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Old 02-27-2018, 10:39 PM   #1
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New electronics/old autopilot

I'm changing out my electronics, switching from older Raymarine gear to Garmin.

First step is to change out my two e90s and 24" Radome for a pair of Garmin GPSMAP 942 and 18 HD+ Radar.

But I'd like to keep my current autopilot, a raymarine ST6001.

The AP is currently interfaced with my chartplotters, (NEMA 2000?) but I just want it to work as a standalone with the new stuff. I use the autopilot in "point and click" mode only, I never use it to run routes and don't have any desire to do so, so I don't see why it needs to talk to the plotter, right?

In general, do you see any pitfalls I'm going to run into?

I'm going to do the install myself, so I expect to make some mistakes. I installed radar and an MFD on my old boat, but the AP already stood alone.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:52 PM   #2
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Doug,

I suspect the old Raymarine MFDs provided GPS input to the course computer. I believe the 942 has a NMEA 0183 output so it will help the autopilot calibration and operation if you connect the NMEA output from the 942 to NMEA input on the course computer. I am not sure if the benefit will be that significant, but if it can be done easily (using the old Seatalk 1 wiring for example) it might be worth it.

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Old 02-28-2018, 02:01 AM   #3
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Auto pilots are stand alone items. The only thing they get from a chart plotter is cross track. You will still be able to run a route with your garmin, assuming that everything is NMEA 2000. You will not be able to put the autopilot into Standby, Auto, or Track mode from the Garmin, you will have to do that from the Autopilot control head.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:59 AM   #4
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You guys are so good! It is pure sex to read how you inter/outer connect stuff with all that technail jargon. This from a fellow with two tin cans on a string. I get sweaty palms thinking way below the level your talking, I am impressed, truly impressed, always have been when I read the threads containing highbrow information.
I felt overwhelmed when I recently had a Navcom pilot of the elementary level installed, thank gosh it has minimum buttons!! And I am not able to tie it into my tablet with the free charts or for the radio that I have not gone the route to tie in the big red button to hollar "Help" with. Its there but so far it looks pretty "Red".

All of this with humor intended guys.

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Old 02-28-2018, 05:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post
I'm changing out my electronics, switching from older Raymarine gear to Garmin.

First step is to change out my two e90s and 24" Radome for a pair of Garmin GPSMAP 942 and 18 HD+ Radar.

But I'd like to keep my current autopilot, a raymarine ST6001.

The AP is currently interfaced with my chartplotters, (NEMA 2000?) but I just want it to work as a standalone with the new stuff. I use the autopilot in "point and click" mode only, I never use it to run routes and don't have any desire to do so, so I don't see why it needs to talk to the plotter, right?

In general, do you see any pitfalls I'm going to run into?

I'm going to do the install myself, so I expect to make some mistakes. I installed radar and an MFD on my old boat, but the AP already stood alone.

Thanks in advance.
The ST6001 has AUTO mode and TRACK mode.
AUTO only needs the fluxgate compass to stay on heading.
TRACK mode needs waypoint data via NMEA 0183 interface from a GPS of some sort.
Off topic, my ST6001 will drift offcourse 100 ft in TRACK mode before it realizes its offcourse then makes a 20 degree correction. It will hold that until its 100 ft offcourse to the other side then correct. It will zig zag the whole width of the ICW in TRACK. There is no setting to reduce the deadband. I've tried everything in the manual. AUTO mode is the only acceptable mode inland.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:34 AM   #6
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The ST6001 is the pilot display model number. Your course computer is probably an S1 or S2 (gray square shaped box) or perhaps a type 100 or type 300 (black rectangular shaped) ,neither of which accepts or uses nmea2000. I would still interface the new plotters to the pilot via nmea0183 even if you only use the pilot as a stand-alone pilot. The benefits of interfacing that would be most important would be that the plotter would automatically communicate magnetic variation for the area you're currently in which could help the steering characteristics. The plotter also tells the pilot your boat speed so that the pilot can change the steering parameters according to how fast or how slow you are going at the time.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:41 AM   #7
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HiWire, there is indeed a setting to reduce the deadband in the setup ,if you need to access it. If the boat steers satisfactorily in the auto mode but overshoots in the nav mode, I would play with the gain settings first, maybe back it off a little at first.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post
I'm changing out my electronics, switching from older Raymarine gear to Garmin.

First step is to change out my two e90s and 24" Radome for a pair of Garmin GPSMAP 942 and 18 HD+ Radar.

But I'd like to keep my current autopilot, a raymarine ST6001.

The AP is currently interfaced with my chartplotters, (NEMA 2000?) but I just want it to work as a standalone with the new stuff. I use the autopilot in "point and click" mode only, I never use it to run routes and don't have any desire to do so, so I don't see why it needs to talk to the plotter.
Just curious, did you consider staying with Raymarine? That way your AP would likely interface easier.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of the help guys, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm in the process of removing the old gear today, but it may be a month or so before I install the new stuff. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm selling the old gear via the classifieds and ebay.

Yes, it is an S2 course computer.

I kind of half considered staying with Raymarine, they have a new combo that is similar in price and features to the Garmin. I had Garmin on the old boat and prefer it (a little) to Raymarine. Biggest thing for me is that Garmin uses Explorer charts for their Bahamas data. We spend a lot of time over there. Also, I already have a small Garmin combo (5" screen) on my flats boat which I'm planning on using at the lower helm. I never run the big boat from down there. I'll use second bracket and wiring harness to switch it between the flats boat and big boat.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:08 AM   #10
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Thanks for all of the help guys, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm in the process of removing the old gear today, but it may be a month or so before I install the new stuff. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm selling the old gear via the classifieds and ebay.

Yes, it is an S2 course computer.

I kind of half considered staying with Raymarine, they have a new combo that is similar in price and features to the Garmin. I had Garmin on the old boat and prefer it (a little) to Raymarine. Biggest thing for me is that Garmin uses Explorer charts for their Bahamas data. We spend a lot of time over there. Also, I already have a small Garmin combo (5" screen) on my flats boat which I'm planning on using at the lower helm. I never run the big boat from down there. I'll use second bracket and wiring harness to switch it between the flats boat and big boat.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:27 AM   #11
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I ran my S2 with nema from a lowrance chart plotter on a previous boat. Worked great.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougcole View Post
Thanks for all of the help guys, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm in the process of removing the old gear today, but it may be a month or so before I install the new stuff. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm selling the old gear via the classifieds and ebay.

Yes, it is an S2 course computer.

I kind of half considered staying with Raymarine, they have a new combo that is similar in price and features to the Garmin. I had Garmin on the old boat and prefer it (a little) to Raymarine. Biggest thing for me is that Garmin uses Explorer charts for their Bahamas data. We spend a lot of time over there. Also, I already have a small Garmin combo (5" screen) on my flats boat which I'm planning on using at the lower helm. I never run the big boat from down there. I'll use second bracket and wiring harness to switch it between the flats boat and big boat.
I'm in somewhat the same position. I too have a Raymarine ST6001 in my new to me boat [I'm traveling to Greece at the end of March to take delivery properly and do some small bits before undertaking our delivery 340 mile trip to Turkey via the Ionian sea , Corinth Canal and the Aegean Sea]. I'm not sure which course computer it has . As far as I know it's not currently connected to anything other than the compass but I've bought a Garmin GPS Map 820xs to install on the flybridge and I'd like to connect them. So please keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:00 AM   #13
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My Raymarine autopilot is interfaced with my PC running Coastal Explorer, it's also connected to my Furuno NavNet. I'm a professed geek, I get a great deal of satisfaction in getting things to work when the "conventional wisdom" says "oh, you can't do that....". "Uh, yes, I can...."

Your ST6001 is the control head, it connects to the course computer, the "brain" of the AP via SeaTalk, and doesn't know or care about the chartplotter. Its function is the control and a window into the AP. That's all. You don't have a ST6001 autopilot, you have an S2 course computer with a ST6001 control head. Detail point, but the devil is in the details in getting things to play nice. So there's a lot of necessary detail in this epistle.

Connecting the autopilot with your new gear is do-able but you must provide the connections. Note that the Garmin uses the black "ground" wire, typically it's the NMEA (-) on both TX and RX. (That's transmit- e.g. NMEA out of the GPS and into the AP -- and receive - NMEA into the GPS and out of the AP).

Find a cable that has two twisted pairs of stranded wire about 22 ga. in a shielded insulation. The twisted pair makes for cleaner signal. You can also use cat5 or 6 ethernet patch cable (patch is stranded), it's not shielded but it will work fine. The longer the run, the more advantage there is in shielded cable.

Your AP outputs compass heading, and that may be very helpful for your chartplotter if it doesn't have any other compass source. That would be obtained from the NMEA 1 "out" or TX at the AP, and it would connect to the NMEA "in" or RX of the chartplotter. The S2 should have 2 NMEA connections, NMEA 1 has compass data and rudder position out. Each NMEA port should have 4 spring tab connections. Depress the spring tab, insert the wire into the hole next to it. EZPZ. It's often helpful to wear your bifocals upside-down! You'll connect one twisted pair to TX (+) (-), the other to RX (+) (-).

Your Garmin manual should explain the color code of the NMEA pigtail that comes out of the back of the device. You'll need to connect to the corresponding NMEA 1 port of the chartplotter. Likely you'll be connecting both the (-) wires to the black ground wire of the Garmin, they use a common unlike the Raymarine where each conductor connects separately. It is key to observe the correct orientation of (+) and (-), if you cross them, nothing will work. You'll do yourself a huge favor if you use a terminal block to make the connections. Use a 12 position or appropriate block with #6 screws, crimp a fork terminal on the ends of the wires to make it easier to re-do connections or add new ones. Gear TURNED OFF while wiring, contacting a live 12V conductor with any of the NMEA conductors can be fatal to the NMEA circuits.

Once the connections are complete, you'll need to insure that the chartplotter is sending the needed data to the AP. It requires configuring the NMEA ports on the chartplotter. You'll need to turn on the needed NMEA sentences on the corresponding NMEA "out" port on the chartplotter. You'll need to turn on APB at a minimum, plus RMC, VTG, perhaps XTE although that data is generally included in APB and RMC. Resist the temptation to turn on every sentence, NMEA is slow and has limited bandwidth, less is more.

Your 6001 has the ability to display a variety of data, and that data is coming into the course computer from the chartplotter via the NMEA port. It NEEDS the sentences mentioned above to be able to steer a route from the chartplotter. It CAN display additional data, but that may be unimportant to your use. It's just useful to know that if your control head can display certain data but doesn't, it may be that the chartplotter isn't transmitting that data because the NMEA "out" sentence isn't turned on. If that's something you want, get the basics working then add a sentence at a time.

You can see what data the AP is transmitting to the chartplotter by using the port monitor that should be in the configuration menu of the chartplotter. It will display the NMEA data that's being received. There is no corresponding function on the AP, but the control head will display data. For example, you can toggle through the display screens on the 6001. If you activate a route on the chartplotter and it's connected properly, your 6001 will display waypoint name, distance to waypoint, bearing, etc. Key is to be sure you have the chartplotter activate a route, that triggers the transmission of the data to the AP. That data is coming from the chartplotter. So if a route (or simply a "goto waypoint" is active, the data should be there. Its absence, or NO DATA on the 6001 would indicate that the data isn't getting there, so there's a glitch in the configuration. The 6001 manual will help.

Patience and methodical attention to the details is key to getting the gear to play well, it's not as daunting as it appears, you just need to pay attention to the small stuff, as it doesn't take much to make it go sideways.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:32 AM   #14
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The ST6001 has AUTO mode and TRACK mode.
AUTO only needs the fluxgate compass to stay on heading.
TRACK mode needs waypoint data via NMEA 0183 interface from a GPS of some sort.
Off topic, my ST6001 will drift offcourse 100 ft in TRACK mode before it realizes its offcourse then makes a 20 degree correction. It will hold that until its 100 ft offcourse to the other side then correct. It will zig zag the whole width of the ICW in TRACK. There is no setting to reduce the deadband. I've tried everything in the manual. AUTO mode is the only acceptable mode inland.
This cross track correction happens when it is most inconvenient, like when you are standing out on the side deck talking with someone running a parallel course a few feet away. 50% chance of turning towards that "hazard"? No, when Murphy sails with you, as he does with me, it is always a 100% chance. So use the "Track" feature only when you are prepared to keep a very close eye on your cross track error, and NEVER when in close quarters.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:25 PM   #15
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I just purchased a 40 Mainship and learned this week that the Raymarines are on the blink. I am considering going with the Garmin 7610 on the flybridge and connecting one for downstairs. Also seriously considering using the iPad as my second unit on the flybridge. I learned I can connect the AutoPilot to the Garmin
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:35 PM   #16
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Off topic, my ST6001 will drift offcourse 100 ft in TRACK mode before it realizes its offcourse then makes a 20 degree correction. It will hold that until its 100 ft offcourse to the other side then correct. It will zig zag the whole width of the ICW in TRACK. There is no setting to reduce the deadband. I've tried everything in the manual. AUTO mode is the only acceptable mode inland.
Not so. Your ST6001 is not determining the width of anything, it's a controller. Your chartplotter is setting the steering commands, and relaying them to the course computer via the NMEA link. If your AP is off 100 ft, there's something not right. My S3 autopilot will reliably hold less than 20 ft of cross track error, close quarters/ inland/ at sea - has little to do with it.

Check to see how often your chartplotter is refreshing the data to the AP, and see if you can decrease the refresh, say from 2 sec. to 1 sec. Also, check to see what sentences are being sent. If you send all of them, you'll jam up the bandwidth of the NMEA bus, and likely create a data loop that prevents the AP from responding smoothly. Best to start very lean, then turn on only those sentences that it actually needs to function. Start with APB, RMC, VTG. If you want to view other data on the ST6001 control head, that data may have to come from the NMEA link between the chartplotter and the AP. Again, it's helpful to turn on only those sentences that are actually needed.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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To answer the OP, you do not need to connect the AP to your other instruments so long as you have a rate gyro/compass to maintain a heading. I re-instrumented with Furuno last year but kept the Raymarine 6001 AP head and S2 AP independent because the Furuno AP was bloody expensive. The Raymarine worked fine, so why not. Besides I donít set a course and let the AP steer, I manually steer to a course and then hit AUTO and tweak it to stay on the chartplotterís course line. Iíve experienced a number of ďCrazy Ivanís on Raymarine APís to trust them without close monitoring.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:28 PM   #18
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I have logged at least 30,000 miles on Raymarine autopilots and maybe had a handful of glitches.

They are no better or worse than The other brands I have professional and recreational experience with.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:18 PM   #19
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Not so. Your ST6001 is not determining the width of anything, it's a controller. Your chartplotter is setting the steering commands, and relaying them to the course computer via the NMEA link. If your AP is off 100 ft, there's something not right. My S3 autopilot will reliably hold less than 20 ft of cross track error, close quarters/ inland/ at sea - has little to do with it.

Check to see how often your chartplotter is refreshing the data to the AP, and see if you can decrease the refresh, say from 2 sec. to 1 sec. Also, check to see what sentences are being sent. If you send all of them, you'll jam up the bandwidth of the NMEA bus, and likely create a data loop that prevents the AP from responding smoothly. Best to start very lean, then turn on only those sentences that it actually needs to function. Start with APB, RMC, VTG. If you want to view other data on the ST6001 control head, that data may have to come from the NMEA link between the chartplotter and the AP. Again, it's helpful to turn on only those sentences that are actually needed.
I'm not familiar with the Ray AP, but most will display the current cross track error that it gets from the chart plotter. If the cross track error is small, then suddenly gets very larger, then you have a communications problem between the AP computer and plotter.

When working correctly, the plotter will update the cross track error (XTE) every 1-2 seconds, and you will see it gradually getting larger and larger on your AP display.

If the AP display shows XTE growing, but the AP isn't taking any action to steer back to the track line, then you have an AP problem. As previously mentioned, many APs have a setting for the allowable cross track error before it starts to take corrective action. From the sounds of it, this is most likely where you problem is. Every pilot process all the inputs a bit differently, but a number of them can effect the behavior. Rudder deadband, gain, rudder position indicator, etc can all have an impact. Air in your steering can also have a big effect, as can any other mechanical wear in the steering mechanism.
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:47 PM   #20
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The ST6001 has AUTO mode and TRACK mode.
AUTO only needs the fluxgate compass to stay on heading.
TRACK mode needs waypoint data via NMEA 0183 interface from a GPS of some sort.
Off topic, my ST6001 will drift offcourse 100 ft in TRACK mode before it realizes its offcourse then makes a 20 degree correction. It will hold that until its 100 ft offcourse to the other side then correct. It will zig zag the whole width of the ICW in TRACK. There is no setting to reduce the deadband. I've tried everything in the manual. AUTO mode is the only acceptable mode inland.


I have the same RM AP and it will hold a track with usually less than 6í of cross track error.

My only complaint is that it hunts a bit when it first starts on a track. It will make a 10 turn to port or starboard and then turn back to settle in on the track. Once it has, it never varies. At times I think it may be that there is no boat speed on my boat, only SOG. My sailboat had the same system but did have a boat speed indicator that gave speed through the water. With as much current as we have here, that may make a difference.
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