Best autopilot for a 30 foot sailboat. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Best autopilot for a 30 foot sailboat.

I am looking for a wheel above deck autopilot. Does anyone out there have any info? I heard the Raymarine Smartpilot X-5 has had some problems.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-09-2009
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Originally Posted by islands55 View Post
I am looking for a wheel above deck autopilot. Does anyone out there have any info? I heard the Raymarine Smartpilot X-5 has had some problems.
What sort of problems?

It was only released very recently. I had heard that the release was delayed while they sorted out some "issues." But I haven't heard any reports from anyone that has used one extensively yet.

I have heard that the previous model (S1, with rudder sensor) is still in stock with a few vendors.

There aren't too many options when it comes to wheel-pilots. Is Simrad making one?


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post #3 of 11 Old 02-09-2009
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I have a Simrad wheelpilot on my current boat and have been very impressed with it. Prior I was on a boat with the Raymarine system and found it had a much harder time keeping a course.
I'm not sure if the Simrad units are still in production, but if so, that is the way I would go if you don't want a quadrant steering solution.

Michael

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post #4 of 11 Old 02-09-2009
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I just bought a Raymarine X5 but didn't install it (too much snow here in Québec!).
There's not so much option for an above autopilot. The WP32 form Simrad is discontinued. The only model remaining in that category is the X5. The good point on the X5 is that you don't have to install that rudder sensor (like the S1).
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-09-2009
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I put in the Raymarine S1 two years ago and have had no issues with it.

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post #6 of 11 Old 02-09-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the imput. I am going to try the Raymarine X5.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-14-2010
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Hvae you installed it.. How it is working..

Thinking of installing the same unit on my 35 Morgan
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-14-2010
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I just finished and installed the x-5, so far so good, took me a bit to get it to talk to the wind vane but thats because it says in small letters that the wheel pilot can not talk via seatalk to other seatalk thru the daisy chained cables if it has power running through the same cable......so you need to run a separate cable in one side of the instruments that suplies 12v and another thru the other end that carries the signal (BTW this is three wire in total, shield, yellow and red...???)

It works like it should now though and so far so good.

i know TMI but anyone who has messed with it knows what I am saying and what a PIA it is..

South wind I would look at the displacement of your vessel first? might be a tad too close to maxed out on yours?

I love to sail, coming from a Swordboat capt's loin one would think I'd of caught the bug long before now! Oh well, this ones for you Bisque...(My Father may he RIP)

Now If I could only stay away from working on the damn things I could sail more!
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-14-2010
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My old 1994 Autohelm control head died a couple of weeks ago. I bought the X5 and am happy with the improvements. It looks like the motor drive is about the same although the new wheel is slightly larger. It's also significantly quieter.

The big difference is the installation. Now you don't have to run those big 10ga power wires up to the control head then down to the drive motor. Instead there's a course computer with all the connections and you only need 16ga wire from the course computer to the motor. The control head is seatalk only.

The course computer has an integrated accelerometer like the Wii and is quite good at adjusting the wheel. I purposely set up an unbalanced boat in 20kt winds with too much genoa and the wheel pilot did a good job holding course when it took a lot of muscle on the wheel.

I also like the adjustable response feature. For long passages you can adjust the response down so it uses less power instead of holding a tight course.

No rudder sensor is necessary. It also has a Seatalk to NMEA converter integrated into course computer as well as NMEA 2000.

I was disappointed to have an unexpected expense and job of replacing the Autohelm but it's been a blessing in disguise as the new X5 is a big upgrade.

Here's a couple of pictures of the installation in my PSC 31 which is a pretty heavy boat - and mine is loaded down a few extra inches (about another 2400 lbs). The terminal strip is for AIS and NMEA which is not required for installation.

Steve
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-14-2010
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Nice looking helm Steve.

Thanks for the post
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