Tillerpilot Behavior - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-21-2003 Thread Starter
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Tillerpilot Behavior

I have had three different tillerpilots. #1 was a Navico, which worked fabulously for a couple of seasons and then began to become eratic. Navico could find no problem, but it got progressively worse so I replaced with an Autohelm 4000, which sometimes was great and other times eratic. Lightning killed that one, so I decided to try a Simrad (they bought Navico). It will be working perfect for hours and suddenly go hard over. If I disconnect the power and reconnect it is fine for a few hours and will act up again.

Reading accounts of Around Alone from Tim Kent I see he had stretches of difficulties with his. One other sailor suggested to me that this is the nature of the beast. Suggestions or ideas?
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-21-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

I have had my Autohelm for a number of years. The only times I have had problems of the sort you are listing are when the batteries were geting down on "juice", or had an intermittant connection. Once I installed a battery monitor and new wires/connections, I have not had any issues. I keep an eye on the battery level, and make sure that I don''t go too deep. I have a 37'' sloop with tiller.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-22-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

I also have an Autohelm 4000 (wheel pilot though) and it works great except that it needs the batteries to be charged up. As the batteries gets low it begins doing stupid things. Also you need to periodically calabrate it by doing the slow circling thing.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-27-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

I have a tilerpilot 2500 that began acting erratically. Upon opening the case I found that corrosion had formed on the circuit board and power connections. I used a bottle of circuit board cleaner (Available at radio shack) and cleaned the terminals and power connectors. I then applied an anti corrosion compound (Again available at Radio Shack) and resealed the unit. I havent had any problems since.
NOTE - - My auto pilot is old and not even close to being under warranty. I wouldnt break the seal on a new or nearky new piece of electronics.
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-28-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

i have a st 3000 wheel piolet. I hae noticed tha it did strange things some times when I would move by binoculars to close or even my themose. and one time last year in calm waters in a narow pasege I was on the bow enjoying the ride and it just went hard over for no reason.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-02-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

Sounds like you have some serious problems with your pilot. I wouldn''t use it when I wasn''t in the cockpit to babysit. You might think about replacement or seeking a goor repair facility
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-04-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

There have been documented cases of terminal corrosion (mentioned in previous message) that have caused similar problems. That is, wire connections or ends. During diagnostics or for most of the time, it works OK, then a boat movement causes a bad connection. The answer was to take each connection apart and clean carefully with CRC or similar. It gets exacerbated with low battery voltage. Since it has happened with several units, you might have a power connection problem that is a corroded connection.
Peace and hope you find it.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-30-2003
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Tillerpilot Behavior

Hi, some things to think about with your auto pilot;
What part of the world are you in? If you are in the Northern latitudes their is a phenomena (sp) called, Northerly turning error. This causes a auto pilot to hunt back and forth when you are traveling north and south.

Location of the compass, are you introducing a magnetic interference by placing any type of electric or magnetic equipment by your auto pilot? (cockpit speakers)

Moister, it is the killer of all electronics.

Hope this helps.

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