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post #1 of 8 Old 11-10-2006 Thread Starter
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Electronics Tech in DC/Annapolis Area

Hello,

Its that time of year and I am looking at what improvements I want to make on my Hunter 336. With 2 small kid I would like to add an auto pilot and an AC unit for the Dock for the hot Mid Atlantic nights.

On the auto pilot - does anyone have any recommendations on a technician and what are thoughts around autopilot systems (manufacture/brand).

I am in Herrington Harbor (near Chesapeake and Deal in MD) and have not been thrilled with the local shops to date.

Thanks!

Matt

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post #2 of 8 Old 11-10-2006
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I personally like my Raymarine gear...but some people have had bad experiences with Raymarine.

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-11-2006
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May I suggest a Simrad-Robertson auto-pilot for your boat.
http://www.martekki.com/electronics/pilots.htm is the electronics shop at the Bay Bridge Marina that has the Simrad line and has a good reputation.
We had ours done by Hartsfield Electronics in Deltaville.

I installed a new CruiseAir air conditioner this past summer that I had shipped to me from :
Lamy Marine Inc
2331 Vicker Ave # 105
Chesapeake, VA 23324
(757) 494-3747


It was pretty easy to do and their tech provided excellent phone support along the way. In any event...I am most happy with the performance of the unit as well as how quiet it is.



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post #4 of 8 Old 11-11-2006
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Matt, as a winter project I'd recommend doing some basic reading up on the 12V books from the boating sources, or the basic DC electrical books that Radio Shack still carries (local library probably has those too) and then considering doing the wiring yourself.

Air conditioning will be mainly a plug-in matter, and the autopilot will be the most basic DC work even if you are tying it into instruments. If you invest the time to learn how it hooks up--you'll also be able to troubleshoot and fix it when they fail afloat. It honestly is *not* hard or difficult stuff if you take some time with it.

Basic wiring like this is often either damned expensive, because someone has to spend time on it, or done damn poorly, because someone isn't taking the time to do it properly. You can save a lot by investing that time yourself, there is much more patience than skill required.

Worse comes to worse, if you take a month to find and read some basics on it and then decide it isn't for you? You've still got the whole winter left to find good help.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-11-2006
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Hi Matt,

Spent ten years in AK as a marine tech. I have an Alpha Spectra, as far as power consumption and reliability goes, I have found none better. That said, I recommend the Simrad/Robertson also. The way to install is to make sure whoever does it solders every connection. The best way I have found to do it is to purchase a small torch that runs on butane. (about $30) Use shrink tubing that has hot glue on the inside. Soldered, shrunk, and glued. This is how I do every job. I have had boats in AK sink at the dock; when refloated, all the wiring I did still worked. Robertson or Alpha? Both are top notch.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-11-2006 Thread Starter
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Many thanks.

I have done many wiring projects in my house but have not taken anything on on the boat (primarily out of fear of the unkown).

Any recommendations as for as reference books?

Matt

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post #7 of 8 Old 11-12-2006
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-12-2006
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Matt-
Offhand there are two boating classics, "The 12V Bible" and "The 12V Doctor" I think are the names. Neither is really a "Wiring 101" type book, and I'd suggest a basic book/course on DC electricity to give you the theory behind all this stuff, which goes a long way. Don't know any titles offhand.
You'll also wind up needing a digital multimeter (and a $20 one from WalMart will do) along with a packet of spare fuses for it. Yes, you will blow a fuse in the meter, and somehow those fuses are never at the 7-11 if you need one after store hours.
Also make a habit of taking off any rings (including the wedding ring) and metal watches/bands before doing any electrical work. If they short things out, you can have a nasty accident. 12V generally is not dangerous, unless you give it a good conductor and a good power source, like a wrench or watchband grounding out the battery post.
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