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Old 02-26-2015, 08:48 AM   #21
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I installed a ComNav 1420 autopilot on my boat with hydraulic steering. Installation was straightforward, tedious but not technically taxing. Love it. Holds course for hours at a time in all kinds of seas. I do not have it coupled with any other unit. I just wanted a simple system that would hold a course. After researching the archives here, I made my decision based on members from both coasts who said that this was the autopilot that local fishermen use. That's good enough for me. Unit with pump was $1,400 from Defender. I highly recommend it.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:50 AM   #22
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Garmin has little experience with autopilots compared to others mentioned that have decades. Also Garmin obsoletes their products very quickly and they are not shy about doing it; which may be OK for a GPS but not for a AP which should last as long as the boat.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:03 AM   #23
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Garmin obsoletes their products very quickly and they are not shy about doing it; which may be OK for a GPS but not for a AP which should last as long as the boat.
Garmin would argue with you that the products you are calling obsolete are discontinued....not obsolete. Garmin does support and repair discontinued products. BE FAIR.
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:13 PM   #24
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Garmin would argue with you that the products you are calling obsolete are discontinued....not obsolete. Garmin does support and repair discontinued products. BE FAIR.
I think he is being fair.

Furuno had the best reputation for supporting legacy systems....

I sat in a factory training session where the Furuno instructor winced and said that may not happen as much in the future.

That was back in 2003.

No manufacturer support equipment forever....Garmin is the new kid on the block and hell bent on taking over...no telling what they may or may not do.

Being fair is hard to do in a rapidly changing marine electronics world....personal experience isn't the 10 commandments...but it is all you have to go on.

Simrad used to be a go to, top of the line manufacturer...when was the last time 99 out of 100 Simrad customers raved about their products?
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Old 02-26-2015, 12:40 PM   #25
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I have not followed the brands over the years, but here's a few items I would use for shopping:

Get one that has the remote mounted pump. Avoid things that turn the wheel.
Get one that has rudder angle shown on display. I find that very handy on single screws.
Get one that has a rudder angle detector that actually mounts near the rudder and measures the angle directly. Some units use "virtual" angle measurement to make it easier to mount to outboards, that is not that good and unnecessary on an inboard.
I think all have capability to link to a chartplotter for "NAV" function, but I find I don't use it. Just being able to hold heading is good enough. Tweaking heading periodically to stay on course is not a big deal, someone has to be on watch anyway.

Don't go cheap!!! A good AP will make the boat a pleasure to run. A crappy AP will annoy you more than you can imagine.

I run a relatively high end but dated Simrad AP 35, it works great but would not recommend it now as it is obsolete. Coupled to a low end Furuno 1650 plotter, could not be happier. Laptop serves as primary plotter, but not connected to AP.

Also not sure who owns simrad now and when corporate ownership shuffles, support is often lost. Still a very popular brand, but others such as raymarine may be a better supported brand- but don't take my word on it, do some more research on brands.


Couldn't have said it better
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:09 PM   #26
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Garmin would argue with you that the products you are calling obsolete are discontinued....not obsolete. Garmin does support and repair discontinued products. BE FAIR.
I guess what I was trying to say is that an AP is not a GPS (what Garmin is used to making and discontinuing) it is a part of your boat and should not go legacy, obsolete, discontinued, whatever they call it, like a GPS.
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Old 02-26-2015, 03:00 PM   #27
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Look at my earlier posts... I recommended a Sitex AP.

The point I was making with Garmin is that Garmin continues to support and repair discontinued products. Is this equipment then obsolete?
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Old 02-26-2015, 06:10 PM   #28
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The guy is a friend...the other person is me. (snicker)

That's the guy and his wife that bought the boat from me.
Wonder how often buyer and seller become or remain friends? A couple in our Club are friends with the couple who bought their last boat, it says a lot about the sale and the people.
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:59 PM   #29
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Wonder how often buyer and seller become or remain friends? A couple in our Club are friends with the couple who bought their last boat, it says a lot about the sale and the people.
And the boat.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:17 PM   #30
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When you rate a manufacture one thing to consider is how long do they stand behind their product?
Garmin......2 Years
Furuno......2 Years
Raymarine.......3 Years
Now before you get your tighty whities in a knot, I have heard so much about Furuno that I would seriously consider their product for my trawler. But I do find the warranty issue interesting.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:39 PM   #31
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I had reliability problems with Ray marine

I my last boat I had reliability problems with my ray marine auto pilot.in the first 6 years i had to replace the contol head , tiller sensor, and control modual. All factory installed by Bayliner. Currently have a Simrad, it's been bullet proof.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:04 PM   #32
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I my last boat I had reliability problems with my ray marine auto pilot.in the first 6 years i had to replace the contol head , tiller sensor, and control modual. All factory installed by Bayliner. Currently have a Simrad, it's been bullet proof.

The most common problems with any autopilot is when they are dealer or factory installed. Once you agree to the price option it is now the dealers/factory's goal to make money on that option. So they usually install under sized autopilots. By spec these are sized for your vessel, but they have no margin for "Weather Loads". So the first time you use your autopilot during a storm it over heats and begins the process for it's early demise. Example. I had a 21,000# boat that the factory wanted to install the Raymarine autopilot rated for a maximum vessel weight of 24,000#. I told them I would install the electronics myself. After the vessel was built I found that the factory had prewired the vessel for all of the electronic options. I installed a Raymarine autopilot rated for a 34,000# vessel. Nine years later, 3,400 hours of run time later, that original autopilot was going strong and would hold the course line in a forty knot gale without exceeding 15' of cross track error.
Moral of the story, what ever autopilot you purchase, do your own homework and get the autopilot that is rated for a much larger vessel than the factory specs. Eventually you are going to have "Weather Loads".
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