Wheel Autopilot Questions...

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dxg4848
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Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by dxg4848 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:35 am

I have a few questions about Raymarine autopilots that you guys installed.

1) How well does autopilot handle load of turning both rudders and outboard under sail (outboard is lowered and connected to steering)?

2) How well does autopilot perform when just motoring? Both rudders are up, water ballast is drained; speed is about 10 – 12 knots.

3) Is it OK to power an autopilot with an outboard’s alternator when motoring?

4) How fast (approximately) an autopilot would discharge a fully-charged average deep cycle battery?


Thank you very much for your time and help!

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Oskar 26M
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by Oskar 26M » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:57 am

My experience is a bit colored because my Wheelpilot developed a faulty gearbox that burned out a couple of motors before I figured out what the problem was and replaced it.
With that caveat, in answer to your questions, my experience (when the gearbox was performing properly) is :
(1) No problem whatsoever. The Mac's steering should be quite light and my autopilot can handle the load easily for hours at a time.
(2) Performs really well when motoring provided your motor is trimmed correctly so you are not putting excessive load on the helm.
(3) No (because it requires 12v DC so it can't run directly off an alternator which is AC), but your motor should be delivering DC to the batteries and that works fine.
(4) Current draw depends on sea conditions and how your have set the autopilots responsiveness. In choppy seas, when it is working hard, the autopilot can draw quite a bit of current, but I've sailed for hours without running my batteries down (I do have a second battery that I keep in reserve).
I hope this helps :)

dxg4848
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by dxg4848 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:56 am

Oskar 26M wrote: (3) No (because it requires 12v DC so it can't run directly off an alternator which is AC), but your motor should be delivering DC to the batteries and that works fine.
Oskar,

Thank you for correcting me with alternator. I actually meant what you said – using DC power from outboard (the same power that charges batteries) to power a wheel pilot.

It is also nice to know that autopilots perform so well while under sail or motoring. And if battery can last 2 – 3 hours it is all I need. I am planning on installing used Raymarine wheel pilot this spring.

It was very helpful! Thank you!

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Seapup
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by Seapup » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:42 pm

What model raymarine are you installing?

I just put on an older raymarine 3000 (belt and motor type) and launched my X for the season last weekend. I was able to try it for a few hours and so far am happy with it. On calm water it barely "motored" but when I started bouncing good while motoring in chop it was working basically nonstop, but kept the boat on course. The current draw is supposed to be around 1.5a when running. I have not measured the draw, but the factory spec is for a 5a fuse, so must be under that.

I have not tried it yet (will soon) but can't imagine it would do well with the rudders up, I barely keep a straight line that way. 8) Just me but I also would not trust it at high speeds.

dxg4848
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by dxg4848 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:16 pm

Seapup wrote:What model raymarine are you installing?

I just put on an older raymarine 3000 (belt and motor type) and launched my X for the season last weekend.
I was also looking into buying 3000 model with compass-like control head (probably the oldest one). But ended up buying 4000 model in a very good shape. It is plain 4000 (not ST or Plus). I like the simplicity of it. With our winters in Ohio (Lake Erie) won’t be able to try it until second half of May :( . But on a brighter side have many more projects to complete :) .

Boblee
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by Boblee » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:19 pm

Interesting Oskar my motor burnt out and even though it was working pretty hard didn't think it should have but found the bakelite surround on the motor had cracked so presumed the motor had poled.
Found a mob on ebay who supply parts very cheap so maybe the gearbox should be replaced too.
Won't be bothering though as it's for sale if anybody is interested with all fittings to suit a 06 :macm: , loved it but can't see myself reinstalling for where I will use it until the boat sells.

dxg4848
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by dxg4848 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:15 am

Boblee,

What kind of autopilot do you have?

reastmure
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by reastmure » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:59 am

I just purchased one of these (hasn't arrived yet) after salivating over it for a year. Did a bunch of solo sailing last summer and got frustrated with the bungee approach. I have read that there is a lot of info on these with in this site but I haven't found that much. Maybe I'm just being lazy and not putting the required search time in. Would appreciate if someone could at least steer me the right direction (pardon the pun). One thing I was wondering is if the unit can sense when it reaches the max turn point of the rudders and not keep pushing till burn out? Do I need this other piece of equipment called a rudder sensor?
Thanks from a newbie about to jump into the auto pilot world.

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Phil M
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by Phil M » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:42 pm

The Raymarine wheel pilot no longer requires a rudder sensor.
Your steering course would have to be wild for a turn to be extremely sharp. My wheel pilot is used to steer a straight course while I tend to other things for short periods of time, so the amount of turning is small increments back and forth. You can also set how often it responds (how hard it works) which will use less energy too.
I thought the autopilot would only be used when I solo sailed, but when the crew (or admiral) is doing other things (like taking a nap) the autopilot comes in very handy. :)

Boblee
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by Boblee » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:36 pm

dxg4848 wrote:Boblee,

What kind of autopilot do you have?
I thought it was called a st4000? but it has a Mark11 wheel drive and an st60002 controller as well as the smartpilot course computor, fluxgate compass and rudder position sensor, the brackets are also there for mounting the sensor and a pedastal bkt to suit the 06 :macm: plus all books.
Was going to put it on ebay but just haven't got round to it but it does need a new motor, there is a thread here somewhere with a link to a uk mob that supplies bits without the ripoffs here it is on ebay http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Raymarine-ST ... 564fb7024a.
Think it should be worth about $650 aust as is but otherwise will fix it (easy) and sell it then better for a mac owner as the brackets are already made to fit.
Very handy when single handing or when everyone is busy elsewhere, it didn't get a lot of work but handy when it did, never got fixed quick because I had some ridiculous quotes from agents here Aust) otherwise it would be still on and working.
Last edited by Boblee on Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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c130king
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Re: Wheel Autopilot Questions...

Post by c130king » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:48 am

I have had an S1 Wheel Pilot (with rudder sensor) installed for about 4 years.

Works great under sail or slow motoring (boards down). Won't work with a crap motoring at high speeds...but I find my boat a little bit hard to handle at full speed anyway (lots of steering corrections).

I have used mine for many hours without draining the battery...but it does use up the battery so do be careful. I have two batteries but only one is being used at a time and can switch to second one if I have to in order to get the motor restarted.

Can be hooked up to the GPS and it will hold a course...but I use mine to just hold a heading.

Cheers,
Jim

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