To start with you need a source of at least NMEA 0183
data such as Chartplotter
builtin, etc. and a PC with two serial connections. One IN from the Data Source and One Out for the Autopilot. A nine pin one is easiest but you can use a Serial to USB converters. If you have a nine pin connector make up a serial cord from your 0183 data source (3 wires needed usually) and connect to the PC. Make up a second one to connect to the Autopilot. The proper wires to use for Transmit and Receive can be found online.
When you set an active course or Route
on the PC data will be sent to the Autopilot and when the "Track" or similar button is pressed it should follow the course on the PC.
I have a Raymarine ST70 and used it this way for many years with the ability to switch from a Garmin Chartplotter
ot PC with Nav software
Easiest to run your data wires to a small wiring
buss and make the Serial connections to it. Here is an example of mine which lets me use any of several data sources and output to Autopilot.
can utilize the 0183 data directly. There are many ways to do this using Multiplexers (or not) or NMEA2000 with some converter or even usuing a NMEA 2000
network with Sealtalk connection to the backbone directly into autopilot.
But what I first listed as 0183 directly through 2 serial cables
is the cheapest and needs the least amount of new hardware
. You would not need all I have in the diagram such as Sonoserver, AIS
stuff, multiplexer and only one data source not the three I show.