Which Tiller Pilot - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-23-2011 Thread Starter
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Which Tiller Pilot

Seems as if my friends on the Cape Dory Board have declined to help, so we'll try here.
I have a Cape Dory 25 with a full deep keel, 3' draft displacing 4000 lbs.
In the market for a tiller pilot and trying to decide on either a Raymarine ST 1000, or a Simrad TP 10. or other??
More interested in reliability and durability than cost.
The venue is the Delaware bay (read very bumpy) and near off shore.
Any input would be gratefully appreciated.

Dick
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-23-2011
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To help the durability of any tiller pilot make a sunbrella cover or sleave for it . That will help keep the salt and water out and off shaft, It will prolong the life of any tiller pilot sometimes the weather proff claims are not worth testing. Raymarine S-1 or better yet X-5 for that full keel and faster response time.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-24-2011
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I have a Simrad TP10 on an approx 7000 lb Cat 27, and I have had zero problems for over 10 years so far.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-24-2011
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I bought a Simrad TP10, after its 4th failure (always at the start of a long cruise) I stopped dreaming about it ever being useful and bought an ST2000. No ST1000s in stock at the time and I was off on 4 weeks on the water. The St2000 has performed perfectly since replacing the TP10.

The ST2000 has logged many miles without any signs of issues.

Don't despair if you buy a TP10, when you finally give up and replace it, the ST1000 fits exactly in the same spot, a change of wiring plug and you will get years of excellent service.

My only issue is what to do with the dead TP10, I would not give it to my worst enemy working or stuffed, nobody is that bad.
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Last edited by INMA; 09-24-2011 at 10:17 AM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-24-2011
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I think THIS guy will say the ST1000 is NOT better than the TP10
Struggling to diagnose dysfunctional Raymarine ST1000-Plus Tiller-Pilots

Whatever you chose, please report back, and let us know what you think.
His resolution was to pay way more than he should have, for the ST2000, for a 22 foot boat!

I would really want to do this too, my boat is a 22 Capri, and not nearly as heavy/long as your boat. but I think it has more to do with how light a helm you have for the boat, then actual weight/waterline.

By the way, THAT guy? The regional class association president for the Catalina 22 association... NOT someone you want to make an enemy with if you are a boat electronics manufacturer. I actually feel bad for how he was treated.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-24-2011
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I just read the information on the ST1000 failures and the ST2000 failure.

One obvious cause of all those problems would be excessive load on the tiller causing the ST1000 to stall its electric motor and the ST2000 to break its gear drive.

I have no evidence of the loads on the tiller or the leverage and angles the machines are working through but the failures suggest something is very wrong with the rudder and tiller.

When my TP10 kept failing, the importer implied it was an installation problem, the dealer inspected the installation and confirmed there were no issues. 2 years of successful use of the ST2000 in the same installation indicates my TP10 failed due to other issues (its build quality was poor). In addition my TP10 had different types of failures, not the same failure repeated.

I forgot to mention one other thing I learnt, always store a tiller pilot with the top side up. The electronics are in the top of the unit and if there is any water in the unit, it won't get on the electronics if its stored top up.

I never bothered calibrating my ST2000, its only essential if your using the compass for navigation and I like the compass on the ST2000 because it indicates its working.
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-25-2011
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I bought the ST2000+. When I was sailing in decent cruising grounds I wanted to be able to network it with the wind indicator and the GPS. However, I used the Autohelm 1000 that came with the boat for few years before it died and it did not have all the fancy options. I chose the larger size because of the mechanics inside and I wanted to have more force available than I was usually going to need. And, if I get too much money burning a hole in my pocket I can buy a wireless remote so I can steer the boat while sitting on the bow.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-25-2011
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St1000/2000 Bad installation maybe??

Oh come on, the common problem for those three TP was the person mounting them. He may be the "president" of regional Catalina 22 association but that doesn't mean he didn't make a mistake in the wiring / power source.

If you take the time to read through all of his posts, he comes up with this gem:

"I’m beginning to think the problem is on my end: something to do with its power source being interrupted. It worked better when I was using the new wiring harness as a backup, wired directly to the battery with alligator clips, so I’m going to wire the power leads directly to the battery and see if that helps."

I ran across a similar issue. I ran my St1000 to a wire that originally went to my outboard for charging my battery. Everything functioned perfectly with it.

I later installed a small 20 watt solar panel to keep my batteries charged up while on the trailer. The first time out with the new solar system, the ST1000 did the same thing as the "president" described. I thought it was pretty weird as I showed to have 12 volts to it. Then it occurred to me, I had installed a solar controller right before the batteries. The diode in the controller was preventing power from the batteries to run the TP. The TP would operate fine when the full sun was on the panel because it was producing enough amps. But with clouds, the amperage would drop too far down and the TP would start acting up.

I don't know what his problem was, but I bet he didn't have enough amps available.



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Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I think THIS guy will say the ST1000 is NOT better than the TP10
Struggling to diagnose dysfunctional Raymarine ST1000-Plus Tiller-Pilots

Whatever you chose, please report back, and let us know what you think.
His resolution was to pay way more than he should have, for the ST2000, for a 22 foot boat!

I would really want to do this too, my boat is a 22 Capri, and not nearly as heavy/long as your boat. but I think it has more to do with how light a helm you have for the boat, then actual weight/waterline.

By the way, THAT guy? The regional class association president for the Catalina 22 association... NOT someone you want to make an enemy with if you are a boat electronics manufacturer. I actually feel bad for how he was treated.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-25-2011
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Guys, I hope you read the whole post... He wired it directly to a dedicated battery and still had problems. I agree he probably had too much stress on the tiller... but then again, you'd think the manufacturer would have taken the time to inspect his installation, at least ask for pictures? If you read through it they didn't even give him something to test when he went and replaced the parts.

Better question is, is the Cat 22 really so weather-helm prone to cause that much force? I mean, he wasn't sailing the 22 in "light" conditions, he was sailing it in some pretty heady waters for a 22.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-25-2011 Thread Starter
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First and most important, thanks to Fiasco1, jgeissinger, INMA, and SHNOOL
for their valuable and much appreciated input.
What appears to be emerging is that installation is critical, and heavy helm is very very bad.
Based on your input, I have decided to upgrade; looking at a TP22 or a ST2000. Will start by first trying to get (download?) owners manuals, and go from there.

Dick
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