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Old 07-03-2013, 06:57 AM   #21
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If you are starting from scratch, and want to invest $$$$ in an autopilot, I'd agree that a networked, super-sophisticated system might be warranted. But for us MT 34 guys with 30-40 year old boats....putting $10k into a steering system probably ain't gonna happen. Whatever works ...works!
I got a Raymarine ST6002 for $400.00 and an Octopus hydraulic pump for $600.00 on ebay. Another $50 for hose and fittings, took about 4 hours to install ..... works perfectly. No need to spend 10k
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:02 AM   #22
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I got a Raymarine ST6002 on Ebay for $400.00 and an Octopus hydraulic pump for $600.00, another $50 for hose and fittings, took about 4 hours to install ..... works perfectly. No need to spend 10k
Agreed... if you are going to use a "not recommended" system anyhow...there are $999 new in the box systems (for smaller boats) that will work too...maybe not in all conditions or forever...but they will work.

If anyone was able to adapt a bunch of inexpensive pieces and parts or use a system designed for something else I would have investigated it.

boarpoker is correct that about the most inexpensive wayinto a decent system is to buy a used brain /compass /hydraulic pump and then look for inexpensive fittings/tubing and the rest is just hooking it all up.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:29 AM   #23
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Which raymarine wheel auto pilot???
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:37 AM   #24
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I just posted this on the other AP thread, I think the same applies here.

I really think the AP is an item that you want to buy the best you can afford. It might save your life. Let's say your injured or limited and in rough weather. The AP's ability to steer your boat might be critical to your safety/comfort. You need to consider the AP to be a mate on board and choose accordingly. If your strictly inland then this consideration might not apply however.

I've been very pleased with my Raymarine X30 corepack, ST70 control head and Smart Controller. This setup steers my 60,000lbs in following seas better then I can if I have the gain set at 7 or higher.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:49 AM   #25
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I just posted this on the other AP thread, I think the same applies here.

I really think the AP is an item that you want to buy the best you can afford. It might save your life. Let's say your injured or limited and in rough weather. The AP's ability to steer your boat might be critical to your safety/comfort. You need to consider the AP to be a mate on board and choose accordingly. If your strictly inland then this consideration might not apply however.

I've been very pleased with my Raymarine X30 corepack, ST70 control head and Smart Controller. This setup steers my 60,000lbs in following seas better then I can if I have the gain set at 7 or higher.
I totally agree with the safety factor....even daily use it keeps you more alert (assuming you are disciplined enough to not be distracted) and allows more steering watch combinations.

I have no idea why people would argue that they are not "needed" to the point that they would never own or would even remove current ones from their vessel. Sure you don't need one... but about 90% of the stuff you have on boats you don't "need" either but it make boating easier, safer or just plain more enjoyable.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:07 PM   #26
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Am I missing something here? If the OP has hydraulic steering, why would he want a belt drive autopilot? If it is a cost thing, Comnavs are bulletproof and relatively inexpensive. Idea of prices here (no affiliation with Comnav or WMJ)
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:59 PM   #27
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Am I missing something here? If the OP has hydraulic steering, why would he want a belt drive autopilot? If it is a cost thing, Comnavs are bulletproof and relatively inexpensive. Idea of prices here (no affiliation with Comnav or WMJ)
Defiinite thumbs up on the Comnav. Watch eBay for a while and you can fine a good used one. One other great thing -- when you call and get support, you talk to the actual engineers. Highly recommended.

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Old 07-03-2013, 09:44 PM   #28
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I would think the success of a wheel mounted system would be dependant on how easy to operate your steering is.

I have an old Autohelm 4000 wheel mounted system with mechanical steering, although my boat is a little lighter than a MT 34 (7 tonnes) and the steering is very light. The system works great in anything up to 6ft+ seas, when you want to be steering manually anyway.

An autopilot system wasn't high on my priorities when boat shopping, but I am so happy the boat was fitted with one.
It makes single handed operation so much safer and less stressful; I now see it as a necessity for the type of boating I do.
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