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-   -   simple autopilot for single diesel trawler (http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s31/simple-autopilot-single-diesel-trawler-24067.html)

bikeandboat 01-07-2016 03:06 PM

simple autopilot for single diesel trawler
 
We have a single diesel 34' Albin and would like to add a simple auto pilot. We do not want to integrate with other items, such as GPS or radar. Any suggestions as to manufacturer or model? Hynautic steering system.

Old deckhand 01-07-2016 04:29 PM

ComNav has a very simple model and is very popular and well supported. You may wish to consider an autopilot that is well supported in you region.

djmarchand 01-07-2016 05:03 PM

There are three parts to an autopilot system for your boat:

1. A control head where you enter course and turns

2. A course computer that mounts someplace out of sight and drives the pump below. These usually have 2-3 sizes depending on drive current which is dependent on the size of boat. A fluxgate compass connects to the course computer. The fluxgate provides heading information to the course computer.

3. A hydraulic pump that ties into your hydraulic steering. It is driven by the course computer and needs to be matched for drive capability. These come in a couple of sizes dependent on your steering hydraulic ram size.

I would pick one of the big 3: Raymarine, Garmin or Simrad. Look at the displays of each and pick the one you like best. All are good and are priced similarly.

David

TDunn 01-07-2016 05:23 PM

I agree go with Raymarine, Garmin or Simrad. I would pick based on whose other electronics I liked best. Any of the above are NMEA 2000 compatible so in the future it will be easy to interface the autopilot if you decide you want to. Just think in 5 years or less if you interface the auto pilot you will be able to run the boat from your iphone from the office while viewing full video in a separate window. No need to actually go to the marina to take the boat out :)

FF 01-08-2016 05:46 AM

Depends what you require from the AP setup.

If you want to spend time pre programming every turn on your next summer vacation the usual choices will do.

If your hyd steering is fairly fresh and in good condition a wheel mounted unit would be cheap and have the least complexity to install, and maintain.

The hassle is the hyd steering does not have a fixed center as chain & cable or rods or even a push pull cable has. After a while ( 10-15 min on an old leaky setup half hour+ on new) the unit will need to be reset.

If you just want it to steer to the next turn , where you will set the next course it would be fine.

Hooking it to a GPS and expecting it to navigate a cruise will not be fine.

what_barnacles 01-08-2016 05:53 AM

calibrate your compass and then hook a bungy cord to the wheel. :)

Wxx3 01-08-2016 06:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old deckhand (Post 402306)
ComNav has a very simple model and is very popular and well supported. You may wish to consider an autopilot that is well supported in you region.

ComNav. :dance:

A simple hydralic system. Works for weeks on end, 24/7.

It got us across the Atlantic.

I am not a paid spokeperson; though I should be:D

Wxx3 01-08-2016 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by what_barnacles (Post 402459)
calibrate your compass and then hook a bungy cord to the wheel. :)

Sad to say, that doesn't work.:nonono:

I tried.

jleonard 01-08-2016 06:28 AM

Look at Sitex SP-70. Really simple and easy to use. Runs my 40 Albin quite nicely in most conditions.
And I am integrated to my Garmin GPS. I don't always navigate to a waypoint, but I think that is one of the best features of having an autopilot.
No intentions of starting a war on that issue, just sayin'

Tom.B 01-08-2016 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jleonard (Post 402463)
Look at Sitex SP-70. Really simple and easy to use.

Si-Tex/Com Nav meets your criteria. This is a fabulous system that has been around for a long time and has proven itself in a lot of different kinds of boats. It's easy (ish) to install (although, like any, there are a lot of wires) and the interface is clear and simple. The best thing is that this unit hasn't been caught up in the software arms race that companies like Garmin or Raymarine are in. If you want to be able to write your name in the river, execute search patterns for the Navy, or watch Game Of Thrones on the display, then these units are for you. But the Si-Tex (which is a rebranded Com Nav) is at the end of its development life and is as good as you can get from an easy to used and install unit. Another huge benefit is that to add a second station doesn't require another expensive head unit. All you need is their $50 plug to mount at an auxiliary helm.

I would suggest you call them and discuss your needs. They will spend all the time you need to help you understand the unit and help with any questions you may have during the install. I was super happy (as if that is in any question here) and miss having it on our new boat.

SteveD 01-08-2016 09:28 AM

Garmin !!
 
I have both Comnav and Garmin Autopilots on the same boat. I added the Garmin both for redundancy and because the Comnav would just not perform to my expectations (I had a Simrad on another boat and I trusted that one to steer me into Gig Harbor - with my hand near the controls!).

The Comnav is now strictly a backup unit (and rudder angle indicator). There is simply no comparison in their performance. The Garmin mostly keeps the crosstrack error less than ten or twenty feet, even with big cross currents. Unlike the Comnav it requires no adjusting and tunes itself to the conditions.

I believe that any of the major manufacturers (Simrad, Raymarine, and Furuno) have autopilots with similar smarts. In my opinion, the Comnav is just primitive by comparison.

sunchaser 01-08-2016 09:50 AM

Steve D

Did you keep the same steering pump or put in a new and or additional unit? If new, same size or greater capacity?

Like many, I am a Furuno fan and would likely go that way if I choose to twin the existing older Simrad AP20.

Ski in NC 01-08-2016 09:58 AM

Check with electronics installers in your area. Lots of boats upgrade to the new whiz-bang electronics with cartoons and have perfectly functioning units removed. Might be able to score a good unit that way without having to pay retail.

I use an old skool Simrad AP35, it does a nice job. I use it all the time even when in the ICW. I don't bother with waypoints even though it is connected to the gps. I just point it where I want to go and tweak as needed. Someone has to be at the helm anyway, might as well do something.

SteveD 01-08-2016 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sunchaser (Post 402502)
Steve D

Did you keep the same steering pump or put in a new and or additional unit? If new, same size or greater capacity?

The Garmin requires their own pump. Most other brands do not. But I wanted the pump in the engine room and I wanted two, in case one failed.

By the way, unless you like the sound of squealing cats, it is best to locate autopilot pumps as far away from your steering station as is practical.

Tom.B 01-08-2016 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveD (Post 402519)
By the way, unless you like the sound of squealing cats, it is best to locate autopilot pumps as far away from your steering station as is practical.

In the master stateroom bathroom, our AP pump sounds like a quacking duck! It took us a while to figure out what was making that sound. Bess figured it out. :rofl: The bath is right under the lower helm.

Ski in NC 01-08-2016 12:16 PM

I mounted my pump in the ER on an AL angle bracket with resilient mounts attaching it to the hull structure. I think the pump is on resilient mounts too, can't remember. No sound from the pump anywhere in the boat, especially at the helm.

But I have been on boats where the pump noise is horrible. Especially if mounted on the bridge where ambient noise level is very low. Put pump in ER.

psneeld 01-08-2016 12:40 PM

wow...my AP pump is right over my head under the flybridge fairing and I can hardly hear it with the engine running....

I know hydraulic pumps make a lot of noise but usually an AP pump only runs for a half second or so every few seconds....more like a good burp....unless there is a fluid problem.

Ski in NC 01-08-2016 04:03 PM

Maybe you are just accustomed to the sound of "burps"??

psneeld 01-08-2016 04:10 PM

You never know who might drink beer aboard my boat....:D

Sailor of Fortune 01-08-2016 07:00 PM

Comnav or Sitex (I think they are about the same thing), bullet proof, no frills crewmember who doesn't eat, drink, smoke or bitch. They also steer a better course than you (or at least me).


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