Raymarine Evolution Autopilot with SportDrive
|I just finished installing a Raymarine Evolution autopilot system. I bought the bundle that included the SportDrive motor and the ACU-200. I mounted the EV-1 sensor unit immediately under and behind the steps going down into the cabin. I didn't want to attach it directly to that wall surface though, because it is flimsy, and it is also right in front of the exterior surface to the foot well of the cockpit. I wanted it mounted securely, but I didn't want to cut through to the outside and deal with sealing those new holes. So I cut a piece of 3/8" ABS plastic to which I could securely screw the mount to when I was all done. I drilled 4 holes through only the interior fiberglass surface and then with my Dremel tool made them into keyslot holes. Screws in the back of the ABS plastic have their heads go through the holes and then slide down into the slot, so that they are secure. I tightened the screws down so that they were snug in their slots and I really had to work the panel down to ensure that all the screws were solidly seated in the slots. Finally, I covered the back of the plastic with marine adhesive, so the panel is now permanent. Because it is not vertical - it's tipped down several degrees, I epoxied a small strip of the 3/8" ABS to where the lower part of the mount will be to lever it to be vertically plumb, and then screwed the EV-1 to the new panel.|
I hung the ACU-200 in the "cubby" above the rear berth to the left side of the stairs, and ran power to it from a switch on a newly expanded power distribution panel under the galley. I mounted the P70R control panel on my steering pedestal to the right of my outboard's RPM gauge. I have a Garmin GPSMap 546S also mounted there, so I needed to run three cables - the GPS, the P70R control panel, and the SportDrive motor control cable down thru the pedestal into the cabin below. I mounted one of the SeaTalkNG 5-plug backbones at the aft, where the cables exit the conduit from the hole in the cabin ceiling to the mechanical area behind the fascia panel. The backbone cable then ran to the starboard side of the boat where it was joined by the cable from the rudder transducer sensor, and then forward to the ACU under the lip of the fiberglass above the wall carpet. There I mounted a second 5-port backbone piece next to the ACU and finished the connections.
One of the trickiest parts was hooking the rudder transducer sensor to the rudder post so that it can report the rudder position and help prevent the system from over-rotating the wheel and trying to push the rudders too far over. Very important component!! To mount it, I built a small shelf out of ABS plastic panels that I epoxied together and then epoxied to the fiberglass stern and rudder post support walls. It gave me a level surface right next to the control arm that sticks out from the front of the rudder post. I mounted the sensor to that shelf and attached it to the rudder control arm with the provided bar that pushes and pulls the sensor arm, mirroring the motion of the control arm. I epoxied and clamped the mount on the control arm because I couldn't get a drill into position to drill screw holes thru the stainless steel arm. I made sure that the clamps were not able to impede the motion of the arm in any way.
The other tricky part is fishing the cables thru the pedestal. If yours is like mine, it's already full of wires and steering cables, so it's not easy to snake the cables through. I pushed a narrow fish tape from below until my wife was able to see and pull the fish tape thru the hole in the face of the pedestal. I then taped the cables to the end of the fish tape, staggered one behind the other (to keep the line as skinny as possible) and then pulled all the lines from above to down below.
It was great to see the control panel light up with the Raymarine logo and no sparks fly from anywhere when I first applied power. I can't wait to get her on the water (next week) and run through the commissioning steps and get it all calibrated and running.
Visit my blog with a lot more pictures and modification descriptions at http://daveandstella.wordpress.com