Ask PYS: Autopilots

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Does PYS Offer Consulting Services?, on Aug 16, 2016 asked:

I have seen your YouTube videos of the boat show classes. Nice work! You are knowledgeable. Since I am in San Diego, I cannot come in and see you, but am wondering if you are available for hire as a consultant? My wife and I are having a 53 foot offshore sailing catamaran built that we plan to circumnavigate. I specified B&G over Raymarine, since I have heard from multiple sources that Raymarine’s quality was low over the past few years, but is now improving under FLIR. However, I hear B&G is still good quality, fewer repairs. In addition, B&G has a plant in Ensenada, Mexico which is 70 miles away. I am not an engineer, therefore my trade-off is to have less bells and whistles and/or “technical” systems in exchange for fewer repairs and quality construction since we are going to be in remote places and I don’t want to deal with repairs in or out of civilization. The builder will install the chosen system and space is available for any size. Can I hire you for your advice? -Bryan

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Scott - External Compass, on Jan 13, 2014 asked:

I was reading your web review of the Raymarine ST2000 tiller pilot which I use. You list a "pro" as being able to use an external compass, but I have seen information on the Raymarine website that the tiller pilots won't override their internal compass. I would like to confirm if you have tested this successfully or have a definitive source. The ultimate solution is to upgrade to one of the new EV-1 or EV-2 systems with a tiller pilot but it is a bit out of my price range right now so looking to find a lower cost solution.

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John, on Sep 03, 2013 asked:

Hi Jeff, what are various choices to enhance my navigation system?

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Rob, on Feb 02, 2012 asked:

I have a Raymarine X5 wheel autopilot. Is it possible to use the X5 autopilot to drive a hydraulic pump for a beefier autopilot?

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Tom, on Aug 31, 2011 asked:

I have another Raymarine autohelm question for you. Ours seems to be possessed. Sometimes it tracks fine and other times we hit "auto" and either get a "no data" message or the wheel suddenly spins half a turn in either direction, sending us veering off course and scrambling to cancel the autopilot. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it will do this - it is unpredictable to the point that we never use it. We have been careful to keep winch handles and other metallic objects clear of the fluxgate compass. Any suggestions?

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Tom, on Aug 04, 2011 asked:

Can an iPad loaded with Navionics software be linked to a Raymarine autopilot system? We have a Raymarine autopilot - about 2007 - not sure of the model. We were thinking of getting a chartplotter but were recently impressed by a fellow boater's iPad/Navionics app. Is it possible to link the iPad to the autopilot?

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Dawn, on Jun 21, 2011 asked:

I'm looking for a way to attach my Mac laptop to my existing GPS so that I have a bigger screen for planning and record keeping purposes. It would have to be autopilot interactive. The only software I have found does not include Canadian waters. Any Mac friendly thoughts?

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Martin, on Jun 15, 2011 asked:

We are currently about 500 nm west of San Diego en route to the Marquesas. My Raymarine ST6002 SmartPilot was working when I went into a Marina in San Francisco but when we came out the control display is reading "Seatalk failure" and the unit doesn't work. My manual says to check connections. I've checked the Seatalk connection in the back of the instrument pod and also the connections going into the computer. There is also a 2 amp fuse on the board next to the Seatalk connection. There is still continuity on this fuse. Nothing I've tried changes the error message. Any ideas on things to try bearing in mind how far offshore I am? I was wondering if our recently installed NMEA connections or else the proximity to the now actively used Icom AT 140 antenna tuner for my Ham radio may have caused a problem or caused RF interference. Just a thought. Anyway if you have any ideas on things I could try it would be much appreciated.

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Sean, on Jul 14, 2010 asked:

I'm trying to decide which autopilot to buy for my 26' Seaswirl Striper. The Garmin GHP10 seems like the right unit for my boat considering my navigation system is Garmin. Any comments on the GHP10 unit? Also, what's the purpose of the Garmin shadow drive?

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Mark, on Sep 15, 2009 asked:

I recently installed a complete Raymarine navigation package, which includes an E80, 4kW radar, ST60+ instruments, and an S1 autopilot. The radar overlay-onto-chart feature is one of the main reasons I upgraded my whole navigation system. Frustratingly, the radar overlay doesn't always align with the chart, even though I've tried calibrating numerous times. What is going on here?

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