, the best,
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Old 04-09-2013, 19:48   #27
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Took a look at Defender and the Raymarine linear drive autopilot with computer, compass, control head and linear drive is under $3000. For the $1000 over the CPT that I suggested earlier, I would get the Raymarine unit... its a great price.
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Old 04-09-2013, 21:27   #28
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Thanks funjohnson.

That linear drive unit looks great. Compact, out of sight and it would be a snap to install. But the price is hurdle that has stopped me in my tracks.

In fact, this whole auto pilot education/acquisition has reminded me of the need to always take a step back and really look at what is actually needed. Sort of a realty check.

All too often people build or rebuild a boat for some future fantasy trip or cruise. When they finally finish either the boat does not match the mission or the people never really knew what mission they wanted in the first place.

This is pretty much what happened when my parents set out to build Panope in the first place. The mission was for the family to sail off into the sunset. The reality was a divorce before launch followed by many happy years using a boat optimized for off shore cruising, as a day-sailor/fishing boat.

I am now finishing up a massive modification/refit to make the boat more suitable for the missions that I know I will use her for: Day sailing, Sport fishing, Occasional weekend getaways to the islands and one day, a long summer motor boat ride up the inside passage.

I really do not need an autopilot to use under sail. When I sail it is mostly just for fun and I like steering the boat by hand.

I do not need an autopilot when fishing.

What I really need/want is an autopilot to steer during those long - sorta boring - motor passages in calm water.

Rebel Heats boat weighs 22,000 lbs and has been using a Raymarine X5 successfully during motoring. By comparison, Panope weighs 14,000 lbs.. She has a 6 turn, stop to stop mechanical advantage in her steering system. X5 should work just fine when motoring.

Defender has X5's on sale for $1,300 with control head included.

I thinking that this is all I really need. And I can afford it.

Steve
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Old 05-09-2013, 16:16   #29
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Just to toss in a slightly off beat idea here...

If budget is tight, and you are handy, then something akin to Rebel Heart's suggestion should at least be considered. An old Hydrovane or Fleming, coupled to a basic tillerpilot might be more then adequate. I know my little tillerpilot on the last boat worked well for years, so using one to power a windvane or auxiliary rudder is worth considering. Certainly a LOT less load than it would have had to exert operating the tiller on the Austral 20 so power use becomes almost trivial, not something I would say about our direct-to-quadrant coursemaster, which hammers the battery bank horribly.

And depending on your boat's design, it might even be easy to add an auxiliary rudder with trimtab operated by the tiller pilot.

From what you describe you are not about to put this boat through blue water hell, such a setup might be strong enough, with the bonus that you pickup the addition of windvane steering (in the first case), which I think is a bit of a plus really.

Overall, I think it is fair to say that a secondhand windvane system is both significantly cheaper to buy, easier to assess for wear, easier to repair than some integrated modern electronic thing and gives you redundancy. Coupled with a new tillerpilot .... just feels right to me.

Finally, for what it is worth, our coursemaster can talk to our chart plotter but I have never found the need, since I am nearly always sailing a course based on wind and gut feel, and as noted by Borocay, feeding a course through the human brain is good.

Just mixing things up a bit..


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Old 05-09-2013, 21:09   #30
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Hi Matt,

I pulled the trigger and ordered a Raymarine ev-100 (uses the same wheel pilot has the X-5). I decided that the CPT actuator would clutter up my already cramped pilot house seating arrangement. The Raymarine will be between the pilot house aft bulkhead and the helm - completely out of the way.

I had to do some research to figure out what Rebel Heart was describing with his Hydrovane and tiller pilot idea. Myself having never been around any type of wind vane.

You are right, It does seem like a logical answer - use a small, balanced fin or trim tab to relive the force required of the actuator. If I had any plans for a windvane then I would have given this some consideration. As it is, I will not be adding a windvane.

I did a little test. With my smallest finger on the spokes of the helm (at the same radius as the wheel pilot), the pressure required to move rudder is almost nothing (I realize that when the boat moves through the water there will be more force). I then went down into the lazarette to see how much force is required to move the rudder by pushing on the quadrant at roughly the radius that a bonfide, under deck actuator would attach. Wow, I could hardly budge the thing. It took a bunch of force to move it. Even then it was moving very slowly. No wounder the "real" autopilots are so beefy, expensive, and use so much energy.

With my "wheel force" so light, I am confident that the flimsy Raymarine unit will be fine for my limited use.

Thanks for all the help.

Steve
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