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Old 05-09-2013, 21:22   #31
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Glad you got it sorted, sounds like an elegant solution.

The chain drive on our coursemaster looks more like something taken from a caterpillar bulldozer tread than a conventional chain. This is one of the reasons why I am so keen to put a windvane on our boat, somehow all that brute force has to come at a price.

May your first "hands free" journey be a pleasurable one, I know that the first time I was able to duck down to put on the kettle on our old Austral 20 was a wonderful moment. (With deference to the COLREGS guys, it was only about 4 feet from the tiller to the stove top, and I was only away from the helm for less than a minute. Honest!)

Matt
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Old 05-09-2013, 21:23   #32
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I have used a Raymarine ST4000+ for about 14 years. The control head is great but the Wheelpilot part is pretty junky. It uses a small planetary gear box with nylon gears and the drive belt was only 7mm wide and very easily stripped teeth when placed under high load. I kept the control head and threw away the wheel drive part and built my own and have not had any problems since.
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Old 05-09-2013, 21:54   #33
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I bought the X5 to replace an old WP4000. The unit did not come with a rudder angle feedback sensor and my setup calibration failed until I installed one. A 10k pot will work.

The electronics work fine but the drive is flimsy. I plan to replace it with a hydraulic pump later.
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Old 05-09-2013, 21:56   #34
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It is interfaced with a Garmin plotter.
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Old 05-09-2013, 22:18   #35
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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It is interfaced with a Garmin plotter.
That is good to hear. I called Raymarine and Garmin and they both said that the two units "should" work together. We'll see if "I" can make that lash-up work.

When I got my current "working" airplane (Bonanza) I was quite enamored with its very capable autopilot (King KFC 200). However, now that I have figured out its various modes functions and tricks, I hardly touch the thing. I am a "look out the window and fly the damn plane" sort of pilot. Not a "head down button pusher" type.

Time will also tell how much of "hands free" motor/sailor I become.

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Old 06-09-2013, 00:31   #36
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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Thanks, Dockhead

Although I try and seek over sized/strength gear as a rule, in this case budget will be the determining factor.

For me, this system will be a luxury item and no big deal if it fails en-route (other than being pissed off). In the past I have always hand steered (all day long sometimes). Never had/used a windvane either.

I was a crewman on a new 90 foot motor yacht (20 years ago) and yep, you guessed it - no autopilot.

Also, understand that I am not a "passage maker" sort of sailor. Just gunk-hole from one anchorage to the next (all the way to Alaska).

The Garmin stuff looks good although I sure have a hard time finding nuts and bolts type info from their website. Looks like a Garmin set-up would be quite a bit more expensive than the Ray-marine.

To bad Ray-marine will not interface with Garmin. Oh well, not that important.

Steve
If you go with a wheel pilot, then don't worry about interfacing it with your nav system. Just go with the proven Raymarine system and you'll be fine. You will need to get heading data into it, and even a humble wheel pilot will benefit from quality heading data, so don't skimp on that.

A boat like yours, which if I'm not mistaken can be steered from a pilothouse, will especially benefit from a good pilot, so if there were any way you could stretch for a below-decks hydraulic one -- you would not regret it, and you would be amazed at the difference.

Like you, I have also steered big vessels on long passages by hand, but that by itself was enough to convince me of the crucial importance of a good pilot! To my mind, it's a crucial bit of gear.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:55   #37
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

cough cough... wind vane... cough cough
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:12   #38
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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cough cough... wind vane... cough cough
He says he's gunkholing for short hops, no long passages. I would usually agree with you, but you really don't need a wind vane for that.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:17   #39
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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He says he's gunkholing for short hops, no long passages. I would usually agree with you, but you really don't need a wind vane for that.
Ah, nevermind then.

Now that I have a wind vane myself I feel obliged to lecture everyone that they need one as well.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:35   #40
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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Ah, nevermind then.

Now that I have a wind vane myself I feel obliged to lecture everyone that they need one as well.
LOL

Well, it's a worthwhile lecture. A windvane is an awfully good thing to have if you do long passages. I wish I could find space on my transom to put one, but unfortunately, I have one of those opening transom platforms which make it apparently impossible
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:59   #41
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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LOL

Well, it's a worthwhile lecture. A windvane is an awfully good thing to have if you do long passages. I wish I could find space on my transom to put one, but unfortunately, I have one of those opening transom platforms which make it apparently impossible
Have you checked Hydrovane? They have some rather funky brackets that make it possible and you can mount it off center. I've got a canoe stern with an overhanging stern pulpit; I got that sucker on there.

If you're looking for a quality way to burn through $6K a Hydrovane will help you along that path.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:10   #42
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There is a swing out option for walk thru transom s. I saw one being installed last month.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:14   #43
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Quote:
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If you want it to interface with a Garmin plotter, then you will need a Garmin pilot. AFAIK, the Garmin pilots are fine.
Not really. Almost every bit of decent marine gear on the planet that has a data in/out function uses NMEA 0183.
They will talk.
Unless they are NMEA 2000 then they should talk.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:30   #44
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Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

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cough cough... wind vane... cough cough
I use a dingy davit (hard dingy) exclusively. No space for wind vane even if I could justify the expense.

I have sailed this boat (often single handed) for 18 years without one. Maybe I don't know what I am missing. Ignorance is bliss.

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Old 06-09-2013, 10:00   #45
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Your new autopilot has a wind sensor input and a wind vane function.
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