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Old 09-14-2023, 12:25 AM   #1
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Raymarine Upgrade to Furuno and Autopilot Rotary Mechanical Drives

I am about to start a project to refresh the electronics on-board my boat. I would prefer not to do a wholesale remove and re-install of new equipment, but would rather slowly add/replace items on a priority basis.

But before I do any of that I am trying to determine which pieces can be re-used and still achieve my goal of having the latest electronics and adding AIS & wind instruments, but without spending too much money. This may drive a decision on future brand.

My first preference is to move to Furuno so I can use a PC with TimeZero software and link this with radar, sounder, autopilot, AIS, wind instruments and also wi-fi so I can see AIS targets on Navionics on an iPad.

But I was thinking staying with Raymarine may be a better option to re-use existing equipment, however after doing some research I am more confused, but think the only component which will work with the newer Axiom+ chartplotters is the CP370 sounder module.

Anyway the boat has mechanical steering and uses a rotary drive with a Raymarine S2G AST course computer and ST6002 control head, so before I go wholesale into Furuno I am trying to find out if they support a rotary drive but cannot see it referenced anywhere.

The boat currently has the following equipment;

Raymarine E80 Chartplotter
Raymarine S2G AST & ST6002 Autopilot (with rotary drive for mechanical steering)
Raymarine 24Nm Radar (older magnetron type unit)
Raymarine CP370 Sounder Module
Raymarine RAY218E VHF Radio

The boat does not have AIS or wind instruments and wi-fi (for iPad use), which I would like to add.

Before ripping everything out and replacing with all proprietary Furuno gear, I am trying to work out a more considered approach which can be done piece by piece.

Everything is currently functional so I could leave it all in place while I add AIS (am confused as to how the E80 will support AIS, but could use it on the iPad in the short term) and wind instruments, but need a longer term plan worked out before I start selecting equipment. This way I can replace items on a piece by piece basis.

So questions;

1. Does Furuno make an autopilot rotary drive for mechanical steering?
2. If not, will a Furuno course computer control the existing rotary drive?
3. If not, do any other manufacturers other than Raymarine make a mechanical rotary drive? (I have found the Type 1 and Type 2 rotary drive units in the Raymarine catalogue, but canít find rotary drive mentioned by Furuno or Garmin)
4. If I stick with Raymarine, what (if any) of the existing equipment can be re-used with the newer Axiom+ chartplotters? (I think just the CP370)
5. For the Australians, I am having a hard time finding Furuno pricing here, where is the best place to go?

I work in software development so am technically literate, but have found the proprietary marine electronics manufacturers to be very difficult to understand and donít see a logical upgrade pathway from my existing Raymarine equipment to contemporary Raymarine electronics without a wholesale replacement exercise.

To avoid this sort of situation again in the future I would prefer to go NMEA2000 with all equipment plugged into this network rather than use a proprietary system.

I could use components from places like Digital Yacht, Yacht Devices, Maretron, etc. with a dedicated navigation PC running TimeZero software. Of course this approach would still require a Furuno radar and autopilot, plus one Furuno chartplotter on the flying bridge due to being exposed to weather.

Am I missing something?
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Old 09-14-2023, 06:50 AM   #2
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Your Radar is analog and won't work with Axiom. Your E series plotter would interface to an AIS to display targets via nmea 0183 high speed data. You'll need to make sure you have the nmea data cable that fits the plotter. In theory, you could convert the E-series seatalk2 to nmea2000 and it might work, but I wouldn't waste my time going that route.

Regarding your existing rotary drive, there's no need to replace it if it's adequately sized for the boat. You just need to know the rated current draw of the drive and make sure the autopilot can supply the draw. Your pilot will also need to have a clutch output to engage the drive. Lots of folks on here highly endorse Furuno pilots.
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Old 09-14-2023, 08:48 AM   #3
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My first preference is to move to Furuno so I can use a PC with TimeZero software and link this with radar, sounder, autopilot, AIS, wind instruments and also wi-fi so I can see AIS targets on Navionics on an iPad.

But I was thinking staying with Raymarine may be a better option to re-use existing equipment, however after doing some research I am more confused, but think the only component which will work with the newer Axiom+ chartplotters is the CP370 sounder module.

I dunno from rotary drives, but...

We replaced a dead Ray MFD with a Furuno TZT3 MFD, and the MFD works fine with the Raymarine SmartPilot and ST8001 control head. If that helps, or is at least relevant.

We also use TimeZero, and we have a Furuno AIS B+, transducer for the MFD's internal fishfinder, etc.... generally a decent suite. If the Garmin radar we also inherited craps out, we'll replace that with Furuno, too.

-Chris
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Old 09-14-2023, 11:53 AM   #4
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A Furuno autopilot should be capable of driving the rotary drive - it is just a reversible DC motor and a clutch, standard autopilot stuff. You will not be able to use the radar dome with an Axiom, it needs to be the newer digital one. You can interface AIS with the E80, as was said it needs to be on NMEA 0183 at 32K, if you are already using that interface for something else you may need a multiplexor. Autopilot commands on NMEA are also pretty standard so it is likely the Furuno chart plotter could send stuff to the old Ray autopilot (for routes and such). A new Axiom will not have a 0183 interface, you would need the (pretty cheap) Raymarine converter if you still have 0183 or Seatalk stuff.
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Old 09-14-2023, 02:05 PM   #5
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I saw something in my Furuno pilot setup that mentions an external clutch.

probably worth calling them.
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Old 09-14-2023, 06:48 PM   #6
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Almost every autopilot drive *except* a reversible hydraulic pump has a clutch. Therefore autopilot course computers commonly have a clutch output.
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Old 09-14-2023, 10:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the replies. Much appreciated. Will read and respond if any further questions.
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:31 AM   #8
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Had a close look and also took photos of the rotary drive, but cannot see a specification plate or brand/model anywhere. Possibly been painted over?

Does this look familiar to anybody?
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post

[SNIP]

Regarding your existing rotary drive, there's no need to replace it if it's adequately sized for the boat. You just need to know the rated current draw of the drive and make sure the autopilot can supply the draw. Your pilot will also need to have a clutch output to engage the drive. Lots of folks on here highly endorse Furuno pilots.
Yes adequately sized and works fine right now, driven by the Raymarine S2G AST & ST6002.

Hopefully I can keep the drive unit and just replace the autopilot computer and control head.
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ranger58sb View Post

[SNIP]

We replaced a dead Ray MFD with a Furuno TZT3 MFD, and the MFD works fine with the Raymarine SmartPilot and ST8001 control head. If that helps, or is at least relevant.

[SNIP]

-Chris
Dos the TZT3 interface with the Raymarine pilot? i.e. you can have the pilot steer a route from the TZT3?
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DDW View Post

[SNIP]

Autopilot commands on NMEA are also pretty standard so it is likely the Furuno chart plotter could send stuff to the old Ray autopilot (for routes and such).

[SNIP]
Thanks. This is hopeful. Plan would be to install the new TZT3 on the flying bridge and the TimeZero PC at the lower helm and have them talk to each other, with AIS and wind instruments, possibly also initially with the Furuno radar. Then come back later to do the autopilot. Or maybe also keep the E80 for now to use the old radar.

I guess I can just have the pilot steer a course and adjust manually for the route in the interim.
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Old 09-21-2023, 03:41 AM   #12
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Almost every autopilot drive *except* a reversible hydraulic pump has a clutch. Therefore autopilot course computers commonly have a clutch output.
Thanks. I need to source the installation guide and/or user manual for the Furuno pilot to read up on capability. That's my next course of action.
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Old 09-21-2023, 07:27 AM   #13
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Dos the TZT3 interface with the Raymarine pilot? i.e. you can have the pilot steer a route from the TZT3?
Yes. At least I think so, but haven't actually tried a multi-point route, though.

I did try controlling the AP to a single waypoint, and that works like a champ. TZT3 sends info, AP does what it's told. Don't see any reason that wouldn't carry over to a multi-point route.

Have to get close to the course line first, and you also have know the button-pushes on the AP controller, but that was in the manual. IIRC it was as simple as AUTO and then AUTO again.

Our installation uses NMEA0183 one way from TZT3 to SmartPilot. No talk back to TZT3. IIRC, I could have used NMEA2000 but that would have needed a converter to SmartTalkNG (or whatever it is that Ray calls it). And my NMEA0183 wire run was all of about about 6", easy.

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Old 09-21-2023, 07:33 AM   #14
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Yes. At least I think so, but haven't actually tried a multi-point route, though.

I did try controlling the AP to a single waypoint, and that works like a champ. TZT3 sends info, AP does what it's told. Don't see any reason that wouldn't carry over to a multi-point route.

Have to get close to the course line first, and you also have know the button-pushes on the AP controller, but that was in the manual. IIRC it was as simple as AUTO and then AUTO again.

Our installation uses NMEA0183 one way from TZT3 to SmartPilot. No talk back to TZT3. IIRC, I could have used NMEA2000 but that would have needed a converter to SmartTalkNG (or whatever it is that Ray calls it). And my NMEA0183 wire run was all of about about 6", easy.

-Chris
Thank you. Doing more research now.
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Old 09-22-2023, 01:39 AM   #15
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After doing more research on the existing rotary drive and reading the Raymarine installation guide for the ACU-200 I can see my drive has three wires, which I am assuming are drive power positive and negative in their own cables, as well as another cable for clutch positive and negative in a single cables. Thus the three wires going into the motor.

So I think I am OK to continue to use this drive with the newer course computers.

Just need to figure out which wire is which, but should be able to do that by tracing from the existing course computer connections.

Thanks for putting me on the right path.
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Old 09-22-2023, 05:40 AM   #16
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I'll reiterate , Your need to know the amp draw of your rotary drive. Lots of older autopilot systems ,such as Benmar ,Sperry and Raytheon, weren't driven directly by the autopilot "computer". The drive was powered by relays and the computer commanded the relays, which was necessary for the high current draw of the older drives, possibly like yours. Trace the drive & clutch wires back and see if they go to a relay box. If so, and it's still operational, you'll be golden...you can connect almost any course computer to the relay box, since the relays will be handling the high amp draw and all the ACU needs to do is power the switching side of the relays.
I hope I'm somewhat clear on this and not confusing you. I've retrofitted many autopilots just like yours years ago when folks were doing exactly what you're wanting to do.
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Old 09-22-2023, 07:50 AM   #17
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[SNIP]

I hope I'm somewhat clear on this and not confusing you. I've retrofitted many autopilots just like yours years ago when folks were doing exactly what you're wanting to do.
Perfectly clear. Thank you.

I can trace the wires back to the course computer. I know where they start and end, just don't yet know if there is a relay box in the middle someplace.

Will investigate.
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Old 09-22-2023, 11:26 AM   #18
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I also went from a working Raymarine system to Furuno. Absolutely love it. With all my research up front I learned that everyone loves their new system so you would be probably be happy with any of Simrad, Garmin, Raymarine, Furuno. But, for me it started with the radar. I changed from a 72 mile open array to a 48 mile NXT. Now I can see as far as I need and also see a seagull swimming by. Then there is the TZT3 display which is great, the only thing I don't like about the software is there is no Go To Waypoint button. Instead you have to go to Home, Lists, Waypoints, select then go to. I could just hit a point on the touchscreen and say Go To, that works. I had some problems with my Raymarine digital compass and maybe the GPS antenna. I opted for the SX20 GPS antenna that even knows what direction I'm facing when at the dock or anchor. Very accurate. Love the Furuno package.
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Old 09-22-2023, 06:30 PM   #19
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I also went from a working Raymarine system to Furuno. Absolutely love it. With all my research up front I learned that everyone loves their new system so you would be probably be happy with any of Simrad, Garmin, Raymarine, Furuno. But, for me it started with the radar. I changed from a 72 mile open array to a 48 mile NXT. Now I can see as far as I need and also see a seagull swimming by. Then there is the TZT3 display which is great, the only thing I don't like about the software is there is no Go To Waypoint button. Instead you have to go to Home, Lists, Waypoints, select then go to. I could just hit a point on the touchscreen and say Go To, that works. I had some problems with my Raymarine digital compass and maybe the GPS antenna. I opted for the SX20 GPS antenna that even knows what direction I'm facing when at the dock or anchor. Very accurate. Love the Furuno package.
Good perspective. Thank you.

I am sort of at a crossroads;

1. Stick with Raymarine, as it is probably an easier path forward being able to re-use the CP370, can re-use the autopilot rotary drive, is cheaper than Furuno in Australia and easier to research what is required.

2. Go with Furuno, which is what I really want, to be able to integrate a TimeZero PC into the network for use in the wheelhouse with a TZT3 on the flying bridge, plus the other Furuno benefits of arguably better radar, etc.

Have done all of the Raymarine research. Know what components I need, know the pricing, know where to purchase, know how to connect it all together. Is an attractive option which may be cheaper and simpler.

But I still want Furuno!
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Old 09-22-2023, 07:05 PM   #20
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Our installation uses NMEA0183 one way from TZT3 to SmartPilot. No talk back to TZT3. IIRC, I could have used NMEA2000 but that would have needed a converter to SmartTalkNG (or whatever it is that Ray calls it). And my NMEA0183 wire run was all of about about 6", easy.
This is what I'd suggest, assuming the existing AP works to your satisfaction.

You don't need to match brands between MFD and AP. The Raymarine will accept input from whatever you're using for nav.
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