Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-09-2024, 08:55 PM   #1
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
Sitex by Comnav autopilot

Interested in input from any with experience with Sitex autopilots by Comnav. I'm considering a Sitex SP-38 which according to the vendor is made by Comnav. It appears other than the trim color to be the Comnav P4.

Stated advantages of Sitex over Comnav by the vendor are easier support for US customers because Sitex is a US corp while Comnav is a Canadian corp. Shipping components needing work across the border is not easy.

I am familiar with Comnav hardware. And have had outstanding tech support over the phone from Comnav. Never have had to ship anything across the border for repair.
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 09:27 PM   #2
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7,111
I miss my Comnav. Simple and reliable. My Simrad has way too many adjustments possible so the config clutter masks the needed adjustments. I wanted an integrated dashvoard which is fine, and my Simrad AP works fine, but I had more confidence in the Comnav.

What problem are you trying to solve? Comnav has been bulletproof for over 30 years.

Pete
__________________
_______________________________________
Cruising our 1970 Willard 36 trawler from California to Florida
Join our Instagram page @MVWeebles to follow along
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 10:00 PM   #3
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
What am I trying to solve?
  1. Replace an aging AP. A new to me boat last Nov has an antique Robertson AP100. In many ways a good autopilot but it's near or at end of life.
  2. Retain a heavy duty pump. The boat has an ACCU-STEER HPU-100 which uses solenoid valves. I want to keep that heavy duty pump setup so need an AP that will 'talk' to it. At the Seattle boat show, which is lame compared to what it used to be, the two vendors who said their APs would work with my pump were Sitex / Comnav and Garmin.
  3. An AP I have confidence in. Having experience with Comnav that's a plus.
  4. Full follow up control The SP-38 has an optional full follow up control which I highly value.
  5. NMEA 0183. I don't have NMEA 2000 on the boat, don't need it and wire runs on this boat are near impossible. Why I prefer NMEA 0183 and stand alone components is another story for another time.

I find it interesting you don't like Simrad. I have no experience with their current products. I have years of running Simrad AP-50 on work boats which was very simply the best AP I have ever used. The user interface was simple, intuitive and well, the best ever. My last boat had a Simrad AP-26 a baby brother to the AP-50. Steered and functioned as well but the user interface was not quite as good.


Comnav 1001 is hard to beat. A standard on the workboats for decades. I've got a lot of time with those as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I miss my Comnav. Simple and reliable. My Simrad has way too many adjustments possible so the config clutter masks the needed adjustments. I wanted an integrated dashvoard which is fine, and my Simrad AP works fine, but I had more confidence in the Comnav.

What problem are you trying to solve? Comnav has been bulletproof for over 30 years.

Pete
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 10:12 PM   #4
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7,111
I don't dislike my Simrad, but the comnav was rock solid. The old Simrad you ran was probably a Robertson. Robertson is long gone in the Simrad lineup. They are extremely adjustable which is a good/bad thing.

I can't speak for you, but if I were in your shoes and fully integrated dash wasn't a priority, I'd go Comnav. Not the Sitex version but the real thing.

BTW - I think most A/Ps run 0183 if desired. TwistedTree makes a strong argument for 0183 for autopilot interface.

Peter
__________________
_______________________________________
Cruising our 1970 Willard 36 trawler from California to Florida
Join our Instagram page @MVWeebles to follow along
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 11:30 PM   #5
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
Can't argue with the old Simrads really being Robertsons. In fact early on they were marketed and labeled as Simrad Robertson. The new Simrads? Part of the Navico group. I'm sure they are not the same thing.

Can't argue with the old Comnavs being rock solid. In my opinion not the equal of Simrad Roberston techcically or in performance. But rock solid. A major reason the work boat fleet favored Comnav. But that was the 1001. I don't know about their newer stuff.

So I come to Sitex / Comnav. If, and admittedly that's a big if, they are identical to Comnav under the hood. And if, another big if, the new Comnav is the equal of the old in reliability it would be hard to go wrong.

Next is the question of support. Sitex is a US corp, I'm in the US. Cross border can be a challenge. Previous boat had a Hurricane hydronic heater. Another Canadian product. Excellent quality. Had to get parts and service out of the US side.

Thank you for your input. I respect your contributions on TF. This old dinosaur is comfortable with the older gear and the older technology and is looking for input from users of current Sitex / Comnav. Is it good? Can I trust it? Funding and installing an AP is not a trivial exercise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I don't dislike my Simrad, but the comnav was rock solid. The old Simrad you ran was probably a Robertson. Robertson is long gone in the Simrad lineup. They are extremely adjustable which is a good/bad thing.

I can't speak for you, but if I were in your shoes and fully integrated dash wasn't a priority, I'd go Comnav. Not the Sitex version but the real thing.

BTW - I think most A/Ps run 0183 if desired. TwistedTree makes a strong argument for 0183 for autopilot interface.

Peter
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 06:40 AM   #6
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7,111
I will add one last comment re: US company and support vs cross border. Although Navionics is UK based, I believe the US is their biggest market by far with substantial support resources in the US. Their tech support sucks, at least that has been my experience. Long wait times and poorly informed techs once you get through.

BC seems to be a hive of small niche marine companies. The ones I've dealt with have been fantastic.

I recently purchased a Sitex satellite compass. Not plug and play as expected so I haven't gotten around to fully configuring it. It's on my list for this week and suspect I'll be reaching out to them for guidance. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully they're the type that answers the phone va hiding behind email queues.

Peter
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:35 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
City: FT.Pierce, Fl
Vessel Name: Tuna Talk
Vessel Model: CC Tournament 30
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 177
I've used Sitex products for years and found their phone support is excellent. Not the most intuitive brands on the market but they always answer the phone and take as much time with you as needed.
Jim Cooper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:47 AM   #8
Guru
 
boomerang's Avatar
 
City: Kilmarnock VA
Vessel Name: Wandering Star
Vessel Model: PSN40
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,384
You'll more than likely get right through to Chuck in service, who is very knowledgeable in most all things SiTex or ComNav. Chuck and I worked together years ago and I was happy to find him working for SiTex.
Regarding Simrad , for personal use I purposely shop anything BUT Simrad/Navico/Lowrance/B&G. Not because the equipment is much worse than any other electronics but because their service is horrible with a capital H. The fishing ships I maintain are all outfitted with Simrad autopilots and a few have simrad I3005 displays for rudder position. When I have an issue, I need to be able to get through to a tech to get the boat up and running asap. Every other manufacturer is reachable via a phone call except for Simrad. The last time I reached out to them in need of service advice, my calls ,messages and mails were flat out ignored. I was finally was given the sales reps phone number and he was able to help me (he agreed with me that their service was bad but said they were trying to hire people to fill the service void).
I try to keep the fishing fleets' electronics all the same so spare parts are universal but I'm really trying to figure our a way to start using Comnav/Sitex autopilots moving forward.
__________________
-Shawn-
boomerang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:48 AM   #9
Guru
 
City: Olympia
Vessel Name: Rendezvous
Vessel Model: Blue water 40
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 1,770
I have zero issue with comnav cross border support. Last year I upgraded my 1001 to the latest software and added one of the wired remotes. I spoke several times with the electrical engineer over the phone and exchanged emails as I upgraded my remote with their parts and advice. Parts came quickly, with very quick processing through customs. No issues at all.
Bmarler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:50 AM   #10
Guru
 
Ken E.'s Avatar
 
City: Bellingham WA
Vessel Name: Hatt Trick
Vessel Model: 45' Hatteras Convertible
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,965
PB, I installed my present Comnav pilot in 2005 and had the same concerns about them being in BC regarding parts and support. To this day, I've never needed to contact them, the unit being trouble free. Probably explains why Comnav is in so many commercial and fish boats. I've never heard of the Sitex connection, so can't help you there. Mine has always been integrated with Furuno.
__________________
Ken on Hatt Trick
Ken E. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 09:52 AM   #11
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
Thanks to all for the very helpful replies. A great example of why this forum is so good. The depth of experience and willingness to share. I'm still on the fence re bying Comnav direct or rebranded as Sitex. If all Sitex has done is change the color of the covers and the decal then all should be good.

I've read Twisted take on 0183 for AP connection and agree with him. Further when all devices are connected via 0183 proprietary issues are largely eliminated. Current boat is Furuno, Garmin, Robertson, Icom and PC. All good. Previous boat was Furuno, Simrad, Garmin, Icom, Vesper and PC. All good. All the boats I ran in my career were a mix of manufacturers. The 0183 interface once understood is quite simple. I've lost one tool that made it easier. A standard serial port on the PC, view the 0183 stream on a terminal for trouble shooting. USB has added a layer that can make it more confusing.

To those curious about why I use 0183 and a mix of manufacturers, the short version. I have used 0183 for decades and am comfortable with it. I dislike MFDs, not just a little bit, a lot. Too much in one place on one screen. Too many menus and soft keys to accomplish simple tasks. On the last boat in my career I convinced the boss MFDs were the way to go. Got him to go for dual Furuno for redundancy. My crew and I never learned to like it and eventually ran one MFD as sounder, the other as Radar. Chart plotting on a laptop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
BTW - I think most A/Ps run 0183 if desired. TwistedTree makes a strong argument for 0183 for autopilot interface.

Peter
That's been my experience as well. Top notch engineering and production. Plug and play. Well, with my willingness to stay with 0183 plug and play is a dream not come true.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
BC seems to be a hive of small niche marine companies. The ones I've dealt with have been fantastic.

I recently purchased a Sitex satellite compass. Not plug and play as expected so I haven't gotten around to fully configuring it. It's on my list for this week and suspect I'll be reaching out to them for guidance. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully they're the type that answers the phone va hiding behind email queues.

Peter
Jim, boomerang, bmarler and Ken E. Your experiences with Sitex and Comnav are very encouraging.

boomerang, unfortunate that your dealings with Simrad are so difficult. In my years of running Simrad APs and sat compasses I had almost no technical issues. Almost. When problems happened they were solved by skilled knowledgeable techs. Something that seems to be gone these days. You sound like you're one of those but your cohort is getting very thin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cooper View Post
I've used Sitex products for years and found their phone support is excellent. Not the most intuitive brands on the market but they always answer the phone and take as much time with you as needed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
You'll more than likely get right through to Chuck in service, who is very knowledgeable in most all things SiTex or ComNav. Chuck and I worked together years ago and I was happy to find him working for SiTex.
Regarding Simrad , for personal use I purposely shop anything BUT Simrad/Navico/Lowrance/B&G. Not because the equipment is much worse than any other electronics but because their service is horrible with a capital H. The fishing ships I maintain are all outfitted with Simrad autopilots and a few have simrad I3005 displays for rudder position. When I have an issue, I need to be able to get through to a tech to get the boat up and running asap. Every other manufacturer is reachable via a phone call except for Simrad. The last time I reached out to them in need of service advice, my calls ,messages and mails were flat out ignored. I was finally was given the sales reps phone number and he was able to help me (he agreed with me that their service was bad but said they were trying to hire people to fill the service void).
I try to keep the fishing fleets' electronics all the same so spare parts are universal but I'm really trying to figure our a way to start using Comnav/Sitex autopilots moving forward.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmarler View Post
I have zero issue with comnav cross border support. Last year I upgraded my 1001 to the latest software and added one of the wired remotes. I spoke several times with the electrical engineer over the phone and exchanged emails as I upgraded my remote with their parts and advice. Parts came quickly, with very quick processing through customs. No issues at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken E. View Post
PB, I installed my present Comnav pilot in 2005 and had the same concerns about them being in BC regarding parts and support. To this day, I've never-ending needed to contact them, the unit being trouble free. Probably explains why Comnav is in so many commercial and fish boats. I've never heard of the Sitex connection, so can't help you there. Mine has always been integrated with Furuno.
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 06:39 PM   #12
Dwk
Senior Member
 
Dwk's Avatar
 
City: Chesapeake Bay
Vessel Name: Patty Ann
Vessel Model: Mainship 34 MK1 1980
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 404
FWIW, Our Si-Tex SP 70 has preformed without a hitch since the installation 6 yrs ago thanks to forum member boomerang. I had no knowledge of autopilots and mentioned to Shawn (aka boomerang )that I found a never installed Si-Tex SP-70 on EBay. After the purchase Shawn advised that I send the unit to Si-Tex to check the all functions. Si-Tex verified the unit worked property via a PHONE call and asked if I need any additional info for installation. Try that route with Simrad and see what happens.
__________________
David
Dwk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 10:36 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Pascall's Avatar
 
City: Nederland
Vessel Name: Passi
Vessel Model: Hand made Barkas
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 236
The old Robertson went over to Simrad, Simrad was part of the Kongsberg group which was fine.
Later, Simrad was sold to Navico and this investment club only wants one thing and that is to see money.
Such a shame because they made a top product, and the current AP in the higher segment is still good, but for how long?
But the shareholders don't care, they want to see a lot of money as soon as possible and if the ship sinks, the profit is in.
And that's how it often goes with a company that started with passion and makes a top product and provides good service, the motivation was not the money but the product.
For investors, it's the other way around.

Mvg,

Pascal.
Pascall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 11:04 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Pascall's Avatar
 
City: Nederland
Vessel Name: Passi
Vessel Model: Hand made Barkas
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 236
I do think that the P4 series from Comnav looks suspiciously like Simrad, or vice versa, even the FU has the same size.

Mvg,

Pascal.
Pascall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 07:06 AM   #15
Guru
 
boomerang's Avatar
 
City: Kilmarnock VA
Vessel Name: Wandering Star
Vessel Model: PSN40
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascall View Post
The old Robertson went over to Simrad, Simrad was part of the Kongsberg group which was fine.
Later, Simrad was sold to Navico and this investment club only wants one thing and that is to see money.
Such a shame because they made a top product, and the current AP in the higher segment is still good, but for how long?
But the shareholders don't care, they want to see a lot of money as soon as possible and if the ship sinks, the profit is in.
And that's how it often goes with a company that started with passion and makes a top product and provides good service, the motivation was not the money but the product.
For investors, it's the other way around.

Mvg,

Pascal.
Simrad Fisheries is still part of Kongsberg and their service, as well as equipment, is outstanding. They're not affiliated with Simrad Yachting products.
__________________
-Shawn-
boomerang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 07:30 AM   #16
Guru
 
mvweebles's Avatar
 
City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7,111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascall View Post
The old Robertson went over to Simrad, Simrad was part of the Kongsberg group which was fine.
Later, Simrad was sold to Navico and this investment club only wants one thing and that is to see money.
Such a shame because they made a top product, and the current AP in the higher segment is still good, but for how long?
But the shareholders don't care, they want to see a lot of money as soon as possible and if the ship sinks, the profit is in.
And that's how it often goes with a company that started with passion and makes a top product and provides good service, the motivation was not the money but the product.
For investors, it's the other way around.

Mvg,

Pascal.
In my experience, the Simrad suite I have is fine and certainly competitive with the alternatives that are in the market. My only complaint - and it's a biggie - is post sales tech support. This seems to wax and want with many companies. It wasn't long ago that Apple Computer was hit hard for extreme wait times and lousy tech support which led to the Genius Bar model and turned around their reputation.

I'm not defending Simrad/Navico, just explaining my experience and where the issue lies. Product is fine.

Peter
mvweebles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 12:00 PM   #17
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
Interesting observation. Which Simrad do you think is the same as the Sitex/Comnav? In a quick look at Simrad's website I didn't see a match up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pascall View Post
I do think that the P4 series from Comnav looks suspiciously like Simrad, or vice versa, even the FU has the same size.

Mvg,

Pascal.
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 10:42 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Pascall's Avatar
 
City: Nederland
Vessel Name: Passi
Vessel Model: Hand made Barkas
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 236
The FU controls are very similar, also the dimensions are the same, it won't surprise me that they come from the same factory, in this case made in Mexico.





Mvg,

Pascal.
Pascall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 11:00 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Pascall's Avatar
 
City: Nederland
Vessel Name: Passi
Vessel Model: Hand made Barkas
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
Simrad Fisheries is still part of Kongsberg and their service, as well as equipment, is outstanding. They're not affiliated with Simrad Yachting products.
Indeed I just looked at the site, Simrad-Konsberg.
Only the specific equipment for the fishing vessels is still offered, plotters and autopilot are housed at Simrad Yachting apparently.
Thanks for the info.

Mvg,

Pascal
Pascall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2024, 10:22 AM   #20
Guru
 
Portage_Bay's Avatar
 
City: Coupeville Wa.
Vessel Name: Pacific Myst
Vessel Model: West Bay 4500
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,388
Pascall,

Your observation got me to digging deeper. It's very likely the FFU and the other controller, name varies with who markets it, are the same. However when I dig into the AP computer, the heart and soul of the AP, there are differences. Starting with appearance. All three support solenoid control which I require. I will need to ensure the AP of my choice can handle the current. All three accpet NMEA 0183 input which is important to me. All three use NMEA 2000 to interconnect parts.

This will require some deeper digging through the documentation. With all the comments about Simrad's after sale support if the Comnav/Sitex system meets my requirements that is who I will go with. Both offer high quality after sale support.
__________________
Some things are worth doing simply because they are worth doing.
Portage_Bay is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Trawler Port Captains
Port Captains are TF volunteers who can serve as local guides or assist with local arrangements and information. Search below to locate Port Captains near your destination. To learn more about this program read here: TF Port Captain Program





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012