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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #31  
Old 10-16-2007
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We've had the ST6000+ for several years and it has performed well. We did experience random failures and 'S' turns a number of months ago. Went through the manual and followed the setup proceedure - not much luck. Turned out that since our boat was in salt water, some of the wire connections started to corrode - they're simply spring loaded connections on the controller unit. Cutting back any place that there was exposed wire solved some problems. The autopilot also hunts something awful if the rudder position sensor is NS. Make sure that's working. The flux compass location is important as well since if it's swinging is too great, it'll also cause 'S' turns. Lastly, the autopilot disconnecting is an indication that the unit is operating outside it's parameters: too great a compass change, inaccurate rudder position or too great a load on the servo will all cause the autopilot to disconnect. Basically, it disconnects when the various inputs no longer agree. Ours does beep when it drops off. And it's behaving flawlessly again now.

Lastly, I'd not chuck it just yet. There's a number of things to be checked first. Also, there's always the devil you know as opposed to the devil you might install as a replacement.

Cheers,
Mike
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  #32  
Old 10-16-2007
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Simrad Problems

Hi!

I think I know what is wrong with your Simrad autopilot. On my Simrad, the buttons stick. That is the rubber button sticks against the plastic housing. Try wiggling it. The reason that it is confused is that it thinks you are trying to tack it continuously. I had a similar problem, however , my port arrow button was sticking.

Worth a try...
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  #33  
Old 10-16-2007
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One thing you might look at which would be considerably cheaper than a whole new system would be to add a gyro to your Autohelm (Raymarine). My guess is that you have just a flux gate compass for determining the heading now. A compass is damped sufficiently that in a chop the boat can get quite away around before the pilot will bring it back. The gyro will respond faster.
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Ml,
I think the ST6000 is the newer Raymarine unit. Mine is an Autohelm 6000 which I believe is much older. At any rate it does not really disconnect but rather hunts excessively. I'll have a look at the rudder sensor tomorrow, that's a good thought.
Dj,
My problem is with an Autohelm unit, not a Simrad.
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  #35  
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I am not impressed with Simrad. Their customer service is poor. The reliability of the hydralic drive is poor. The local dealer agrees with me that it should not be failing so soon, but cannot persuade the manufacturer to do anything about it. Their electronics seem satisfactory (after I fixed some installation problems - one of which was a fresh water pump on the other side of a bulkhead from the fluxgate. When it kicked on the boat would go 45 degrees off course.). but the hydraulic drive unit has been a disaster.
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tk,
I do have a fluxgate compass. Can a gyro be retrofitted and do you know of experience with one. I'm not familiar with that type of installation.
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Old 10-17-2007
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autohelm 6000

We've used this autopilot extensively for 8 years. It's a reliable, low draw unit. Our only problem with wandering was when the rudder position sensor was diconnected. Otherwise, I'd buy again. (22,000 lb.)
Bob
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linear versus hydraulic drives

Camraderie,
Big boats have hydraulic drives because many already have accessories that are hydraulic. (bow thrusters, windlasses, steering). Since they already have a source for hydraulic pressure, the very reliable hydraulic drive makes sense. On smaller boats where no such source exists, it would be very expensive to install a hydraulic pressure source just to power an autopilot. The linear drives have become very good, and while the hydraulic system is probably somewhat superior, the additional cost can't be justified.
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Old 10-17-2007
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SP253...perhaps you misunderstood...linear hydraulic drives are quite affordable and frequently used on underdeck autopilots on cruising sailboats and require NO other part of the boat to be hydraulic. See the picture above.
What I was comparing those to is SCREW type linear mechanisms which are not found on larger, more capable drives because they are inadequate to the task.
Here is an example of a screw type linear drive like you should have. See post #7 for an example of linear hydraulic...and welcome by the way!
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Old 10-17-2007
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Anyone's autopilot excessively loud?

I have an autohelm ST4000 and it is incredibly loud when engaged. Is this normal? The noise comes fromt he mechanism turning the wheel and since I sail mainly in choppy seas, it is always readjusting itself and making noise. Normal?

Thanks for any input -

KJ
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