I have that Simrad hydraulic drive system on my boat. When the AP is not on, you can very easily steer the boat, however you can also pull the cotter pin and detach the drive unit from the quadrant.
My system is technically not a Simrad, it's a Robertson which Simrad bought many years ago. I fried some connections in my remote a few weeks ago and I needed to contact Simrad to see what types of replacements parts or service I could get. Well it turned out that my unit was so old that they no longer have parts or people on staff who are trained to fix this unit. I spoke to a guy at Simrad for hours on the phone about how I could possibly attempt to repair the unit myself and about the products available on the market today. I don't know what the guys position is at Simrad, but he knew everything about the new, old and products under development. I could have talked to him for as long as I wanted. Not too sure if you can get that level of service at all vendors.
The Hydraulic drive unit on the old Robertson system is the same drive unit that they sell today, so if I were to upgrade I wouldn't have to replace the drive unit. I was just about to buy the AP2802 system (package that includes the AP28 control unit, rudder feedback, computer, etc.) and reuse my drive unit (undamaged), but I sucessfully rewired and fixed my remote and I am back in action. I'll continue to buy Simrad for APs..
Last edited by KindOfBlue; 08-07-2008 at 08:30 AM.