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Old 07-19-2013, 01:47 AM   #1
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Autopilot advice

Looking to upgrade my auto pilot. I have replaced every piece if electronic item in my boat. I have a furuno based flybridge system, and nobletec trident with 3 large glass bridge screens. I do have both NMeA 2000 and 0183. Currently have Robertson with ap22 head unit. My problem with it is two fold. First I need another head/remote for the flybridge and second, I can't get the data to it to allow it to function correctly. I figure rather than spending more money on converting nmea 2k data to it and getting a second head I should just replace and start over.

Looking for advice on what to look at and features I should consider.

I boat in the PNW, and will run it for trips (north) and some fishing.

It will go into my Nordlund 68'. Cruising speed 8-15 knots. Twin engine.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:55 AM   #2
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We have a navnet vx2 system and the simrad autopilot works great.

We can use the heading sensor off of the furuno, or the simrad heading sensor. We can also use nav mode where the autopilot will steer the route that is active in the furuno system.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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I've run them all, my pilot of choice is Comnav by a longshot.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:33 AM   #4
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Any features other than taking route info and auto steer from course number I should look for? Doing some reading I see things like a learning AP from furuno and others.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautibeaver View Post
...Currently have Robertson with ap22 head unit. My problem with it is two fold. First I need another head/remote for the flybridge and second, I can't get the data to it to allow it to function correctly. I figure rather than spending more money on converting nmea 2k data to it and getting a second head I should just replace and start over..
In 2010 we replaced our Robertson AP with a Simrad AP24. It was a toss up between that and the AP28. We ended up the AP24 because of space. We also installed the same control head on the fly bridge with the thought if we lost the lower helms unit we could just switch it out.

The Robertson rudder indicator was the same as the Simrad so that was kept as a spare. The old pump is of similar specs so that became a spare. We sold the Robertson's 2 control heads and computer on eBay which paid for ~1/3 the cost of the new AP. The Simrad has worked flawlessly.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
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Any features other than taking route info and auto steer from course number I should look for? Doing some reading I see things like a learning AP from furuno and others.

Not many other features you use in an autopilot.

I think the current generation of units all learn your boats steering.

I considered the Furuno but was suprised that it only has a NEMA connection, so I went for the simrad unit.

If the Furuno used a Ethernet connection into the Navnet bus I would have bought it.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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We have a W-H (Will Hamm) on our OA. Bulletproof...the choice of many fishing boat and large yacht captains including Dashew. Great guy, great service. Located on Bainbridge Island. Check him out.

www.whautopilots.com
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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I'm loving our Garmin. The Shadow Drive and auto routing are really powerful.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:54 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help all.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:57 PM   #10
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Any features other than taking route info and auto steer from course number I should look for? Doing some reading I see things like a learning AP from furuno and others.
IMHO... Not really. I will second Boat-Poke-Her's reco for a ComNav. I have the Sitex branded version (SP-70) and I use it for two things... Going straight and following a plot via 0183 signal from my plotter. That's all it will do and it does it just fine (and for half the price of the name brands). For me, I just didn't want to pay extra for gadgetry that is the equivalent of a "Software Arms Race" (to use a term I heard from them).

So far, I have had to call them for help during the install phase and for a few questions I had after-the-fact. Every time I called I got one of two techs there. They always remembered me and both were extremely knowledgeable and willing to help for as long as it took. That, to me, is priceless. Can Garmin, Raymarine, or Furuno do that? I don't know, but Sitex does and that's good enough for me.

Moreover, to add a second station was no more complex than buying a $30 multi-pin outlet. The AP controller just unplugs and moves to the lower helm in seconds. With the big boys, you have to spend hundreds more on a second full head unit.

That's my pitch... YMMV
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautibeaver View Post
Looking to upgrade my auto pilot. I have replaced every piece if electronic item in my boat. I have a furuno based flybridge system, and nobletec trident with 3 large glass bridge screens. I do have both NMeA 2000 and 0183. Currently have Robertson with ap22 head unit. My problem with it is two fold. First I need another head/remote for the flybridge and second, I can't get the data to it to allow it to function correctly. I figure rather than spending more money on converting nmea 2k data to it and getting a second head I should just replace and start over.

Looking for advice on what to look at and features I should consider.

I boat in the PNW, and will run it for trips (north) and some fishing.

It will go into my Nordlund 68'. Cruising speed 8-15 knots. Twin engine.
As to the first issue, you can install an AP21 remote on the flybridge by simply attaching the mounting bracket/holder at the helm and routing a single cable down to the AP22 control unit. It will plug right into the back with no additional wiring or any other connections. You can even remove the Simnet connector if necessary to facilitate the cabling. This cable is pretty long, 30-40 feet as I recall, and can be extended if necessary. The AP21 is a full-function control. If it is more convenient, the cable can be connected directly to the J300/3000 Junction Unit, again, by removing the Simnet connector and attaching the individual wires in parallel.

As for the second issue, all you need are two wires from the NMEA0183 output of the GPS or Plotter you use for navigation to the JX300/3000 Junction Box. All the Simrad needs to see is an APA or APB data sentence and you are good to go. This navigation information will be available to either autopilot control. If you have a separate GPS source you use on the flybridge or elsewhere, it can also be connected to the Junction Box and will be selectable as a navigation source from the AP21 or AP22 as NMEA1 or NMEA2. This is all very basic NMEA integration.

There is one on eBay right now if you want to try this out. It sure would be simpler and less expensive than a complete refit. If you need more features than an AP22 can provide, I would upgrade, but if you only need course keeping, waypoint navigation and route following, the Simrad is an extremely capable unit with plenty of spares available and great technical support.

Finally, make sure you re-run the Dockside Setup procedure and Underway Compass Calibration and Automatic Tuning. This is extremely important. This is all covered in detail in your Owners Manual.

If you would like more information on this system, you can PM me. I have installed and lived with several of them.

Good luck!

Larry
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:07 AM   #12
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As to the first issue, you can install an AP21 remote on the flybridge by simply attaching the mounting bracket/holder at the helm and routing a single cable down to the AP22 control unit. It will plug right into the back with no additional wiring or any other connections. You can even remove the Simnet connector if necessary to facilitate the cabling. This cable is pretty long, 30-40 feet as I recall, and can be extended if necessary. The AP21 is a full-function control. If it is more convenient, the cable can be connected directly to the J300/3000 Junction Unit, again, by removing the Simnet connector and attaching the individual wires in parallel.

As for the second issue, all you need are two wires from the NMEA0183 output of the GPS or Plotter you use for navigation to the JX300/3000 Junction Box. All the Simrad needs to see is an APA or APB data sentence and you are good to go. This navigation information will be available to either autopilot control. If you have a separate GPS source you use on the flybridge or elsewhere, it can also be connected to the Junction Box and will be selectable as a navigation source from the AP21 or AP22 as NMEA1 or NMEA2. This is all very basic NMEA integration.

There is one on eBay right now if you want to try this out. It sure would be simpler and less expensive than a complete refit. If you need more features than an AP22 can provide, I would upgrade, but if you only need course keeping, waypoint navigation and route following, the Simrad is an extremely capable unit with plenty of spares available and great technical support.

Finally, make sure you re-run the Dockside Setup procedure and Underway Compass Calibration and Automatic Tuning. This is extremely important. This is all covered in detail in your Owners Manual.

If you would like more information on this system, you can PM me. I have installed and lived with several of them.

Good luck!

Larry
m/v Boomarang

Thanks. I just bought it. Been looking for one for quite awhile. Now I can ride up on the front with Julie.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:04 PM   #13
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If you have current Furuno chartplotter gear, it can convert and output N2K data as 0183 & vice versa....so you should have no problem getting your position data to your older 0183-only AP.
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