Page 1 of 3

Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:55 pm
by Neo
Hi Gents,

Some may recall that my Mac is fitted with a Dual Cable Steering unit. Its great but causes mechanical complications when considering solutions for an Autopilot. I currently have an opportunity to buy an unused, unfitted, still in the bow Raymarine X-5 with Sportdrive. It's my understanding that the Sportdrive is quieter, and easier to fit on the smaller :macm: helm box than the Raymarine Wheelpilot (Wheelring)? .... I believe this drive unit has been discontinued but apart from that does anyone know any reason why this would not work or has any disadvantages on an Mac ?

Thanks for your help :wink:
Neo

Image

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:12 pm
by geminiI-Can
I had one and loved it for a couple years then the clutch mechanism seized up. It worked well as an autopilot but became “Armstrong steering” when trying to manually steer. My wife could not steer the boat and I struggled. The squawking (of the wheel, not my wife) was also embarrassing around the marina. Took it apart and discovered a coil spring of square wire around a rubber cylinder that had no adjustment and no replacements available from Raymarine. I have the donut wheel pilot on order. Should be here this week.

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:56 pm
by Neo
Thanks... So at least you can swap for a doughnut without too much fuss.... Once you have fitted your can you please write back and let me know how the two compare?... especially on noise?

Many thanks.
Neo

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:33 pm
by Baha
I like my doughnut drive, but it has trouble holding course if tide and/ or current is not with you.Maybe it needs more adjusting?

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:08 pm
by Neo
Hi Baha, how noisy (or irritating) do you find it?

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:16 am
by Baha
It is both. I use a larger helm wheel and only use it when I need to be away from the helm. But, I do a lot of single-handing so is a necessary evil.

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:53 am
by Gazmn
I started 13 years ago with a Raymarine SportPilot & loved how much room it Didn’t take up & the auto function it provided. But, make sure you have a rudder reference in your network.

Bigger But: Raymarine + new Seatalk + Evolution network has come a Really Long Way :|

So, unless it was ‘free for me’, I’d rather be up to date & relevant for the future upgrades.

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:20 am
by Neo
Gazmn wrote:But, make sure you have a rudder reference in your network.
Bigger But: Raymarine + new Seatalk + Evolution network has come a Really Long Way :|
Thanks for your thought Gazmn. I do intend to add a Raymarine rudder reference device when I can get one for a reasonable price.

I think the X-5 controller supports Seatalk but what does the Evolution network actually do (apart from monitor GPS information)? .... I'm aiming for all my data to be displayed on my iPad so I'm actually looking to network good old fashioned NEMA 0183 over Wifi. Seatalk to NEMA adaptors are pretty cheap too.

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:35 am
by Gazmn
The new seatalk nema 2000 is Much faster, as are the new autopilot heads logarithmically, with the evolution gyro capability. Basically, it does stuff you/we can’t imagine sans rudder interface even. Go to their website & talk to their geeks online & or phone.

You won’t be sorry.

If you’re absolutely committed to the SpX, I’ll see what’s hiding in my basement. PM me...

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:48 am
by markkuti
I have the same issue as geminiI-Can with the sportdrive, becoming very hard to turn the wheel because of the seized spring inside the drive. I believe it is/was a manufacturing defect on some units and there was a factory recall for repair. As my Macgregor is second hand boat, I didn't figure out the recall or even that it was faulty as I had never experienced the wheel turning easily. In addition it is noisy to my ears, well not knowing if there is any other autopilot that is actually silent. On the positive side the wheel being very stiff it holds the position even the autopilot is turned off 8)

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:38 pm
by Neo
markkuti wrote:I have the same issue as geminiI-Can with the sportdrive, becoming very hard to turn the wheel because of the seized spring inside the drive. I believe it is/was a manufacturing defect on some units and there was a factory recall for repair. As my Macgregor is second hand boat, I didn't figure out the recall or even that it was faulty as I had never experienced the wheel turning easily. In addition it is noisy to my ears, well not knowing if there is any other autopilot that is actually silent. On the positive side the wheel being very stiff it holds the position even the autopilot is turned off 8)
Hmmm ... That's interesting Markkuti ... What does the spring do?... Is it a clutch component?

An actuator (electric ram) is very quiet and goes below deck too. But I know the ones that comes with the Raymarine kit are not very long so if fitted incorrectly can limit the amount of steering/rudder turns/swing which can limit how quickly you can Tack.

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:25 pm
by RussMT
I think BOAT has the best AP solution for the Mac. He uses the tiller deal below decks with a way to lift it off when not in use. That's what I'm going to do when I get the ambition.

--Russ

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:44 am
by kurz
I also installed BOAT's AP system with tiller under the deck and I love it so far.

BUT: If you have many different people using the Mac think about a "normal" system.
With hooking and unhooking the pilot you can do much wrong if you are not used to it. Or if you dont like it... ...
It ist not jus press a butten to bring the cluch in position when heeling in 40 deg...

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:30 pm
by markkuti
Hmmm ... That's interesting Markkuti ... What does the spring do?... Is it a clutch component?

Function of the spring is a bit hard to explain but it basically ties the drive to the steering system. As there is worm gear on the drive, the wheel won't turn if the drive is connected. So when you turn manually the wheel the spring should open up a bit and release the drive from the steering shaft. If you Google "wrap spring clutch" that is about how it works. On the faulty drive units the spring clutch is not releasing as it was designed. And yes, I disassembled it and was even able to assemble it back to be a working unit :P

Re: Sportdrive X-5 ... Ok or not for a Mac?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:56 pm
by Neo
markkuti wrote: And yes, it I disassembled it and was even able to assemble it back to be a working unit :P
Well done... were you able to find a replacement spring from somewhere?