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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-27-2011
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CPT Auto Pilot

Nikko displaces somewhere around 20,000 to 24,000 lbs. She has a skeg hung rudder and actually requires very little rudder pressure to go in a straight line. She had an Autohelm 4000 wheel pilot on it that was getting tired. We decided to replace it with another electronic auto pilot that we'll continue to use while coastal cruising until we get a Hydrovane for offshore use.

The wheel pilots we were finding had a displacement limit on them that excluded Nikko as a candidate, even though I thought any one of them would work fine for our typical motoring and light sailing. Just the same, I didn't want to pay a pretty penny for something that might not hold up. We found CPT autopilots mentioned on Sailnet and we went to the Seattle Boat show this past winter to check them out in person. We got to meet Jeff and his family who currently own the company. They showed us pictures of the boat they had their CPT on, which was heavier than Nikko. Seemed like real nice folks. We decided to buy their auto pilot.

They sent us a sheet to fill out the measurements for our boat. We filled it out and sent it in with some money down. Six weeks later our pilot arrived. Took me about two hours to get it hooked up. We've been using it for a month now and I'm happy with our purchase. The pilot motor is beefy and quiet. It's not a fancy pilot, but I think it will last a long time. At the boat show, they had a demo unit operating in a tank with water pouring on it. It's supposed to withstand being submerged in the cockpit. I hope to never find out if that's true. The way it's set up, I can easily take it off and install it on another boat if I wanted too (although I think we're on our last boat)



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Old 04-27-2011
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Nice job on the install, Ray.. How do you disengage this unit? Does the belt just freewheel if you 'turn it off'?

Looks like a wired remote too?
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Old 04-28-2011
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Hi Ron,
the hub that the belt is on slides fore or aft to engage the motor shaft. The wired remote has a selector switch to make fine heading adjustments or switch it over to manual to remotely turn the helm without the influence of the heading sensor.
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Old 04-28-2011
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Is it ok to place that close to the compass?
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Old 04-28-2011
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That was the next thing on my list was to check compass deviation. It's advertised as non-magnetic. A couple weekends ago, I moved the heading sensor down to the recommended location, between the compass and the drive motor. When you initially set the autopilot, you note your compass heading and then turn the heading knob on the pilot to the corresponding number. Being unfamiliar with the operation, I wanted it up right next to the compass for good visibility.
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Last edited by erps; 04-28-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 04-28-2011
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The CPT is on my to buy list. I've been in contact with another CPT user who is very satisfied with the AP, and with the company. Thanks for the post and pics, Ray.

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Old 04-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
That was the next thing on my list was to check compass deviation. It's advertised as non-magnetic. A couple weekends ago, I moved the heading sensor down to the recommended location, between the compass and the drive motor. When you initially set the autopilot, you note your compass heading and then turn the heading knob on the pilot to the corresponding number. Being unfamiliar with the operation, I wanted it up right next to the compass for good visibility.
It appears the sensor needs to be in a spacific location, and maybe not always in a handy location.

The sensor MUST NOT be mounted too close to anything that will influence it. Electric motors, radio speakers, microphones, some instruments and your binnacle compass can cause interference, even if on the opposite side of a bulkhead.

Try to keep sensor box at least 12 inches from drive box and binnacle compass.
Mount sensor box in a location where you can see the binnacle compass while adjusting the sensor knob.
With the boat solidly moored, test the area selected for mounting with a hand-held compass to be sure it is free of magnetic influence. Check with engine both off and running, with any equipment within three feet on and off. This includes any equipment on the opposite side of a bulkhead. If a hand-held compass reads similar to your ship's compass in a certain location, the CPT sensor unit will generally operate fine there.


Use the kit to clamp the sensor bracket about midway between drive box and binnacle compass. Alternately, mount the sensor bracket on top of or under a console, shelf or horizontal surface, or on the side of a vertical surface, so the sensor is facing aft (A in the diagram above). Use an antennae mount with the pipe clamp kit to mount the sensor on a bulkhead (see drawing below).
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