Old 12-20-2004, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Let me add a little bit to this. It is far from a new unit. In an earlier life it was called the Navtronics PH500. Simrad bought out Navtronics and changed the name of the model to AP-12, they also changed the color of the case from a somewhat light gray to a dark gray, pretty much black. Other than that its the same unit that has been around for about 7 years or so.

I have one under the Simrad brand, it dates from the very first ones of the black case, which is to say it is 4 years old. It is a fine unit and as far as I know its impossible to beat for the money. I killed the contol unit for mine with the quarter-car-wash pressure sprayer. That obviously was my fault. Other than that it has worked flawlessly for us.

We power a 23' Walkaround with a single outboard, once a 200, now a 225. The pilot has been on both. Also, we fish off shore from Oregon Inlet, NC, which means that we use the unit for 35~40 mile runs off shore followed by a lot of use while trolling in the sort of conditons you'd expect to find a mid twenty foot boat in while in the Gulf Stream.

So we use it both ways as far as guidence goes, both with the GPS and then sometimes (trolling) just holding a course. It works quite well both ways. One of the things that I particularly like about it is that at least with mine it has never done that hunt-and-peck trying to hold a course. Any course corrections that mine makes are smooth enough to go unnoticed unless you are looking back at your own wake, and not even then most of the time.

As far as installing goes, I'd put in every one I could on boats like yours and mine at $750 a crack, and I'd throw in the hoses at that price too. Its not at all hard and you don't need the teleflex kit. Everything you need except the 3 hoses can be found at your local hardware store for about $5. Its just two brass T-fittings and maybe two brass nipples. Your local friendly hydraulics shop (farm and heavy equipment repair places will either make hoses or tell you where you can have them made) will spit them out for you. Mine cost me $45 and the guy made them up while I waited - about 20 minutes. I don't remember with clairity but I think it was just quarter inch National Pipe thread Tapered (NPT). One thing though, and this can be a tough part (I've put these things on a couple of boats) is finding a place with stainless fittings. The ones on my boat aren't and one of these days I'm going to replace them. They are unsightly, not in danger of failing thought. Anyway if you can't get them in stainless, which will be likely, here is a simple trick. Once you have it all buttoned up and know its not going to leak just buy a can of that 3M Scotchkote electrical protector stuff (like liquid electrical tape) and paint the fittings with it. Trust me, they will not corrode. You can then just peel the stuff off if you need to remove them.

As for placement its really up to you. I will tell you that the motor is probably more powerful than you immagine so you need a sound mounting to deal with its substantial torque on startup. Also, it is a bit on the noisy side so don't mount it on an expansive bulkhead (one that might also form a cabin wall) because it will act just like the cone on a speaker amplifying the noise. It will drive you nuts. So try to mount it solid and with a though to noise. Also its quite a power consumer so you're going to have to be able to get at least a 14 gauge wire to the CPU unit. The pump is powered directly from it.

The fluxgate compass should be mounted as low as possible and in the middle. Try to keep it away from electric pumps. Mine is mounted 8" from the main aluminum gas tank and it doesn't seem to hurt anything. Six inches above the bottom of the hull and right in the middle, both ways.

I have the control head on mine mounted right in the middle of my dash, which is to say directly in front of the steering wheel and just above it. It is the handiest thing on the dash for a good reason. I use it all of the time.

If you run into any quesitons once it arrives just yell. Oh, they come with as good of instructions as you need. Also, be away there is a calibration process you'll have to go through before you can use it. Only takes a couple of minutes but you need about 4 acres of flat water you can turn around in unobstructed and at your own slow pace.