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Old 02-08-2020, 21:43   #1
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Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

So I'm wanting to replace my old Raymarine 400 course computer, which currently is controlled by Seatalk and a ST7001+ driving a Lewmar Mamba.

If I get one of the new ACU-200 computers, with its core heading thingy, this will talk over SeatalkNG to everything else (I have this network and converters on board already). And the ST7001+ will be able to drive it, and it will drive the Lewmar Mamba.

My question is, do I really need a p70 autopilot control head as well? My dealer tells me I can control it from the ST7001+ but that I'll need a p70 to do the setup. However, the Raymarine manual says that I can set it up using an aSeries MFD (which I also have on the network). It seems a bit bonkers to spend an entire boat buck on a p70 controller just for the setup, when I might be able to do it with the MFD I already have.

Anyone out there know for sure? Can I put a modern ACU-200 on to a Seatalk/SeatalkNG network, set it up using an aSeries MFD, and then control it using a ST7001+? Or not?
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Old 05-08-2020, 14:17   #2
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Re: Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

Well in the absence of anything further I've gone with the dealer's suggestion. However, I'm going to try installing the autopilot computer on its own first and see whether it can be set up with the aSeries as per the manual. If that fails I'll do it with the p70s
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Old 05-08-2020, 19:43   #3
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Re: Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

Following as I've got an old Autohelm ST7000 to a type 2 rotary drive. I would like to upgrade the computer as well at some point but would like to keep the drive motor and the old controller in the cockpit. Please post any follow up once the project is done.
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Old 06-08-2020, 16:31   #4
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Re: Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

Will do. I often bump into threads like this when researching and it's always annoying when the OP just disappears without saying what the solution is. The bits have arrived and I just need to pick them up and install them...
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Old 06-08-2020, 20:13   #5
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Re: Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

There is no real setup on the new ray pilots. They don’t have have a compass swing or auto learning setup any
MOre. It’s all automatic now..,, Other then compass offset. And you should be able to do that from the plotter. In the nmea 2000 device list
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Old Yesterday, 14:03   #6
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Re: Upgrading Raymarine autopilot

Well I couldn’t work out how to do it with only an a-series on the network. Although I could perhaps have tried a little harder or tried without the initial setup had I not had one.

The acu-200 fits easily where the old 2005 course computer was. I spent a fair time finding a really good location for the heading sensor way back in a stern bulkhead far from any other devices and metalwork. Being an nmea2000 device you can easily put it anywhere on the boat you have a bus nearby. An hour in total to swap over to the new system so should be able to revert to the old one in an emergency without too much trouble. I considered installing them together and making a switchover but didn’t go ahead with it as access to where it’s installed is a bit on the tricky side.

Plugged the p70s into the network and there’s a couple of minutes doing the rudder swing thing and checking it’s all working. Out on the water with an O over Q flying and it did it’s thing automatically.

It’s now working perfectly and being controlled through the network either from the old 7001+ or the new p70s head, or the a-series plotter or over wifi from computer.

If you were on a tight budget then you could without doubt upgrade to the new course computer and save several hundred dollars by borrowing a p70s from a friend for a couple of hours and plugging it into your network, certainly. As it is I put the p70s at the chart table where I only had a depth gauge before and so now I get a bit more info easily visible at anchor.

Testing so far in an ugly rolling swell almost dead downwind in not enough wind last week confirms the new course computer is infinitely better at holding course in tricky conditions than the old one, at least by my first impressions. A good result in my book.
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