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Old 19-02-2012, 05:32   #16
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I just went through this for my much smaller boat and ended up going with a Simrad 2402 system driving a hydraulic linear ram. It is powerful enough to power a drive unit sized for your boat. I also have a Monitor. There is quite a lot of online discussion on this topic in the Electronics forum and in the end I choose the Simrad due to it's stellar reputation and ability to intergate with some future electonics on the wish list. The Binnacle in Halifax can supply either Simrad or Raymarine depending on your choice. $$ are similar.
We kept our boat near Mahone Bay for about 9 years before moving it up to the Shediac area. It's a great place to cruise and a Kanter46 is a very nice boat. Best of luck with the project and sailing plans!
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Old 27-02-2012, 16:43   #17
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I'm tempted to suggest that one's spouse makes for a good autopilot which might explain why my ex-wife dumped my sorry a**, so in that case I'll just have to pass on making any suggestions...
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Old 03-03-2012, 18:19   #18
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I vote for the Simrad. Mine is great and solid. I use the Simrad control unit to integrate all the NEMA signals and redistribute to other electronics.
If you sail by a compass heading, the flux compass is a little slow, but the autopilot appears to "learn" what it is doing.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:13   #19
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Atom makes excellent, rugged electrical autopilots. I have one that has worked well for years. I use it in conjunction with an Aries vane.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:21   #20
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Plenty of votes for Simrad.

The Jefa direct drive unit isn't too bad and compatible with either a Simrad or Furuno control unit.

Jefa Steering Systems
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Old 15-04-2012, 11:01   #21
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

On our HC33T we started out with an autohelm 4000, it broke three times and we junked it for an Autohelm 3000. Belt would slip every now and then but it always corrected itself and worked flawlessly, and it's cheaper. We also had a Flemming windvane which worked very well.
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Old 15-04-2012, 11:10   #22
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

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I'm also in the shopping and comparing stage. Consider looking at WH autopilots. Very impressive with lots of great recommendations. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but that's mostly because I'm still working down the refit list and haven't gotten to that item yet.
I installed a WH Autopilot on Crazy Fish about 12 years ago and have been very happy with it.

Very Robust system built from standard off the shelf hydraulic components. If something breaks you are going to be able replace it.

Electronics are dated but rock solid. I only have it set up to take directional input from the electronic compass but it is capable of taking other NMEA inputs so it really does everything you would probably want.

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Old 15-04-2012, 11:23   #23
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I put in the garmin ghp 12 very intuitive. Ran it on sea trials in 30 knots reefed main and 80 percent jib. I wanted to load it. worked smooth. I like the cable connections good options for adjusting response. Very few sailors have this set up which is down side. Time will tell it had a very good price. Intersting that the auto helm gave the drive unit a motorized noise. Same drive no noise. I'm guessing that the crap connections were limiting Amps so the drive was pushing hard. I wish there was a display that showed how hard the ap is working. Like amps drawn response is frequent etc. I watch the wheel to see how it us adjusting but that tells only a partial story.
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Old 15-04-2012, 11:26   #24
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Autohelm 4000, is it that bad? I bought just one as there is hardly a good system on the market.
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Old 15-04-2012, 11:28   #25
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I did a trip with a simple pilot tiller. Most impressed. Holds the heading set and requires an alert watchman/lady to take care of drift, selected course from chart plotter, dodge lobster pots etc. 600 pounds sterling as new and simple fitting in most cases.
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Old 15-04-2012, 11:33   #26
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

my uncle used to use a rope to tie off his tiller when he sailed his soon to be 110 yr old 35 ft gaff rigger----anything is possible--just--what is most comfortable for you to use in the large boat you are trying to control in various seas--i would go for a hydraulic version of whatever is strong enough to steer your heavy large boat in and thru heavy seas. have it mounted on your quadrant and should be good to go in any conditions. good luck
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Old 15-04-2012, 12:04   #27
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

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Autohelm 4000, is it that bad? I bought just one as there is hardly a good system on the market.
Mind you that my HC33T had a barn door for a rudder and following seas destroyed the small nylon or plastic gears three times before I got rid of it. The 3000 is belt driven so it merely slipped a little now and then but quickly corrected itself. Sometimes simple (and cheaper) is better.
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Old 15-04-2012, 12:14   #28
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I suggest adding a slipping clutch to avoid overloading. AutoHELM should cope with the slippage OK as it is always trying to drive the boat to the course set. It's easier than adding a hydraulic system that's controlled by the AutoHELM.
Plan C is to add a servo-vane to the rudder just like vane systems. Balance (pivot at 25% chord for minimal loading but understand that it's not going to be so forceful in following seas and will need a watch to be kept.
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Old 15-04-2012, 12:15   #29
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

If you have a long keeled boat and tiller steering there is always a possibility to find the correct adjustment of sails and tiller.
But: a boat is not symmetrically built, so port runs better as starboard or vice versa.

If you have wheel steering, you will depend on an electric/electronic device. Unfortunetly, the integer ones have been taken off the market and replaced by pure commercial sh#t.

Unless a new Mr Segatron comes up again.
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Old 15-04-2012, 12:17   #30
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Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

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Mind you that my HC33T had a barn door for a rudder and following seas destroyed the small nylon or plastic gears three times before I got rid of it. The 3000 is belt driven so it merely slipped a little now and then but quickly corrected itself. Sometimes simple (and cheaper) is better.
We also found a metal gear to replace the stripped nyon ones before we junked it but then the next weakest link inside it broke. It just wasn't strong enough for our boat, even in the light airs on the west coast of Central America. We were SO very happy once we went thru the Panama Canal and had enough wind for the Flemming windvane to work. Hand steering three on and three off really got old!
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