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Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Old 12-20-2004, 02:17 PM
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Default Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I've been looking into a Simrad AP12 for my 25' Contender and I was wondering if anyone has experience with this relatively new unit. I'm not looking for a hardcore AP that will run my boat for a 50 mile cruise but rather one that will hold a true course while I fight a fish or clear some lines.

From what I can tell the AP12 does everything I want in a relatively inexpensive AP. But before I drop the $$$$$ I thought I'd see if anyone has been using the unit.

Thanks!
Old 12-20-2004, 03:28 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Getn Busy Livn,
I have one and love it for the money you cant ask for much more. I havent had a bit of trouble with mine even though I havent had it very long. Besides the gps it is the most used piece of electronic equipment on my boat. I did not want to spend 3-4 grand on a autopilot either. I use mine for running and trolling it is always on. (click below for my install)

http://thehulltruth.net/forums/threa...=31859&start=1
Old 12-20-2004, 06:14 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Offshore that was a great summary! I was planning on having the unit installed professionally but after I received some quotes ($750 or more) I'm seriously thinking about tackling the install myself. I'm pretty handy but of course I've never done anything like this before. I have a couple questions for you:

1) How did you know to order the Teleflex kit? I have SeaStar but need to figure out what capacity cylinder I have.

2) How did you know where to locate the pumps? My initial thought was to put everything in the Console ... I saw where someone thought the pump should be installed in the bilge area but I kinda like your idea about keeping everything centrally located.

3) How experienced where you dealing with Hydraulic systems. I have very little experience dealing with Hydraulics - thus the reason for being apprehensive about doing this myself.

I'm sure I'll have a hundred more questions when I begin (if I choose to do it myself) so any other suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.
Old 12-20-2004, 06:37 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Getn Busy Livn
To me that is not a bad insallation price.It took me around one week to do the install a couple hours a night. Figuring out where you want to locate everything is probrally the most important.

1) I had a hard time finding the correct fittings around here they are not standard fittings. Instead of wasting a bunch of time I went to the Teleflex website and they had a kit with everything you need for your AP installation.
2) I thought about the bildge but if something happens to the pump I wanted very easy access. On your boat you have more than ample space in your Console for your installation. Your computer must be in a dry location High up in your console would work.
3) I had no experience with hydraulics but everything is very straight foward and very easy to install. Between Telflex and Simrad there is plenty of information to do the hydraulics.

If you decide to do it yourself I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Tight lines--------------------------Mark
Old 12-20-2004, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Thanks Offshore ... I pulled the trigger and ordered the unit. I'm going to give the installation a shotas well. I just can't justify spending that much for installation - especially considering all the good advice that is available here, from Simrad and Teleflex.

One more question: the kit you ordered from Teleflex - was that the same as the LFK Seastar listed as an option in the AP12 literature?

Thanks for all your help!
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.



Thom
Old 12-20-2004, 10:25 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Thanks Thom ... I've always respected your posts and like always this one as very helpful. Yea, I almost chocked when I had two people give me quotes for the installation! The one guy who quoted $750 was actually lower than another company I spoke to at the latest boat show. Oh well .... they must be real busy to quote that much.

I've ordered the unit so I'll be tackling the installation after Christmas. I'm sure I'll have more questions once I get into the process. Although I'm glad t here the instructions are actually useful!!!!

Thanks again
Old 12-22-2004, 09:40 AM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Thom/Mark and all,

Thom beleive we have chatted here before, I too enjoy your experiences. I have been wondering which AP to get for awhile now, there has been a lot of traffic concerning the TR1 and SG1 and others, all have thier advantages/disadvantages. My main concerns is the rudder feed back, not sure if I really want to hang something else back there. I am probably making more of an issue then it needs to be but anyway...

I must say Mark, I have been following your posts on this very topic, you have been informative and assuring. I may just need to try this unit!

I have a 25' C-Hawk standard cabin with two steering stations, both have the Sea Star hydraulic units, I do most of my fishing in the Chesapeake bay region and rarely are my trips more then 30 miles out. I mainly need the AP for slow trolling (2.5 to 3 MPH), I fish by myself and set as many as a dozen lines, how does this unit work at those slow speeds? I do not need an AP with tons of bells and whistles in fact I will rarely, if ever use some of those features however, I do need one that works reliably.

I don't see why I would need a unit with a display, especially since I don't have a lot of room on the console, that would be just one more thing I would have to find room for but, the remote control would be nice.

Bottom line is all I need is a simple AP that works!
Old 12-22-2004, 01:08 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

The simple truth about autopilots is that when you find it easy to steer they find it easy to steer, and conversly in conditons where it is difficult for you to hold a course they have trouble too. The more you pay for the autopilot presumably the less trouble it has.

Holding a boat on course at low speed isn't a problem, holding one on course at low speed in the wind is. Its a problem for you and its a problem for an auto pilot. On a scale of 1 to 10, with worn out mechanical steering being a 1, Hydraulic alone being a 4 I'd put a RayMarine SportPilot Plus at about a 5, the AP-12 at about a 6 and an AP-11 at about a 8. From what I hear about those new TR-1's they should be about a 9 or 10, but then they cost as much as a V-8 Replacement short block .... installed.



Thom
Old 12-22-2004, 01:26 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I hear ya Thom... It's not a tough issue for me to hold course at slow speed even in the wind however, once I leave the wheel and set lines or otherwise I get behind and have to catch up. My hope and question I guess would be if pointed in the direction too maintain if the AP12 can handle it.

The TR1 is an awesome unit but a bit too pricey and otherwise too much of a unit for my needs..

Old 12-22-2004, 08:19 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I have never used mine at really slow speeds we are usually trolling between 5 and 7mph and at those speeds I have not had any problems at all holding course. Like Thom said I would beleive at 2-3mph it would a problem if you had a brisk wind and wave action. Next time I am out I will give it a try. Maybe this Sunday. Mark
Old 12-22-2004, 08:44 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I'm in the same boat as Offshore. We troll at 7 knots or thereabours and it holds at that speed with our boat. I have been in conditions where it would not hold a course but they were as nasty as you can immagine and my speed was dead slow (the slowest my boat will troll is about 4 knots).

I think the AP-12 is hard to beat, an in fact impossible to beat, for the price. At just over a grand the only thing it asks you to do manually is approve of turns in a route if navigating from one rather than directly to a single waypoint.

As far as I know the only thing that people have trouble with on them is the rudder feedback unit. Mine is still going strong after its 4th year. After putting on the new engine last spring I tried it out without recalibrating it first. It actually worked pretty well but did that annoying slight fish-tailing trying to hold a course. I ran it through its initiation procedure again and it solved the problem.

I think you're smart to do your own instillation too. Its not hard to install one, the process will occur to you easily. Let me give you a little thing you might want to do. If you have a small 12-volt battery (motor cycle, riding lawn mower) handy bring it aboard while you install the system. Once you have everything hooked up just use that small battery to run the hydraulic pump while you bleed it. Make sure you have fluid in the system because you really do not want to run that pump dry, but it takes a couple of seconds to fill it and then you need to reverse its operaton a couple of times back and forth to purge air from the system. So all you have to do is touch the wires to the battery one way until the engine is pushed full lock, and then reverse the wires and let the pump drive the steering until the engine has swung full the other way. Do that a couple of times and it purges all of the air back to the steering head's reservior (sp?). So you need to keep an eye on the fluid level while you do it.



Thom
Old 12-23-2004, 10:05 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I have had 2 AP-12s, in a 25ft Kencraft and a 29 Luhrs Sportfish. Installed both myself and worked great .
Another advantage is that an additional AP-12 control head is only $150 1/3 OR 1/4 THE PRICE OF MOST CONTROL HEADS. I know because now I have a 32 Luhrs that came with a SIMRAD AP-22 and another control head that I need for the tower is $700 !

Old 12-24-2004, 08:38 AM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

N3NFX - 12/22/2004 9:40 AM

Thom/Mark and all,

Thom beleive we have chatted here before, I too enjoy your experiences. I have been wondering which AP to get for awhile now, there has been a lot of traffic concerning the TR1 and SG1 and others, all have thier advantages/disadvantages. My main concerns is the rudder feed back, not sure if I really want to hang something else back there. I am probably making more of an issue then it needs to be but anyway...

I must say Mark, I have been following your posts on this very topic, you have been informative and assuring. I may just need to try this unit!

I have a 25' C-Hawk standard cabin with two steering stations, both have the Sea Star hydraulic units, I do most of my fishing in the Chesapeake bay region and rarely are my trips more then 30 miles out. I mainly need the AP for slow trolling (2.5 to 3 MPH), I fish by myself and set as many as a dozen lines, how does this unit work at those slow speeds? I do not need an AP with tons of bells and whistles in fact I will rarely, if ever use some of those features however, I do need one that works reliably.

I don't see why I would need a unit with a display, especially since I don't have a lot of room on the console, that would be just one more thing I would have to find room for but, the remote control would be nice.

Bottom line is all I need is a simple AP that works!
N3,I do know that a rate compass in ANY pilot gives it better steering performance (rather than just a fluxgate),especially in following seas or in your case,slow trolling. It adds to the cost of the pilot by an average of 500 bucks but they do make a difference. I have to admit that on my personal boat I opted to NOT get the rate compass (because I was cheap?) & now I pay by having to constantly adjust the gail,counter rudder ,etc to keep up with the prevailing sea conditions. Now this winter I'm going to go back & install the rate sensor upgrade. My mistake!
Old 12-24-2004, 09:15 AM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Boomerang - 12/24/2004 8:38 AM

N3NFX - 12/22/2004 9:40 AM

Thom/Mark and all,

Thom beleive we have chatted here before, I too enjoy your experiences. I have been wondering which AP to get for awhile now, there has been a lot of traffic concerning the TR1 and SG1 and others, all have thier advantages/disadvantages. My main concerns is the rudder feed back, not sure if I really want to hang something else back there. I am probably making more of an issue then it needs to be but anyway...

I must say Mark, I have been following your posts on this very topic, you have been informative and assuring. I may just need to try this unit!

I have a 25' C-Hawk standard cabin with two steering stations, both have the Sea Star hydraulic units, I do most of my fishing in the Chesapeake bay region and rarely are my trips more then 30 miles out. I mainly need the AP for slow trolling (2.5 to 3 MPH), I fish by myself and set as many as a dozen lines, how does this unit work at those slow speeds? I do not need an AP with tons of bells and whistles in fact I will rarely, if ever use some of those features however, I do need one that works reliably.

I don't see why I would need a unit with a display, especially since I don't have a lot of room on the console, that would be just one more thing I would have to find room for but, the remote control would be nice.

Bottom line is all I need is a simple AP that works!
N3,I do know that a rate compass in ANY pilot gives it better steering performance (rather than just a fluxgate),especially in following seas or in your case,slow trolling. It adds to the cost of the pilot by an average of 500 bucks but they do make a difference. I have to admit that on my personal boat I opted to NOT get the rate compass (because I was cheap?) & now I pay by having to constantly adjust the gail,counter rudder ,etc to keep up with the prevailing sea conditions. Now this winter I'm going to go back & install the rate sensor upgrade. My mistake!
Boomerang,
I thought about doing the same!! Mark
Old 01-05-2005, 06:40 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Hey Boomerang, what else besides the rate sensor option will I need with this thing?
Old 01-05-2005, 06:59 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

UPDATE: We went to the lake Striper fishing and used the AP trolling at around 2.5mph and it worked just fine but it was rather calm. Cant say yet in rough water but next time I am in the big pond I will give it a try.Mark
Old 01-06-2005, 10:57 AM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Thanks for the update Mark... I have to get busy and get one soon! I assume SIMRAD has a package deal that will inlcude all the hardware I will need? I know you guys mentioned the additional sensor so I want to make sure I get everything I need at once.

Thanks,
Rob
Old 01-06-2005, 02:47 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

I have the AP-14R and love the unit.
I troll( Lake Erie) at 1.5-3mph all the time.
The unit works great.
I got the AP-14 for the Ditial display and the remote.

MAtt
Old 01-06-2005, 03:38 PM
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Default RE: Simrad AP12 --- Anyone Have One? Opinions

Guess the next question for THT is, whom has the best price?

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