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Old 05-17-2016, 06:59 PM   #1
tpbrady's Avatar
City: Gooding ID/Wrangell AK
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Silver Bay
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42-002
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Posts: 578
Auto Pilot Replacement

We have an old Raymarine Autohelm that is slowly trying to give up the ghost. The fluxgate can't seem to hold its calibration and one Seatalk port on the course computer has failed along with the remote. I have been looking at two potential replacements. One is the Garmin Reactor and the other a Raymarine EVO-400. Collectively the Raymarine is about $600 more because I plan to buy a small a65 MFD so I can update software on the autopilot. It also will give me the ability to control the autopilot from a tablet over WiFi. The only downside to the Garmin Reactor is the Electronic Control Unit has to be mounted within 19 inches of the hydraulic drive. I don't fully understand that and no one I have been able to talk to at Garmin has been able to answer my question about using the existing Octopus Type 3 pump. One representative said yes, but could not explain how with 19 inches of cable that was designed to connect to Garmin's pump. In addition, I would have to pull a new proprietary Garmin cable complete with connectors from the stern most the way to helm and then an N2K cable from there to the N2K network at the helm.

At this point I am leaning toward the EVO-400 as the installation is straight forward and can be done in about 3 hours or less. I installed an EVO-200 on a previous boat, but as an early adopter I encountered quite a few problems in the first couple of years with "No Pilot" disconnects. That seems to have been resolved.

Any votes to try Simrad, ComNav, or Furuno?


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Old 05-17-2016, 07:20 PM   #2
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City: Jacksonville
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Vessel Model: Grand Alaskan 53
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I would have a real hard look at Simrad.

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Old 05-17-2016, 07:22 PM   #3
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City: Lake Oswego
Country: Oregon
Vessel Name: Stout
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 79
Hi Tom, we had a simular issue with our 2006 Raymarine autopilot, the computer went out, not the head or compass. We replaced with the new Raymarine EVO unit and N2K adaptor. It was plug and play for our install and has worked flawlessly for a year. Also, no turning in circles to get a fluxgate compass to zero out. It was nice to have the backwards compatibility with the C120 chart plotter that still works well. You can contact me offline if you would like.
Cheers, Kevin
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:30 PM   #4
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City: Seattle, WA
Country: Good Ol' US of A!
Vessel Name: Pau Hana
Vessel Model: 1989 PT52 Overseas Yachtfisher
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Go with the EV400- you won't be sorry.
Peter- Marine Insurance Guru & tuna fishing addict!

1989 52' PT Overseas yachtfisher
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:41 AM   #5
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City: South Florida
Country: USA
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I have never seen an A/P pump that would not work with any brand A/P.

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Old 05-18-2016, 10:35 AM   #6
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City: Gloucester, MA
Country: USA
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Posts: 4,947
Originally Posted by Keysdisease View Post
I have never seen an A/P pump that would not work with any brand A/P.

I agree, but only if the AP computer has the drive power to match the pump. Small AC with big pump may not have a happy ending. Just check the specs and be sure the AC has enough drive current to operate the pump.

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