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Old 02-04-2019, 08:13 AM   #1
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Adding a Second Autopilot

We have Furuno TZTouch2s on both upper and lower helms and a Simrad AP 28 on the flybridge only. I’d like to add an autopilot to the lower helm. The choices seem to be:

—buy a second control head (I’d prefer an identical AP 28) and daisy-chain it to the existing one. (Costlier approach.)

—link the existing Simnet network to our existing NMEA network and view/operate the AP28 via the TZT on the lower helm. (Perhaps the cleanest approach?)

Do I have that second option right?

If so, are there likely to be any issues/losses of functionality using the TZT for this purpose?

Am I overlooking any advantage in maintaining a separate dedicated network (Simnet) for the AP, which would argue for buying a second control head?
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:18 AM   #2
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Not familiar with the TZTouch2, so can't comment, but if the Simrad can be controlled on the chart plotter like mine, it would be dirt simple to just connect it to the lower chart plotter via NMEA 2000. That's the way my Simrad works, and work very well.

Is that an option?
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:23 AM   #3
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Not familiar with the TZTouch2, so can't comment, but if the Simrad can be controlled on the chart plotter like mine, it would be dirt simple to just connect it to the lower chart plotter via NMEA 2000. That's the way my Simrad works, and work very well.

Is that an option?
Thanks, SeeVee. Iíve seen threads on connecting it that way, with some folks frustrated by missing data. These tended to be older discussions and Iím wondering about more recent experiences.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:54 AM   #4
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Thanks, SeeVee. Iíve seen threads on connecting it that way, with some folks frustrated by missing data. These tended to be older discussions and Iím wondering about more recent experiences.
My set up with the chart plotters has been flawless. Can totally operate the AP from either helm on the chart plotter, or the main control. Also have a remote, but not as much capability.

And, for tracking, you'd have to connect to a plotter of some sorts. A call to Simrad Tech could be worth the wait (yes, long waits).
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Old 02-04-2019, 12:21 PM   #5
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Well, I called Furuno and now Iím even more confused. According to the tech, I canít control the AP28 from the TZTouch2 MFD. thought Iíd read elsewhere that this was possible. Does anyone know for sure?
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:06 PM   #6
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Well, I called Furuno and now Iím even more confused. According to the tech, I canít control the AP28 from the TZTouch2 MFD. thought Iíd read elsewhere that this was possible. Does anyone know for sure?

Definitely correct. The only chart plotters that will control a Simrad AP are Simrad/Lowrence/B&G. That stuff is all proprietary.


I think the interfacing discussions you have seen are about getting the AP in Nav mode to follow a route from the chart plotter. That is standardized and works between all APs and plotters from what I've seen.


But switching between Standby, Auto mode, Nav mode, Dodge, changing heading in Auto mode, and navigating all the configuration menus is proprietary on all auto pilots of all brands.


What you could use is an AP24 control head instead of an AP28. It has a smaller display, but takes up less panel space and is less expensive.


But have you checked to see if you can even buy either one of them anymore? The AP24/28 was replaced by the NACxxx family a couple/few years ago, and Simrad usually drops products like a stone once they are replaced by something newer.
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:35 PM   #7
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Lots of used autopilots and parts on ebay.
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:39 PM   #8
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Well, I called Furuno and now I’m even more confused. According to the tech, I can’t control the AP28 from the TZTouch2 MFD. thought I’d read elsewhere that this was possible. Does anyone know for sure?
My boat has AP 20 at both helms. TZ via Trident or NN3 is not workable off the AP20. With the AP 20 course computer acting up we installed a Furuno 711c at both helms. No problem with 711c working off both Trident and NN3.

Both APs are installed. Via an isolating switch either AP will work off the AP single pump. But only Furuno follows the course in NAV mode. Both work fine in AUTO.
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #9
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Looks like the simplest solution is to buy a used AP28 (many out there very similarly priced to used AP24s) with a warranty. Iíll verify with Simrad, but it looks like I just need a Simnet cord to daisy chain the new AP to the existing one.

Thanks all!
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:16 PM   #10
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Looks like the simplest solution is to buy a used AP28 (many out there very similarly priced to used AP24s) with a warranty. Iíll verify with Simrad, but it looks like I just need a Simnet cord to daisy chain the new AP to the existing one.

Thanks all!
Adding a second AP head via Simnet should work.
Also, an alternative would be to install a Simrad WR10 wireless remote if your autopilot computer is a Simrad AC12, AC24 or NAC-x. With this wireless device you can engage, disengage and change your AP course almost anywhere on the boat. The only thing you couldnít do is see the information displayed on the AP24 or AP28.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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Adding a second AP head via Simnet should work.
Also, an alternative would be to install a Simrad WR10 wireless remote if your autopilot computer is a Simrad AC12, AC24 or NAC-x. With this wireless device you can engage, disengage and change your AP course almost anywhere on the boat. The only thing you couldnít do is see the information displayed on the AP24 or AP28.
Thanks for the idea. Iíve wondered how I might use one of those and havenít been able to come up with a scenario where Iíd need remote capability away from either of the helm stations. Iím sure Iím missing something.
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Old 02-04-2019, 06:40 PM   #12
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Thanks for the idea. I’ve wondered how I might use one of those and haven’t been able to come up with a scenario where I’d need remote capability away from either of the helm stations. I’m sure I’m missing something.

Well, depends.....
If you install a remote throttle in the cockpit, the remote steering could be a help, or if you're on the flybridge and the sun is brutal in the captains chair, just stand behind in the shard and operate the heading/track commands. I've done that hundreds of times.

Also, just cruising down the channel, sitting back in your chair, it's easier with a remote rather than leaning over to the AP control head.
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Old 02-04-2019, 06:55 PM   #13
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Thanks for the idea. Iíve wondered how I might use one of those and havenít been able to come up with a scenario where Iíd need remote capability away from either of the helm stations. Iím sure Iím missing something.
I was suggesting you could use the remote from the lower helm station in place of a second hard wired control. If you normally engage and adjust your AP by line of sight or course as displayed on your Furuno MFD's it could take the place of a second AP 24/28 head unit.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:14 PM   #14
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I was suggesting you could use the remote from the lower helm station in place of a second hard wired control. If you normally engage and adjust your AP by line of sight or course as displayed on your Furuno MFD's it could take the place of a second AP 24/28 head unit.
I will admit that I like having a display (mine are all Simrad) verifying the AP is or is not engaged via the MFD and/or the AP head unit. So not having either of those in the lower helm might be troubling.
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