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Old 11-23-2020, 01:52 AM   #1
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Garmin heading hold didnt want to hold

Out in some snotty weather today and running beams sea and rocking good.First time in this weather. I started having problems with the auto pilot and it would switch to heading hold.We would get a blow instead of adjusting the unit showed shadow drive for a few feet then went to heading hold.This went on for about a half hour then i lost sonar depth. Can the boat be rocking to quickly for the instruments to keep up?

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Old 11-23-2020, 05:05 AM   #2
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There's no correlation between the boat rocking and your depth permanently quitting. Air bubbles over the transducer face would cause a temporary depth loss but not a total loss of readings. It sounds like there is another issue lurking. I would say to check your connection but on the XSV series Garmins, the transducer plugs directly into the display.
Regarding your pilot, try going into the menu and turning the shadow drive off. If it holds in rough conditions sans the shadow drive feature, try adjusting the sensitivity of the drive.
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Old 11-23-2020, 11:15 AM   #3
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Sounds like your shadow drive is set too sensitive. Shadow drive allows you to grab the wheel and turn the boat without having to disengage the AP. It's installed in the hydraulic line for your steering and senses when the wheel is moved. But it can also sense if the seas push your rudder. Obviously in rough conditions this could happen. You can adjust the sensitivity of the shadow drive OR you an turn off shadow drive all together via the control head.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:07 PM   #4
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You sound right. I would turn on auto pilot and it would track for a few minutes then drop. I was thinking this could be a real problem if traveling and one didnt notice auto pilot was stopped.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:38 AM   #5
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Regarding the autopilot. When it is engaged and i have to steer around debris or change coarse a bit then re-engage the auto pilot makes extremely hard turns to return to the coarse and sometimes it makes circles. Is there a setting for how extreme it returns to the active route?
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:56 AM   #6
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It's definitely not set up correctly. Look at the basics first. Turn the wheel left & right to verify that the rudder transducer (I'm hoping that important option was included in you initial installation) is following the rudder position by the bargraph on the GHC controller. Then take the boat out and verify the compass is reading correctly in all directions. If those two things seem ok, take the boat into open water & let the pilot perform an autotuning routine in the setup menu. Anymore troubleshooting than that would really involve someone qualified to take a look at your system or at a minimum, a telephone session with a qualified person since it doesn't seem like you're too familiar with the pilot operation (please understand I'm not trying to offend you).
Look at the rudder & compass displays first. Maybe you'll get lucky and find you've stored your vacuum cleaner beside the autopilot compass sensor ,which will ruin the pilot performance...I've seen that scenario more than once!
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:46 AM   #7
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I can't speak to the circles thing. It definitely shouldn't do circles unless you engage that feature. But it does put the rudder pretty hard over to return to the original lay-line. Ie.. if you have it driving to a waypoint and it draws your lay-line, then you manually deviate from that lay-line, when you re-engage it will want you back on that line asap. I too find this pretty odd but have never looked to see if it could be adjusted. If I find out I'll report back.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:56 AM   #8
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I can't speak to the circles thing. It definitely shouldn't do circles unless you engage that feature. But it does put the rudder pretty hard over to return to the original lay-line. Ie.. if you have it driving to a waypoint and it draws your lay-line, then you manually deviate from that lay-line, when you re-engage it will want you back on that line asap. I too find this pretty odd but have never looked to see if it could be adjusted. If I find out I'll report back.
I have the same setup and agree with these comments. I've looked casually to see if the rate of return to the lay-line can be adjusted or if there is a cross tack error setting and can't find anything. If it exists, I'll be interested in the response.
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Old 11-24-2020, 02:04 PM   #9
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with this covid thing getting schooling has been tough. This equipment and boating in general is a new experience for us and my only real help has been the forums and youtube.
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:47 PM   #10
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When I am following a track with Coastal Explorer, if I deviate from the track to avoid something, I cancel any cross track error (XTE) before reactivating the track. By doing that the AP doesn’t try to go to the original track but proceeds direct to the next waypoint.

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Old 12-06-2020, 12:49 AM   #11
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Went out today and ran into the same problem with the auto pilot letting go of control and defaulting to heading hold. The sensitivity was set to 50 percent so i reduced to 25 and it performed for a 4 hour run with no dropouts.
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Old 12-06-2020, 12:01 PM   #12
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Went out today and ran into the same problem with the auto pilot letting go of control and defaulting to heading hold. The sensitivity was set to 50 percent so i reduced to 25 and it performed for a 4 hour run with no dropouts.

Does Garmin say what the "sensitivity" control does? It sounds like it's some sort of limit on acceptable cross track error, but that's just a guess.
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Old 12-06-2020, 01:46 PM   #13
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It would seem that the sensitivity control has to do with how much movement to the steering system does it accept before releasing control via auto pilot. It seemed fine when i turned the wheel the auto pilot gave control to me. With a large rudder it gets moved by the current and that is being interpreted as me taking control even though i didnt move the wheel. With the lower sensitivity moving the wheel seems the same as before but now waves and current do not shut down the auto pilot. At least so far.
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Old 12-07-2020, 10:05 AM   #14
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Does Garmin say what the "sensitivity" control does? It sounds like it's some sort of limit on acceptable cross track error, but that's just a guess.
Garmin AP's have a feature called "Shadow Drive". It includes a device that is plumed into the hydraulic fittings near the helm. It senses when you take control via the wheel and lets you turn the boat without disengaging the pilot. Once you stop turning the boat, the AP returns to heading hold. Turns your wheel into a giant rotary knob. But you have to adjust the units "sensitivity" so it doesn't just bounce back and fourth between heading hold and stand-by due to force on the rudder while underway.
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Old 12-07-2020, 10:10 AM   #15
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Garmin AP's have a feature called "Shadow Drive". It includes a device that is plumed into the hydraulic fittings near the helm. It senses when you take control via the wheel and lets you turn the boat without disengaging the pilot. Once you stop turning the boat, the AP returns to heading hold. Turns your wheel into a giant rotary knob. But you have to adjust the units "sensitivity" so it doesn't just bounce back and fourth between heading hold and stand-by due to force on the rudder while underway.

Got it, thanks for the explanation. That's a nice feature. So it all seems to make perfect sense, and the adjustment that was required is perfectly normal? And I see you suggested it early in the thread.
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Old 12-29-2020, 03:04 AM   #16
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One thing i am struggling with is setting a course. I set the destination then push start navigation and the boat starts to turn around. I am wondering if it it trying to get to where i started since i was moving . One person here mention being able to reset the current position. Lets say something like a ferry causes me to go off course do i have to get the the magenta line or is there a way to continue from my now new position.
Thank guys
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:39 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by magna 6882 View Post
One thing i am struggling with is setting a course. I set the destination then push start navigation and the boat starts to turn around. I am wondering if it it trying to get to where i started since i was moving . One person here mention being able to reset the current position. Lets say something like a ferry causes me to go off course do i have to get the the magenta line or is there a way to continue from my now new position.
Thank guys
When you enter a destination waypoint does the gps give a bearing, course to steer, and distance in front of you or behind you?
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:50 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by magna 6882 View Post
One thing i am struggling with is setting a course. I set the destination then push start navigation and the boat starts to turn around. I am wondering if it it trying to get to where i started since i was moving . One person here mention being able to reset the current position. Lets say something like a ferry causes me to go off course do i have to get the the magenta line or is there a way to continue from my now new position.
Thank guys


I recall my Garmin doing that when we first got it. Had to dig into the owners manual to find that there was a setting. When you engage a route, it can turn the boat around to take you to the start of the route or it can pick up where you currently are on the route and continue from there. I donít recall where that setting was but you might want to look for it. Itís buried. Would that help?
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