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Old 06-05-2020, 11:21 PM   #1
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Hydraulic Autopilot

Iím going to install an autopilot in our single engine Albin36 and was looking at all the choices. Gets confusing.

Just want something simple , reliable and able to follow some waypoints.
Like the Ford leahman, just goes, something that just works good
Dont think it needs to interact with a bazillion other electronics.
Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:11 AM   #2
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The Raymarine, Simrad, etc units all work fine standalone and can accept waypoints from almost any plotter via NMEA. They basically need a sensor pack, a controller, a pump, and an mfd or a head fornuser input.

For your goals, you'd want a simple control head with a knob to be able to set a heading manually, steer directly with it, etc.

You may also want a rudder sensor for the ability for it to maintain a straighter line.

I'd have to know your ram capacity, but you might look at the Raymarine EV-150 and EV-200 kits, which include all of the above, except the optional rudder position sensor:

https://www.hodgesmarine.com/rayt703...topilot-s.html

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/rayma...AaAuBgEALw_wcB

And maybe add a rudder sensor:
https://www.hodgesmarine.com/raym811...re-m81105.html
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:04 AM   #3
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Delfini, this is one area where you'll probably want to get qualified assistance with choosing an autopilot so that your money isn't wasted. All pilots nowadays will interface with any plotter to go to a waypoint, but most use nmea2000 to interface. NMEA2000 is plug and play but in some cases you'll need to buy the appropriate connection adapter(s) to interface your current plotter to your pilot. You'll also need to know what type of steering your Albin has which will determine which drive you'll need. I would stress that you include a rudder position transducer to any pilot you decide to go with. It will really enhance the pilots performance, especially on a slower, single engine application such as yours.
I'll guarantee one thing...after it's done, you'll love it!
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:35 AM   #4
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I'd give the folks at ComNav a call and discuss your needs. I have used their basic units on a couple of charters and really liked them. The simplicity factor made it easy to learn without a manual on board. Check out their 1001 model. https://comnav.com/autopilot/

One tip I will recommend is to get a wired remote with a long cable, we had them on both stations of our old Robertson and used them 95% of the time to either power steer the boat or adjust course. I only liked to occasionally navigate to a way point when in the open ocean.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:43 AM   #5
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Thank you all.
Rudder indicator sounds helpful.
Our wheel is 5 turns lock to lock and Rudder position has its challenges occasionally.

Iíll crawl and check out to ram Capacity too.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:48 AM   #6
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I think all the pilots from the usual suspects will do a fine job, and all are very simple to use and pretty much all work the same way if you are using the most basic functions; nav mode (following the waypoints on a route), and Auto mode (just follow a heading). Just ignore all the fancy stuff if you don't care about it.


That said, I can think of two things to consider:


1) Just keep in mind that Raymarine is being divested by FLIR, their parent company. That leaves Raymarine's future somewhat of an unknown. It's not the kiss of death, but I think does add some risk.


2) Unless you are all-Garmin, I would avoid their pilot. It's a proprietary system that can't use parts from other vendors, so it's all-Garmin. Others can work with anybody's pump, and anybody's heading sensor and other instruments. And some even with different rudder position sensors, so you have more flexibility in putting the system together in the first place, plus more repair & upgrade options down the road. Note that will all the vendors, the computer/brain and the display/control panels are all proprietary to each vendor, so those parts are inseparable whoever you pick.


My personal favorite is Furuno. Depending on your boat size the NavPilot 300 might be suitable, and is very reasonably priced. Otherwise the NavPilot 711C would do well, though might be a touch more expensive than Ray or Simrad.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:56 AM   #7
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Just keep in mind that Raymarine is being divested by FLIR, their parent company. That leaves Raymarine's future somewhat of an unknown. It's not the kiss of death, but I think does add some risk.
I read recently that Flir has decided not to sell Raynarine. This may not be the latest scuttlebutt but I think it is!
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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I was looking at the classifieds on the hull truth a couple of days ago, there was a post from a guy selling several different APs that had been removed. I don't have relation to the seller just saw the listing... might be of interest.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:22 AM   #9
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I'd give the folks at ComNav a call and discuss your needs. I have used their basic units on a couple of charters and really liked them. The simplicity factor made it easy to learn without a manual on board. Check out their 1001 model. https://comnav.com/autopilot/
.
Another vote for Comnav. I have the PS2 model and have been very happy with it in 10 years of use. Many West coast commercial and fishing boats use Comnav pilots for their reliability.
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Old 06-06-2020, 12:07 PM   #10
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I was looking at the classifieds on the hull truth a couple of days ago, there was a post from a guy selling several different APs that had been removed. I don't have relation to the seller just saw the listing... might be of interest.

I have no problem buying used radars, plotters, radios or depthsounder. They can be tested before purchase or right after delivery during the return period on eBay.

I don't recommend buying a used autopilot unless you know what you are doing or it comes with a 10 - 20 day guarantee from a reputable source. Too many components to test, too many things to not work and difficult and time consuming to test.

I buy and sell used marine equipment on eBay and CL. Whenever I get an used autopilot, I sell the parts as "parts or not working" on eBay. There are people on eBay that buy all the parts to an autopilot whether working or not and either repair the broken component or gather enough working parts to get a working complete AP. They sell the working AP on eBay, who guarantee the items and provides protection for the buyer.

The buyer has to either bench test the AP or install it quickly before the guarantee runs out.

I've sold several Furuno 700 series AP's and they are very good AP's. The control unit, processor, rudder feedback and heading sensor is around $3,000. The pump is not included. Furuno supports their legacy products for a longer period than any other manufacturer.

The Simrad AP's are excellent also.

I would not purchase Raymarine because of their questionable future, their lack of support for legacy products and their past history of ownership changes.

Garmin does not support legacy products either.
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Old 06-06-2020, 12:08 PM   #11
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I read recently that Flir has decided not to sell Raynarine. This may not be the latest scuttlebutt but I think it is!

Oh, OK. That's an interesting turn.
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Old 06-06-2020, 12:25 PM   #12
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I use a Simrad AP 35, definitely old tech compared to what is on the market now, been reliable but such old tech that I'm not recommending that model specifically. But been happy with Simrad as a brand.

What I did find out is that while my AP is hooked up to the plotter to go straight to a waypoint, I find that feature does not hold heading as well. So I just no longer use that connection in "NAV". Just use "AUTO" and tweak the knob as needed to keep on course. Someone has to be on the helm all the time anyway, so tweaking the knob gives them something to do.

You do need the rudder cylinder displacement before even starting to shop.

And once you install it, consider hiring an expert to set up the tuning parameters on sea trial. Well worth it. Makes the difference between crappy and excellent AP performance.
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:14 AM   #13
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Damn. Took a year. After getting the 5 k install price , decided to do it myself.
Earned every last dime……..
I did the sea trial today! Done! Awesome stuff.
Went all Furuno ( see below )
Can’t say enough about their tech support. Called 3 different times and each time they quickly put me thru to a smart , friendly , intelligent guy who straighten things out smoothly.
Love love love the pilot.



FURUNO # TZT12F NAV NET TZ TOUCH 3 12" CHARTPLOTTER FISHFINDER HYBRID TOUCH
FURUNO # 001-563-930-00 BRACKET FORTZZT12F TZ 3 FURUNO # DRS4DNXT 24" SOLID STATE DOPPLER RADAR WITH TARGET ANALYZER AND FAST TARGET TRACKING FURUNO GP 330B GPS RECEIVER NMEA 2000
FURUNO 525STID-MSD BRONZE THRU HULL MULTISENSOR W 10 PIN PLUG
MMN3-VNA-024 C MAP WIDE CHART US WEST COAST, HAWAII AND BAJA MEXICO
FURUNO # AIR-033-745 NMEA 2000 STARTER KIT
FURUNO NAVPILOT 711C WITH CONTROL UNIT ,PROCESSOR , RUDDER FEEDBACK AND COMPASS, N2K
FURUNO # FAP 7011C CONTROL UNIT NAVPILOT 711C FURUNO PUMPSET HRP17-12
HYDRAULIC PUMP FOR AUTOPILOT 1.6CI 12VDC 13-CU IN-25CU IN RAMS
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
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2) Unless you are all-Garmin, I would avoid their pilot. It's a proprietary system that can't use parts from other vendors, so it's all-Garmin.

I was struck by your reply, so may I ask:

I have a Garmin chart-plotter and radar (so far, very satisfied). I have a 6 port NMEA 2000 switch which provides some engine data to the Garmin nav display.

I have a W-H Autopilot (a 1990's analog system....now out of business) and it appears the control unit has failed. Since there is no service for this unit anymore, but the hydraulics, compass, and rudder indicator are working, it appears that moving up to Garmin is not the best choice, since the entire system would have to be replaced and all the working components scrapped.

Would you have a recommendation for a new AutoPilot control system which could use the legacy components and still integrate with my Garmin navigation?

Thanks
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Old 06-29-2021, 07:52 AM   #15
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Technically, above my pay grade. I would say go to the local marine electronics supplier , maybe a couple. Ask.
My gut says , all new on the autopilot.
Or maybe call Furuno (360) 834-9300 ask for their tech guy.
Stay cool, best of luck.
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Old 06-29-2021, 10:43 AM   #16
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Not trying to hijack this thread but can an auto pilot be used on a cable driven steering?
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Old 06-29-2021, 11:14 AM   #17
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Not trying to hijack this thread but can an auto pilot be used on a cable driven steering?
Yes, they are available.
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Old 06-29-2021, 11:31 AM   #18
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Yes, they are available.
Thanks
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:36 PM   #19
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I was struck by your reply, so may I ask:



I have a Garmin chart-plotter and radar (so far, very satisfied). I have a 6 port NMEA 2000 switch which provides some engine data to the Garmin nav display.



I have a W-H Autopilot (a 1990's analog system....now out of business) and it appears the control unit has failed. Since there is no service for this unit anymore, but the hydraulics, compass, and rudder indicator are working, it appears that moving up to Garmin is not the best choice, since the entire system would have to be replaced and all the working components scrapped.



Would you have a recommendation for a new AutoPilot control system which could use the legacy components and still integrate with my Garmin navigation?



Thanks


Itís hard to say without knowing a bunch more detail about the existing pilot, but hereís my guess.

Hydraulics, Yes. You probably have a reversing pump and those can be driven by Furuno, Simrad, etc pilots. Maybe Garmin too, but I donít know.

Rudder indicator, probably not. These are usually analog devices, and unless the old and new happen to be the same, you will need a new one.

Heading sensor, maybe. It depends on whether is outputs standard NMEA 0183 messages, or if itís proprietary. You would need to dig into the documentation pretty carefully. That said, I would lean heavily towards a modern heading sensor. They are more accurate, report their position more frequently (10 times per second is a minimum for good pilot performance), and also report rate of turn which further helps the pilot steer well.

Interfacing to your Garmin chart plotter shouldnít be an issue. I have pretty much no direct experience with Garmin, but believe they support the standard communications used by every other pilot out there. Where Garmin is different is in the packaging and interfacing of the components that make up the pilot sub-system.
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Old 06-29-2021, 07:44 PM   #20
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Not trying to hijack this thread but can an auto pilot be used on a cable driven steering?
I think the drive part (that turns the rudder) might be called a "linear drive"? I was looking at a few boats with cable (chain) steering and this is the term I found to describe it (as opposed to the more typical hydraulic steering).

At least that might give you a good search term.

I think XS Bank here posted about it (may be able to search his posts).
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