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Old 20-02-2019, 06:38   #16
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Below decks pilots are completely different animals from wheel pilots. Those that have them typically don't steer by hand much except when docking. But if you only use the pilot to step away from the wheel from time to time, and you're happy with that, then I doubt the cost of a below decks pilot (thousands) would be worth it to you, but only you can decide.

For long passages under sail on a boat that size, wind vanes are awesome. If I were you, that's probably the direction I would be going.

You talk about interfacing the pilot with new electronics -- why would you need to? The only reason is to use nav or wind mode, or to control the pilot from an MFD. You don't need to do any of that if you are just stepping away from the wheel from time to time, and are otherwise happy to hand steer.

If not, then stick with the good old ST4000. I used one for about 15 years -- it gets the job done in calm weather.
I agree with Dockhead's comments. Whilst the under deck system would be very nice, do you really need it?

In a similar position 2 years a go with our 11,000-lbs yacht I bought into the latest Raymarine Evo 100 system at £1200 in the UK. The nearest equivalent under deck system was twice the price and would need some serious building work to install a suitable base to mount the ram on so it never came loose. The difference in price would have funded a completely separate wind vane if needed, £1600 for the UK based Neptune system.

The wheel pilot isn't connected to anything so works completely independently, as are all the instruments on board. It means if there is a wind shift I have to press a button a couple of times. Downside to the wheel drive is the plastic cogs. If within the weight limits set by RM then there shouldn't be a problem and there are thousands of the the grey (Mk2) drives out there doing sterling service. However, there have been some complaints on CF were members have tried to use them for yachts far outside the RM specs, with predicable results.

Worth noting the old black (Mk 1) drives have brass cogs rather than the plastic on the grey (Mk2). If your old drive is serviceable and there are some great You Tube videos on doing it which I followed, then keep the older drive as a spare. I regret selling mine.

The latest Evo computer and compass system is of course two generations on from the ST4000 series and for those who have used both extensively they appear a very worthwhile upgrade.

What ever you have left over once the change has been completed, then sell it on CF as the parts do fetch good prices.

Pete
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Old 20-02-2019, 06:59   #17
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
I agree with Dockhead's comments. Whilst the under deck system would be very nice, do you really need it?

In a similar position 2 years a go with our 11,000-lbs yacht I bought into the latest Raymarine Evo 100 system at £1200 in the UK. The nearest equivalent under deck system was twice the price and would need some serious building work to install a suitable base to mount the ram on so it never came loose. The difference in price would have funded a completely separate wind vane if needed, £1600 for the UK based Neptune system.

The wheel pilot isn't connected to anything so works completely independently, as are all the instruments on board. It means if there is a wind shift I have to press a button a couple of times. Downside to the wheel drive is the plastic cogs. If within the weight limits set by RM then there shouldn't be a problem and there are thousands of the the grey (Mk2) drives out there doing sterling service. However, there have been some complaints on CF were members have tried to use them for yachts far outside the RM specs, with predicable results.

Worth noting the old black (Mk 1) drives have brass cogs rather than the plastic on the grey (Mk2). If your old drive is serviceable and there are some great You Tube videos on doing it which I followed, then keep the older drive as a spare. I regret selling mine.

The latest Evo computer and compass system is of course two generations on from the ST4000 series and for those who have used both extensively they appear a very worthwhile upgrade.

What ever you have left over once the change has been completed, then sell it on CF as the parts do fetch good prices.

Pete



I don't remember what kind of cogs ours had, and maybe I never did know, because we never had the slightest problem with it, over 15 years.


In my experience, the Raymarine wheel pilot is a good, reliable workhorse. Just don't expect it to deal with quartering seas, or a lot of lee helm when sailing hard on the wind.
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Old 20-02-2019, 09:55   #18
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

[QUOTE=funjohnson;2829884]But on a boat that size I would look at Raymarine's linear drive and not go the hydraulic route. The power savings alone make the Raymarine a great choice for a small boat, but reliability, low resistance when turned off (you can't feel it at the helm) lower noise and price are all a great bonus to think about.

I have the Raymarine 7000 with a rotary drive. Although it is a lot beefier than the binnacle mount ones. It always seemed to me the simplicity of an electric motor properly sized would be better than a complicated linear or hydraulic drive. You just have to have a good place to mount it. My helm is built for this but I have seen your videos Matt. I know you could make one from a box of matchsticks, some twine, and rubber cement.
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:44   #19
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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I use a tinypilot as a secondary controller for my CPT. It is fully interfaced and steers heading, track, wind angle. Remote controlled by Wifi or a separate IR remote. A lot of functionality for 200$.


Will you elaborate?
My ideal would be a CPT that will interface with my Zeus. That would give me everything I want, and autopilot that I could replace every moving part with just two thumb screws and not go into any tiny place, and a fully functional one.
No interface is the only weak link in my opinion to a CPT, I donít mind the aesthetics of an ďuglyĒ wheel pilot when compared to its ease to carry a complete spare and replace without even needing tools.
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:45   #20
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

[QUOTE=Valmika;2830070]
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Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
But on a boat that size I would look at Raymarine's linear drive and not go the hydraulic route. The power savings alone make the Raymarine a great choice for a small boat, but reliability, low resistance when turned off (you can't feel it at the helm) lower noise and price are all a great bonus to think about.

I have the Raymarine 7000 with a rotary drive. Although it is a lot beefier than the binnacle mount ones. It always seemed to me the simplicity of an electric motor properly sized would be better than a complicated linear or hydraulic drive. You just have to have a good place to mount it. My helm is built for this but I have seen your videos Matt. I know you could make one from a box of matchsticks, some twine, and rubber cement.
I believe (I'd have to check part numbers) the rotary drive uses the same electromagnetic clutch and motor as the linear drive units.... so it's essentially bulletproof on these boats.

I've only seen a handful of installations of the rotary drives, but they always seemed overly complex on a boat with cable steering (most sailboats in this size). Maybe on a boat like an Island Packet with a rack and pinion it makes more sense, but I've never played with that combination. Where does the sprocket attach on your system?

One benefit of a properly installed hydraulic or electric linear drive is that it replaces an emergency tiller for most situations. All those weak point from the quadrant to the steering wheel get bypassed by a linear drives attachment through a tiller arm connected directly to the rudder shaft.

Maybe it's not a real concern, but its redundancy of the steering system always gave me piece of mind when at sea.

We carried a CPT wheel pilot in addition to a Raymarine below deck.

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Old 20-02-2019, 10:48   #21
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

Fluxgate compasses are inexpensive on EBay. Simple replacement. ST4000 wheels are reliable and good for light duty but parts are becoming scarce. If your satisfied with the system then buy another fluxgate.
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Old 20-02-2019, 10:57   #22
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A64 has an Island Packet, which has an unusual combination on of a full keel with a fully balanced rudder, so he should be fine with whatever type of pilot he likes best.

My IP and many older ones have a 24Ē wheel with only 1.5 turns lock to lock, so itís either a easy to turn balanced space rudder or only manly men could helm one.Click image for larger version

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The other unusual thing is itís a rack and pinion steering with the pinion shaft having the wheel on one end, if you look you can see right in front of the rack the rudder stock, that is all there is to the steering system.
Strength and simplicity is the upside, the downside I guess is there is a steering shaft running between your legs, that and the small wheel makes it so that you donít see IP owners with the photos of wearing storm gear braced behind the wheel weathering the storm, if we are helming by hand, itís usually sitting down hunched over a little to reach the little wheel
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Old 20-02-2019, 11:04   #23
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Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

[QUOTE=funjohnson;2830122]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valmika View Post



I've only seen a handful of installations of the rotary drives, but they always seemed overly complex on a boat with cable steering (most sailboats in this size). Maybe on a boat like an Island Packet with a rack and pinion it makes more sense, but I've never played with that combination. Where does the sprocket attach on your system?



The pinion shaft extends out back beyond the rack, the shaft is even cut for a key. Slide a sprocket on the shaft and tighten it down, the only thing to fab is a mount for the motor.
You then have the wheel on one end of the pinion shaft and the sprocket for the AP on the other.
Itís not Mickey Mouse on an IP at all, and likely better is the fact that your applying force in the same path that the steering is designed to accept.

Iím remembering the boat that a year or two ago where the AP ram broke free and sank the boat, remember that video?
I think maybe the actual rudder post may have broken free, but I wondered how much the hydraulic ram applying a sideways force may have had to do with the failure.
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Old 20-02-2019, 11:30   #24
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
I need to replace or repair my existing Raymarine ST4000 autopilot as the fluxgate compass is toast. The system works manually but it's pretty noisy and it would not be easy to interface with my new B&G electronics.

Is there a great benefit to using an autopilot that uses a servo attached to the rudder quadrant vs one that attaches to the wheel as my current ST4000 does?

The boat is a Tashiba-31 with a displacement of 13,700-lbs. I solo sail and use the autopilot in short periods to allow me to step away from the wheel from time to time. Eventually, I'll get a something like a Monitor windvane
I'm down here in PDX and have a spare fluxgate compass that I can loan you. The cost would be 2 flat rate boxes (one up and one down). That way you could bee if the compass is the problem. Of course buying one off ebay works too.

I have a below decks hydraulic ram (octopus out of Surry BC if I recall) driven by a Raymarine spx30. When I got the boat there was no working autopilot so I bought a SPX5 wheel pilot. The wheel did fine coming down the washington coast and handles our 32,000# boat with ease. No adverse conditions of course.

I have kept the SPX-5 as that it can drive the hydraulic pump should the SPX-30 fail. also, the SPX-30 can drive the wheel too so I have a backup for failure.

One advantage of any autopilot is that you can get heading out of them. Feed that into your radar etc.

There is a website or 2 that shows how to take the older ST4000 and add a rate gyro module to it. That and adding a rudder angle sensor greatly aids the pilot in steering "quitely". (fewer corrections)
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Old 20-02-2019, 11:48   #25
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

It sounds as though you do the same kind of sailing I do. I also had a Raymarine Autohelm ST4000 that came with the boat when I bought it 24 years ago, but it finally gave up the ghost last summer. I ended up replacing it with a Raymarine EV 100 wheel pilot (with separate compass and controller) I installed it myself (with much difficulty) and was able to use it briefly before the season ended. The control panel operates much like the ST4000, so there wasnít much of a learning curve. So far Iím pleased with how it operates, but will reserve final judgement until the end of this season.
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Old 20-02-2019, 11:56   #26
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

I had an Autohelm 5000 on my Pedrick Cheoy Lee 41, and couldn't get rid of the belt drive fast enough. I went for an Octopus linear drive to quadrant, which I installed my self, but also had a monitor for wind steering. Simple pick a course and off or on, I loved it. The Cheoy Lee did weigh in at 16 tons though, a little heavier than what you are referring to.
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Old 20-02-2019, 12:08   #27
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
My IP and many older ones have a 24Ē wheel with only 1.5 turns lock to lock, so itís either a easy to turn balanced space rudder or only manly men could helm one.

The other unusual thing is itís a rack and pinion steering with the pinion shaft having the wheel on one end, if you look you can see right in front of the rack the rudder stock, that is all there is to the steering system.
Strength and simplicity is the upside, the downside I guess is there is a steering shaft running between your legs, that and the small wheel makes it so that you donít see IP owners with the photos of wearing storm gear braced behind the wheel weathering the storm, if we are helming by hand, itís usually sitting down hunched over a little to reach the little wheel

That's a fantastic setup Very nice design -- next best thing to a tiller.



All my boats have had cable steering, with no feel. And although I've never had any trouble, you worry about a cable coming adrift or chafing through or something, especially since the whole cable mechanism is working the whole time while the autopilot is steering


Rack and pinion with bulletproof direct connection to the quadrant, and feel of what the rudder is doing to boot -- that's first class.
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Old 20-02-2019, 12:42   #28
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Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

It has drawbacks of course, the seating position isnít as comfortable, and that little wheel just doesnít look ďsaltyĒ

Newer IPís have large wheels that you stand behind and donít have the pinion shaft running between your legs.
I assume they may have a jackshaft under the deck and chains on both ends as the wheel seems to be attached to the binnacle like normal boats.
On mine the binnacle just holds the compass and gives you a place to mount a plotter and the table is all.

I feel sure that I would like a tiller myself if there was a good pilot for one.
With a spade rudder you wouldnít need a huge one, and the space that they donít take up in the cockpit is phenomenal. In truth you donít need a binnacle and imagine how big your cockpit would be if the binnacle and wheel werenít there.

Be real easy to fit on my boat, just remove the binnacle and wheel etc. and connect the tiller to the top of the rudder post.

You do have excellent feedback from the rudder though, in a way itís a little annoying as you feel the pulses of the prop when motoring through the wheel. Tighten the friction and that cuts that down.
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Old 20-02-2019, 13:27   #29
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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It has drawbacks of course, the seating position isnít as comfortable, and that little wheel just doesnít look ďsaltyĒ

Newer IPís have large wheels that you stand behind and donít have the pinion shaft running between your legs.
I assume they may have a jackshaft under the deck and chains on both ends as the wheel seems to be attached to the binnacle like normal boats.
On mine the binnacle just holds the compass and gives you a place to mount a plotter and the table is all.

I feel sure that I would like a tiller myself if there was a good pilot for one.
With a spade rudder you wouldnít need a huge one, and the space that they donít take up in the cockpit is phenomenal. In truth you donít need a binnacle and imagine how big your cockpit would be if the binnacle and wheel werenít there.

Be real easy to fit on my boat, just remove the binnacle and wheel etc. and connect the tiller to the top of the rudder post.

You do have excellent feedback from the rudder though, in a way itís a little annoying as you feel the pulses of the prop when motoring through the wheel. Tighten the friction and that cuts that down.



Who cares how "salty" it looks. My wheel blocks movement between the main part of the cockpit, and behind the helm, and this can be hellish when trying to drive the boat in a blow, and is just awkward the rest of the time


This problem is actually why dual helms came into vogue, which to my mind is a stupid overkill solution. On an aft cockpit boat I'd definitely go with a tiller. I was a guest at the KM Yachts works a couple of years ago, kindly arranged by Seaworthylass and Noelex, whose boat was under construction there, and saw that most of those boats, even 60-odd footers, are built with tillers rather than wheels. It makes perfect sense for a boat which anyway is steered by the autopilot 99% of the time. It swings right out of the way when not in use, to give completely unblocked cockpit. And is pleasant to use. Like many of us, I grew up steering by tiller, not by wheel.
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Old 07-03-2019, 13:41   #30
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Re: Autopilot: Wheel based or quandrant servo?

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I need to replace or repair my existing Raymarine ST4000 autopilot as the fluxgate compass is toast. The system works manually but it's pretty noisy and it would not be easy to interface with my new B&G electronics.

Is there a great benefit to using an autopilot that uses a servo attached to the rudder quadrant vs one that attaches to the wheel as my current ST4000 does?

The boat is a Tashiba-31 with a displacement of 13,700-lbs. I solo sail and use the autopilot in short periods to allow me to step away from the wheel from time to time. Eventually, I'll get a something like a Monitor windvane
I install and service all brands of autopilots.

I really like the Raymarine ST4000 and ST4000+ models.

The wheel pilot is a very simple solution, rated for boats up to 16,500 lbs displacement.

They do make a bit of noise though and aren't as tough as other types of drives.

Still, mine is about 15 years old and going strong.

So here are my recommendations:

1. Just get a replacement fluxgate compass. This will be the lowest cost solution, and you will be familiar with the UI and operation.

The con is that it will take an interface adapter to connect to other devices. Question, how often must you do this? Answer: Never. I set my autopilot to follow a route maybe once a year if I get bored and so I can remember how to do it. It isn't necessary.

2. Servo to the rudder quadrant. These are normally chain drive, noisy, take up a lot space, and require maintenance in a very difficult to access space.

3. Hydraulic. THE solution if you have a hydraulic steering system, else forgetaboutit.

4. Linear drive. NICE, Quiet, powerful, long lasting. Con = more expensive than a wheel pilot.

RE: Windvane. This depends on boat design and sailing style.

For a canoe stern vessel that is always on the ocean, great choice.

For a boat that is on an ocean passage 1% of the time, waste of time, effort, and money.

For island hopping, if you have a dinghy on davits, a walkthrough transom, or aft boarding ladder, the wind vane will just be in the way all the time.

Hope this helps.
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