Vic's autopilot

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Neo
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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:36 pm

sailboatmike wrote:Gee mate, I have never been a electronics engineer, these days its all pretty simple, I recommend you have a look at some of the videos on projects made with the Arduino or Raspberry Pi controllers, its so simple this is what they are using to teach kids in primary schools.

I think its great, its bringing the ability to build electronics to the masses with most of the hard work done, you just buy the module you need and add it on and being open source there are no secrets in the programming language
Hmmm .... ya making me feel dumb now :P .... Might revisit this, maybe I watched the wrong vids, can you recommend any specific ones?

In addition (and a bit off track) on a Mac with minimal electrical storage (just two batteries, no solar) the idea of adding home made (not always dependable) electronic and motorized devices, then having to upgrade the electrical resources just to keep up with demand is'n't always appealing. .... Is all this tech stuff really worth it? ... or am I defeating the objective of having a sailboat? ..... I mean why stop with just auto steering? ... I could go full hog... Scrap the current mast and sails (and outboard), Fit a wind generator on a lower mast, cover the deck in solar panels and run a motorised outboard???
Ixneigh wrote: I'm surprised no one has figured out a sail based self steering system.
Funny you say that..... An idea came to me just yesterday. KISS project plan currently under development :D

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sailboatmike
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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by sailboatmike » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:12 pm

Many Macs run with HUGE power banks considering the size of the boat, I personally run 2 x 720cca / 105ah batteries on the main system and a secondary (removable) 100ah deep cycle to run the fluffy bits like the TV, phone chargers etc.

Many friends with smaller trailer sailors (18 to 25 feet) run auto helms with only a single battery of 40 to 80Ah and have no issues running it along with all their other electronics such as VHF radios, phone chargers, sailing instruments, nav lights etc.

I see a autohelm as a extra pair of hands when needed, we dont normally make long passages, a couple of hours at most but I figure it will give me a project (yet another) , build some skills and if i can do it cheap enough its going to be a valuable member of the crew. I just love learning new things and this may give me a great opportunity to get the brain into gear and build something that may be of use to others

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Neo
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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:35 pm

sailboatmike wrote:Many Macs run with HUGE power banks considering the size of the boat, I personally run 2 x 720cca / 105ah batteries on the main system and a secondary (removable) 100ah deep cycle to run the fluffy bits like the TV, phone chargers etc.
Could/Would you recommend your batteries? ... and where do you have them fitted?... A photo would be nice.
sailboatmike wrote: Many friends with smaller trailer sailors (18 to 25 feet) run auto helms with only a single battery of 40 to 80Ah and have no issues running it along with all their other electronics such as VHF radios, phone chargers, sailing instruments, nav lights etc.
This is good to know. :)
As a 1st step, on my dual cable setup I'd really need a (quite) motor turning the steering wheel shaft. I was thinking I could get a cheap wireless remote control so I could a least correct the heading while resting in my hammock. :D
Image
BTW ... are there any laws against this???? :o
sailboatmike wrote:I just love learning new things and this may give me a great opportunity to get the brain into gear and build something that may be of use to others
Yep you're a good guy Mike thats for sure. :wink:

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by sailboatmike » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:50 am

Neo; I have a friend that often sails his Noelex 25 while sitting on on the bow, he has a madman marine remote for his tiller pilot (http://www.madmanmarine.com/) and adjusts the course when needed or the wind shifts, now thats a very civilized way to sail a boat in my books :D

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Neo
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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:47 am

Thank for that Mike .... That look good. But this YouTube Video has now opened my eyes to Arduino :o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evVRCL9-TWs

If I'm understanding this right an app could potentially be written and run on a smartphone (with internal GPS and Compass) and that could control the Arduino over bluetooth? .... If thats right I'm excited :D

BTW the way I'd love to meet your friend .... Mad buggers like me are really hard to find :D

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Neo
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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:23 am

This guy has a great and simple solution but he seems to dispersed many years back ....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apSmwGJRisc

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Ixneigh » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:42 am

A line and a bungee cord, and you can sail from the bow. Or a hammock.

An i the only one who finds the M model so cooperative and docile during headsail changes and peebreaks and galley forays, to really not miss having an autopilot for day sailing? The only reason I ever needed one was long overnight trips like over the Bahamian banks. I've had other boats that it might have been nice to have for sail changes because of some unpleasant behaviour or another...but I am quite happy that the M is well mannered compared to them.

Ix

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by RussMT » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:31 pm

Ixneigh wrote:A line and a bungee cord, and you can sail from the bow. Or a hammock.

An i the only one who finds the M model so cooperative and docile during headsail changes and peebreaks and galley forays, to really not miss having an autopilot for day sailing? The only reason I ever needed one was long overnight trips like over the Bahamian banks. I've had other boats that it might have been nice to have for sail changes because of some unpleasant behaviour or another...but I am quite happy that the M is well mannered compared to them.

Ix
Under sail, I enjoy being at the helm.

Under power and say eating lunch, it would be nice to have AP keeping a course. Or when I simply want to sit back and watch without making corrections every 60 seconds.

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by seahouse » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:41 pm

Ixneigh wrote:The M already sails pretty well and has no vices on any point of sail in conditions for which the boat is intended. I'm surprised no one has figured out a sail based self steering system.
I never had much luck with them on my heavy keel boats which had difficulties on certain points of sail. Or horrible weather helm. But maybe ill have another look on the Mac
Ix
Different wind-based systems have been around for a while now Ix.

Skip to chapter 4...

https://www.bluemoment.com/downloads/selfsteering.pdf

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Ixneigh » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:21 pm

Uh huh...wow is That the entire book??
Now that's pretty cool. Right on my phone in about 3 seconds.

Ix

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by sailboatmike » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:37 pm

There is a interesting system some use when they use their jib sheets to steer the boat to the wind, not a great deal involved if you have tiller steering, just a few blocks, much harder for the Power Sailor boys using a wheel

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:08 pm

Thanks for sharing that Seahouse
sailboatmike wrote:There is a interesting system some use when they use their jib sheets to steer the boat to the wind, not a great deal involved if you have tiller steering, just a few blocks, much harder for the Power Sailor boys using a wheel
Yes despite the Arduino stuff Mike Sheet Steering is appealing too. By coincidence I've spent the last two days optimizing my sheets and lines and I really like it when a new route (or rope arrangement) works well and has minimal complications .... like batteries and wires :D

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by sailboatmike » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:38 pm

All these things are part of the rich tapestry which is sailing, we all have our own personal preferences of what we would like.

I agree that a autopilot isnt the be all and end all of sailing experience and there are plenty of ways to skin a cat, however I spent 20 years in the computer industry back in the days when you had to do real stuff, nothing was plug and play and you had to write batch files to get anything to work, before deciding I had had enough (more that I didnt like the people, the machines are fine), so this stuff intrigues me.

Yes there are maybe cheaper and easier ways to sort of achieve the same outcome, sheet steering really isnt optimal on a wheel steer boat without adding lots of extra stuff to the boat and I agree totally that you should get the basics such as line routing right before messing with other stuff, but some will find a cheap if maybe somewhat limited autopilot very handy for the type of sailing they do and I for one certainly cant afford to pay the big marine companies that somewhat have a oligopoly on the market thousands of $$$$ for what I consider to be "cash cow" technology

Maybe I just like to stick it "to the man" a bit, much like Madman marine who sell their autopilot remotes for a couple of hundred $$$ while a original Raymarine remote is the best part of $1000 and the Madman marine remote has more functionality

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by Neo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:54 pm

BTW Mike, I emailed MadMan but his stuff only does SeaTalk control so I can't control and Gear or Stepper motor with that.

If I could just find someone to build this (or just write the software) for me I'd be happy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apSmwGJRisc ... This is 85% of what I'd like to have 8)

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Re: Vic's autopilot

Post by sailboatmike » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:06 pm

Just ask him, most Arduino software is open source and most people freely share their ideas, thats the beauty of Arduino and Raspberry Pi, its a community of people making projects and writing libraries of control code for benefit others and themselves. Its really no different from this Forum, we share ideas and what we have learnt for the good of all

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