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Old 28-07-2012, 00:22   #1
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Autopilot Driver Problems

Have you ever experienced problems with one of lewmar's autopilot drivers. My Bavaria 35 is fitted with one of these drivers and has been working well for two years from new. Lately it is blowing the fuse and nothing seems strange with it. I change the fuse and after some hours working it just stops, even in dead calm sea. any ideas anyone?
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Old 28-07-2012, 04:11   #2
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Re: autopilot driver problems

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, selinunente.

You might ask Lewmar:
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 28-07-2012, 05:11   #3
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Re: autopilot driver problems

My first suspicion would be that you have developed a bad electrical connection over the years - a very common thing on boats, especially in salt water. I'm not familiar with the Lewmar AP drive, but it must have an electric motor in it, and likely one that draws a fair amount of current. If you lower the voltage to a motor, which will happen if you have a failing electrical connection, the motor will in turn draw more current than normal. More current through a bad connection creates more voltage drop which in turn creates more current draw, and the cycle so continues. Eventually your fuse does it's job and breaks the circuit before a fire starts.

Check connections, and to the extend you have access, take voltage readings at point progressively closer to the AP drive. Ideally you would not see more than a 5% drop (about 0.5V) out at the drive when the drive motor is actually running. By probing along the way you should be able to narrow down where the problem is.
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Old 28-07-2012, 05:15   #4
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Re: autopilot driver problems

In these cases, the electric clutch should be checked

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Old 28-07-2012, 06:03   #5
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Re: autopilot driver problems

You may have some increased friction somewhere in the system. Has it gotten harder to steer when the autopilot is off??

Disconnect the drive from the steering and see if it runs easily and smoothly by itself. Is there an ampmeter in the electrical panel where you can see how much current the autopilot is taking when the drive runs (in calm water it should only use 2-3 amps)? If there is no ammeter you can use a clamp-on DC ampmeter.
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Old 30-07-2012, 04:17   #6
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Re: autopilot driver problems

hello all, many thanks for your feedback, i really appreciate your valid comments. unfortunately I'm no technician and ampmeter and electrical connections are all chinese to me. when i called the lewmar agent he said that it can be the clutch however when i called my technician he said that the clutch is there to avoid jams and when the clutch gets faulty the driver simply gets in free mode and not break the fuse. Anyways tomorrow I'm gonna have this technician check it and will let you know. I took note of your ideas so we check everything once we're at it.

thanks once again
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Old 15-08-2012, 21:38   #7
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Re: autopilot driver problems

Hi Sel, no answer for you but a question. Is your lewmar drive a rotary type and if so, where do you have it mounted. I also have a Bavaria 35 and damned if I can work out where to mount a similar raymarine rotary drive as space is a real problem. I am considering other drives, any advice? Thanks.
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