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Old 01-17-2012
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Smart Pilot X-5

Would like to install a Raymarine SMART Pilot on my Pearson 32 Sailboat. Any advise?
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Old 01-17-2012
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Installation is fairly straightforward. I believe the X-5 has a gyro so you shouldn't need to figure out a way to install the rudder angle sensor (which can be a bit of a pain). Choosing a good location for the flux gate compass is always interesting, but they have good guidelines. The wheel drive ring is much improved over earlier models and goes on easily once you select the correct spoke pattern.

The Controller mounts below, the control head somewhere either on the binnacle, in a pod, or in some cases on a cockpit wall.. anywhere that's handy to the helm position.

You do need to be comfortable routing wires, usually up through the pedestal tubing which can be a challenge.

I found the instructions pretty easy to follow....
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Old 01-17-2012
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I say go for it! The X-5 is a great, and reliable system. I installed mine in a few hours on my Catalina 36, and used it to sail offshore from Norfolk, VA to Charleston, SC with no issues. Occasionally when the wind and seas picked up above the 30 knot mark, I would kick it off and hand steer, but those instances were far and few between.

Considering the size, and more importantly, weight of your boat, the X-5 will be more than suitable assuming you are sticking to coastal cruising, and light offshore stuff. There are more robust systems out there for world cruising, but from a value perspective, the X-5 is hard to beat.
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Old 01-18-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creedence623 View Post
I say go for it! The X-5 is a great, and reliable system. I installed mine in a few hours on my Catalina 36, and used it to sail offshore from Norfolk, VA to Charleston, SC with no issues. Occasionally when the wind and seas picked up above the 30 knot mark, I would kick it off and hand steer, but those instances were far and few between.

Considering the size, and more importantly, weight of your boat, the X-5 will be more than suitable assuming you are sticking to coastal cruising, and light offshore stuff. There are more robust systems out there for world cruising, but from a value perspective, the X-5 is hard to beat.
I'm glad to hear you are happy with your X5 as reviews have been mixed. Yours is the second or third C36 I've heard about that had good results, and my buddy is happy with his on a C34 although his drive unit fell apart before it was even installed and he had to get another.

Hopefully the issues with the weak drive unit have been resolved now. My AH4000 has died, and I can't rationalize the cost of a below deck unit, so I'll be installing an X5 before next season.
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Old 01-18-2012
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I'm looking forward to a third successful season with the Raymarine X5 on my Pearson 28. I purchased it in Jan 2010, and installed it the following June.

Overall, I'm very satisfied, but I had two issues with the installation.

1. The interface wiring to connect the unit to my Garmin GPS using NEMA 0183 was not very clear because the manufacturers don't use consistent nomenclature on their wiring diagrams. I eventually figured it out, but I'm inserting copies of the interface pages from the Garmin & Raymarine X5 installation manuals so you can get an idea what I mean. If you are connecting to a Raymarine GPS, this shouldn't be an issue. I thought I wrote down the final connections in my install guide, but it looks like I didn't. I should do that when the weather gets warmer so I'll have it documented.

2. When I went to install the unit in June I found that one of the mounting bushings on the X5 display head wasn't threaded properly, and I couldn't get the mounting stud thread to engage. I ended up going the first season with only 1 mounting stud instead of two becasue they told me it would take something like 6 weeks to turn around the unit for warranty repair, and it was the start of sailing season. I made due for the first season with one mounting stud, then shipped it back to Raymarine after the boat was hauled. They fixed it on the off season, and it was good to go for my 2nd season. [The sales guy who sold me the unit told me he had seen this issue on other Raymarine gear.] The brass mounting bushings are pressed into the back of the unit, and if they are inserted backwards at the factory, the mounting stud won't thread in. My advice is if you buy the unit in the off season, and aren't going to install it for a while, try treading the mounting studs into the bushings when you receive the unit so you can return the unit immediately rather than waiting 5 months like I did. They told me if I had returned it within 30 days, they would have exchanged it, but becasue it was 5 months after I bought it they would only repair it.


raymarine X5 smartpilot by chuckanastasia, on Flickr


garmin gpsmap wiring by chuckanastasia, on Flickr
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Old 01-19-2012
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I've been wondering why I'd want to interface the autopilot to my GPS. Yes it will display heading, track or whatever, but since my control head will be mounted somewhere close to the helm mounted GPS that already gives me that, I'm wondering why go to the trouble?

On a sailboat, I doubt I'll really care about the GPS feeding a pre-plotted course to the autopilot unless motoring. Our old autopilot wasn't interfaced and I never really had any issue with the boat not automagiclly turning at pre determined points.
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Old 01-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
On a sailboat, I doubt I'll really care about the GPS feeding a pre-plotted course to the autopilot unless motoring. Our old autopilot wasn't interfaced and I never really had any issue with the boat not automagiclly turning at pre determined points.
I agree... I have interfaced our RM autopilot with, first, a Garmin and now a Standard Horizon GPS via NMEA because the wires were there but don't really use it. There's some kind of disreprancy between what the GPS sends as a heading and what the pilot reads in the 'Track' mode - possibly a True/Mag confusion. At any rate I've not really bothered to delve into it further as I don't ever use that feature.
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I use the GPS interface / Autopilot alot. When I'm reaching to a waypoint, the GPS steers to the waypoint rather than to a fixed bearing. As the boat makes leeway, the GPS adjusts course continuously to arrive at the waypoint.

I have to motor half an hour up a twisty tidal river from the bay to my mooring I have a route programmed that lets the boat steer herself up the channel while I flake sails and put on the sail cover. Of course I keep an eye on where I'm going while doing this.
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Old 01-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckA View Post
I use the GPS interface / Autopilot alot. When I'm reaching to a waypoint, the GPS steers to the waypoint rather than to a fixed bearing. As the boat makes leeway, the GPS adjusts course continuously to arrive at the waypoint.

I have to motor half an hour up a twisty tidal river from the bay to my mooring I have a route programmed that lets the boat steer herself up the channel while I flake sails and put on the sail cover. Of course I keep an eye on where I'm going while doing this.
I'm not sure I see how this is better than pointing the boat where you want to go, then turning on the auto pilot to maintain that course.

We motored 50 miles home from the Governor's Cup in dead calm doing just that, adjusting 5-10 degrees left or right on occasion as needed. I don't think we ever put a waypoint in the GPS.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
I'm not sure I see how this is better than pointing the boat where you want to go, then turning on the auto pilot to maintain that course.
It's your preference. I sail on a bay with a lot of tidal current, and hence a significant sideways drift. If I steer to a bearing rather than a waypoint, I'ld end up making frequent corrections. If you just want the boat to go straight, you could consider securing the rudder and saving yourself a lot of money. You asked for input from X5 users, so I shared my experience. I'm not going to argue with you about it.
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