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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-23-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

I am researching autopilots for my CL Pedrick 36...displacement 16,000 lbs, cable/quadrant steering. I''m not interested in a wheel pilot and have decided to invest the bigger bucks into something rock solid and bullet proof, without overdoing it.

The currently installed, but inoperative, unit is rotary drive, so for ease of installation that''s the way I''m leaning. Any recommendations out there?

Mike
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Old 04-26-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

I have a Robertson/Simrad self contained hydraulic auto-pilot and it works better than any other I have used. It is expensive but rock solid.

I use the AP21 conroller with 25'' cord to be able to move around the boat and still have the controls at hand.

There are different junction boxes available depending on your need to interface the pilot with a computer, radar or other boat electronics. Controllers, junction boxes and a fluxgate compass affect the price.

The installation is relatively simple if you are familiar with this type of install. Brackets can be fabricated using G10 plastic. This material is very strong, non-ferrous and is easily cut and shaped.

We race alot and use one KVH fluxgate compass for instruments and dedicate the Robertson fluxgate to the autopilot. The junction box will interface with other manufacturer''s products.

I installed our''s so to be easily removed for racing. It takes about 5 minutes each way.
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Old 05-06-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

I amd just under your displacement. Simrad Robertson is what I have.

It solid. My neighrbor with 37 ft Trawlers have one too.
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Old 05-07-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

Thanks for the replies. Any advice on installation? My largest concern is the connection to the quadrant/rudder post.

Mike
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Old 05-10-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

is it the existing auto pilot control head that is non-functional or the below decks rotary drive mechanism that is not working?

(or did I mis-interpret, and you meant the existing unit is a wheel pilot)

There are some mfgs who say they support the replacment of a failed autopilot control head and reuse of a below decks rotary drive mechanism.

That particular change is still three down on my own 41''s list of projects, but I have two dock neighbors who like the ComNav heads they have installed. My existing rotary chain drive below decks seems to be plenty tough after three years of experience with it. Access and maint are certainly easy enough, so reuse is high on my list.
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Old 05-11-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

Edson makes a tiller arm that requires a single hole to be drilled through the rudder post. It takes a little time, but if you use a ''split point'' drill bit and low rpm on the drill, you can certainly do it. The bits are designed for metal, particularly stainless steel.

Bits can be found on mcmaster.com if you have trouble finding them in your area. I believe a split point has 135 degree tip angle.
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Old 05-11-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

paulmcquillan,

It sounds like we have identical setups. My original goal was to do as you suggest and retrofit a control head and use the existing rotary chain drive, which I assume to be OK, but a few early inquiries did not encourage me. The unit is built by Neco, a British company that apparently no longer deals in such small applications.

Which system do you have installed, and which companies have indicated they might support your rotary chain drive with a new control head?

Intuitively it seems to me that a linear drive would be superior to the chain and sprocket setup but by no means am I an expert. My assumption that I could merely replace a faulty control unit at far less cost is tempered by the fact that the system may be nearly 20 years old and perhaps at the end of its useful life.

Any other thoughts out there? Thanks to all..

Mike

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Old 05-11-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

Take a look at the Whalepilot by WH Autopilots in Washington state. Guarantee you won''t regret it. The Dashews have been sailing around the world on their Deerfield 65 with one. You will always be dealing with the owner of the company. He gave me his home phone number in case I had any install questions during hours the office was closed.
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Old 05-11-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

ComNav offers their control heads for retrofit, and their web site has a large cross reference list

http://www.comnavmarine.com/

Look in their autopilot section. For rotary drives you may also need to call their service department to verify the control interface. Seems to be oriented to serving the commercial /military autopilot market, but happy to work with sailors.

More info at
http://www.comnavmarine.com/html/cmnv2200.htm

Your brand is listed there.

I am looking at their 1500 (aka NX2) in order to get the interface to the Nexus insturments including wind data.
Paul
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Old 05-12-2004
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Good Belowdecks Autopilot

Paul,

Thanks for the reference. I had given up on the retrofit option but now for the first time I have a ray of hope! The ComNav site is the first resource I''ve researched that even acknowledges that my brand exists.

I''ll let you know how this turns out...

Mike

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