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Garmin Autopilot

Old 03-10-2019, 10:17 AM
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Default Garmin Autopilot

Iím wondering whether a Garmin Compact Reactor 40 will suit my needs. I know itís not recommended for trolling but itís a lot less expensive than the Reactor 40. I have a 2550 Bluewater, single 300 hp. Iím mainly wanting the autopilot to keep the boat straight while fighting fish and occasionally to give me a break on long rides. I normally troll from 2-8 knots and frequently with just one other person. On rare occasions I go by myself. I basically just want the autopilot to keep the fish behind the boat and not create a huge mess with my other rods while Iím handling the rods or gaff. Will that autopilot work or should I just spend the extra money? Thanks yíall.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:40 PM
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I think the less expensive one will work fine. I had the low cost Raymarine EV100 and had no issues. My new boat has the expensive Garmin setup and to be honest I think the cheap EV100 setup worked just as well.

A good install and setup will make all the difference.
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:00 PM
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I have the Reactor 40 with smart pump for that very reason. Trolling is a big reason for me to have AP, with that in mind it was highly recommended by more than one installer, that the compact would not suit my needs. I had the same exact thoughts as you. If I was you, and if you troll a decent amount, I would get several opinions from different installers who are knowledgeable about the product
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:36 AM
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FWIW - i think you can get a better bang for your buck if you look elsewhere other than Garmin.

While i wouldn't argue that other AP's are better than the smart pump - i would argue that AP's like the Ray EV-150 or Simrad AP 44 are better than the compact reactor, they cost significantly less than the smart pump, and don't cost that much more than the compact reactor.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for yíall help. I was mainly looking at Garmin because I already have a 7610 chart plotter which eliminates the need for the control head. I talked to one of their tech reps yesterday and he said that For my use, the compact reactor was probably not a good idea. Apparently, that pump and ECU canít make calculations and/or pump hydraulic oil fast enough to make the constant rudder changes required for trolling and fighting fish. He did say that if I didnít want the CCU, then the shadow drive was needed in case I need to take the wheel in a hurry.
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 7hetexsun View Post
Thanks for y’all help. I was mainly looking at Garmin because I already have a 7610 chart plotter which eliminates the need for the control head.

I figured this was a factor. I am actually in the same situation as you. I have garmin electronics as well. I recently made a post asking about AP controlling with your MFD vs the control head. You'll see that most people want the control head

Garmin Autopilot / MFD Control

With the Ray EV-150 and the Sim AP-44 , the pump is a higher capacity than the compact reactor which was the basis for my "more bang for the buck" comment. While i don't have it, my research leads me to believe the Ray EV-150 is the best bang for the buck. As i understand it, you can make it communicate with a garmin plotter and while you can't control the AP directly from the plotter - you can engage it and navigate to a waypoint.
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Old 03-12-2019, 06:33 PM
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Mixed systems can work fine and I’ve seen many that do for basic AP functions. That said, going with the Ray on a Garmin system will cost you several options of function as well as possible support conflicts if a problem occurs. Saving money is always a good thing but there is value in keeping hardware compatible across the board.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mrobertson View Post
I figured this was a factor. I am actually in the same situation as you. I have garmin electronics as well. I recently made a post asking about AP controlling with your MFD vs the control head. You'll see that most people want the control head

Garmin Autopilot / MFD Control

With the Ray EV-150 and the Sim AP-44 , the pump is a higher capacity than the compact reactor which was the basis for my "more bang for the buck" comment. While i don't have it, my research leads me to believe the Ray EV-150 is the best bang for the buck. As i understand it, you can make it communicate with a garmin plotter and while you can't control the AP directly from the plotter - you can engage it and navigate to a waypoint.


More to think about... General consensus seems to be that if your using Garmin then the GHC20 is worth the extra money. Any thoughts on the shadow drive? Since you can disengage the AP from the GHC20, is it really needed? I plan to install the system myself, so simpler is better. Cheaper certainly is too. That said, if Iím going to spend 2-3k a couple hundred more or less to be happy with the system is worth the expense and the extra time to install.
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 7hetexsan View Post




More to think about... General consensus seems to be that if your using Garmin then the GHC20 is worth the extra money. Any thoughts on the shadow drive? Since you can disengage the AP from the GHC20, is it really needed? I plan to install the system myself, so simpler is better. Cheaper certainly is too. That said, if Iím going to spend 2-3k a couple hundred more or less to be happy with the system is worth the expense and the extra time to install.
You have a PM
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:04 PM
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I never got my shadow drive to work so I ended up turning the thing off. You will definitely want the control unit so you just engage it with one button and you are on a straight line. Get the right size pump and you don't need the expensive smart pump.
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:15 PM
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I have the GHC 20 on my dash and would strongly recommend it vs using your MFD, especially if you only have one - but after using the garmin AP remote I would say you could save a few bucks and go with it instead of the GHC 20 on the dash. I like having control of the AP from anywhere on the boat but mostly I use it while sitting back underway vs having to lean forward for every adjustment...
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:21 PM
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....and shadow drive works great for me, not very important but a nice luxury item - it works as advertised, only thing is you have to keep a straight course for it kick the AP back on, so if you take over and use the wheel and leave the boat in a slight turn it assumes you're at the wheel until the heading is steady again before it takes back over.
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Old 03-13-2019, 04:56 PM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. Thatís why I love this forum.
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