Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 31-08-2013, 21:35   #1
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I know very little about marine autopilots. I am considering installing one on Panope (34' 7 tons).

-Autopilot will be used primarily when motoring in somewhat protected waters (inside passage to Alaska).

-Panope's wheel is inside a pilothouse and actuates the rudder through sprockets, chain and cable.

-I can easily (happily) fabricate a "tiller" in the lazarette if a "tiller pilot" is chosen. Question: Do tiller pilots need to be disconnected in some way before manual steering resumes? If so, how can this option work if the tiller pilot is buried under deck?

-If tiller pilot, unit must overcome large resistance imposed by the mass of the wheel and by the friction of the chains and cables.

-The tiller pilot (in the lazarette) option is desirable (but not required) to me because the actuator will be hidden from view.

-I would like to interface with a Garmin 740 plotter.

-I have no problem building any brackets or hardware that is necessary, but after it is installed I want a bullet proof system that requires little attention.

-A cool option would be a wireless, remote steering control for hanging out on the fore deck.

-My wallet is still smoldering from my refit. Cost is a major factor.

What say you. Tiller pilot or Wheel pilot? Brand? Size?

I am know that I am clueless on a bunch of factors. Fire away!

Steve
__________________

Panope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-08-2013, 23:34   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,003
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

A Raymarine X5 wheel pilot would probably work fine for powering. Wouldn't reccomend for sailing unless your boat has a very light helm. Think the internal resistance of a standard tiller pilot would rule that out unless you are willing to disconnect it when not in use. A more robust under deck auto pilot will set you back about 3 times what an X5 will cost.
__________________

__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 01:09   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
rebel heart's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 6,190
Images: 3
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I put about 4k miles on an x5 and it's still working.
__________________
rebel heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 13:00   #4
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Thanks guys, for the recommendation for the X5. That looks like a good choice for me.

Couple of questions.

I see that it has a clutch for disengaging the motor. Is this clutch manual or automatic? When disengaged, how much drag or resistance is felt by the helmsman? Sometimes (when docking) it is nice to be able to "throw" the wheel and let its momentum/inertia continue to spin itself. I would be little disappointed if the AP prevented this.

Is the wheel driven by a belt or some sort of pinion/gear?

My Garmin plotter is NMEA 0183 compatible and so is the X5. Will these machines "talk" to each other even though they are made by different companies?

Thanks again,

Steve
Panope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 13:08   #5
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,767
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

i love my hydraulic mounted on quadrant simrad autopilot--is electrical assist so doesnt use much power--awesome creation..steers dead on even in 60 kt chubascos an d big seas. best crew i ever met. works well for sailing as well as for motoring.
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 13:08   #6
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I would caution against an X5 on a 37 ton boat. wheel drives arnt the most robust

dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 13:18   #7
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I would caution against an X5 on a 37 ton boat. wheel drives arnt the most robust

dave
I should have been clearer in the way that I described the boat in my first post.

Panope is 34 feet long and displaces 7 U.S. tons.

Steve
Panope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 13:29   #8
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,737
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I have a decade of experience with that wheel pilot on a similar boat (3 tons heavier, actually).

It works ok, and if you are budget-constrained, then that will be your best choice.

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.

If you want it to interface with a Garmin plotter, then you will need a Garmin pilot. AFAIK, the Garmin pilots are fine.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 15:02   #9
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I have a decade of experience with that wheel pilot on a similar boat (3 tons heavier, actually).

It works ok, and if you are budget-constrained, then that will be your best choice.

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.

If you want it to interface with a Garmin plotter, then you will need a Garmin pilot. AFAIK, the Garmin pilots are fine.

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
Panope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 15:52   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,003
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panope View Post
Thanks guys, for the recommendation for the X5. That looks like a good choice for me.

Couple of questions.

I see that it has a clutch for disengaging the motor. Is this clutch manual or automatic? When disengaged, how much drag or resistance is felt by the helmsman? Sometimes (when docking) it is nice to be able to "throw" the wheel and let its momentum/inertia continue to spin itself. I would be little disappointed if the AP prevented this.

Is the wheel driven by a belt or some sort of pinion/gear?

My Garmin plotter is NMEA 0183 compatible and so is the X5. Will these machines "talk" to each other even though they are made by different companies?

Thanks again,

Steve
Can't help you with the interface.

The clutch is a mechanical release that completely frees the wheel from the pilot. You should be able to spin the wheel with it disengaged if you could do it before. The drive is a belt. Seem to hold up pretty well. Biggest problem is the drive motor is a bit weak. Would go into overload and drop out on my boat when the weather helm got too heavy. Will admit, my boat took a lot of force to steer when the speed got up. Steered fine under power for 200 miles back to SF when I needed to make repairs.
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 16:13   #11
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

You might consider the old 'iron mike' called a wood-freeman autopilot. I first started using one on a commercial west coast troller in the 1950's. Not a difficult set up but you can forget trying to interface with anything like a plotter or fancy up to date electronics. There is one for sale at the moment on E-bay for $300 including manuals.
I was used to their little quirks so was delighted when I bought my last boat to live aboard, a Defever 54 and found it came equipped with my old friend.
I installed a newer primary autopilot that had interface capability which was great but many times I just ran with the Wood Freeman for hundreds of cruising miles.
They are simple to install, operate and still have lots of spare parts available. When used commercially, I never recall it crapping out and there were heaps of them up and down the fishing grounds in the PNW. Price is right too. Just another consideration. Phil
__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 17:19   #12
Registered User
 
Panope's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Washington State
Boat: Colvin, Saugeen Witch (Aluminum), 34'
Posts: 1,593
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Thanks Capt Phil,

That Wood-Freeman is an interesting option. It would look especially appropriate on Panope given her new "work boat" type pilot house.

I am leery of ancient electrical components around salt water however.

I will give that option some serious thought. I do like the price.

Steve
Panope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 18:10   #13
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

Hi Steve... I believe the original owner/developer's grandson who now runs the business is located close to Seattle. Phone # is on the Wood-Freeman website. Might talk to him about the application you are looking at.
If you ask around the yard at Port Townsend, you will find many WF installations, particularly among some of the older boats. Also, talk with the yard supervisors and older workers... they can steer you right (excuse the pun). Phil
__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 18:30   #14
Registered User
 
Freedom45's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Pacific
Boat: Freedom 45 hull#1
Posts: 177
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

I installed a Garmin GHC 10 autopilot and love it, I did use my existing Raytheon electric ram so the install was quite easy(Garmin unit will drive just about any kind of ram, electric or hydraulic as far as I know)


Chuck
__________________
I Sail, Therefor I ARRrrr...
Freedom45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 18:32   #15
Registered User
 
funjohnson's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Currently Indiantown FL
Boat: 37' aluminum pilothouse "Elements"
Posts: 1,846
Re: What Type/Brand Autopilot?

CPT wheel pilot would be a great option on your boat. The are much, much stronger than Ray marines unit, but do not have the advanced steering algorithm that Raymarine uses and doesnt interface with anything. We have one as a back-up to our below deck unit...I will not steer unless I really have to
__________________

__________________
MJSailing.com - Written Blog
Youtube MJ sailing - Vlog
funjohnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
autopilot, paracelle

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.