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Old 11-11-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
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Updating Electronics - Should we include updated autopilot, looking for opinions?

We're in the process of updating the electronics on Avalon, our 1990 46 Grand Banks Classic. Our Northstar 961 system served us well but gave out last season. We've selected Furuno TZTouch14 MFD for the upper and lower helm stations, AIS, and radar overlay at both stations. In order to accomplish the radar overlay we need to install a PG-700 Heading sensor, which I would likely install anyway to insure we always have actual heading displayed regardless of motion tracked via GPS.

We currently have a Raytheon ST6000+ autopilot with a ram appropriately installed in the Lazarette. I realize there has been a lot of discussion around installing a ram on cable steering systems but this setup has functioned for nearly 15 years. The autopilot works fairly well in all but a following sea when itís easily confused and I find it best to steer manually.

My question is around the benefit we might experience by upgrading the autopilot to one of the new "adaptive systems" such as the Furuno 711C. Since we are planning to install the PG-700 Heading sensor anyway and itís included in the Autopilot package so my thought is it might be worthwhile just upgrading the autopilot now. The current ram should work correctly with the new autopilot, according to Furuno.

Does anyone have experience in making the upgrade from a 2000 vintage autopilot to the newer adaptive technology? Any thoughts on what sort of improvement we might see with a following sea or in overall use? Should I leave well enough alone or take the opportunity to upgrade now to a completely networked system?

One note is that Avalon does have Naiad stabilizers and according to Furuno they say that does complicate the job for any autopilot. Of course they do say we would experience a very noticeable improvement but then again they make the stuff.

Thanks for the help,
Tim
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:49 PM   #2
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Your Raymarine autopilot can be made adaptive and much more tolerant of following seas if you add an external gyro.

I did this about ten years ago with a Raymarine 6001 autopilot. Then and maybe now, Raymarine makes an external gyro sensor that plugs into the existing Raymarine course computer. Installation is a snap, just a few wires to connect the two together.

With the gyro connected, the Raymarine course computer becomes "adaptive". It learns from the sea state and self tunes, which is all the Furuno does, I suspect.

The gyro dramatically improves following seas performance and the 30 degree S turns become 5 degrees.

Ten years ago the gyro was $700, much cheaper than a new autopilot.

David
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:59 PM   #3
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Thanks David.

I had no idea we could upgrade our ST6000+ system with a gyro. I'll look into that option immediately.

Tim
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:18 PM   #4
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David was it a solid state unit like the one pictured? If it were me I would update the AP too while you have everything apart and it's easy. Plus the 711c is N2K.
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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I sold the boat 5 years ago and my memory of it is rusty. But it was roughly a 6" x 4" x 1" box that mounts within inches of the course computer. Isn't everything solid state for the last 30 years?

David
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I sold the boat 5 years ago and my memory of it is rusty. But it was roughly a 6" x 4" x 1" box that mounts within inches of the course computer. Isn't everything solid state for the last 30 years?

David

When gyro comes to mind I think this.
http://pro.simrad-yachting.com/en-US...ass-en-us.aspx

I don't believe the one in the link above is solid state. But then again I could be wrong.
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