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Mike OReilly 01-01-2012 09:54

Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
I'm planning to install a cockpit-mounted tiller pilot on our Rafiki-37, (heavy displacement, full-keel, tiller, transom-hung rudder, double-ender). Have an Aries for when it blows, but am looking for an electric tiller pilot for light airs/mostly motoring conditions.

Question #1. I've found two options. The SmartPilot X-5 Tiller Grand Prix, and the Simrad TP32. Are there more?
NOTE: I'm not looking at below-deck options (which I know would be better sized for our boat).

Question #2: Direct reviews or comparisons please? I've reviewed the previous discussions, but would love to hear from anyone whose had experience with both.

Question #3: The TP32 is less that 1/2 the price of the X-5. Is this b/c the TP32 is a self-contained unit compared to the X-5 which has the computer, controller and driver as three separate items?

WaywardWench 01-01-2012 11:14

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
I use a ST1000 Raymarine on my Haida 26, the raymarine units are much quieter than Simrad. To find the right unit for your boat, first figure out how much tiller pressure you have with sails trimmed @ 24" from the rudder pintles. My Haida runs no more than 30-35#'s in heavy running sea's. This helps to make a good choice. Good Luck.....Michael..

barnakiel 01-01-2012 12:51

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
Your boat is said to displace 26500 lbs. Ray GP pilot is designed to serve displacement max 16500. The Sim TP is roughly the same nominal power except it has less brains. The GP drive seems built stronger.

Depending on how your boat handles under power, in flat waters, each may deliver.

Direct reviews: (on a much smaller boat); the Ray delivered, the Sim did not.

Personally, I like the Ray GP a lot - mostly because it has a control box away from the tiller and so I can control the thing from under the dodger where I can hide from rain, spray and sun. The brains are down below, in a dry location, the compass is close to boats center. Ray GP with a G-unit brain also hunts WAY less than any other small auto we have tried out.


westsail42 01-01-2012 13:00

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
We have a ten year old Raytheon ST4000+ (not the heavy duty drive unit). Upgraded from an old TillerMaster. Have been very happy with it. Probably overkill for our 13000lb 28 foot sloop.

Added the wireless remote which is very handy when lounging on the foredeck while motoring far on those windless days. lol

boatman61 01-01-2012 13:12

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
I like the Raymarine ST2000... don't like Simrad much... either the Wheel or the Tiller... they've yet to 'Crack it' in my book..

Mike OReilly 01-01-2012 16:02

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
It looks like the X-5 is the winner so far. Thanks for the input folks :thumb:

I do realize this is undersized for our boat, but installing a proper sized one would involve designing a whole new steering mechanism. Our rudder is stern-hung so there's nothing internal to latch on to. All the proper sized tiller pilots require a below-deck installation.

We'll probably end up fashioning a autopilot-to-windvane setup, but from my research it appears many people are successful running with an undersized auto as long as conditions are good, which is mostly when we would be using it.

Tia Bu 01-01-2012 16:14

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
I've got both a Simrad and a Raymarine tillerpilot. They are smaller models than you're talking about, as I have much lighter 30-footer. Both tiller pilots work very well.

I bought the Simrad second, as a backup. For the first few days, I didn't like it. Then it started working well, and I've used it continuously in all sorts of conditions, with no problems. I'm not quite sure why it works better now. It's possible I just had to fiddle with the sensitivity settings a bit to get it right. But it also seems tiller pilots have sort of a built-in learning function. So maybe it just learned to steer my particular boat better over a few days.

At any rate, don't make an immediate judgement on whichever one you end up with. They (or you, or both) apparently get better with time.

Navywrench 14-07-2012 14:51

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
I've had an x-5 Smartpilot on my 28 footer for about a year. Frankly, I couldn't recommend it for serious offshore work. The software is glitchy, it uses a lot of power in moderate conditions, and many of its features are not reliable enough to be stand alone. After a year of use, I've concluded that the best use for this unit is for coastal motoring.

bruce smith 14-07-2012 15:01

Re: Tiller pilot comparison TP32 vs X-5 GP
everybody knows how to do this , right?
I pick up the cheapest, lowest power tp I can find. My boat is 12 tons

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