Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-09-2015, 12:21 PM   #1
City: Portland,OR
Country: USA
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
Updating Autopilot

I am hoping that someone has the patience to answer this lengthy question about autopilot updating for my GB 32 woody.

The scenario:

Have a Benmar chain drive that works fine but the compass and controls are shot. I know I can send this to Benmar to refurbish but I would like to enter the modern world of AP.

Want to get keep the price down, basic entry level system would be perfect, but want to interface with a new GPS.

Would like a remote to use on flybridge and reardeck, corded is fine.


What brand(s) are entry level but reliable?

Precisely what components do I need so that I can use my Benmar drive
I will spring for a new GPS too, so what mates up easily.

Are the components plug and play.
(I know that I will have to do some wiring to the Steering drive.)

Does anybody have instructions or schematic for any AP brands to do this ?

I would appreciate answers to any or all parts of this project.


billybandman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2015, 01:48 PM   #2
Capt.Bill11's Avatar
City: Sarasota/Ft. Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5,436
You need to run those kinds of question by the autopilot manufacturers or a tech that handles a few different brands of pilots.

And you also might consider installing a complete system that replaces your chain drive with a linear drive that you could attach to your rudder quadrant.

Oh, and what you describing, with a remote and all, is not a basic, cheap system IMO.

Capt.Bill11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2015, 02:18 PM   #3
djmarchand's Avatar
City: Litchfield, Ct/Punta Gorda, Fl
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Atlas Pompano 23
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,784
Your existing chain drive will work fine with almost any major brand of autopilot. But the new AP's course computer must produce enough drive current to power your old Benmar drive.

Raymarine for example sells different course computers- Type 1, Type 2 that can drive 20 or 40 amp (these values are rough, from memory) drives. So you need to know how much current your Benmar drive takes.

Garmin, Simrad, etc are all similar.

djmarchand is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2015, 03:17 PM   #4
RT Firefly's Avatar
City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 12,644
Mr. bib. Haven't got a clue BUT welcome aboard.
RT Firefly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2015, 04:42 PM   #5
hmason's Avatar
City: Stuart FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Magic
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 46 Europa
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2,243
The unit I replaced a Benmar with (retaining the drive) was a basic unit by ComNav on my previous 36' GB. If you go that route, suggest you let a tech install it. A linear drive at the quadrant is not the best solution for a cable drive system as it,moves not,just the quadrant but all the cables and the,steering wheels. They are not designed to do that. Check out ComNav.
Magic, 1996 Grand Banks Europa
Westport, CT and Stuart, FL
hmason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2015, 05:24 PM   #6
rochepoint's Avatar
City: Sidney BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: RochePoint
Vessel Model: 1985 Cheer Men PT38 Sedan
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,465
We replaced our old autopilot with a 1001 ComNav years ago but kept the drive unit, ours was hydraulic but should still work with yours after all it is only suppling power. Did the install ourselves, instructions and support were great. Super product with no issues over the years.

Send an email to their support department and ask........
Cheers Mike Barge
Sidney, British Columbia
Yes, I have my "AnchorRight"
rochepoint is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
FF's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19,662
If as I expect the chain drive is working a pure mechanical system I might consider something even simpler.

The units that attach to the existing steering wheel might be compatible with your GPS desire . Check the catalogs.

The huge advantage (besides price) is simplicity and reliability with low current draw.

As many boats will charge the house bank while underway , not having a 35A pump system or big old electric motor could mean the current alt wont need an upgrade.

FF is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:07 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012