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Old 01-19-2009
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autopilot information request


I am trying to determine which below decks autopilot to install in my full keel 42 foot CCA design sloop. i.e. narrow transom making install tricky.

First question. Mechanical or Hydraulic drive unit and why? Raymarine sells both. Simrad and Octupus are both hydraulic. Of the hydraulic ones I think I like Octopus the best.

For the computer and other electronic parts I am fairly certain I will go with Simrad.

Can anyone around here share some knowledge/experience?
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Old 01-19-2009
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I have owned both the Raymarine Mechanical (Irwin 44) and the Simrad Hydraulic piston (Tayana 52) and MUCH prefer the Simrad system for reliability and power and "steadiness" . No info on the Octopus.
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Old 01-19-2009
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I have a similar constraint (narrow aft). I installed a SIMRAD unit after comparing the heft of this unit to more popular/more widely marketed brands. Simrad sells a version where the pump and shaft assembly are mounted separately, connected by high-pressure hydralic lines. This allowed me to manage my installation constraints. If you go Simrad, they are now NAVICO, a parent company. I won't quote models because some of that may have changes. Instead, I suggest you get ahold of a technicial from Simrad and start the conversations flowing.

No issues with mine after the first season.

Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2009
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If you don't have any other hydraulics on your boat, wouldn't adding a hydraulic unit complicate things? I have the new X-10/ST70 Raymarine unit with the linear drive. It's very smooth, but not necessarily completely motionless as the drive engages and I can feel it "clicking" on the deck somewhat. It seems fine though, and I can just carry a second drive unit as a spare to swap out the other one if there's a failure. Unplug a couple of wires on the old, bolt in the new one, plug it in, and I'm done. I don't really know anything about the hydraulic units though.
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