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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Sailnet members!

I sail a Catalina 30 MK II in Lake Ontario. My nav instruments are a group of 3 (depth, windometer, autopilot) mounted at the helm binnacle. Recently my Windometer instrument has stopped working. I still get power to the display unit, but the arrow does not show where the wind direction is coming from or the speed of the wind. Iam not sure if it’s just a display problem or an issue w the instrument at the top of the mast.

If anyone has had a similar issue with their ST60 u it I’d love to hear how you diagnosed the problem and then fixed it. I hope to not have to replace the instruments because it sounds $$$.

Cheers
Dave
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I had the same thing happen on my ST 60. I diagnosed that the masthead sensors were okay by disconnecting the sensors wires from the instrument (display)

I put a ohm meter on the wires from the masthead sensors. One pair of wires showed a pulse in the conductivity. That pair of wires is the anemometer. The other pair showed conductivity but some resistance. That is the directional input.

I had carefully cleaned the contacts on the instrument and made sure it was getting power from the Seatalk connection. Even though there was power, neither the direction arrow or digital display reacted when I connected the power.

All combined, that convinced me that the instrument was dead rather than some other problem. I ultimately bought a used ST60+ Display and that has worked perfectly with the existing masthead sensors.

Jeff
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Jeff, that’s helpful. This may have to be an off-season project once the mast is unstepped.
If anyone else has experience with this kinda of problem I’d love to hear you overcame the issue. If I have to buy used I will , but I’d like to repair if possible. ST60’s are no longer being made.

Cheers
 

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Recently had the same problem aboard our committee boat which uses the ST60+ windometer as a standalone instrument. Turned out to be a simple solution. The conductor wires are stranded to the power bus. We found that potentially broken inner strands dropped current sufficiently that the instrument would power on, but not display functions. Checking wire integrity and reconnecting to the bus brought all functions back to life. We will be added soldered spade connectors at the bus during the off-season.
 

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Problems in the wiring between the mast sensor and the display are common. Some units allow the sensor to be plugged directly into the display to verify their operation. Don't know if the ST60 allows that. Connection at the base of the mast seem to be a particular problem.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Recently had the same problem aboard our committee boat which uses the ST60+ windometer as a standalone instrument. Turned out to be a simple solution. The conductor wires are stranded to the power bus. We found that potentially broken inner strands dropped current sufficiently that the instrument would power on, but not display functions. Checking wire integrity and reconnecting to the bus brought all functions back to life. We will be added soldered spade connectors at the bus during the off-season.
Problems in the wiring between the mast sensor and the display are common. Some units allow the sensor to be plugged directly into the display to verify their operation. Don't know if the ST60 allows that. Connection at the base of the mast seem to be a particular problem.
There is no doubt that there can be issues with the tiny wires used between the masthead and the instrument. This issue is also often exacerbated by the installation methods that often include a Euro-block style terminal block near the mast that is intended to facilitate removing the mast without having to cut the wires (or because someone cut the wires when the mast was removed at some point). . Because of the tiny wire size, it is hard to even find small enough wire spades and/or Euro-block style terminal connector blocks. Several years ago I spoke with a marine electrician who specialized in installing electronics on boats. Here are a couple of his suggestions on how to improve the reliability of those connections.
-At the terminal block: Strip more than four times the length of 26ga wire than will fit into the terminal block Fold the exposed end of the wire in half so that part of the bitter end of the wire overlaps on the insulation. Twist the two halves of the wire together. Use small heat shrink between the length of the wire that is required to fit into the terminal block and past the point where on the insulation where the folded wire overlaps the insulation. The heat shrink will reinforce the 26ga wire where it typically breaks at the end of insulation. The doubled wire will be stronger than the single wire. Doubling the wire will also make it easier to insert the ends of the wire into the sockets on the terminal block and will provide more surface area to make a connection with the clamp and bridge.
-Apply dielectric grease to the connection to minimize corrosion in the terminal block since these small gauge Euro style screw connectors often are not marine grade.
-Switch to a larger gauge wire (22 ga.) between the terminal block and the instrument. There is a limit to how big the wire gauge can be because of the tiny pan connectors that are installed at the instrument but even a small increase in wire size will make a huge difference in the reliability.
-Apply dielectric grease to the pan connections at the instrument.

In terms of diagnostics, turn off the system and start the diagnostics on in the instrument side of the terminal block (if there is one). Per my comments above, put a ohm meter on the wires from the masthead sensors. You can keep the system connected putting the probes onto the screw heads of the terminal block. One pair of wires should show a pulse in the conductivity. That pair of wires is the anemometer. The other pair should show conductivity but some resistance. That is the directional input.

If both of those are good, then the problem is at the connections to the instrument, If one pair or more is bad, then check the mast side of the terminal block. That requires removing the wires from the terminal block. If one pair is still bad, then you may have to strip those wires to do a more definitive test. If that still fails, then you have no easy choices since either the sensor died, of the connection between the sensor and the base went bad, of the base went bad, or the wire went bad somewhere in the mast, That can be checked first by removing the sensor from the base and checking that using the ohms meter per above. If that is good, then power up the system and check for current at the connector base on the masthead. If there is power at the pins, then reassemble the sensor to the base, and do the OHM test from the wires at the base of the mast., If all of those work, then at that point you will have proofed that the problem is not with the sensor or the wires in the mast.

Jeff
 

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Hey Sailnet members! I sail a Catalina 30 MK II in Lake Ontario. My nav instruments are a group of 3 (depth, windometer, autopilot) mounted at the helm binnacle. Recently my Windometer instrument has stopped working. I still get power to the display unit, but the arrow does not show where the wind direction is coming from or the speed of the wind. Iam not sure if it’s just a display problem or an issue w the instrument at the top of the mast. If anyone has had a similar issue with their ST60 u it I’d love to hear how you diagnosed the problem and then fixed it. I hope to not have to replace the instruments because it sounds $$$. Cheers Dave
I've had a variety of problems with my aging ST60 instruments. I don't want to do a total replacement because I have multiple displays and the cost is high to do so. There is a company in Florida called Seawire Marine. They're not cheap and can take a while to fix your unit but they will fix it and it was a better solution for me than upgrading the entire system
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for their thoughtful replies. Jeff, you have given me alot to think about but I should be able to diagnose and come up w a solution with the advice you have given me. Thanks for your thorough feedback!

thanks everyone,

Dave
 

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The following is from Raymarine and allows you to effectively and accurately diagnose connectivity issues on your ST60+ wind instrument. I did this just weeks ago and fixed my wind instrument at 0 cost. (Note: readings needs to be taken with the instruments powered ON. Since you say you’re getting power, you don’t need a DC power supply to conduct these diagnostics)

To perform the check, you will need a multimeter, and a DC power supply. You will need to supply 8v to the masthead across the red and shield connections. Normally the ST50/ST60/i60 display head would be energized and provide this 8V, however in your case, you may need to power the masthead transducer seperately.

With the multimeter, check the following:

Set the multimeter to the 20V DC scale.

Test at the connections on the rear of the display head, or at the base of the mast (if you have a junction box installed), making sure that everything is connected and powered.

- Red to shield should read 8V DC steady. This is the masthead power supply, coming from the ST50/ST60 display head. If the head is damaged, you may need to provide this power from another source to test the masthead.

- Blue to Shield should read anywhere between 2V and 5.8V DC.

- Green to Shield should read anywhere between 2V and 5.8V DC.


Blue and green are a sine-cosine wind angle pair, where the voltage on each will smoothly change within this range, as the windvane rotates. If you see a voltage significantly outside this range, or the voltage on either colour is static as the windvane rotates then you have a problem in cabling, masthead connector or transducer.

The wind angle is what instruments use to detect the presence of the transducer, so if you have an incorrect voltage here you will often see no wind data at all.

- Yellow to shield should read between 0V and 5V DC (the exact voltage depends on the instrument: 3.2V is typical for ITC5, more like 5V on ST60.)

This is the wind speed signal. The voltage will toggle between 0V and the maximum (3-5V), twice per rotation of the anemometer cups. At low wind-speeds you'll see each individual pulse, but at higher wind-speeds your multimeter will average the voltage, in which case the the faster the wind is blowing, the higher the voltage will read.

If you're seeing wind angle but wind speed is dashes (-.- rather than 0.0 or something else) then the problem probably isn't your wind system at all but that you're looking at True Wind and don't have speed-through-water data (from a paddle-wheel, not GPS.) Apparent wind is measured, True is calculated from AW and STW.

Should any of the above tests yield a constant 0V reading, then it would be recommended that the wind transducer cable be tested for continuity and shorts. If cable testing indicates a fault with the cable, then it will need to be repaired or replaced with a new masthead block/cable assembly.

Also, see Masthead Wind Transducer Test
 

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Thanks CLucas,

super helpful, I will take my multimeter later this week and test those connections you outlined.
Cheers SailNet community, very helpful,
Dave
Happy to help. In the tests above, ‘shield’ is the white wire. In my instance, everything was in range except on one wire - all good after that was repaired. I also went up the mast to re-seat the transducer and clean those connections. Didn’t hurt but that wasn’t the problem. My connection issue was where the cable came out of the mast (upstream of a small junction box forward of the bulkhead in the main cabin). For me it was easiest to start taking readings at the junction box first.
Good luck!
 
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