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Old 06-15-2008
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Auto pilot problems

I'm having problems with my auto pilot. It is a Auto Helm ST70 type 300.

It started crapping out a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes when I turn it on, the control panel for the autopilot is blank. Sometimes it is blank and there is a alarm squealing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I can turn it off and back on again and it starts working again. Or at least it used to. Now I think it is just in the blank display with squealing alarm mode. All my other instruments seem to be ok.

Has anybody ever seen this sort of problem before?

My first thought it that is a loose connection somewhere. Maybe low power.

It tried to reseat the power coming into the main computer. But I'm a little confused how the wire clamps are supposed to work. There are big ones and little ones. The little ones are obvious. There is a tab above the wire hole. You depress the tab and the wire is released. Let go of the tab and the wire is clamped. There are a couple of big clamps for power input and out to the drive motor. These don't have a tab. I'm not sure how to release the wire. I tried a couple of things but I didn't want to push to hard and break something.

Does anybody have any tips?

Chris King
Alden 44
Berkeley Ca.
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Old 06-16-2008
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Looks like you have bad contact connections, what could produce low power to feed the system. Check your entire connection for loose wires, bad connection, corrosion, etc ... It might be possible Ray web still have the installation manual for the 300. But Chris, the way you describe it, you're short of electronics proficiency, so looking by yourself, you might miss something that trained eyes would do. Contact a tech guy ... it might be a simple fix.
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Old 06-16-2008
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I am guessing yours is similar to my 6000 series. Pull the plug out of the back of the display and give the connections a dose of electronics cleaner (Radio Shack). If I remember right, the power wire clamps on the computer work the same way as the others but require a lot of pressure in order to get them open.

It sounds like your display is either not getting power or has died.

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Old 12-21-2008
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I have a Autohelm 6000 Autopilot, which Control panel is beeping all the time and no longer reacts to button commands. Most likely water has been inside the Control box as there are no seals at the screws!
Has anybody a Display/Controlbox for sale?
I am single handling and this device is very helpfull in doing that. Robbert.
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Old 12-21-2008
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Low Batt?

Mine did the same thing you described last summer and it ended up being a low battery. I had it connected to just one battery and sailed a lot without running the engine on a week long trip. Initially I suspected metal near the fluxgate compass but after moving anything suspicious my buddy suggested low battery. He was right! Duh... I didn't realize the autohelm drew significant amps. So now I know...
My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.
Cary Grant

Last edited by Joesaila; 12-21-2008 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 12-22-2008
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Originally Posted by Joesaila View Post
I didn't realize the autohelm drew significant amps. So now I know...
Yeah - been there, got that T-shirt. Sadly, some idiot had left both batteries connected, so we ended up with no power at all. I won't make that mistake again.

Of course, the extent to which the battery drains depends on how hard the autohelm is working, so sea conditions, point of sail etc will affect the time taken to reduce the battery to an unusable level.....

Leith (rhymes with teeth) is the port of the City of Edinburgh in Scotland. A Leither is someone who comes from that area.

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky - I left my shoes and socks there, I wonder if they're dry?
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