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Old 03-24-2015, 11:32 AM   #1
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Autopilot suggestions

I am looking at choices of autopilots for a 28' outboard powered Rosbrough trawler. It seems the choices are Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad, & Garmin. The boat plan is to travel the "Loop" in stages so there are many times that an AP would be helpful. Use of a handheld remote is desirable. So, can I get comments & recommendations from this knowledgeable group? Thanks for the help! Gayle
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:38 AM   #2
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Here's a AP that'll fit you needs.
Furuno Navpilot720ob Autopilot Inboard Requires Pump
And you'll need a pump, this one should do just fine.
Furuno Autopilot Pump
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:41 AM   #3
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I had a Simrad AP and it worked.

Changed course w/o instructions at times and was probably tuned for a heavier boat than ours.

"Need a pump"? Probably only for hydraulic steering.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:33 PM   #4
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You might also want to consider Si-tex and COMNAV. Si-tex has a real nice system for smaller boats and includes a pump if you have hydraulic steering.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:08 PM   #5
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Yes I second Sitex. I have the SP 70. No frills but does the job nicely and the price didn't break the bank.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:26 PM   #6
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Skipper

Don't take my word for granted, chek it out and you'll see that Simrad AP24 is the way to go. In your boat you can get the complete system with pump and everything for a lot less than 2K

Rgs

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Old 03-24-2015, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jleonard View Post
Yes I second Sitex. I have the SP 70. No frills but does the job nicely and the price didn't break the bank.

The SP-70 is what I'll go with when I get to the point of installing AP. Did you do the install yourself, if so how difficult was it?
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:44 PM   #8
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What kind of steering does the boat have? Cable, hydraulic?
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:56 PM   #9
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Very happy with my Sitex 70.

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Old 03-24-2015, 11:46 PM   #10
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I think for years Simrad was considered the gold standard, but less so now. I had an AP24/AC42 on my Grand Banks and it worked well.

On the GB I tried one of the WR20 remote controls for the AP. It was a complete piece of junk, working sometimes and not others, always choosing the worst possible times to stop working. I had it "repaired" to no avail, and even bought a second one to prove to myself and to Simrad that it was a faulty design, not an installation problem. They finally took both back.

I had an AP28/AC12 plus several FU80 follow ups on my Nordhavn and it was highly problematic. It's only a suspicion, but I think the NSO chart plotter that I also had which included the ability to control the pilot as well as the AP28s, may have been a big part of the problem.

I replaced the Simrad pilot with a Furuno NavPilot, and so far so good. It installs easily, configures easily, supports N2K as well as 0183 which the Simrad does not, and Furuno support is head and shoulders better than Simrad.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:08 AM   #11
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Pick one...any one as manufactures go. There are good ones, and slightly better ones. Seems like no one complains about their autopilot anymore.

Choosing the right one for an outboard setup is a little harder depending on how your steering and outboard are .setup
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:35 AM   #12
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Capt Bill has the right question , what steering does the boat have?

Depending , you can have an AP for under $500 to over $5000.

Just wanting steering is an option , following a GPS is another and pre planning the 6000mile trip a year in advance is another.

For my taste , steering a course is enough .
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:45 AM   #13
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Autopilot suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
What kind of steering does the boat have? Cable, hydraulic?
REPLY::Boat has twin outboards w/ hydraulic steering

Thanks for info. Gayle
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:54 AM   #14
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Auto pilot

I would match up your other stuff. If you have a Garman GPS/Chart plotter, go with Garmin. So on and so on. I have everything Garmin. Radar, GPS, auto pilot. They all talk to each other perfectly. Once to "step up" to hydraulic steering, they are all pricey, because of the pump. IMO, match up brand names.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:03 AM   #15
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It may depend on your electronics, but if 0183 NE MA inputs to everything, switching brands is just a matter of figuring out wires...not really a big deal so go with either works for you stylewise or pricewise.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:09 AM   #16
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Hyd steering means you are usually stuck with a unit that will feed the Hyd lines with its own electric / hydraulic pump.

This will be OTS with any level of complexity you desire.

As a test , you could mark the wheel position , run a half hour with course changes , and see how far the wheel now is from its marked position.

If its within an inch or so , a ram tiller pilot , clamped to the wheel is a $300 answer , but you will need to touch the buttons to change course.

For a grand, a wheel drive drum will work,if you need remote control, but the key is weather the wheel returns to center with regularity.


I have seen outboards that had their own power pump for the Hyd fluid .(Not a wheel coupled pump).

This is the best of all worlds , as whatever brain box you chose will not be burdened with turning on and reversing a big DC hyd pump every few seconds.

Two 12V dc 1/2A (vickers) valves can direct the fluid , usually with just the brain box , no big switching unit required.

An AP can be as complex or inexpensive as you choose.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:15 AM   #17
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It may depend on your electronics, but if 0183 NE MA inputs to everything, switching brands is just a matter of figuring out wires...not really a big deal so go with either works for you stylewise or pricewise.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River Cruiser View Post
The SP-70 is what I'll go with when I get to the point of installing AP. Did you do the install yourself, if so how difficult was it?
Yes I installed it myself, it was easy really. Running the wires is the real PIA.
It works well with my Garmin plotter, does what it is supposed to do.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:43 AM   #19
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Another vote for the Si-Tex SP70. Installed it myself. While it was a bit of a PITA, it was totally worth it, and HALF the price of the Garmins or others that can do loopy-loops or write your name in the river with fancy-schmancy color displays. Who needs all that fluff? :-)

However, according to the new owner of our boat, the hydraulic pump failed after a two years. Not sure I understand how, why, or even if it's completely factual about what failed (only because I wasn't around and don't know if his tech replaced it for another reason). Still, it was a tough little unit.

One more thing about it... to add a second station to the lower helm only cost $50 for a second socket for the hand held controller. THAT was the selling point for me.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:00 AM   #20
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As suggested by Capt Bill, Scott and others, the devil is in the details. Brand is largely meaningless as many use the same basic components. Some suggestions

- with outboards and hydraulic steering your mechanical setup and pump location will be different than a large trawler
- go to the accusteer website and select the pump model to fit your outboard setup. Lots of other good info there on layout
- the Furuno website also is worth perusing
- visit a Gradey White, Trophy or Intrepid dealer and talk to their service guys about their preferred choices for components, physical setup and brands
- discuss same with a good instrument tech who has done outboard installs. Get an installed price and then decide if you want to do it yourself or hire it out.

BTW, a slightly haywire AP setup at 7 knots is one thing, at thirty knots it is a disaster. So the fast outboard guys lurking here, don't go with a slow trawler setup.
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