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Old 04-18-2022, 05:51 PM   #1
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City: Salem, Oregon
Vessel Name: My Lady
Vessel Model: Formosa 42 Double Cabin
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Posts: 295
Garmin reactor 40 autopilot

Anybody have any experience?? I have a Garmin 94sv and need an autopilot...
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Old 04-18-2022, 06:04 PM   #2
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Will you be using a Garmin pump (drive unit)?

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Old 04-19-2022, 04:11 PM   #3
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Vessel Name: Seaview
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Mine is a Reactor 40 new last year. So far it has been flawless. It will get put to the test in about five weeks when I start the Loop. I have all Garmin on the boat.
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Old 04-19-2022, 06:38 PM   #4
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Vessel Model: 2019 North Pacific 45
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Same here, 3 years- no issues
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Old 05-02-2022, 10:09 PM   #5
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I have a new Reactor 40 I installed last year with the Smart Pump and wireless remote. Initially, I installed the compass too close to a new fridge, causing erratic full rudder events. No issues since the compass relocation.

The Smart Pump is a powerful SOB that you better respect. When doing the Dealer “at dock” configuration, remember to back off of the rudder stops a bit when setting the full-rudder left & right parameters on these older boats. Otherwise, the pump will jam the rudder against the stops and you’ll need to bleed the system to get the rudder to release.

The wireless Remote Control is a really neat item to just point in a direction an the auto pilot follows. But something in the Remote goes haywire every now and then and does full rudder left for some reason. As long as the Remote is turned off, no issues. Still trying to find the cause for that.

The Reactor 40 anticipates boat movement, rolling and pitching well. Ride in washtub conditions with confused waves is much improved over a human at the wheel (which is why we selected the unit over competitors). It’s ability to calculate, anticipate and quickly make adjustments to help negate roll & pitch is faster and smarter than I can do it.

Garmin Support seems to have an assortment of agents, some who know stuff and others not so much. I’ve gotten conflicting info from several, especially regarding exactly what plotters work with the Reactor 40. Good luck with that.

Cost of the whole system was about $4300 for us. We retained our old 17 cylinder, but rebuilt it entirely…another $200. Make sure your lines are in good shape. That Smart Pump will reveal any weakness.

"When life gets hard, eat marshmallows”.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:46 AM   #6
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City: Reedville, VA
Vessel Name: Wingspan
Vessel Model: Aluminum Catamaran
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 559
I've got the Reactor 40 with smart pump. Originally the builder put in a smaller 1.5L pump and the CCU to go with that pump and all worked well - but I knew it was undersized to I upgraded (I've got a spare 1.5L pump and CCU if anyone's interested). I'm not a big fan of the pump and CCU being one integrated system. But I've had no trouble with it in 500 hours - not that this should be any real test.

Overall I like the system. I had problems with the radar and Garmin was good to deal with. So I guess I'm one of the lucky ones with Garmin customer support. I think the system is good and the Shadow Drive is OK - but it's still easier to just turn off auto and manually steer than to mess with the Shadow Drive function unless it is for FAST maneuver (I use it for dodging crab pots I only see at the last minute).
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Old 05-03-2022, 05:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bkay View Post
(I've got a spare 1.5L pump and CCU if anyone's interested). .
Interested. Sent PM.

I have and entire set up that i will be installing in the next few weeks when I get time. I was going to use my old belt driven pump frpm the previous AP but I am thinking now I want to change the pump too.

Glad to hear the Garmins are working so well for everyone.
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Old 05-03-2022, 09:44 PM   #8
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Vessel Name: Tenacious
Vessel Model: Uniflite 31 FB Sedan
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 283
"Hydraulic" model must use the Garmin smart pump. Use the "Mechanical/Retrofit" model for an existing hydraulic pump, mechanical drive, or solenoids. With that package you have to get the drive cable separately as well as the rudder angle sensor and an extension cable - the sensor comes with 2m cable.
Experience develops good judgement, bad judgement develops experience
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