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Old 01-20-2018, 01:47 PM   #1
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Auto Pilot

I am interested in recommendations for an auto pilot for Mainship 34 (14,000 lbs x 34 feet) or DIY info for one.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:10 PM   #2
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ComNav
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:30 PM   #3
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Who is the manufacturer of your electronics? If you want to integrate your AP with your chart plotter, sometimes it easier if they are both from the same builder; Garmin, Simrad, Raymarine, to name a few, you get the idea. No finger pointing if things aren't talking to each other after the installation.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimisbell View Post
... or DIY info for one.
If you want to save some bucks (maybe), you can run all the wiring, mount the pump and then get someone to splice into your hydraulic steering system, bleed it and them do the final hook ups based on how comfortable you are with your boats systems. Just talking out loud.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:44 PM   #5
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I am comfortable with all installation myself or even designing it from scratch as I have worked as an electronic engineer and a mechanical engineer designing and building RADAR systems and antenna pointing systems and control software. All similar to rudder pointing systems. But I dont want to reinvent the wheel if others have already done it and will share their experiences with me.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:19 PM   #6
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Who is the manufacturer of your electronics? If you want to integrate your AP with your chart plotter, sometimes it easier if they are both from the same builder; Garmin, Simrad, Raymarine, to name a few, you get the idea. No finger pointing if things aren't talking to each other after the installation.
+1
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:04 PM   #7
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I will be looking at Raymarine AP at the Seattle Boat show, as that is the brand I am currently run.
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:05 PM   #8
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Sitex SP 70. It "talks" to my Garmin chart plotter with no issues.
If you have a 1978 Mainship you need the larger volume pump. The 78s used a larger diameter rudder cylinder.
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:47 PM   #9
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Since they interact with other electronics via a standardized protocol, brand makes no difference. Not to mention, an AP works perfectly fine on it's own, interaction with a GPS plotter is only needed if you want to have it steer you to a waypoint. Anyway, get the one whose interface you are most comfortable with.
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:10 PM   #10
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+1
This has not been determined yet. I have not yet purchased the boat but think I will. I will probably replace all the instrumentation to fit my needs. I do like Raymarine as I had that in my Albin 25. Ididnt have an autopilot in the Albin and the Bruce Roberts 44 (sailboat) used a wind vane.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:22 PM   #11
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As a very DIY guy(self taught engineer lol) i've found the DIY arena on large boats very disappointing.

I looked into building one with a Raspberry PI or Arduino which has been done(for tilerpilots).. ultimately I caved and bought a cheap used wheelpilot off ebay for $200. Works good enough for holding course which is all I wanted anyway.

No offense to this forum but building a self contained DIY autopilot is beyond most of the typical members here and there's not much crossover in the boating universe on the subject(based on hours of research).

DIY drone builders have made leaps and bounds in the simplicity of a X/Y axis motor controller and coding it.. Boat stuff is incredibly simple but wrapped in a glossy package.

Problem is there's just not much interest in the area outside of OpenCPN which is pretty good but progress is slow.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:35 PM   #12
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ComNav
Ditto for Comnav. Integrates nicely with my Furuno Navnet system. Comnav is in lots of commercial boats.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:43 PM   #13
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Iíll second the ComNav, I have older 1420 with controls at each helm. I do have it integrated with my Standard Horizon cp590 on the lower helm. Good sturdy units
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:54 PM   #14
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My autopilot is plug and play with my multi function display, it saved me the expense of a separate control head for the autopilot as the MFD already had that function. I can't imagine not having my autopilot controlled through my MFD.

Unified electronics eliminates the need for a separate radar display, a depth sounder display, a control head for autopilot and chart plotter. Why wouldn't you?

Wait and see what you buy, it may already have autopilot installed. Seems to me you are jumping the gun on asking for recommendations...
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:00 PM   #15
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I totally pleased with my Raymarine EV 200.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:05 PM   #16
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Unified electronics eliminates the need for a separate radar display, a depth sounder display, a control head for autopilot and chart plotter. Why wouldn't you?
Single point of failure, that's why.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:13 PM   #17
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Stand alones have advantages IF you use it to only keep a heading. (as I do).

My most recent Atlantic crossing in Dec 2016 with strong winds and large, mixed following seas (6 to 15 feet) really put the my ComNav to the test.

I can adjust it for those conditions so that it responds better and faster than manual steering in such arduous conditions.

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Old 01-20-2018, 11:27 PM   #18
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Since they interact with other electronics via a standardized protocol, brand makes no difference. Not to mention, an AP works perfectly fine on it's own, interaction with a GPS plotter is only needed if you want to have it steer you to a waypoint. Anyway, get the one whose interface you are most comfortable with.
Not 100% accurate. Raymarine & Simrad pilots only interface with other electronics via nmea2000 or seatalkNg (raymarines version of nmea2000). If these pilots are going to be interfaced to a plotter using nmea 0183 ,a converter ,such as actisence, would need to be used.

For those touting Comnav pilots, they're fine systems but all of their models,except the newest P-series, are still using 20-30 year old technology with a standard flux compass for heading. Most other brands have evolved using rate compass sensors that sense yaw & roll in addition to simply heading ,which IMO, would benefit the op with a 34 mainship trawler & it's flatter aft section, especially in following seas.
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Old 01-21-2018, 01:54 AM   #19
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Single point of failure, that's why.
For a guy driving a Boston Whaler, you must have a huge center console :-)

Just kidding on that, but my vessel doesn't have enough space to mount all of those different displays, which makes a single MFD even more desirable.

Should any part (or all parts) of that system fail, I can navigate with my compass and paper. I navigated for years with a depth finder and compass, tough it was with a much faster vessel.
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Old 01-21-2018, 05:46 AM   #20
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For those touting Comnav pilots, they're fine systems but all of their models,except the newest P-series, are still using 20-30 year old technology with a standard flux compass for heading. Most other brands have evolved using rate compass sensors that sense yaw & roll in addition to simply heading ,which IMO, would benefit the op with a 34 mainship trawler & it's flatter aft section, especially in following seas.
Yes, but you don't need to get a flux gate compass (which I did hate).
I installed a Maretron solid state compass and the ComNav works better.
ANd the Maretron has both a NMEA 0183 and 2000 output, so the 0183 goes directly to the ComNav controller and the 2000 goes to the Maretron network which is connected to Coastal Explorer.

Larry on Hobo explained the self install process well above. At this point even I could do it.
Also ComNav is small enough that they actually have one engineer who mans the help line and he actually knows what he is doing. No small feat nowadays.
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