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Old 10-22-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
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Autopilot - Where is your compass located?

I had a new Garmin Reactor autopilot installed on my 36 ft trawler. The sea setup wizard repeatedly failed. The installer set it up manually but it would not follow a course and navigating a straight line was marginal. Gamin says it was likely getting magnetic interference. Installer tried three locations for the compass/course computer including the salon floor. We could not find a place where it would work. He pulled it out and returned my money.

Where is your compass/course computer located. I need advice please!

In the mean time I'm hand steering from NC to Key West, ugh!

Thanks, Arch
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:08 PM   #2
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Mine is under the forward stateroom deck in the bilge centered on the keel about 10' aft of the bow, that area is dry on the Manatee and clear of any interference. I also have a deck hatch board aft of the bed for easy access.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:16 PM   #3
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I hear the latest and greatest from Raymarine(Evolution I think is what they call it) is a great autopilot. I am not normally a Rayperson but their most recent generation of autopilots sound like they are damn good...and I think even cheaper than the Garmin. And No need to do circles for set up. Anyway, I have been shopping them and I think that is the direction I will go. Their "sensor core" can be installed anywhere....above or below deck and off centerline too. Anyway, It sounds fairly simple and easy to install and everything you need comes in the box.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:26 PM   #4
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Mine is located under a drawer, in the guest berth almost centerline.

As a side note, our auto pilot, main compass and Raymarine plotter were not working right. We found out that a monitor that was installed fairly close by all of the equipment, was effecting them because of a magnetic field even when powered down.
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:00 AM   #5
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Arch, I've had a Garmin GHP20 on my Golden Star 35 for 2 seasons but after 2 post installation sea trial fails one of the geniuses at Garmin suggested re installation of the software which did the trick. My compass resides in the forward stateroom bulkhead, 18" above the floor, on the centerline and well away from wiring, chainlocker and windlass. I did have to buy 2 additional lengths of cable from Garmin to get it in there but it has worked flawlessly since installation. Best of luck!
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Old 10-23-2016, 09:25 AM   #6
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Must be a pretty sensitive or worthless fluxgate.

I have mine mounted on the bulkhead in the corner of my first step down to the galley....seems like a bad spot but no one ever hits it on the steps and it is a great spot for the pitch and roll axis. However it is only 3 feet from the huge genset and on the opposite side of the bulkhead from a major ac and DC wiring chase....but no effect.

I also had a temporary one just inside the doors under the flybridge fairing....worked there too.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
I hear the latest and greatest from Raymarine(Evolution I think is what they call it) is a great autopilot. I am not normally a Rayperson but their most recent generation of autopilots sound like they are damn good...and I think even cheaper than the Garmin. And No need to do circles for set up. Anyway, I have been shopping them and I think that is the direction I will go. Their "sensor core" can be installed anywhere....above or below deck and off centerline too. Anyway, It sounds fairly simple and easy to install and everything you need comes in the box.
Correct on all counts. It's dead simple to install- figure out the hardware locations, install, then do the dockside commissioning. No swinging ship, no complicated steps. I even used our existing pump and ram setup.

The sensor core can be installed pretty much anywhere. I placed ours in a storage area below the galley deck.
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Old 10-23-2016, 10:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
I had a new Garmin Reactor autopilot installed on my 36 ft trawler. The sea setup wizard repeatedly failed. The installer set it up manually but it would not follow a course and navigating a straight line was marginal. Gamin says it was likely getting magnetic interference. Installer tried three locations for the compass/course computer including the salon floor. We could not find a place where it would work. He pulled it out and returned my money.

Where is your compass/course computer located. I need advice please!

In the mean time I'm hand steering from NC to Key West, ugh!

Thanks, Arch
It sounds like an issue with that unit not your boat.

Did the installer not try another unit?
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #9
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Bow cabin under the berth, centerline to the keel. It can't be hit by anything and is away from the tanks and such.

I have to shut the electronics down to standby when raising or lowering the anchor as my windlass power runs too close to it and will lock it up. I made the mistake of putting a scuba cylinder in the bow compartment with it and that screwed it up too :-)

It didn't take too long to figure it out once I set the autopilot and the boat was sluggish (tank) or went in circles (windlass power). I have no options to move the windlass power so I simply go to standby mode until the anchor is up. Dropping anchor isn't an issue, as there seems to be less electrical field interference and I am done using the AP anyway. The GPS still works fine for anchor watch.
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:27 PM   #10
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I would go with the Raymarine autopilot. I have had two. One in my sailboat and one in my current Nordic Tug. I am not up on the current models, but if they offer a main course computer unit with a gyro, get it. That is what I had on my sailboat and that baby ran a straight line in any and all weather. That being said I love my current Garmin chart plotter. I also have a Raymarine A9 brand new chart plotter and I like the Garmin chart plotter better. You can watch your vessel move along the route on the Garmin. On the Raymarine the vessel "Jumps" every second and the entire screen refreshes. Very annoying. Garmin Blue Charts are more user friendly IMO..
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Old 10-24-2016, 08:39 PM   #11
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I installed a garmin 20 and had to reinstall software it seams to get better with using it think that thier was air in the lines think now it's all gone the air been working.good
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Old 10-24-2016, 10:34 PM   #12
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I have the Raymarine EVO with the sensor located underneath the pilot house just to right of centerline. Just have to be careful putting a stool with steel base over it. Works well and for first time the mag compass and autopilot sensor generally agree.

Tom
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Old 10-25-2016, 07:42 AM   #13
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For anyone buying a rate compass these days, I'd suggest looking closely at the new sat compasses. They are much more accurate, don't drift over time, don't require calibration, and are immune to pots and pans, microwaves, and all the other stuff that gets moved around on boats that knockoff compasses. Cost is $800-$1000 vs around $500-$600 for a good rate compass. If you are also buying a new GPS, then the cost is the same or lower since the sat compass is also a high quality GPS.

Hemisphere GNSS makes the device under their name, Vector 104. The same device is also sold by Simrad as their HS60, and by Sitek and a handful of other people.
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
I hear the latest and greatest from Raymarine(Evolution I think is what they call it) is a great autopilot......but their most recent generation of autopilots sound like they are damn good... And No need to do circles for set up.
John, I have an Evolution 200 AP in my boat and last week my brother in law and I took the boat off shore just to check the auto pilot. In beam seas, quartering seas & following seas, the most rudder deflection we saw was 3 degrees. Swells were about 2-3 feet with an occasional 5 footer. hands down, this is the best AP I've ever had and I have had my share of them.
Also, setting up the desired reaction time is just too easy!
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:46 AM   #15
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John, I have an Evolution 200 AP in my boat and last week my brother in law and I took the boat off shore just to check the auto pilot. In beam seas, quartering seas & following seas, the most rudder deflection we saw was 3 degrees. Swells were about 2-3 feet with an occasional 5 footer. hands down, this is the best AP I've ever had and I have had my share of them.
Also, setting up the desired reaction time is just too easy!
Ditto here, the same unit with the same results on a Mainship 34.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:32 AM   #16
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I still feel this way after a few trips with the new AP:

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I went with the Raymarine EVO-200. Driving factors were ease of installation, compatability with my MFDs and AP remote, and cost.

Have to say I am very pleased. The new AP does a fantastic job even in challenging conditions (quartering seas). Setup couldn't have been easier. This is how an AP should work and my old Raymarine never did. I still suspect that old AP was never right-in-the-head. Still they've made a lot of improvements in the last decade.

Total cost came to right around $1000: Got the system on sale for about $1700. Then subtract a $300 rebate and selling off the old AP pieces.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:39 AM   #17
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I had heard or read somewhere that the acquisition of FLIR by Raymarine led to a lot of technical advancement/efficiencies that is reflected in this generation of autopilot.
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I had heard or read somewhere that the acquisition of FLIR by Raymarine led to a lot of technical advancement/efficiencies that is reflected in this generation of autopilot.
Can their AP see in the dark now?
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Old 10-25-2016, 10:18 AM   #19
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Can their AP see in the dark now?
I believe so!!!!
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Old 10-25-2016, 11:15 AM   #20
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I had heard or read somewhere that the acquisition of FLIR by Raymarine led to a lot of technical advancement/efficiencies that is reflected in this generation of autopilot.
I have it on a very good source that your information is absolutely correct! Also, my source tells me that because of Flir's influence at RayMarine & Ray's recent technical progress in their MFDs, many in the industry think RayMarine will "own" the marine electronics market in the future. Bold statement? Very, but the new hardware & software must be seen and played with to appreciate all the advances the company has made. Forget all the old warts & pimples of previous generations of Raymarine electronics....They are gone!
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