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Old 01-16-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
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Autopilot: Raymarine or Garmin

So you think you are married to a great woman? I was just encouraged to spend nearly $3000 on an autopilot by Bess. We have been hold off to try and sock a little more cash away, but I have been thwarted by whatever creature that has invaded my wife's body.

Anyhoo, I am tossed up between the Garmin and Raymarine. Prices are nearly equal. Features are nearly equal. Performance has to be nearly equal. Any nudges one way or another?

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Old 01-16-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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What's your plotter?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Standard Horizon CP390i.
(I know where you are going with this, but TBH, I don't care about following a bunch of waypoints of my plotter. I just currently want it to hold a straight course while I enjoy the scenery.)
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
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I have the Garmin. I love being able to pull the wireless remote out of my pocket and lock a course, dodge a log or clean up a course. Great unit.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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If compatibility with a plotter is not an issue then it's probably a toss.
I researched it a bunch before I bought an AP....then I did a 180 degree turn and bought a used/takeout Simrad unit with a new pump from a dealer that I respected. Cost was less than 1/2 the new and it has worked flawlessly...so far.
Google 'Garmin vs Raymarine autopilot' and there's lot to read.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:42 AM   #6
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I have the Garmin. I love being able to pull the wireless remote out of my pocket and lock a course, dodge a log or clean up a course. Great unit.
Wait... WHAT?!?! Remote? Hmmm...
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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.. but TBH, I don't care about following a bunch of waypoints of my plotter. I just currently want it to hold a straight course while I enjoy the scenery.)
I think most would agree with this. I know I do.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:08 PM   #8
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IMHO

Furuno hands down. Simrad used to be great, so a rebuilt unit as Anode mentions is my second choice. Either of these will hook up via NMEA 0183 or 2000 to plotting equipment if desired. Ours is a 10 year old Simrad/Robertson and still does its job.

Remember Tom , they all work out of the box new, it is the following years that really matter. Furuno has been there as all the others have merged, been bought by a company out of Brazil, gone broke or won't answer phones. Simrad has gone from very good to "not there" if you need them, in but a brief few years. To be a price leader as Raymarine and Garmin try to be, think about the hidden stuff and not the display. Where and for how many years have they purchased their pumps, controls and heading sensor/compass? During the past two years Raymarine removed their England brain trust and replaced it with a Flir Portland brain trust - maybe that is good.

No matter whose system you use, be sure you can quickly shut down all the Ipad, plotter or other connected stuff you may choose to hook up and run it the fail safe way you want - following a heading only.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:13 PM   #9
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I understand... But it's just too expensive. Sorry. We are not likely to keep Skinny Dippin' for more than just a few more years. I just don't want to put that much money into it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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Greetings,
I primarily use autopilot for following a heading. Unfortunately my Wood-Freeman won't follow a way-point course as the technology is too old but I use way-points so infrequently it is not a concern at this time. Even when "Otto" is in charge, lookouts ARE kept and such observation has averted a collision on several occasions.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
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I think most would agree with this. I know I do.
Going to a waypoint or following a track is where an autopilot really shines IMHO.
Have you looked at the Sitex SP-70? It really does a great job and will leave lots left over. I had a Raymarine in my previous boat and I like the Sitex better.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:33 PM   #12
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Have you checked out ComNav? They are built in Canada and are the autopilot of choice for the NW fishing fleet. I have one on my boat.

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Old 01-16-2013, 01:42 PM   #13
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Have you checked out ComNav? They are built in Canada and are the autopilot of choice for the NW fishing fleet. I have one on my boat.

Ron
It won't steer me to Alaska, will it? I hate the cold!
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:52 PM   #14
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Going to a waypoint or following a track is where an autopilot really shines IMHO.
Have you looked at the Sitex SP-70? It really does a great job and will leave lots left over. I had a Raymarine in my previous boat and I like the Sitex better.
I found the SP-110:

Si-Tex SP-110 Autopilot System

That's pretty slick. Comes with a pump and $1300 less than the others! I could get a radar dome for my plotter with the savings. Let me see what else Si-Tex has.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:04 PM   #15
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Second for ComNav.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:06 PM   #16
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Second for ComNav.
Which one are we looking for?

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Old 01-16-2013, 02:08 PM   #17
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The Si-Tex looks like a rebranded ComNav 1440. So it is probably a good one. I've got an 1420 on my boat. Maybe 15 years old. It is easy to adjust, and holds a course really straight. I can still get parts for it, although its never needed parts. Thinking about adding a jog lever though.

Pretty much all the commercial boats use them around here.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:40 PM   #18
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I see a lot of 1420's (and 1500's), but no 1440 listed at Defender. Do you know what the differences might be?
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #19
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Have you checked out ComNav? They are built in Canada and are the autopilot of choice for the NW fishing fleet. I have one on my boat.

Ron
I used to have one on my Mainship Pilot 30 but I don't remember the model number. I do remember, however, that it was so simple to operate that I didn't think it was a real AP! It worked flawlessly!
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:10 PM   #20
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I have an old Raymarine Autohelm 4000 system. Simple, but works. I know the day will come when I need to upgrade. It uses a motor and attachment to the helm. Do any modern units control the same way?

I do think the Garmin system looks good.
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