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Old 07-09-2011, 06:29 PM   #1
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Auto Pilots

I just got my 1974 32' GB.* It does not have an auto pilot.*What would be a good unit to get for a 17,000# boat?* It has cable stearing and dual stations.

Thanks for all the help.

*
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:52 PM   #2
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RE: Auto Pilots

I have a simular set up on my 32' Island Gypsy.* However I do not have an auto pilot.

But, I can tell you, that you have a great Grandbanks owners* forum on line and I am willing to bet they can (steer) you in the right direction.

Welcome aboard the Trawler Forum, hope you continue to post.

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Old 07-09-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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RE: Auto Pilots

And I have CHB 34 with similar steering, ie chain, rod & cable, so please come back on here after tapping into the GB owners forum and report your findings. I am still undecided as to what to do re an A/P myself. At present, for cost and self-install potential, I am thinking adapting the yacht Raymarine Wheel Pilot. Others have reported it does ok in a vessel like ours. The best option would be the rotary driven sprocket and chain adding it in at the behind the panel drive position, not on the wheel, so out of sight, with separate control head as with most hydraulic options, but that is about 3 times the cost.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:07 PM   #4
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RE: Auto Pilots

I have same steering setup on my GB, have all raymarine nav gear so have raymarine st6000 (i think), autopilot controller with a smiths industries electric hydraulic linear drive on the steering quadrant. works excellent.

Bob M
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:14 AM   #5
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RE: Auto Pilots

Yes, that set-up works Bob, but is an expensive set-up if buying from new. Also, I have reservations about a system that not only has to move the quadrant, without the advantage of the gearing the original chain/rod/cable system has built into it, but you have to drive that gearing in the reverse direction, which must soak up quite a lot of extra electrical energy just doing that, as it is working against the reduction, which of course works the other way. The one advantage I can see of a system like that, which bypasses the original drive, is that if that broke somewhere along it's chain of parts - unusual but possible I suppose - then the autopilot would be able to still provide steering without hooking up the emergency tiller...as long as it wasn't the quadrant that broke, of course.
Do you have any way of telling how much amperage your steering draws ?
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:29 AM   #6
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RE: Auto Pilots

There was a thread a while ago about "5 best boat improvements" and if you check around page 3-5 you will see discussions of old wheel pilots that some of us have. Mine's still cranking along, and I had a chance to test it on a 50 mile run to Ocracoke in a following sea a month ago, and it worked great. It'll handle the 32-34 foot TT's or your GB -- - don't know how much larger a boat it might drive.

http://www.trawlerforum.com/t34690523/the-5-most-useful-improvements-on-your-boat/[img]download.spark?ID=962293&aBID=115492[/img]
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:18 AM   #7
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RE: Auto Pilots

Thanks for the responces.....Great info....
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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RE: Auto Pilots

On the other hand, a fellow with a two station Willard 30 Horizon had the same quandry re installing an autopilot and his solution was to convert his steering system to hydraulic. A lot of work, but he felt it was worth the effort.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:03 PM   #9
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RE: Auto Pilots

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
On the other hand, a fellow with a two station Willard 30 Horizon had the same quandry re installing an autopilot and his solution was to convert his steering system to hydraulic. A lot of work, but he felt it was worth the effort.
*Not so simple, is it?

*

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Old 07-10-2011, 03:47 PM   #10
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RE: Auto Pilots

What are all the ball valves for?
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:50 PM   #11
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RE: Auto Pilots

Definately the best way to go is to convert to hydraulic and install auto pilot in conjunction with that.
Block valves and octupus pump are not difficult to fit.
Peter B.
You can't go past the local produced TMQ equipment either the AP4 or the smaller digital unit, can't remember the designation.
Run copper or s/s tube for the main run of hydraulics and flexibles for the terminations.
If you did this you would not be dissapointed.
I can't imagine going out for more than an hour or so with out an autopilot.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:46 PM   #12
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RE: Auto Pilots

Somehow, I think converting the cable steering to hydraulic in a nearly 40 year old boat, just to add an autopilot, is just about the last project I would take on! Keeping the systems I have in decent repair is all the work I need.... if it ain't broke..... you know the saying.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:57 PM   #13
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RE: Auto Pilots

Al,
The major advantage of doing the conversion would not be the addition of the auto pilot but the added security
of having a nearly failure proof steering system.
Mechanical steering has inherant wear & mechanical failures.
The hydraulics on the other hand when installed well is virtually failure free.
I installed my steering 17 years ago and so far the only maintenance I have had to do other than greasing the piviot points is a re bleed just recently.
That's just my slant on the whole issue.
If I was buying a cruiser today that had mechanical steering and no auto pilot , they would probably be high on my To Do list.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:43 AM   #14
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Auto Pilots

"The hydraulics on the other hand when installed well is virtually failure free."

Point of order Benn.* I hear what you are saying, and if fitting out a new vessel, yes, probably one would go hydraulic because that is now the norm, and from new they are reliable.* Having said that however, I also cannot remember one time when someone with mechanical steering has reported a problem with their steering, but there have been plenty of posts re issues with hydraulic steering.* Leaks, lack of responsiveness, air in the lines, valves not working properly, excessive play in the straight ahead, etc, etc.* So much so, I have often thought, boy, I'm quite glade my boat has simple mecanical steering.*

Like Al Ross, I also see the replacement of the whole steering system which has stood the test of time and still works perfectly and in original condition, just to accomodate an autopilot, especially when there are other ways of doing it, the wheel pilot being one, as well, just not a cost effective way to do it.



-- Edited by Peter B on Monday 11th of July 2011 06:44:20 AM
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:00 PM   #15
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RE: Auto Pilots

Quote:
ARoss wrote:
Somehow, I think converting the cable steering to hydraulic in a nearly 40 year old boat, just to add an autopilot, is just about the last project I would take on! Keeping the systems I have in decent repair is all the work I need.... if it ain't broke..... you know the saying.
*Al - absolutely, positively right!

An update on my wheel pilot saga.* I traded up to a digital control head and got my hands on the extremely rare Z075 interface box that is supposed to talk to my GPS.* The lights come on when power is supplied, but we still have "failure to communicate"!* I'm not giving up though.* There are more wires coming out of the interface box than my GPS connection.* So, I may just have to figure out the right connection combinations to make it work.* Of course, no documentation on this old stuff.*

Yeah, it's a Frankenstein rig. But at least the AP alone will steer a straight course, hands free.* Worth its weight in gold.

*

*

*
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:11 PM   #16
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RE: Auto Pilots



Wheelpilot. Old school solution to an old school trawler. Nothing glamorous. It just fits well.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:24 PM   #17
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RE: Auto Pilots

Very nice!
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:00 AM   #18
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Auto Pilots

Very nice indeed, FlyWright.

And now that I'm looking at your lower helm installation I realize I have enough spare parts to set up a 2nd station at my lower helm. Sheesh ... another project!

*

*


-- Edited by BaltimoreLurker on Wednesday 13th of July 2011 07:00:38 AM
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:46 AM   #19
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RE: Auto Pilots

Darrell, I would have thought you'd have installed the first at the lower helm. Mainly because the point of handing over to an A/P, I would think, is to be able to fetch a coldie from the frig, or boil the billy for a hottie, or whatever, and for weather protection of it. After all, when on the bridge, the weather is usually fine, (I don't go up there if not), and you are sitting there sight-seeing anyway, so it's not that hard to just have one hand on the wheel...? But hey, I don't have one yet, so what do I know?

Flywright, I'd love to have one like yours - the epitomy of simplicity, but I think that make with the belt and separate motor mounted on the bulkhead, which was made by....ah...a company whose name I can't remember now, Simrad, I think...are out of production, and the replacement is an enclosed unit which unlike the only other one readily available, the Raymarine SP-X, would not fit behind my wheel.* So effectvely, for boats like ours, the only wheel model now available new anyway is the Raymarine version, or at least, that's my understanding....? Right or wrong...?

http://www.aquatronics.com.au/produc...-5_wheel_pilot

*
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:01 AM   #20
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Auto Pilots

Peter:

Since I'm still lashed to the desk for the most part, my boating time is limited.* I don't get that far from home so I cruise only in good weather and I'm almost always on the fly bridge.* And I have to tell 'ya, even a 2 hour cruise to Annapolis or Baltimore is a PITA if I have to keep one hand on the wheel at all times.

It didn't take me long to figure out that I'm not all that interested in driving the boat, I just want to be out on the water.* I need a helmsman of one sort or another.

Here's the link to the wheel pilot manual that I have on the upper helm.

http://www.raymarine.com/SubmittedFi...lot/AH3000.pdf

These things come up on e-Bay quite often.

*

- Darrell

*

*

*

*

*


-- Edited by BaltimoreLurker on Thursday 14th of July 2011 06:04:33 AM
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