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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an Ray Marine X-5 Auto Pilot and I am looking for opinions on them. I have had mine for almost two years it has been back to the factory once for a bad clutch. The problem began again with 5 hours of use. Calm seas 12 knots wind. I used a bungee cord to hold it in place. TRied to call the factory service line. No answer They promise to call back with in 8 to 12 hours I believe been a month now. The control head crapped out next. Well the error message was drive head stopped working. It was like that for a day unitl the controller went black.
I was getting ready to leave on a 3 week cruise up the So Cal coast with just 2 might not happen now. The unit appears to be crap has never worked well for more than a few hours. The factory service line is none responsive.
Sorry Ray Marine but you are bad. It took 4 weeks to get it back the 1st time now a cruise maybe canceled. our service line is worthless.
Is it just my unit or me or have others had problems with Ray Marine. I am so disappointed in them
 

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So far My opinion is mixed. Installed the SPX-5 myself. Had to redo parts of the install due to the instructions being wrong.

Have about 400nm in the unit. Steers a decent course. Much louder than I anticipated. Disturbs the silence/serenity of sailing at times. At times it steering seems excessive to maintain course. The AutoTack function is my current irritation. Not configurable, only tacks 90 degrees. Tacks slowly killing boat speed and doesn't progress a few extra degrees before heading up to facilitate headsail fill.

Gripes aside, for the relatively low price it's been great to be free of the tyranny of steering. Now freed up to trim sails or help chase the kids around the boat. Also an essential piece of equipment for singlehand ing.

Josh
 

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...At times it steering seems excessive to maintain course...
Does it have adjustable gain and/or response? Or even better, does it have "AutoSeastate" feature? These things will allow you to reduce the steering, and reduce battery drain.

On my autopilot (different model from yours) I have the gain setting as a default data page so I can change it on the fly. I find that different settings are needed under different sea states.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had trouble with the install to there where two install manuals one for and older model but no where is that mentioned. I finally had to hire some one who was familiar with the unit. The steer course never corresponds with the compas but I can adjust for that. I just want the thing to steer the boat at this point. The opposite angle tack that it talks abvout would be nice if it worked but so far its a no go
 

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I had trouble with the install to there where two install manuals one for and older model but no where is that mentioned...
Check again. It's there in section 1.4 "Adjusting pilot performance"
...I finally had to hire some one who was familiar with the unit. The steer course never corresponds with the compas but I can adjust for that. I just want the thing to steer the boat at this point...
How competent was this person that you hired? Did he take the boat out and drive it around in circles? I'm not joking - he should have done that.

If your fixed compass is adjusted correctly and your AP does not agree with it, there are several possible causes. The biggest cause could be that you have the AP set to display true compass readings, would would cause about a 12 degree error where you are (assuming this is set in the AP). This is the amount of magnetic variation (or declination) where you are. Setting it to display magnetic headings will make it agree better with your fixed compass.

Another cause of this problem may be that your AP has not been properly calibrated for magnetic deviation. This should only be done after you've placed all the metallic accessories, computers, radios, etc. relative to your AP's fluxgate compass. If your hired expert did not do this, or you've moved metallic stuff around on the boat since he did it, then you are going to need to do it yourself. Put your AP into Seatrial mode and drive in slow circles, as described in Chapter 3 of your Installation and Setup Guide.

If all this sounds crazy to you, then you can just live with your autopilot not being properly configured. But if you want it to work properly, this stuff is what you need to do.

If you don't know the difference between variation and deviation, then you might also want to consult a reference on marine navigation. [EDIT: Just checked your profile - looks like you definitely know about this stuff. Please disregard this comment.]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did all of those things and it may be the deviation I don't recall what the difference is was when it was working. Like I said at this point I just want it to work. The deviation here I believe is 12 or 13d west.
thanks when it gets working I'll mess with it some more
 

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Also, just what exactly did your bungee cord hold in place? Was this a permanent installation or a temporary fix?

For what it's worth, I recently sent an i70 instrument to Raymarine for service and received the repaired unit back within a week--not bad service.
 

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I did all of those things and it may be the deviation I don't recall what the difference is was when it was working. Like I said at this point I just want it to work. The deviation here I believe is 12 or 13d west.
thanks when it gets working I'll mess with it some more
After re-reading your original post, I realize that your issues are deeper than the setup process. Faulty clutch, control head going black, and lousy response from customer service are big issues that go way beyond what I mentioned.

I agree with you - fix those other things first, then worry about proper setup parameters.
 

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Regarding the installation instructions, someone posted this blog which details the issues:
http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexchange/entry.php?130-Installing-the-Raymarine-SPX-5-Part-2&

The correct wiring diagram is here:
http://api.ning.com/files/VrpMXk5gF...wqslpEm66h-/SPX5p70WheelPilotInstallation.pdf

Note that the control head and SeaRalkNG network require a second power input. The control head cannot source power from main unit. Previously control heads such as the ST60 could be powered from the unit but not the i70.

Could be causing issues if wired by the original instructions. Might not work at all, never powered mine on wired incorrectly.

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After I messed with the installation for a bit I hired a pro and he did get it working but we didn't sea trail long enough to get the clutch slipping. That took a few hours of use.
It seem like I am not the only person having problems at installation and with lousy RM and WM service. I hope this diagram that is attach is correct I an off to check it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The bungee cord went over the pedestal mount on the binnacle then goes to the motor that turns the wheel. When the clutch slips I can hook the cord over the clutch end. It is very easy to slip back and forth and it is a lite weight bungee.
 

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I installed mine about 4 years ago with ease. Noisy like others have described.
But here is a bit of a lengthy story about my experience with it and customer service. Hang on!

It worked great the first year. However just before warranty was set to expire, it started acting very poorly, would not hold course well and any heading change, even small ones, was a challenge as the boat was hunting back and forth and the motor was working like crazy. None of my settings were changed from the time it worked like a champ...

I re-calibrated it, played with Gain, Rudder Damp, etc. no good.
I called Raymarine and the guy said it had to be the course computer. I suspected the motor but he said no.
So I sent the course computer to them (at my cost) and they returned it a couple of weeks later, saying there was nothing wrong with it but it needed sofware updates and that was probably the problem. Hum. I am not the brightest star in the sky but why would it work perfectly and all of the sudden it starts working poorly just because they come out with a software update? :confused::confused:
Anyway.
I put everything back together, re-calibrated it and played with it for a bit but was running out of time, it seemed to work but I still didn't feel like it was as crisp as before when asking for heading changes. I figured I would have to play with the settings at a different time.
A few months went by without really using the boat and the next time I went for a three day trip, the motor simply stopped working about an hour out.
I opened up the motor housing and saw that one of the motor wires had come off and both wires were completely twisted around each other, to the point that it pulled one of them off.
What had happened was the motor casing is held in place by a tiny little plastic tab in the housing and that tab had worn off so the motor did not have anything to hold onto, so whenever it would run, the front gear would hold it in place while the case and the whole motor would spin until the wire were twisted enough to offer resistance and then it had something to grab onto and now it would turn the gears on the wheel belt.
Of course when going the other way to re-center the rudder after the proper turn was achieved it would do the thing in reverse and the wheel would not move until the wires were un-twisted then twisted all the way in the other direction and the motor could grab again.
That explained of course the very sluggish turns and course tracking.
And all this came to an end when the wires were twisted enough to pull one of the lead.

Sooooo, I contacted Raymarine and explained the problem and the history with this, they said it was out of warranty but they would be happy to sell me a new motor + housing. I explained that this was due to a poor design of the housing but the guy said he had not heard of any issues with it.
Having no choice, I bought all that.
Guess what? The new housing that came had been a re-engineered and now featured two much stronger tabs to keep the motor in place. Now the unit works fine, just like it did when it was first installed.
So I called BS on that and contacted Raymarine again, even sent then pictures of my failed motor. Nobody ever responded and when I called they blew me off.
All this should have been covered under the warranty because that was the problem all along when it was first discovered and the unit was still under warranty and the tech guy had said it couldn't be the motor but it had to be the course computer, but the guy now said it was out of warranty and basically I was out of luck :mad:
Sorry for the lengthy description but I am still ticked off about it.
I think Raymarine's customer service sucks.
And of course, I am a cheap little customer compared to their big customers buy the $8000 chartplotters and such :rolleyes:
Anyway, that's my story about the X5.
Works fine now, still noisy.
Customer service is awful :mad:
 

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Thanks for the heads up on this autopilot and your experience with it. I am presently looking for a new autopilot because my old Autohelm 4000 just died. I am unable to afford a really good pilot right now but need somthing since i single hand. I was looking at one of these new old stock on ebay but sounds like it would be a waste of money. I since went back and totally have torn apart my old 4000 and determined it was the motor that has failed ,just like yours, so I managed to overcome years of salt corrosion that had migfrated into the housing threds and finnaly seperated the halves of the motor housing. Guess what? Found a broken WIRE !! SAME THING moter twisted in housing but in the case of the autohelm there was a small metal pin that had pprevbented i from turning in the housing but on mine the pin had corroded(actually believe their might have been two pins because there are two small holes 180degrees apart and one had the corroded pin the other nothing. so I resoldered wire and got a pin from a watch band and fitted that in and now pilot back in working order again. SO good to go for now but obviously in the market for a new pilot
 
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