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Old 17-02-2020, 18:03   #1
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Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Hello,
I have an old Autohelm 5000 on my boat, with belowdecks linear drive. The problem is, I've never had boat with linear drive (or that old) AP, so I'm a bit puzzled about few things:



1) This is probably the question that will decide the fate of the system. When the autopilot is connected (but turned off), I can feel not insignificant resistance when moving rudder (and can hear a mechanical buzzing), like turning a gearbox. Is this the correct behavior, or should the clutch disconnect the unit altogether?



When the AP is turned on,I cannot move the rudder at all (well, I probably could, but that's way above the level I want to try). Is this okay, or is there a problem with the clutch?



2) There's an issue with the remote in the DUTY position - I'd assume it's most likely some saltwater in the control panel, and nothing common that would indicate the whole unit is toast.



3) How is the control electronics compared to the new, "smart" autopilots? Is it worth upgrading to something where I won't have to set a "sea" and "rudder" levels?


Thanks!
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Old 17-02-2020, 19:19   #2
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Should be no resistance or very little when off. Raymarine used to do a good deal on rebuilds, but I think the parts in very old linear drives are no longer available. Clutch is different and no drive amplifier in unit.
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Old 17-02-2020, 20:15   #3
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Sorry MKVA, i cant be of any help......

However i have the same setup, perhaps 30 years old. It does work, but not reliably and/or consistantly and therefore i am probably in the same predicament as yourself. Whether to upgrade to a complete new system, or upgrade the brains of the existing setup to a ACU-200 which may or may not be the solution.

Can i ask, what is your boat size and displacement?
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Old 17-02-2020, 20:26   #4
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

The first thing I would investigate is the linear drive unit. Basically you have a 12V DC motor driving a push rod through a gear reduction and ball screw and a 12V DC clutch.

Starting in the middle drive position (don't want to drive against any hard mechanical stops), apply 12 V through a 10A fused supply. The motor should run in both directions just reversing the polarity of the motor voltage. If this works OK try applying the 12 V clutch signal through a 3 A fuse and see if the rudder moves again in both directions using the motor control voltage. If this works out OK, things look hopefully for a significant part of the system.

You can reconnect the AP power unit and see if anything works. If not probably need to consider new electronics.

Raymarine plays a little loose with the truth on needing a big ($$$) power drive units. Depending on the rudder forces and if any oceans are being crossed might get by with one of the older smart pilots off ebay (S1G, or X-5). These are typically capable of 6 amps continuous and 10 amps peak current. X-5 will need a clutch signal (12 volts and a toggle switch).


I have been running a X-5 driving an old Benmar rotary actuator for years (mechanical clutch). Peak currents are less than 3-4 amps but an easily steered yacht through an efficient rack and pinion drive system.

Or you could just get out the old check book and spring for one of the newer systems from vendor of your choice (always good luck with Raymarine / Autohelm).


Might want to rig up a temp drive setup (clutch toggle switch and center off DPDT for motor drive ) and develop a little confidence in the drive unit underway before diving into new electronics.


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Old 18-02-2020, 04:01   #5
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

I had an Autohelm 5000 on my last boat and the linier drive started making a rumbling noise when I turned the wheel. Ended up replacing with a new linear drive which fixed the problem. Then replaced the remote with a wifi unit. The computer was fine so left as is and is still working no problemo.

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Old 18-02-2020, 06:54   #6
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

So initially, when you move the rudder using the wheel / tiller, the linear drive unit is supposed to move smoothly without any noises? That's the question
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Old 18-02-2020, 07:19   #7
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Yes should move smooth. Check with Raymarine on rebuild used to be under $500 and you basically get a new drive when I sent my old Nautech 5000 in.

Get a Pelagic autopilot controller to run the rebuilt drive and you're ready to circumnavigate
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Old 18-02-2020, 09:58   #8
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

pypilot is a far cheaper and also steers better than older pilots that only have a single gyro or no gyros. It probably is the most flexible as well.
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Old 18-02-2020, 11:13   #9
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Can you post a picture of the linear drive. There were two different drives. The older one was not as smooth. The new one, which is the same unit that they sell today is a recirculating ball drive and in much smoother with less resistance. If you have the old drive they will not service it.
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Old 18-02-2020, 13:10   #10
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Damn, I had in mind to take a few pics (or take the unit with me), but it somewhat slipped my mind. Weird thing is I remember a circular connector on the unit, but none of the pictures online have one.


And I'd love to run an opensource autopilot. The problem is I don't like the idea of running hardware with OS just to run the autopilot. The potential for any issues is just too great.
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Old 18-02-2020, 16:27   #11
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

I have two older (pre-Seatalk) wired Autohelm AP remote control units on my boat that were in a box I bought at a storage unit auction. I don’t need them for my RM 6000 AP.
Feel free to contact me if you salvage your old system and need components.
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Old 18-02-2020, 20:14   #12
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrkva View Post
And I'd love to run an opensource autopilot. The problem is I don't like the idea of running hardware with OS just to run the autopilot. The potential for any issues is just too great.
it seems strange but the opposite is the case because the OS allows for superior debugging. It also loads everything into ram and runs only from ram. In any case, linux is very stable and is needed to support many features. Consider adding a camera to looking at the waves to improve the autopilot reaction.
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Old 23-02-2020, 08:55   #13
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

Yeah, debugging and customization are huge advantages. But fixing autopilot because SD card died or something like that does not sound like a good idea.
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Old 23-02-2020, 13:52   #14
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Re: Old Autohelm 5000 questions

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Originally Posted by Mrkva View Post
Yeah, debugging and customization are huge advantages. But fixing autopilot because SD card died or something like that does not sound like a good idea.
The Pypilot is so inexpensive that you could buy two or even three and still be ahead on a commercial unit. In the event of failure swap out and repair at your leisure.
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