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Thread: When is it time to replace your autopilot? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-20-2007 08:46 PM
speciald I have broken 4 Edson armatures on my hydraulic Raymarine autopilot. I'm not sure whether the problem was the installation (steering beyond the rudder stop) or the strength of the hydraulic ram but I have reduced the steerage angle to avoid hitting the rudder stops and have installed an Edson "mark 2" armature that has been "beefed-up". Wish me luck on my trip to Tortloa. I will carry a spare armature. Also be sure to blow th carbon out of the brush ports as it will build up and stop the hydraulic pump.
10-20-2007 08:19 PM
davedl Teshannon,
I also have an autohelm 6000, close to 10 years old, on my 40', 20,000 # Jeanneau, and it behaves beautifully. No wandering unless waves are pretty big. As I remember, there is another adjustment besides rudder sensitivity, perhaps a damping adjustment or something like that. My manual isn't available now, but there should be some information available. Perhaps (gasp!) talk with Raymarine. A stinkpot friend had a similar problem but he eventually solved it. So don't give up - you probably have an excellent autopilot that just needs to be set up right.
10-19-2007 05:41 PM
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Well you can go with anecdotes or with the industry:
When the plastic clip on my Navico/Simrad autopilot broke last year, the service department sent me a free one, no charge, no hassle.....
10-18-2007 10:54 PM
camaraderie Gemini...just took a look...they look pretty good. I know the company from GPS. How long have they been making autopilots? Looks like an Aussie company...Wombat & others...any comments?
10-18-2007 10:34 PM
GeminiDaze Well, you better take a look at NavMan.... I installed one on my Cascade 42 with hydralic steering and it worked as well as the Raymarine I have on my Jeanneau. Price is right and service has been good.
10-18-2007 10:29 PM
teshannon Cam,
I'm still planning on going with the Simrad unit. I'm looking at the AP26 with an ARP75 AccuSteer pump unit and a HLDX Ram. May be a bit of overkill but if I'm going to spend the money I may as well do it right.
10-18-2007 10:27 PM
GeminiDaze Autopilots only make adjustments based on other equipment, i.e. compass, rudder angle indicator, charplotter, etc. You have three major adjustments that need to be calibrated to give you more directional stability. Rudder angle, dampening and (damn hate it when my mind goes blank but it is rate the rudder is turned).

Go back to your books and see what affects each has and try making the adjustments so it works a little smoother. Another thing that you need to do if you are always going off in the same direction is compensate the compass. Most systems autocompensate if you turn a slow lazy 2 minute turn through 360 degrees. Sometimes it takes more than one. Also look by your autocompass and make sure you haven't left any electrical, electronic or metal objects near it. That will always throw you off.

Example. I have a Raymarine system on my 2002 Jeanneau 43 DS. When I bought it last November, all the elecectronics and instruments were so out of calibration that nothing was correct. Previous owner didn't have it out of the slip in 2 years. I took everything back to factory setting and started from scratch.

Traveling North from San Diego to the Columbia river the Autopilot never failed and only veered off by roughly 3 degrees each direction and that was because we were in gale and strong gale force winds so the waves were the actual culprit.

Good Luck.
10-18-2007 09:34 PM
camaraderie Well you can go with anecdotes or with the industry:

BTW...they are NOT the successor to Autohelm...Raymarine is:
so I guess they must have been building stuff for Autohelm ??? Anyone know for sure???

If you want Raymarine support anecdotes try here:

The WH autopilots seem to be dated looking and "klunky" but recieve high marks for reliability if you want a different choice:
10-18-2007 03:50 PM
teshannon OI41,
Thanks for that input, it has me re-thinking things.
10-18-2007 02:51 PM
OI41PourquoiPas I can tell you from first-hand experience that Simrad is the worst company I have ever dealt with for customer support. They are actually the successor company to Autohelm. I had an Autohelm hydraulic (I believe it was an 8000) that actually had less than 100 hours of use. I don't remember exactly how long I had had it but it could not have been more than six or seven years old. The pump, motor and gyro were all working but the board had failed. When I went to Simrad for a replacement board they were not at all helpful. They said they were not repairing the board and they no longer offered replacements. They left me with the sole choice of buying a complete new system at several thousand dollars. They told me that since I had gotten so little use out of their product they would offer me a discount on a complete new system since the parts were not interchangeable. When they told me what they would sell it to me for I went to Defender Marine to compare prices. Their "compensation" price was actually higher than I could have bought it for from Defender. Some customer service! I decided I would never again buy one of their products and I went to Ray Marine which the installing tech told me actually gave less problems than the Simrad. In many years of dealing with manufacturers of marine equipment Simrad stand out as the most arrogant, indifferent company I have ever dealt with.
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