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Learning the HARD way...
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[rant]
In 2016 I purchased a complete Raymarine Electronics package including an EV-100 Autopilot a Raymarine Ray 50 VHF and a Raymarine eS78 Chart Plotter. Later that year I also installed a Vesper XB-8000 AIS transponder. For the first year, I was quite happy.

In 2017 Raymarine released their Lighthouse III software and suggested that I may want to upgrade. I did the upgrade, and suddenly my depth sounder (the "S" in the eS78) stopped working. AIS targets also behaved strangely. I could now see heading lines for all AIS equipped vessels within range. Suddenly a red line would appear across my chart because some boat was doing 30 knots 5 miles away from me. I called Raymarine support, and they suggested that I might be better served by un-installing the latest software, and reinstalling the Lighthouse II software. Hmmm...

I also purchased Raymarine Lighthouse II raster charts which were discontinued before my subscription expired. They were replaced by Lighthouse charts that were incompatible with the chart manager that Raymarine mad me install on my PC. Frankly, Raymarine's electronic charting is a hot steaming mess.

Two days ago I had a friend engage the EV-100 autopilot while he was at the helm. The autopilot disengaged. He reengaged it, and I watched as the clutch lever rotated itself and disengaged the autopilot again. This is a known issue with these autopilots, and the fix is to mess with the belt tension, which I have done before, as documented in this thread; Raymarine autopilot disengages by itself (FIX FOR)

SURPRISE! This was not the problem! This time it seems that the Wheel Pilot Drive Ring had several cracks in it. Instead of being made from fiber reinforced plastic, the drive ring is simply brittle plastic! Once the cover was removed, the drive ring came out of the housing in three pieces! In addition, the boss on the rear cover to which one of the screws that hold the drive clutch in place had broken. Once again - BRITTLE non-reinforced PLASTIC!

My options to fix are to purchase the drive ring from some internet vendor in Spain for over $100, and the rear cover for over $150. Or to purchase a complete new drive unit for over $500. After trying to glue the drive wheel back together, and then trying for an hour to reinstall the bearings I decided to spend the $500.

I have had this system for 4½ years. EVERY year there has been at least one issue.

My next electronics upgrade will be to ditch the entire Raymarine electronics fiasco.
[/rant]
 
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Not to be dismissive of what you're experiencing, but you've reminded me why I don't buy any of the crap.
 

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Brutal. Sorry to hear that E. As you suspect, I think whoever gave you the advice to upgrade the software may have lead you astray. Your unit is still advertised with Lighthouse II software, as best I can tell.

The broken bits are a gut punch. Anything you can think of that would have applied a force to them to wear them out prematurely, or are you clear they're just junk.

My brand new Raymarine equip from last season is so far, so good. I did have one bad plotter out of the box, but quickly replaced. I haven't passed the mark you started having serious trouble yet. I think my installer gives a three year warranty. I think.
 

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They lost me too. Installed in 2016, wow, I'm unhappy about our installation that's EOL from 2009. We put new e series MFD's in when the boat was built in 2009. They started getting flaky, crashing intermittently, never at a good time (they know when you need them). Was advised not to software update, because I might brick them. I was advised by Raymarine that they discontinued support for e series. I get it, things move on, but the thing is we install this stuff into our furniture and it's ain't cheap. I expected to get more than 12 years out of it....I guess that's too much these days...and you're talking 4 1/2 years. Now installing Garmin. Of course new MFD's mean new Radar on the stick. Yea, I know the new stuff is "better," but I'm not doing this for functionality, I was fine, I'm doing it because it's broken and Raymarine doesn't support it.
 

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hmmmm... I have an old C-90 MFD w/ radar and I never liked the interface and several years ago had problems with fixes.... May be their antenna module and perhaps old charts and software. Based on my experience I would not use or recommend RayMarine. When I do an upgrade it will be B&G Zeus and Tritons N2K.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
All Raymarine products have a 2 year warranty, extended to 3 years if the product registration is completed.

I can still buy a Navionics or C-Map chart for the plotter, and I suppose that I could buy a New Lighthouse card for it as well. What Raymarine SHOULD have done is release (or sell) the NOAA Chart to [obsolete] chart plotter conversion software. Raymarine, Navionics and C-Map try to sell the new features of their charting, and they could continue to do so.

For route planning I still use PolarView NS on my Laptop with the latest NOAA charts downloaded directly from the NOAA site. Polar Navy went dark in December of 2019, but their software has been bulletproof!

The wheel pilot failure is inexcusable. There is NO reason that I can fathom why the plastics that are used are not fiber reinforced - other than planned obsolescence.

In my circumstance; I am planning to bring the boat back from FL to RI in May (with the Admiral!), I NEED the autopilot to work, and I need it soon. I have therefore bought another wheel pilot drive unit [E12093] (found online for about $520). If this one goes, then I will look to install a Garmin linear drive, or upgrade the boat!
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #7
Brutal. Sorry to hear that E. As you suspect, I think whoever gave you the advice to upgrade the software may have lead you astray. Your unit is still advertised with Lighthouse II software, as best I can tell.
When you register the software, Raymarine adds you, or perhaps I opted in, to an email distribution that touts all the new features of their latest update. They officially only support their latest versions, so if you don't update you get left behind. Therefore, I installed the update. I didn't think that it would stop the depth sounder from working on a two year old at that time unit. The tech support guy did not technically advise me to de-rev the software. I stated that I was considering removing the latest version because this release of their software was causing my unit to behave unacceptably. He stated that (de-reving) is what he would do if it was his unit, so that is what I did. The tech guided me through the process.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #8
Here is a diagram of the guts of the wheel pilot;
138490


The parts that have broken because they are CHEAP non reinforced PLASTIC are #24, and #11. (The part number for this assembly, by the way is A18081.) The drive motor places a fair amount of strain on both of these parts, and Raymarine does not sell these components, or even the A18081, in the US.

Trying to get the 21 stainless steel bearings (why not Delrin?) back into the wheel is a treat...
 

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I guess you've all heard my Raymarine rant over and over again so, I'll not repeat it.
Our 2 Garmin chartplotters, radar, and XM weather module were installed in 2009 and got a lot of use over the years. All the gear is still working fine and the biggest repair I had to do was change the screen, a 20 minute plug and play job. Unfortunately, when it does come time to replace, I will have to replace everything except the aft cabin 'tattle tale' chart plotter, but it most likely won't network with the new gear, so I'll run it independently, and as a back up.
I've been looking, as that time may come soon, but I still have trouble finding electronics of Garmin quality and with the features I will actually use, at a comparable price. If I could afford it, I'd go with Furuno commercial gear, but I'm afraid that's a tad beyond my budget.
 

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Here is a diagram of the guts of the wheel pilot;

The parts that have broken because they are CHEAP non reinforced PLASTIC are #24, and #11. (The part number for this assembly, by the way is A18081.) The drive motor places a fair amount of strain on both of these parts, and Raymarine does not sell these components, or even the A18081, in the US.

Trying to get the 21 stainless steel bearings (why not Delrin?) back into the wheel is a treat...
They make extra thick, sticky never seize and lubricants that are made with your problem in mind. Goop up the receiving surface, then place the bearings in their spots and the goo will hold them in place during reassembly, then act as the lubricant thereafter.
Ask at an auto parts place and be sure you get the copper based stuff, as it works very well with SS/alloy connections.
 
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Meanwhile my 2001 Raymarine stuff is still working fine except for the radar. Had to replace the autopilot computer and control head 6 years ago and the drive motor 4 years ago (if I had been home I bet I could have replaced the brushes on it)
 

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Here is a diagram of the guts of the wheel pilot; View attachment 138490

The parts that have broken because they are CHEAP non reinforced PLASTIC are #24, and #11. (The part number for this assembly, by the way is A18081.) The drive motor places a fair amount of strain on both of these parts, and Raymarine does not sell these components, or even the A18081, in the US.

Trying to get the 21 stainless steel bearings (why not Delrin?) back into the wheel is a treat...
Why don't you install a below decks AP?
Most interface with are driven via a plotter/GPS...
I have an Alpha3000 which is very robust but does not interface with GPS.. you dial the course you want and the AP holds the could.... like telling a helmsman... steer 135°... and they do it perfectly.

I don't do much route planning... ie program a sequence into a plotter. I do some "planning" with a plotter... usaually Navionics as I prefer the interface to the Plotter. But underway I select waypoints as needed... enter the coordiates and then get the steering info and computed DTW, TTG, CTW and so on.

Some pilots will steer to wind data. Seems to me that you would need a trim rather than a course change in most circumstances.
 

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I my boat has factory installed Raymarine instruments, autopilot and MFD. The only problem I have had was a failed DST transducer, which is not unexpected after 10 years in the water. (Raymarine doesn't even make the transducer) . Everything else is still working flawlessly. My interactions with tech support while troubleshooting the transducer problem was very good. They responded quickly and were very helpful.

It is troubling to hear about the broken wheel pilot gear, but one has to wonder if there is some specific reason it failed. They have been making those units for many years and there are likely millions of them in use. They can't be all bad.

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #14
I my boat has factory installed Raymarine instruments, autopilot and MFD. The only problem I have had was a failed DST transducer, which is not unexpected after 10 years in the water. (Raymarine doesn't even make the transducer) . Everything else is still working flawlessly. My interactions with tech support while troubleshooting the transducer problem was very good. They responded quickly and were very helpful.

It is troubling to hear about the broken wheel pilot gear, but one has to wonder if there is some specific reason it failed. They have been making those units for many years and there are likely millions of them in use. They can't be all bad.

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
There are MANY posts on SailNet and elsewhere of people having trouble with these things. One issue described in this thread is that some users/customers use the wheel helm clutch as a wheel brake to secure the rudder when they are not aboard. - Guilty! - Although I don't recall reading anywhere in the manual not to do this. Going forward, I will be using the knob.
 
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There are MANY posts on SailNet and elsewhere of people having trouble with these things. One issue described in this thread is that some users/customers use the wheel helm clutch as a wheel brake to secure the rudder when they are not aboard. - Guilty! - Although I don't recall reading anywhere in the manual not to do this. Going forward, I will be using the knob.
Yeah maybe that is why no other major manufacturer makes a wheel drive system. There are so many variables that can stress those gears. Excessive helm load, external wheel locks, incorrect DIY installs or inappropriate applications.

It does sound like they should have used a tougher plastic for the ring gear. That may be a cost saving measure or a manufacturing defect.

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

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Brutal. Sorry to hear that E. As you suspect, I think whoever gave you the advice to upgrade the software may have lead you astray. Your unit is still advertised with Lighthouse II software, as best I can tell.

The broken bits are a gut punch. Anything you can think of that would have applied a force to them to wear them out prematurely, or are you clear they're just junk.

My brand new Raymarine equip from last season is so far, so good. I did have one bad plotter out of the box, but quickly replaced. I haven't passed the mark you started having serious trouble yet. I think my installer gives a three year warranty. I think.
Be careful with the RayMarine world wide warrenty because, according to RayMarine, the whole of the caribbean is not in The world, you have to courier bits back to the USA at your own cost to get them fixed. The loacl dealers will not honour the warrenty
 

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The loacl dealers will not honour the warrenty
That's interesting, because our local dealer in RI also have an office in the Caribbean. I haven't called upon them down south, but assume I could. They've been very responsive to any service or warranty calls.
 

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In my circumstance; I am planning to bring the boat back from FL to RI in May (with the Admiral!), I NEED the autopilot to work, and I need it soon. I have therefore bought another wheel pilot drive unit [E12093] (found online for about $520). If this one goes, then I will look to install a Garmin linear drive, or upgrade the boat!
E - instead of a linear drive have you considered the CPT wheel pilot as an option?
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Discussion Starter #19
E - instead of a linear drive have you considered the CPT wheel pilot as an option?
Yeah, I am familiar with the CPT, and I know that it is a robust unit. I just can't get over its Heath-Kit appearance - The Admiral says it looks "archaic." I really don't like the exposed belt which connects the motor to the drive pulley.

Installation of a CPT would require installing a pedestal mounting bracket and rewiring which would rival installing a below deck unit from B&G.
 
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