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Old 12-05-2020, 13:04   #1
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Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

We currently have ~10 year old Raymarine navigation equipment and are hoping to replace it all with Garmin this summer. I'm quite comfortable with all aspects of the installation except the auto pilot.

What information do I need to find on my boat about existing hardware in order to select the right Garmin control hardware to drive my boat?

It's a hydraulic system with a 12v pump, but I don't have any model information yet. I don't feel that the pump or cylinder need to be replaced, but I'm willing to if it somehow makes the installation simpler. I think I just need Garmin's "brain box" and display/button screen that tells the pump which direction to pump. And then wire it appropriately. Right? Otherwise replace the entire system, pumps and cylinder included.

What things do I need to be considering and looking for on existing equipment and new equipment to control it?

Ah, the other piece of info is the boat's wheel is cable drive, independent of the auto pilot. I think that's better - independent systems, but maybe not. It's not part of the auto pilot discussion, either way.

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2020, 14:05   #2
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

I'll throw in a suggestion for a pypilot controller. We have hydraulic steering w/an AP and works great. Don't know how old your other electronics are, but could be a good time to switch over to to create a new nav. computer driven w/OpenCPN.
Here's how we set up our AP system. Phoenix's Flight: Pypilot Open-Source Marine Autopilot for Hydraulic Steering
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Old 12-05-2020, 14:12   #3
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

If you buy a Garmin pilot you need to buy the mechical kit I think it’s called. Or the refit kit. The standard pilot will only work with a Garmin pump.

It will have a screen, compass, and brain box.

Yiu will also need either the Garmin rudder feedback sensor. Or the cable plug to wire your existing rudder feedback to the Garmin if you have a 3 wire sensor currently.
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Old 12-05-2020, 14:24   #4
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Here. Yiu still need the rudder sensor or adapter. I think it comes with the pump power cable. But It may not.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-CA/CA/p/599839#inTheBox
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Old 12-05-2020, 17:25   #5
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
If you buy a Garmin pilot you need to buy the mechical kit I think itís called. Or the refit kit. The standard pilot will only work with a Garmin pump.

It will have a screen, compass, and brain box.

Yiu will also need either the Garmin rudder feedback sensor. Or the cable plug to wire your existing rudder feedback to the Garmin if you have a 3 wire sensor currently.
Excellent - thank you. This is the information I'm looking for.

So for my education, the auto pilot senses a need for course correction and tells the Reactor 40 to run the pump one way or the other, and the Reactor 40 sends volts on the appropriate pair of wires based on direction of correction?

Physical installation of the Reactor 40 depends on how long of cable I want on which side of the Reactor 40? Long cables to the pumps, versus long cables to the auto pilot? (about 20 feet between pump and pilot).
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Old 13-05-2020, 08:34   #6
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

My situation is the same as the original poster.
Regarding using a Garmin Reactor 40 Mech. Retro Pak with Raymarine AP power unit:
Has anyone done this?
Does it work well?
Any downside?

Thank you
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Old 13-05-2020, 12:58   #7
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Why switch from Rayethon AP?
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Old 13-05-2020, 13:43   #8
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KadeyKrogen38 View Post
Why switch from Rayethon AP?
We have a full Raymarine navigation suite currently and are planning to replace everything with Garmin. Basically I want it all to match. There's some vanity in it for sure, but it's also really nice to have consistency across all the hardware.
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Old 13-05-2020, 13:45   #9
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vpbarkley View Post
My situation is the same as the original poster.
Regarding using a Garmin Reactor 40 Mech. Retro Pak with Raymarine AP power unit:
Has anyone done this?
Does it work well?
Any downside?

Thank you
I hope to be ordering all the parts soon and begin the install process myself. If I can't make it work I'll have to hire a professional to sort out my mess

I'll try to update here when I'm done, but no promises!
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Old 13-05-2020, 17:01   #10
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

You can choose any brand you want, but in my case last year, I upgraded my 20 year old Raytheon system to a new Raymarine Axiom 12, AP, Radar, etc. I was able to use the existing sounder, all the autopilot hardware (type 2 pump, hydraulics, rudder angle sensor, etc) from my old system. That made installation very easy. Even all the power and sensor wiring to the maim AP control unit were already run to exactly where I needed them.
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Old 13-05-2020, 17:23   #11
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

How did you connect the Raymarine autopilot, (Seatalk), to the Axiom (Nmea 2000)?
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Old 13-05-2020, 17:57   #12
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

I did run a new SeaTalkng network cable, but that was not a big deal, I needed an adapter for the depth sounder cable to plug into the new unit. Otherwise it all went together, old and new.
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Old 13-05-2020, 18:25   #13
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Check out the "palegic" system, i up graded my old Robertson [now simrad/robertson], with the Palegic brain and remote control for $ 700 buck's.
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Old 13-05-2020, 19:19   #14
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

I installed the Garmin Reactor 40 on our 50 ft steel boat, rather heavy at 25 t.
We have hydraulic steering as well. Of course we also had to install the heading sensor. Since installation we have put about 8000 blue water miles on, traveling from Seattle across the North Pacific to Guam. where we lie at present.

I have been happy with the pilot. It has never once gone offline due to seaway overload, has had no failures. One caveat is that in a full seaway it draws between 8 to 14 amps depending on conditions. In daytime hours we can meet that with our solar but find we run our genset for about an hour on passage to keep up. It will also interface via NMEA 200 with our Garmin chartplotter if we want to have it steer to a waypoint. I never use this as it seems like a road to trouble

We have a previous pilot that was working ( at TMQ model from Aus) but was less robust so that is our back up. We installed switching valve in the system so it is easy to put the other pilot online if needed. These are manual although some use solenoid valves to make it quicker.

I particularly like a feature called Shadow Drive which allows me to grab the helm and make a quick term which temporarily overrides the pilot, good for missing whales !

Only other observation is that the unit is very voltage sensitive and starts complaining if we get to 12.5 v, and you need pretty good sized cables for power as it is fused at 40 amps.

and it is a bit noisy on a steel boat

FWIW
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Old 14-05-2020, 17:58   #15
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Re: Replacing AutoPilot Control - what to consider?

Interesting thread.
Last week I finished getting rid of the Garmin instruments and replaced everything with Raymarine Axiom, etc.
Love the new Raymarine.
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