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Old 06-25-2016, 03:02 PM   #1
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AP Recommendations

10 years ago the PO installed a Raymarine package including an S2 autopilot. The AP works but has never worked very well. I've talked with Raymarine about it, adjusted the heck out of it, and even installed an external rate gyro. See the pics for examples of how it works following a straight track in fairly benign conditions.

Forget about it handling the boat in a following sea.

Anyone have a specific AP that works better than this? Which manufacturer/model? If it can hold a course well and follow NMEA 0183 track command I'd be happy. Of course I want to spend as little as possible.

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?

Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2016, 03:32 PM   #2
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Simrad

I have a Simrad that I have been happy with.
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Old 06-25-2016, 03:41 PM   #3
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I have a Simrad that I have been happy with.
Ditto
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:50 PM   #4
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Based on experience in a chartered boat and first hand discussions with owners, when I considered replacing my old Robertson (which I never got around to) I settled on Comnav. They have simple units, such as the one in the Grand Banks 49 we rented.
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Old 06-25-2016, 05:01 PM   #5
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FWIW, I installed a new Raymarine Evolution last summer and have been very happy with it.
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Old 06-25-2016, 05:23 PM   #6
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FWIW, I installed a new Raymarine Evolution last summer and have been very happy with it.
Did you happen to replace an existing AP where you could compare the performance of the Evolution to its predecessor?
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:06 PM   #7
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Anyone have good or bad experiences with the Evolution?.
I have a brand new EV200 that I'm happy with but don't have a lot of hours on it. Years ago I had a ComNav (1001?) that was on my 30' Pilot. I don't think that I'll ever have an AP that's as easy to operate & is as fool proof as that!
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:38 AM   #8
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In a following sea only a sail boat with an Aries in the water vane steering can work.

On any power boat the boat must change heading as the AP can not (yet) anticipate the motion a wave will cause.

IF you can hand steer , while only looking Fwd , an AP should be able to do a similar job.

If you have a hard time , perhaps the rudder should be refined or enlarged first.

In theory a steering sensor , a pivoting oar on the stern might be able to steer in a heavy following sea , but so far .........
\
Perhaps the auto world will yield a radar AP that can see the wave coming astern and have a correcting program.
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:07 AM   #9
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Last fall I helped a friend take his boat down the ICW. His Kadey Krogan 48 a Simrad autopilot. I could not use it as the boat wandered from side to side and I was worried we would crash.

My current OA has a 13 year old Raymarine which works flawlessly.

Are you sure it is an autopilot issue and not a course computer or flux gate compass issue? Generally, in my experience, adjusting the sensitivity up or down solves almost all problems. This is my second Ray Marine autopilot, the first being on our sailboat, and all tracked straight and true.

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Old 06-26-2016, 11:13 AM   #10
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my older ST5000+ has taken to wandering a bit.


I know the internal battery must be dead as it no longer remembers settings.


But I think the real cause is a tiny bit of air in the system....if the upper helm sits for a week or two the wandering is there...if I go up and turn the wheel a bit from side to side...the wandering stops.


On my project list.....any chance air could be an issue?
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:20 PM   #11
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On my project list.....any chance air could be an issue?
Interesting thought. The system was refilled and bled a couple years ago without impacting the AP performance so seems unlikely.
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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Are you sure it is an autopilot issue and not a course computer or flux gate compass issue? Generally, in my experience, adjusting the sensitivity up or down solves almost all problems. This is my second Ray Marine autopilot, the first being on our sailboat, and all tracked straight and true.
Well, pretty sure. When I say AP in this case I mean the S2 computer. The ST8002 controller has it's own independent problems (the knob for dialing in a course is getting very flaky).

The sailboat unit we had could be adjusted to work well. The owners group had a full set of parameters to set to get that AP to play well with the sailboat and when set it worked well.

The S2 has been adjusted many times per RM tech support with no real improvement.
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Old 06-26-2016, 06:51 PM   #13
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Raymarine S2 vs. S2G with rate gyro

My old boat came with an S2 computer and I was not happy with the wandering that it exhibited. I searched the net and found articles relating the same issues. Came across a good buy on Ebay for an add on rate gyro .. bought it and the difference was night and day. Tracked true and had very little over steer. My new system ... EV-100 with the 3 gyros has been great and with the dial controller to change course .. very easy power steer.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:14 PM   #14
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I've dealt with 4 Raymarine autopilots over the last 5 years. First was an old ST7000 that wandered all over the place. On that one the Fluxgate compass just wasn't up to it and the software couldn't be updated. It ended up the course computer was failing. Replaced it with an EVO200 when it was relatively new. I never could correct the "No pilot" errors caused by communications problems between the EVO autopilot and two Lowrance MFDs on the same NMEA2000 network. Swore I would never do that again. Last boat came with an really old Raymarine Autohelm autopilot that seemed to work pretty well until the remote failed and took a Seatalk communications port with it. The fluxgate compass on that one was also flaky especially when you sent it a route. I really needed the remote but had no way to connect it with the bad Seatalk Port. Labored on what to replace it with and simplest route was the EVO.

I researched the recent history of the EVO and asked Raymarine on the forum about the problems I had as recently as 18 months ago. They assured me they had been corrected. Well, I took that at their word and put one in. This one was a much different experience until I matched it up with an S100 remote. It took a couple of weeks to work out the remote problem (The remote comes defaulted into the "Fishing Boat" type which apparently when matched to an EVO autopilot works like a random number generator to the course computer.)

The only outstanding issue with the EVO is trying to send it a track. Both Raymarine and Garmin MFDs send some autopilot NMEA2000 PGNs with no data in them when there is no route specified. Because of this you have to turn one or the other MFD off and reboot the EVO before you activate a track. I have brought this up to both Raymarine and Garmin and both said it shouldn't be a problem. That's true in their own isolated worlds.

Tom
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:11 PM   #15
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I have run AP's of (I think) all manufacturers on deliveries over the years and have had several on my own boats. I have no doubt that ComNav is the best on the market.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:31 PM   #16
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ComNav.
I now have 3000 hours on it and it takes everything I get myself into.

Following seas no problem.
And I disagree with FF's assessment that they won't work with a power boat in a following sea. Works great if you adjust correctly.
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:31 PM   #17
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Raymarine Autopilot

We recently put on an EV-100, and now have about 55 hours on it. I am pleased with it - it's easy to use - though I am still fiddling with settings. I have never had an AP on a boat this small or fast, so I can offer no comparisons other than it seems to work like the big boats' autopilots.

It has been problem free. We got a smokin' deal from the retailer, and money back from the manufacturer. I had it professionally installed and I set it up myself.

I ran a couple of older charter boats in the last few years that had Raymarine APs, and they both worked well.

I would purchase one again without hesitation.

Good Luck
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:27 AM   #18
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Have a Simrad AP20 with an AP21 remote and a docking station remote all hardwired. Once adjusted, I'm very happy with it! As with all good things, if you like it, buy a second because their going to change it.....not for the better. From what I saw in 2015 at the Miami boat show, Comnav will likely be the replacement if / when the Simrad fails.

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Old 06-27-2016, 05:52 AM   #19
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"And I disagree with FF's assessment that they won't work with a power boat in a following sea. Works great if you adjust correctly. __________________"

I have to admit I have not been shipmate with a unit with a gyro that could react to the stern slewing off Instantly.

The units I am used to sense the wave knock the stern off course and then steer it back on course.

No problem, although the track viewed would not be straight.

A gyro and computer might be able to learn a situation .
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:36 AM   #20
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ComNav.
I now have 3000 hours on it and it takes everything I get myself into.

Following seas no problem.
And I disagree with FF's assessment that they won't work with a power boat in a following sea. Works great if you adjust correctly.
What model ComNav for a 35ft boat & mechanical steering?
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