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Autopilot Installation

Old 01-13-2003, 04:36 PM
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Default Autopilot Installation

Has anyone ever installed an autopilot in a boat which has Sea Star Steering? Was it difficult and how did you do it? I can use this being a charter boat fishing offshore for cod. I believe I have tennis elbow and havn't picked up a racquet in years. It must be the port to starboard thing for 10 hours because the the other one is fine.

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Old 01-13-2003, 05:40 PM
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I'm going to take a wild guess here. I'd guess that about 10% of the people who read this message board have installed an auto pilot on a boat that was using a Sea Star steering system. That guess may be a bit low. There is one thing that I am sure of, no matter how many folks here have tried it. This is what I am sure of, every one of them successfully got the auto pilot in there and got it to work perfectly, and not a one of them would hesitate for a second to do it again, nor would they even consider paying someone else to install one for them.

So the answer is that its not particularly hard to do. There are several parts that have to be installed but none of them is difficult or requires any particular special experience. So it takes a bit of time but not a great deal of skill. If you are at all handy with hand tools you can do it. Trust me.

Thom

"For every complex question, there's a simple answer. And it's wrong."
(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:40 PM
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there are lots of posts in here on it, one of the better ones is by thom. Just do a search.......

** sigh **
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:42 PM
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dang, when I started to write my reply there weren't any. oh well.

** sigh **
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:45 PM
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I am in the process of installing a Simrad AP-12 unit on my GW Islander 270, with SeaStar steering.

Yesterday I completed the installation of the Linear Feedback Unit on the hydraulic cylinder assembly at the engine, the Flux Gate Compass centerline on the aft side of an athwartship bulkhead under the deck between the cabin and the bridge deck, and the Control Head on the helm console, adjacent to the helm itself.

Still have to do run the hydraulic hoses from the helm to the forward rigging compartment (aft starboard end of V-bertH) where the hydraulic pump will be located. Also have to install the main control unit and connect all the inputs/outputs to it. Then have to calibrate dockside and underway.

Instructions with the Simrad are excellent.

If you want a simpler installation, get a Raytheon SportPilot Plus. Just pull the steering wheel, mount the SportPilot, reinstall the wheel, connect the unit's brace to the helm structure, mount and connect the flux gate compass and power supply, and you are done.

Good luck,
Brian

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:12 PM
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Brian,

You forgot the last step - hang on. Cause if you ain't when that sport pilot goes bonkers, you'll be in the floor or over the side. I've got one & it is useless.

I've also got tennis elbow - maybe it's from the sport pilot! I'm about ready to finish off my elbow by seeing how far I can chuck the sport pilot.

Sorry, don't mean to bash the sport pilot, just calling a spade a spade. I prob. hear 10 bad stories to 1 good one on all the Ray whatever they are autopilots.

Get the Simrad. If it's too much $$, save your $$ until you can get the Simrad.
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Old 01-15-2003, 01:35 AM
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Just completed an installation of the AP-11 unit with a Sea Star system. Minimal grief compared to other repairs I have completed.
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Old 01-15-2003, 06:03 PM
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I don't think you read my post correctly. I am installing a Simrad AP-12H now, and made that choice based on posts here on THT, and other comments from folks like Thom.
I only mentioned the SportPilot Plus at the end due to its simpler installation.
Brian


quote:Originally posted by StreamWeaver24:
Brian,

You forgot the last step - hang on. Cause if you ain't when that sport pilot goes bonkers, you'll be in the floor or over the side. I've got one & it is useless.

I've also got tennis elbow - maybe it's from the sport pilot! I'm about ready to finish off my elbow by seeing how far I can chuck the sport pilot.

Sorry, don't mean to bash the sport pilot, just calling a spade a spade. I prob. hear 10 bad stories to 1 good one on all the Ray whatever they are autopilots.

Get the Simrad. If it's too much $$, save your $$ until you can get the Simrad.

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:18 PM
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I was sent to this forum because I am in the process of purchasing an auto pilot for my 23' Grady. I believe I have narrowed it down to the Simrad AP 11 or the AP 22. I know others that have both units. They both work fine. I have been told by the manufactor and other marine electronics dealers/installers that the AP 11 will work fine for my application which is Mid-Atlantic (Delaware) Ocean. The AP 11 will save me a few hundred bucks. I also have a Sea Star system. The boat has a single 250 h.p. Yahama. The local dealer (Martek) gave me a quote of $1008.00 to install the system. At first (before I saw the quote on paper) I thought I would take the easy route and have it installed but, after seeing it on paper and talking and reading differant places of info, I think I might install it myself. I spoke to a factor rep. from Simrad and he was very helpful with info that I will need such as which components to buy. I guess my only apprehention is where to mount the Flux Gate Compass the Juntion Box and the pump unit. Are there any more of you guys out there that can help with my decision of which unit to buy and where to mount the Compass and Juntion Box as well as the pump unit for my boat? I plan on getting in touch with Grady White and asking them as well.
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:29 PM
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I sent an email to the address in your profile, but it was kicked back to me.

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'

[This message was edited by ocnslr on 01-17-03 at 07:46 PM.]
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:54 PM
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I will correct my e mail address. Give me a minute to re-regester.
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Old 01-17-2003, 06:02 PM
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Gabby-- I had a 23 Regulator with a single 250 and used an AP-11. It worked very well, and in fact I find the AP-11 much easier to use than the AP-22 and recently got another for my new 32 Regulator. A friend with whom I fish often has an AP-22 on his larger twin Diesel boat, so I have quite a bit of experience with both units and would definitely go with an AP-11.

You want to mount the hydraulic pump in a dry location that is close to your helm. Remember that it is an electric motor and should not be exposed to salt water from the bilge. Same for the junction box. Also be careful to use adequate sixe wire for the run to the pump as it draws a fair amount of current. The shorter the hydraulic lines the better, but bear in mind that the pump makes a fair amount of noise when operating. When trolling, it can get annoying. Try and find a location where the noise will be blocked a bit.

Do yourself a big favor and spend some of the money you save from getting an AP-11 and doing the work yourself on upgrading the compass to the rate sensor. The system will track much better.
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Old 01-17-2003, 08:25 PM
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I just had an AP-11 installed in my 25' Contender. I paid less than half what your dealer is quoting and the work the installer did was excellent. My installation did not include the on the water setup - that is a time consuming operation so if that is included in your quote it may not be such a bad price. Definitely talk to Simrad if you are doing that part yourself - they may give you advice on how to perform that setup, particularly the "autotune", dependent on the type of boat you have.

The upgrade to the rate compass was something that everyone who knew the autopilot highly recommended to me. Also if you are going to interface with a Furuno radar, you might want to consider the J300X junction box as it has a dedicated radar output (replaces the Furuno heading sensor).

Ed
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:02 PM
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edk, I looked through the simrad docs for the ap11, and for some reason they specify only two radar types as compatible with the autopilot (and raymarine isn't one of them).

Do you know why they only list the two radars? Does anyone know if it will feed the raymarine units with compass/heading info?

** sigh **
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Old 01-17-2003, 09:42 PM
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I don't know if they are compatible with Raymarine. The two modes are Anritsu (which is Simrad) or Furuno. Furuno uses AD10 heading data which I believe is proprietary to Furuno. There is an NMEA output but that is generally to slow to use as heading input to radar.

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Old 01-18-2003, 05:41 AM
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If you have an AP22(20,or 21) and the J300X, the heading output on port 2 of the j-box is 10hz.

Saltdog- I can't understand how you find the AP11 easier then the AP22. I have had both and each worked fine. But, the course knob on the 22 as well as the ability to go directly into nav makes it worth the additional dollars if you use them regularly.
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Old 01-18-2003, 10:20 AM
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cravenMH, I didn't mean to suggest that the AP-22 did not work as well, just that it wasn't worth the extra bucks on a small center console. The keypad on the AP-11 allows for the same course change simplicity by pushing the arrow buttons and is also easy to switch to NAV mode. I find the user interface of the AP-11 more straightforward, but that's a personal thing. Certainly can't go wrong with either control head.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:53 AM
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I have heard the same from others about the upgraded Rate Sense Compass. It seems as though it might be worth the upgrade.
I have a question about the unit being hooked up to radar. I have a Furuno 1621 Mark-2 model (1998 year). How would it be an advantage to have the auto pilot hooked to it? I understand about being hooked up to the GPS. I plan on donig that. I am just learning about this stuff so please bear with me.....
I also read in one post (Gil Morgan) about a rudder feed back unit that is made by Teleflex. Is this something worth looking into as opposed to the linear feedback unit for my single outboard hydrolic application?
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Old 01-19-2003, 09:02 AM
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Not sure you have any choice on the linear feedback sensor when you have an outboard setup. Perhaps that was a reference to the Teleflex "autopilot kit" that is used to tie the autopilot hydraulic pump into the helm pump. Getting that kit is a good idea for the do-it-yourself installer.

As for the radar interface to the heading sensor, it is really only necessary on radar units that have chart overlay capability. The heading sensor is used to orient the chart display so it aligns with the radar image (at least I think that's how it works).

The rate sensor upgrade was about $200 more than the standard fluxgate compass.

[This message was edited by Saltdog on 01-20-03 at 09:37 AM.]
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Old 01-20-2003, 02:39 PM
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That is correct, teleflex makes a rudder sensor unit that works quite well on Simrad, Raymarine and Cetrek autopilots. The Simrad rep could give you more information, and the Simrad part # is RCF35. It is designed for Teleflex Sea-star hydraulic systems. The major feature of the unit is that it uses magnetic coupling, so it does not wear out from parts-contact, not the same for the regular linear units that have a moving slider assembly that rubs across a resistance wire. This wear goes on all the time, not just when the Autopilot is on.
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