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Old 19-04-2022, 11:47   #1
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Boat: 1986 Sigma 41
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Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Hello!
I recently purchased a boat that has an Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot. Iíve attached a photo of the head unit.

The prior owner of the boat did not use the autopilot but stated that it worked.

I can get it to take over the wheel but it generally just goes hard over in one direction or another.

I have no idea what the different buttons do. In particular the large ďvolumeĒ knob.

Anyone have this autopilot or have a manual? I cannot find a manual online anywhere either for this model.

I appreciate any help! Hoping I donít need to replace the autopilot!

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Old 19-04-2022, 12:35   #2
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Wow. I have seen manuals for the 3000 and 4000 but never for that space ship. What I have found trying to get my 3000 working again is that there really isn't any support for these Alpha systems. The big dia should be the compass heading if its like the other ones I have seen. look for a user manual for a 4000, I bet that will help.
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Old 07-05-2022, 18:52   #3
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

I'm wondering if your were able to get any information on this autopilot. My new (used) sailboat has the exact same Alpha Spectra system, in great shape and apparently working. I have zero idea on the simple basics of getting it to work.

An exhausting search has turned up no info, no manuals, no videos and a company that is no longer in business.
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Old 08-05-2022, 07:51   #4
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by JL-SWFL View Post
I'm wondering if your were able to get any information on this autopilot. My new (used) sailboat has the exact same Alpha Spectra system, in great shape and apparently working. I have zero idea on the simple basics of getting it to work.

An exhausting search has turned up no info, no manuals, no videos and a company that is no longer in business.
I don't have any good news, sorry. I ended up installing a new Raymarine EV200 system and tied it into the Alpha Marine ram at a cost of about $2,000.

Previously I used the manual for the Alpha Marine 3000 (I think) that I found online to kind of guess what the buttons did on mine. I was able to get it to control the boat, but it would constantly just turn to starboard.

At the very end of installing the new Raymarine autopilot I actually figured out why the Alpha Marine one was turning to starboard - the autopilot ram's connection to the rudder post had slid out of alignment. I had to move it back into its correct position to get the Raymarine system working correctly. My guess is if I would have discovered this before I would have been good to go with the Alpha system and saved 2 boat bucks. .

Anyway, taking the Raymarine system out today for its sea trial. Off to Bahamas in 3 weeks!
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:20   #5
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

I too used a Raymarine course computer with an Alpha ram.

There is one issue that you must be aware of.

The Raymarine CC gets its rudder info from its own rudder sensor. If the ram is not connected to the rudder, the CC will activate the ram but not move the rudder and may/will overdrive the ram and damage it.

Thus it is critical that the ram be properly engaged before the CC is engaged.

I rigged a microswitch and relay to ensure the ram was always protected.

Pm me if you need additional details. I am away from home so a full response may take a while.
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Old 08-05-2022, 13:53   #6
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
I too used a Raymarine course computer with an Alpha ram.

There is one issue that you must be aware of.

The Raymarine CC gets its rudder info from its own rudder sensor. If the ram is not connected to the rudder, the CC will activate the ram but not move the rudder and may/will overdrive the ram and damage it.

Thus it is critical that the ram be properly engaged before the CC is engaged.

I rigged a microswitch and relay to ensure the ram was always protected.

Pm me if you need additional details. I am away from home so a full response may take a while.

Hi, yes, do you mind letting me know how you rigged that up!? Iím a marine electrician so can handle it but am definitely curious how you managed it. Thanks!!
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Old 14-05-2022, 13:36   #7
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Following jamhass advice I rigged up a micro switch. Here’s a crappy video in case anyone needs to do it in the future.

https://youtu.be/vZz7wjTsR_I
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Old 14-05-2022, 14:58   #8
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Hello - I have a working Alpha Marine 3000. When the business shut down I downloaded everything I could from the website. Attached is a doc for the 4404 which I think is spectra. Also attached is a trouble shooting doc that includes some info on spectra.

hope this helps.

Steve
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Alpha 4404 1988.pdf (534.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: pdf alphamarine 3000 autopilot_technical_forum.pdf (163.9 KB, 10 views)
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Old 14-05-2022, 17:00   #9
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylormobile View Post
Hello - I have a working Alpha Marine 3000. When the business shut down I downloaded everything I could from the website. Attached is a doc for the 4404 which I think is spectra. Also attached is a trouble shooting doc that includes some info on spectra.

hope this helps.

Steve
Hi Steve
Well done thinking to download everything from the website before they closed. We have an Alpha 3000 with a remote control head in the cockpit and I was hoping you would share any other downloads you have for the 3000, compass and linear drive.
Cheers
Steve
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Old 14-05-2022, 19:00   #10
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylormobile View Post
Hello - I have a working Alpha Marine 3000. When the business shut down I downloaded everything I could from the website. Attached is a doc for the 4404 which I think is spectra. Also attached is a trouble shooting doc that includes some info on spectra.

hope this helps.

Steve
Ah... wish I had this 2 weeks ago! It's exactly what I was looking for.

I ended up removing the Alpha system, except the ram, and installing a new Raymarine EV-200.

Funny thing is (I think I mentioned it above) but I believe that the only thing wrong with the Alpha was that I didn't know how to use it and the coupler between the drive unit and the rudder was misaligned. Every time I had the autopilot take control of the boat it swung hard to starboard... turns out it was likely just because the autopilot thought that was straight.

Anyway, I guess I get a shiny new autopilot display.

Thanks!
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Old 15-05-2022, 05:22   #11
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylormobile View Post
Hello - I have a working Alpha Marine 3000. When the business shut down I downloaded everything I could from the website. Attached is a doc for the 4404 which I think is spectra. Also attached is a trouble shooting doc that includes some info on spectra.
hope this helps.
Steve

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...4&d=1652565392

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...5&d=1652565392
Good stuff, Steve!
Alpha Marine Systems Alpha 3000 Installation And Operation Manual
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/90...00.html#manual

See also ➥ https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ne-234322.html
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Old 15-05-2022, 11:46   #12
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by theglo View Post
Ah... wish I had this 2 weeks ago! It's exactly what I was looking for.

I ended up removing the Alpha system, except the ram, and installing a new Raymarine EV-200.

Funny thing is (I think I mentioned it above) but I believe that the only thing wrong with the Alpha was that I didn't know how to use it and the coupler between the drive unit and the rudder was misaligned. Every time I had the autopilot take control of the boat it swung hard to starboard... turns out it was likely just because the autopilot thought that was straight.

Anyway, I guess I get a shiny new autopilot display.

Thanks!

Sorry I didn't see your message until yesterday. I have been thinking of getting a back up system for my 3000 and was wondering if you still have the old Alpha unit and components for sale?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 15-05-2022, 11:54   #13
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by seagypsy8 View Post
Hi Steve
Well done thinking to download everything from the website before they closed. We have an Alpha 3000 with a remote control head in the cockpit and I was hoping you would share any other downloads you have for the 3000, compass and linear drive.
Cheers
Steve
Here's what I have - attached 3 documents

Steve
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Alpha Marine 3000 Trouble shooting guide.pdf (1.21 MB, 4 views)
File Type: pdf AutoPilot quick start operating instructions.pdf (28.9 KB, 5 views)
File Type: doc Alpha 3000 manual.doc (124.5 KB, 7 views)
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Old 15-05-2022, 14:02   #14
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylormobile View Post
Sorry I didn't see your message until yesterday. I have been thinking of getting a back up system for my 3000 and was wondering if you still have the old Alpha unit and components for sale?

Thanks,

Steve
The only thing I have left is the fluxgate compass. The rest I discarded. Sorry! I have no storage space and my family of 5 are moving onto a 40 foot sailboat for the year.
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Old 17-05-2022, 04:23   #15
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Re: Help Needed, Alpha Spectra Digital Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylormobile View Post
Here's what I have - attached 3 documents

Steve
Thanks a lot for sharing that info Steve. Very decent of you.
Cheers
Steve
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