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Pelagic Autopilots, anyone had any experience with them

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We have a st4000 on our boat. Had a pretty spotty run with it initially, but I resoldered the motor connections and upgraded the factory plug/socket and it works pretty well now. Before doing that it had very little pushing power and stalled all the time.

 

It cant handle a full rudder load (Elliott 10.5) but does a good enough job in most conditions and hasn't played up since. 

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Boat displacement is irrelevant, its helm load that matters.

IMO the raymarine tiller pilots, and the navico tiller pilots are designed for occasional weekend use, and are not sufficiently reliable for serious offshore sailing. Sure,some of both brands have done it, but the failure rate is pretty high in this type of use.

Far better to use a hydraulic ram, or similar for tiller vessels. Imo.

Trouble here IT is I am talking electrical faults, not stripped worm drives or burnt out motors. Its far from a load issue, its bodgy main boards with dodgy solder joints and components along with thin cases with flimsy screw standoffs. No water ingress, both our ST1000 and TP32 well covered and protected from direct sunlight and both have faulted, the TP in less than 6 months of what I would not call strenuous use. A shame Pelagic are not serious about selling their pilots here ? Or for that matter adopting N2K instead of 0183

For KM's info, a optocoupler is used to isolate DC from sensitive data circuits buy using a light flashing on and off at very high speed, a sender and receiver in a small package that allows the data through but completely isolated.....more or less!

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Yep, agreed, but the low quality mechanical stuff is reflected in the electronics too.

The primary pilots are significantly better from both manufacturers, and can be connected to an external hydraulic ram. Ugly, but functional.

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IT, i’m Thinking about a SD10 drive for my 35ft Elliot, displacement around 4T, needs to be cockpit mounted and will get very wet. Are these units worth a look? Cable drive and rudder feedback integrated only the push rod in the elements.

 

Will get a matching NAC core pack to replace my ray marine unit. All the rest of my gear is b and g Vulcan/triton.

 

Don’t trust my Raymarine Tiller drive.

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There seems to be a big gap between the off the shelf plug and pray TPs to the all stainless machined stuff. And price too! The market place needs a new player, they would clean the lot up! I tried using the TP32 under wind N2K and worked OK but very sluggish compared to the surgical rubber setup I have made running off the boom which works on most points, no good downwind, its all hands on. Under power no problem but as you said IT and KM, the loads on the tiller undersail I think exceed its limits. Definitly need some quick response hydrolic setup that has GPS and fluxgate.

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Fluxgate compasses are obsolete. Solid state ones are the current versions, like the navico precision 9. A huge improvement, virtually immune to boat movement, and usually with roll, pitch and yaw output or compensation.

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I went for linear type 1, as its power consumption max was 3A as opposed 10A for hydraulic pump.

Also, was easier to fit. As integrated motor/actuator.

 I'm only 6tn max and I try to keep trim a neutral as possible.

I'm learning here, with the range of conditions and choice of sails.

A ss magnemometer and rate compensation was  easy decision after a short flirt with a TP32.

Not that the TP was crap, just had to get real on a number of potential shortfalls.

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Fluxgate compasses are obsolete. Solid state ones are the current versions, like the navico precision 9. A huge improvement, virtually immune to boat movement, and usually with roll, pitch and yaw output or compensation.

So, why are both of the "big" off the shelf makers still doing fluxgate in their TPs? Oh, thats right, "we make more money" selling them as a seatalk (talks to nothing else) or N2K option! So how many more dollars to buy and plug one of those in!?

Yep, found it....$645 US.

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Boat displacement is irrelevant, its helm load that matters.

In nice weather on a boat trimmed well for sure but if the DOTS is less experienced, to put it politely, trims a boat badly the helm loads can spike huge. Bigger the displacement, bigger those spikes will be, the more they will hammer and/or bust AP's.

 

I went with the Ray all brains downstairs with just a ram upstairs for 2 reasons. One was so there was no brand conflicts, sure they say all interface and play nicely together but if you suss a website called Crew.Org you see a lot of threads that would suggest otherwise ;)  The other was it was the biggest around.

 

Played with lots of APs over the years and given a bigger boat I'd go Coursemaster. I've use 2 and was impressed at how well they do in extreme weather. But they were biggish units driving hydraulic rams to the quadrant sort of set-ups. Putting one on my 930 would increase it's displacement by 50% odd.

 

Heard lots about failed AP's, never had one or seen one fail.......ever. The closest was 5 odd years ago when a baby ST1000 started making Crazy Ivan turns all by itself. Panned out to be due to changing the black box in the motor not far from the AP. Gave that a tweak and the AP was back to straight lines only, which quite frankly while handy n safer it was also boring :)

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