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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2011
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same perdicament

I have a ramarine wheel auto pilot. About 10 or 15 years old. I'm trying to find a replacement belt for it. #D169. No luck any info will help. otherwise i'm going to have to replace to unit with Ramarine's new one. About $1000. Where if they still produced the belt, $54 @ West Marine. A real conumdrum.
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Old 03-17-2011
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Not such a conundrum, actually... unfortunately RM does not support the older style drive ring anymore. The (sort of ) good news is that the new versions are much more robust and a better setup all around.


You may get away with just buying the drive ring and motor - the motor drive cable and connector are unchanged.
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Replacement belts are available for the MKI drive units, I just got one.
D169 BELT for AUTOHELM RAYMARINE AUTOPILOT - Industrial Timing Belts & Pulleys Polytech Design Inc. Clifton NJ 07011
$18.99
I've got 2 of the MKI drives, a 1994 Autohelm from my last boat which I replaced and now one on the new boat. Still thinking about how much I'm willing to spend on upgrading, below deck would sure be nice.
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Old 03-17-2011
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An alternative is the CPT unit. I know a delivery skipper who carries one with him and has used it on a 70 foot gaffer.

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Old 03-18-2011
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We have the CPT on order. Should be arriving in the next week or two. We checked it out at the Seattle Boat show. Ran very quiet. They had one at their display booth mounted in a water tank with a continuous flow of water pouring on it while it was operating to demonstrate its resistance to water intrusion. Looks like an intermediate alternative to a small wheel pilot and a below deck installation.
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Ray did you get a 'boat show' price that makes it more comparable to RM? Looks like a robust unit, if not quite as compact an install....
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I hope the newer wheelpilots are more robust. We had a 1990 vintage wheelpilot on our 35' sloop for several years and it repeatedly failed, always at the most convenient times. When it was working, it did not inspire confidence as the wind picked up.

If you aren't trying to fix and existing one and haven't committed to a wheel pilot purchase, we strongly recommend taking a hard look at a below deck pilot, which is at least 3x the cost of the wheel pilot and may have a more involved installation, but is something you can rely on. We cruise short-handed and consider it both a convenience and a safety issue. Our Raymarine/Raytheon below deck pilot is fully integrated with our navigation equipment and has served us faithfully for over 10 yrs.
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Quote:
Ray did you get a 'boat show' price that makes it more comparable to RM? Looks like a robust unit, if not quite as compact an install....
we got a slight price break, but it's still more than the RM. I worry a bit about the drive motor being a toe stubber, but you do what you can with the resources you have. A Hydrovane is going on in a couple more years that will be our work horse off shore, but I anticipate this CPT unit giving us years of service as well. It looks well built.
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I purchased a new X-5 Autopilot and installed on my Pearson 30 before cruising for 6 months. We used the autopilot a LOT offshore, and it handled the boat fairly well in sea's up to 6 feet. Anything above that and it would either overwork itself or keep a very inconsistent course, depending on how we set the sensitivity. All in all we had very good luck with the unit. Wheel units are much cheaper than belowdeck units and while not perfect, are the economical choice for autopilots on boats under 18,000 lbs.
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