Question: Autopilot behaving badly - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 03-13-2008
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I'm pretty sure it's the ST 4000+, wheel steering, seperate flux gate compass. It was installed by the PO of my boat and has never worked properly, holding course for a minute or so before wandering off. I have very little experience with autopilots, so any help or suggestion is welcome.
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Old 03-13-2008
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A very common 'oversight' is to ignore the absolute requirement to do the deviation calibration, per the Raymarine manual. Your symptoms sound like textbook indications of same.
Howard Keiper
Sea Quest
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Old 03-13-2008
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Thanks for all the input. Now, to answer your questions: the autopilot uses a wheel pilot and as I recall from last season (the boat is on the hard right now) there was no difference in the feel of the wheel between sailing vs. motoring. I believe the linkage is mechanical and not hydraulic. The oscillation starts out small in amplitude and then gets bigger and bigger until I shut it off so the Coast Guard doesn't pull me over for drunk sailing. The period of oscillation seems pretty regular. As far as the stereo goes, it went in the trash as soon as I got the boat--if it were any older it would have had an 8-track. Need to replace that sometime. Would the same thing happen with the VHF--hearing the motor on the radio? I don't know if it is was factory install or not. And,come to think of it, I don't think the problem occurred with the motor on but not in gear, but I'll test that when I launch her, very appropriately, on April Fool's Day. And lastly, about those ferrets. I'll give 'em a try, but I'm not too crazy about having a bunch o' nasty,sharp-toothed varmints on board.
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Old 03-14-2008
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leave the ferrets at the dock.

I fight my pilot on the sail boat constantly. I'm always trying different setting and cant seem to remember that the the pilot can only react to conditions it can't anticipate them I don't care what the marketing says.
So in variable speed and shifting winds that pilot will get a work out especially if your boat isn't balanced.
for example; If you have some weather helm your boat will want to round up and double that if it's gusty. so the pilot reacts to every puff. What may help you is to change the buffer setting to make the pilot react a little slower. this is particularly good going down wind but up wind it wont react fast enough so you have to tune to some sort of middle ground.
Pilots will not steer as good as you can because they cant anticipate.
but they have a longer attention span than most people.
the number one killer for me though is helm balance if that helm isn't balanced then that pilot will have to work it's ass off and it will start makeing that snake wake.
I think we expect to much from them.
s\v Soul Searcher
Caliber 40LRC

All boats are sinking it's just a matter of how fast.
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