I installed a ComNav 1420 auto pilot and just love it! Installation was straight forward, more tedious than technical with routing all the components and wiring up the computer. Works great with our hydraulic steering!
I like to visit the engine room every hour or so while underway. Yesterday I gave the watch to the First Mate, Fred (auto pilot) was engaged, and I went below. Behind the two step ladder to our stateroom is an access hatch to the engine room. I also store my 3 drawer tool box under the steps since it is available but out of the way. I removed the steps, put my tool box in the center of the stateroom, and opened the hatch. I felt the boat make a hard right turn,
and rushed to the bridge to see what was going on. The First Mate said "I didn't do anything, it just took off on it's own!" She had the presence of mind to shut Fred off and regain control manually.
Then it hit me. In order to mount the flux gate as far from the engines as possible, I put it under the deck in our state room. When I put the tool box on top of it, it went crazy. I restored everything, turned Fred on, and he worked fine. Next hour, I shut Fred off, (had the First Mate hand steer) moved the tool box out of the way of the hatch, and did my inspection. When I turned Fred on again, everything was fine. SOOO, another step in the getting underway checklist. Move the tool box before engaging Fred, and leave it there till we tie up for the night. Live and learn!!!!