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Old 25-05-2018, 08:00   #1
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Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Hi everyone.
I have an EV-400 for my old gaffer, with wireless remote. It works great and I enjoy the freedom it can provide when I'm shorthanded or solo.
I do not have a wind instrument, however, and hence cannot autotack. My solution has been to quickly press the "10 deg" button 10 times, then tend to the rigging. This isn't that much of a convenience for me, though.



I would love to be able to send the AP the appropriate signal to change course 100 degrees with a single button press. Any suggestions for a hack?



Thanks.
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Old 25-05-2018, 19:42   #2
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

I donít know about your remote, but Raymarine control heads for sailboats generally tack through 90 degrees if you press 1 and 10 simultaneously, either on the plus or the minus side depending on which direction you want to tack. No wind input required for this.

Does this apply to your remote?
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Old 26-05-2018, 07:33   #3
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

everywhere I read that the AP has to be in wind mode to do the two button tack thing, but can only be in wind mode if it detects valid wind data via an instrument.

I suppose the quickest thing is for me to try it, though I'm away from the boat until Tuesday - grrrrrrr
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Old 26-05-2018, 09:32   #4
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Hmm, you may be right.

My old Raymarine ST6002 controller would tack through 100 degrees whether in wind mode or not. If I was in wind mode, then after autotacking through 100 degrees it would automatically start trimming to the wind.

Looking at the the P70 control docs, it appears that you do have to be in wind vane mode to autotack. I can't find any description of autotacking without wind vane mode.

However, I did just find an autoturn feature which looks like what I used to have. It will turn through a configurable number of degrees, either to port or to starboard. But, the manual says this is only available to motor vessels. I don't know whether motor vessel vs sailboat is determined by the autopilot model or if it can be selected in the controller. If it can be configured, you could try setting it to motor vessel to see if this feature then works for you. I doubt it would be a viable solution, though, since there are likely other features and performance characteristics that likely depend on this setting.

I can see how a non-wind auto turn feature could have some risk on a sailboat, since you could erroneously hit auto turn in the wrong direction (downwind). Instead of limiting this feature to motor vessels they probably could have built in a confirmation feature, like pressing it twice to confirm that you really wanted to autotack or something like that. Even in a motor vessel there is some risk since there could be traffic.

I would never have thought to check for this feature in a new autopilot controller, and I would have been sad to find that I couldn't autotack without a wind input.
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Old 26-05-2018, 13:19   #5
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Yeah. It'll have to wait until I'm with the boat. There are a couple of postings from Raymarine on their forum about Autoturn within the context of sailboats and tacking, so maybe it'll work with a sail type ACU or vessel.
I also see the business in their documentation about adjusting the setting for motor vessels only. It is unclear if the setting adjustment is for motor vessels only, or the whole feature.

Funny that autoturn isn't really documented at all. There's an allusion to it with respect to hard over time, and in a table w/o a description, and towards the back of the manual regarding adjusting the angle (for motor vessels only).

I really like my old cassette tape telltales, and don't feel like the cost, hassle, reliability, etc. of a wind instrument just to turn 100 degrees (+/-).

More anon - I'll post what I find out next week.
Thanks for your response.
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Old 26-05-2018, 13:56   #6
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

I would still be interested if anyone has a NMEA hack for us uber-nerds
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Old 26-05-2018, 14:59   #7
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pirate Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

1 and 10 pressed simultaneously will send you 90 degrees to whichever side you press.. no wind mode required.
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Old 26-05-2018, 16:54   #8
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Great. Do you know if non-motor vessels can configure the number of degrees?
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:41   #9
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
1 and 10 pressed simultaneously will send you 90 degrees to whichever side you press.. no wind mode required.
Yep, it worked. I didn't check whether or not configuring angle can be done with a sailing vessel. I'll try that today. Awesome - I'm happy.
A sentence in the manual would be nice.

P.S. Still interested in NMEA geek out.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:07   #10
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

On any of the older RM AP's you can enter the "dealer calibration" mode and set tacking angles and other features as you wish. I do my boats to a "Catalina Cocktail" configuration which adjusts from the middle of the road default settings. I once had a boat without a wind instrument and it would "auto tack" AND "auto gybe". It didn't know so didn't care, then on a boat with wind input it won't "auto gybe" anymore. And if it's connected to wind by Seatalk and the wind is BO it won't auto anything anymore.
The only time I tried to do a "Dealer Calibration" on one of the newer AP's with a computer after going thru 20 minutes of menus it "defaulted" back to "sailboat mode" and I quit in frustration.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:24   #11
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Re: Tacking with an autopilot w/o wind instrument

Ok. It works and the angle is adjustable, even for sail type. You need to turn off cal lock, then navigate to drive, auoturn->angle. If cal lock is on, the auto turn menu is not available. (Not good interface practice, imho. It would be better to gray it out)
All set. Thanks folks
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