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Old 06-27-2016, 10:25 AM   #21
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What model ComNav for a 35ft boat & mechanical steering?
Give the ComNav folks a call, they are typically very helpful and straightforward.

Wandering by APs is often due to something upsetting the fluxgate compass, like some new appliance or metal object being placed nearby. Or, incomplete adjustment and set up. I was frustrated with my Robertson until a helpful phone tech (back when Simrad still supported it) walked me through set up appropriate to my boat. That's why I never got around to replacing it.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:36 AM   #22
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comnav 1001 on my boat, uses the fluxgate and the rate sensor. I understand you can't buy the rate sensor any more, so fluxgate only which is a notably slower response than with the rate sensor. Alternatively, you can put in a tri-axis compass or even a gps type, but will need an additional sine/cosine converter to read the data.

I also located my compass and rate sensor further aft on the boat, so in following seas when the stern begins to move the a/p responds a bit quicker.

My steering is hydraulic and I use a slightly larger hyd. pump which also gives a bit faster response.

Agree that all you would have to do is call Comnav and they will be happy to size a system to your boat.
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Old 06-27-2016, 03:53 PM   #23
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AP

I would also recommend Comnav.

I had a Cetrec hydraulic ap on a 28' troller, the pump was direct reversing.
Wore out a couple of motors. Put about a thousand hours a year on the
boat.
Moved the ap to new boat, 38' with mechanical steering. Had a couple
of heavy duty solenoids built into a switching control for a Wood-Freeman
drive motor. Worked so - so.
Installed new Comnav 2001 ap. Pilot worked well.
Changed to hydraulic steering with engine driven pump and solenoid valves.
Fantastic system.
The compass has a major effect on the pilot control according to Comnav.
I had (still have in storage) a 9 or 9 1/2 inch card compass, the same
model Comnav used in their design and testing.
I now have a Wagner Mark IV pilot wired to a Wood-Freeman 110 volt DC
pump system. Seems to hold compass course OK. Can not use input fom
GPS, plotters etc.

What I know about Comnav;

Good service
2001 worked very well - would like another one but expensive
1001 supposed to be much the same, a couple less buttons
about 1/2 the price
1420 designed for the yacht market

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Old 06-27-2016, 10:10 PM   #24
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Raymarine EV 200 for 2 years. Love it.
Replace a RM ST5000+
Money well spent
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:32 PM   #25
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Raymarine EV 200 for 2 years. Love it.
(WHEW!) Just bought one.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:44 AM   #26
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An autopilot reacts but does not anticipate. A human helmsman can anticipate; easiest in an open cockpit with a tiller, but possible with a wheel in an enclosed pilothouse.
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:20 PM   #27
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I had to toss this into the autopilot discussion.

Tesla's 'Autopilot' feature probed after fatal crash

Seems after many hundreds of thousands of miles, Tesla had their first autopilot crash. Same thing the critics of autopilot here point out that he wasn't paying attention and the color of the truck fooled the autopilot. However, also in the tests to date they've shown the autopilot is overall far safer than the average motorist.

Now, my understanding of what is supposed to happen is even with the autopilot the driver is supposed to keep their hands on the wheel and the car stop if they don't.

New slogan:

Autopliot: Not just for planes and boats anymore.
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Old 07-01-2016, 04:46 PM   #28
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(WHEW!) Just bought one.
Another vote for Raymarine! We have the EV-400 and it's been a dream. It replaced an old Robertson that was on its last legs.

Easy to install and interface with the other RM gadgets, a quick dockside commissioning and away we went. 2 years zero headaches...
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:11 PM   #29
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Just a note from my experience with the Raymarine EVO. It plays well in its own yard, but it gets finicky when other manufacturers and software are in the same yard. Two key issues are how to send routes to it and how to update the software. I still haven't quite figured out reliably sending routes to it in a mixed environment (Garmin, Raymarine, and Coastal Explorer) without turning things off. Also if you need to update the software on the EVO you can only do that from a Raymarine MFD (Check the Raymarine web site to see if your model can be used).

I suspect similar issues will come up with Garmin and Simrad and probably Furuno. I downloaded and read all their installation and operation manuals before I chose the Raymarine EVO. It came down to which one appeared to be the easiest to integrate into my electronics. Garmin was the hardest one to install due to cabling requirements.

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Old 07-01-2016, 10:33 PM   #30
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I think all the vendors have made improvements in the area's in which they were weakest and lagged behind. With that accomplished, although it's not practical most of the time once you start with a mix, I feel like probably having the complete suite of products from any of the manufacturers is better in the long run than any combination of products you can come up with.

Having Brand A's navigation software and B's Radar and C's Autopilot may give you the best of all, but when one needs upgrading or replacing, it brings about a more complicated world. There was a time when some of them were just really bad with certain of their products. They've done a better job of keeping up with their competition. I think they've all also realized that if they want to get the contracts with the new boat builders of production boats, it requires a single package. If Builder X likes A's Navigation and Radar and overall systems but doesn't trust their Autopilot they're likely to move on to B's equipment.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:47 AM   #31
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...... I feel like probably having the complete suite of products from any of the manufacturers is better in the long run than any combination of products you can come up with.
I had the very same thought when I went shopping.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:59 AM   #32
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Two key issues are how to send routes to it and how to update the software. I still haven't quite figured out reliably sending routes to it in a mixed environment (Garmin, Raymarine, and Coastal Explorer) without turning things off. Also if you need to update the software on the EVO you can only do that from a Raymarine MFD (Check the Raymarine web site to see if your model can be used).
Good points. Thanks.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:48 AM   #33
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I still haven't quite figured out reliably sending routes to it in a mixed environment (Garmin, Raymarine, and Coastal Explorer) without turning things off.
Maybe this link solve some of your questions.

The Marine Installer's Rant: Installing the Raymarine Evolution autopilot

BTW. as far as i know the AP don't follow the route its the plotter that controls the AP. The AP only keep course to the active Waypoint.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:55 PM   #34
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I had read that article, but the problem on sending routes (like you said waypoints) to the EVO seems to be that both Garmin and Raymarine MFDs send NMEA2000 PGN 129285 over the network with no data in it even when no route is selected. When you tell the EVO to follow a track sent from either MFD or Coastal Explorer with both the Garmin or Raymarine MFD on, it is getting the same PGN from multiple devices and displays a "No Navigation Data" error. If you turn one of them off and reset the autopilot then the remaining MFD can send a track to the EVO. Coastal Explorer can only send a track to the EVO with both the Garmin and Raymarine MFDs off.

Garmin's response was it shouldn't matter and Raymarine didn't respond to the question. While I am not a big fan of Lowrance, at least they don't send AP PGNs with no data.

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Old 07-02-2016, 01:41 PM   #35
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I had read that article, but the problem on sending routes (like you said waypoints) to the EVO seems to be that both Garmin and Raymarine MFDs send NMEA2000 PGN 129285 over the network with no data in it even when no route is selected. When you tell the EVO to follow a track sent from either MFD or Coastal Explorer with both the Garmin or Raymarine MFD on, it is getting the same PGN from multiple devices and displays a "No Navigation Data" error. If you turn one of them off and reset the autopilot then the remaining MFD can send a track to the EVO. Coastal Explorer can only send a track to the EVO with both the Garmin and Raymarine MFDs off.

Garmin's response was it shouldn't matter and Raymarine didn't respond to the question. While I am not a big fan of Lowrance, at least they don't send AP PGNs with no data.

Tom
Tom again, as far as i know, you cannot use a track.. you must first convert it to a route with waypoints.. often problems arise when the waypoints have alfa/numerical names.. try to use numbered waypoints insted..

but.. "as far as i know", we (most) sailors don't use routes.. we use the AP to keep us on a course..

My mostly used AP (WindPilot) and electronic back-up..
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Old 07-02-2016, 08:39 PM   #36
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I think it is a manner of terminology. Garmin tends to use route and track interchangeably. It seems that when tracks are turned on, it saves it as a group of way points which it will convert to a route when saved. In the EVO autopilot the command to follow a route is labelled track. Hence the confusion it can generate. My complaint with the marine electronics vendors is they do things they probably shouldn't do like send NMEA2000s PGNs when they shouldn't and don't give me a way to turn them off.

I have not seen an MFD from any vendor that works as well as Coastal Explorer from a charting perspective. I have a $600 computer with a 16 inch screen, running a $399 navigation program (which I bought 10 years ago), a $199 USB NEMA2000 gateway, with current NOAA charts, with 3 GPS inputs, two depth inputs, and it does everything a computer will do when we are done for the day. Compare that to a $650 Raymarine with a 6 inch screen and the same NOAA charts and a $2000 dollar Garmin with a 12 inch screen and out of date charts that is used primarily as a sounder and radar display. I can layout a route between Wrangell and Ketchikan in a couple of minutes. No way I could do that on any ones MFD.

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Old 09-12-2016, 11:19 AM   #37
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A cheap and easy solution would be the current Raymarine Evolution offering. But given my experience with the S2 I'm leery. (Though in fairness the ST6000 I had on the sailboat worked well.) Anyone have good or bad experiences with the Evolution?
I went with the Raymarine EVO-200. Driving factors were ease of installation, compatability with my MFDs and AP remote, and cost.

Have to say I am very pleased. The new AP does a fantastic job even in challenging conditions (quartering seas). Setup couldn't have been easier. This is how an AP should work and my old Raymarine never did. I still suspect that old AP was never right-in-the-head. Still they've made a lot of improvements in the last decade.

Total cost came to right around $1000: Got the system on sale for about $1700. Then subtract a $300 rebate and selling off the old AP pieces.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:43 PM   #38
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I went with the Raymarine EVO-200. Driving factors were ease of installation, compatability with my MFDs and AP remote, and cost.

Have to say I am very pleased. The new AP does a fantastic job even in challenging conditions (quartering seas). Setup couldn't have been easier. This is how an AP should work and my old Raymarine never did. I still suspect that old AP was never right-in-the-head. Still they've made a lot of improvements in the last decade.

Total cost came to right around $1000: Got the system on sale for about $1700. Then subtract a $300 rebate and selling off the old AP pieces.
We put a EVO-200 on a early Mainship 34 this year and it has done well, caught the rebate as well and it was a great value.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:53 PM   #39
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I
Have to say I am very pleased. The new AP does a fantastic job even in challenging conditions (quartering seas)......This is how an AP should work and my old Raymarine never did.
I couldn't agree more! My EV200 has been great! (So far...)
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