Autopilot

Any comments, questions, stories about HR 29, this is the right place.
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Re: Autopilot

Postby tomblix » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:12 am

Hello everybody!
I`m a new user in this forum. My name`s Tom, our boats name is Lina - and we`re from Sandefjord in Norway. Well, enough about that.
I used to have a Raymarine ST2000+, but I found it to be not strong enough. It`s ok when motoring on a dead still sea, but in my opinion it could not cope with full sails. So - I sold it, and is now installing the new Raymarine EVO with a electric linear type 1 steering and an ACU200 instead. Some might call it overkill since this autopilot is dimensioned up to 11 tons, but since I sail quite a lot alone, I need to have a pilot that I can trust when the going gets rough (last year I experienced that the pilot could not keep me into the wind when I was reefing, and you all know what this means - sails that cannot be lowered…) Another advantage with the pilot is that it gets out of the way in the cockpit. All is installed in the rear compartment. So you can select auto and flip up the tiller and get a veritable dancing floor in the cockpit! A disadvantage of course is that its 4 times the price…...
Best regards from Tom

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Re: Autopilot

Postby Antti_DD » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:53 am

Hi Tom, and welcome to the forum! Feel free to add your boat in the "Welcome to the HR29 forum" section if you like!

I don't really think that one can overshoot (other than perhaps cost-wise) with autopilot selection, if you do a lot of singlehanded sailing. The problems with ST2000 type tiller pilots (namely the lack of power in higher winds and power consumption) made me to change to the Windpilot Pacific. But more about that in the Windvane topic...
Antti Laine, Forum Administrator
HR 29 # 483 "Dolphin Dance"
Blog: http://sydolphindance.com / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sydolphindance / Twitter: https://twitter.com/sydolphindance

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Re: Autopilot

Postby tomblix » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:38 pm

Hi

Autopilot or windvane…? I agree that a vane is probably "better" in many ways. At least thats what "everybody" on the web says. But it costs the same as a strong AP and as you yourself say - it has limitations on coastwise afternoon sailings.
To be sure not to run out of power - even when sailing 10-15 hours, I`ve ordered an Efoy 80, and I´m expanding my battery bank from currently 2x80 Ah to 4x105. I`m putting the to new ones under the berth in the bow cabin to the right (actually in the storage room). It takes a long cable to connect, but as long as its thick enough, theres no problem I´ve been told.
I`m really interested in your cockpit tent solution. I have the old one, and its a bit inconvenient. Do you have drawings/measurements aso?
Best regards from Tom

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Re: Autopilot

Postby Chris » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:33 pm

Hi Tom,

I whole heartedly agree with you about your AP. I for one would be most interested in seeing some pictures of your installation as it's exactly what I had in mind.

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Re: Autopilot

Postby Antti_DD » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Tom, autopilot or windvane...that's a tough question in which there is of course no right answer. First of all, I think that singlehanded sailor needs to have an autopilot (ST1000+/ST2000+ or similar) for having a helmsman when you have to work at the fore deck with mooring lines, fenders etc. Also, the windvane doesn't work at calm weather, so obviously steering manually an hour after an hour at calm sea could bore one to death.

So in this sense, stronger autopilot could make sense compared to buying both the windvane and the autopilot. On the other hand, if one already has a tiller pilot, buying a windvane could be rationale choice. If I look back at the sailing that we have been doing during the last two seasons (i.e. mostly in sheltered waters and only a couple of longer passages per season), we could have managed pretty well also without the windvane. However, I haven't regretted buying one for a minute, since I like the freedom that the windvane gives. One can just let it to steer 24h in a row without ever thinking about the power consumption. To gain such freedom with an autopilot, one has to invest in solar panels, larger batteries, wind generators and/or fuel cells, which again add to the cost. That gear of course has benefits in the anchorage as well, so the cost equitation is not that simple. All in all, I guess that it all comes to the kind of sailing that you are doing.

Btw. I was pretty interested in the fuel cell technology a few years ago until I learned about the cost of the equipment. However, I haven't checked recently if their price has come down. It would be interesting to hear about your thoughts on the Efoy 80, and maybe later also hear about your experiences.

Unfortunately, I don't have drawings/measurements for the cockpit tent since it was done by the company that made our tent/sprayhood.
Antti Laine, Forum Administrator
HR 29 # 483 "Dolphin Dance"
Blog: http://sydolphindance.com / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sydolphindance / Twitter: https://twitter.com/sydolphindance

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Re: Autopilot

Postby tomblix » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:07 pm

Its a deal - I´ll get back to the forum with pictures and experiences later. I`m myself curious about how this`ll work!
I`ve spend too much money on updating Lina these last few years. She is after all an old, small boat…. but I like her, and I like to feel comfortable and safe. So - I guess I`ll just keep on, as long as my wallet and wife allows me.
Last summer I had a nasty experience - as I wrote on an earlier post. The combination of strong varying winds and a weak AP resulted in a situation that I don`t want to see again. I couldn`t reef the mainsail. So - I´ve also ordered a single line reef boom. When trouble hits you, its best to stay in the cockpit. I don`t like this hooking of the sail on the mast…. Anybody else have any thoughts on the matter?
Best regards from Tom

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Re: Autopilot

Postby Chris » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:50 pm

Hi Tom,

See my reply to 'Christine' in the welcome section!

I've been sailing for nearly 30 years and still get caught out.

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Re: Autopilot

Postby tomblix » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:12 am

Hi everybody

Just a brief update on the autopilot- installation I`ve mentioned before.
The Raymarine EVO with ACU200 and a linear drive unit type 1 short fits our boats perfectly!
The drive unit is much bigger than it seems on Raymarine.com but fits as a glove in the aft compartment. I used a standard building construction steel bracket on the rudder pole and three exhaust pipe clams to fit it to the stock - fits well.
The computer unit (ACU200) I`ve mounted on the right side just inside the bow cabin. The EVO unit (compass) I`ve mounted above the door in the bow cabin.
Power supply to the drive unit is taken from the old ST2000+ plug in the cockpit instrument panel. I`ve also fitted a switch there to be able to cut the power should it be needed. Cabling is really easy - so if you`re thinking of installing this AP - do it yourself. No expert needed.
Finally - the manual prescribes a 25 cm long horizontal arm from the rudder stock. There`s only room for about 20 cm. This means a loss in force. Normally the unit pulls/push with 295 kg. With a shorter arm it`s reduced in accordance with this equation: Force / ideal arm x actual arm. Filled in it equals 295 kg / 25 cm x 20 cm = 236 kg. The pull/push power on the ST2000+ is 75 kg so its plenty even if is`t reduced.
Pix coming up a bit later…..
Best regards from Tom

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Re: Autopilot

Postby Chris » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:11 pm

Hi Tom,

I think I understand your installation, but pictures will be great. You have done what I was eluding to earlier in this post and was wondering if it was possible on our vessels. It sounds as if you have proved that it is.

I had a similar ram on a previous wheel steered boat and it was so easy to engage the AP with the flick of a switch and you really felt it was able to cope even in difficult conditions.

While talking about APs, I'll add a little more detail to the upgrade I did on my ST1000+.

Eventually I got to the bottom of the differences between the ST1000+ and ST2000+. The only physical difference is the drive screw or lead screw and its corresponding drive nut. It is the thread pitch of the screw that determines the rate of travel in mm per second. Everything else is exactly the same. The software within both APs is the same and can be selected from the sub menu.

I found a picture of a 2000+ and measured the thread pitch. After a few calculations I arrived at the required lead screw and nut which I purchased from an online supplier. The cost was £36.00 plus carriage.

The bearing in the drive train on mine was worn and so I replaced this and made some minor alterations to the nut and machined the ends of the lead screw to fit the AP.

After reassembling the AP I timed the travel and it matched the spec of the ST2000+. Job done.

To repeat what I said earlier in this post, both the ST1000+ and 2000+ are satisfactory to a point but I think what Tom has opted for is far superior and a more reliable system. Something I would love to do as and when I can afford it.

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Re: Autopilot

Postby tomblix » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:22 am

Hi all

I promised some pictures of my new AP arrangement, but I`m still unable to upload. Buggers me, cause I`m normally able….
Anyway - I`ve posted them on my FB under the Hallberg Rassy album. If you, Anti, will be bothered to upload them here, I`d appreciate it. Otherwise, they can be found there. (It`s the four last pictures.)
A few comments: When I powered up the system and started the calibration, the home made arm attached to the rudder stock proved incapable of handling the power of the drive unit (295 kg). The exhaust pipe clams just didn`t tighten sufficiently. So, I had to abort and contact a professional to make a new and stronger. This costs of course - will be another 300 euros…. Worth noting that Raymarine leaves it up to the buyer to find a solution to this issue. They just say that this is not provided. I find that unsatisfactory. Apart from that, the installation went well - but be advised: There is a lot of cabling!

The last pictures shows the instrument swing arm powered up and facing the cockpit. To the left you`ll find the AP control. In the middle below is the Geonav chart plotter. Below right below is the depth sounder. The big one above is the iPad. Behind the Geonav is the VHF-speaker (can`t be seen on the picture). One thing to bear in mind is that when the iPad is fixed to the swing arm, it`s not possible to swing it all the way around and into hiding, like on the last picture Anti uploaded. It swings about 90 degrees, and this makes the passage up and below a bit narrow. Can`t win them all!

edit: here are the images of AP arrangement / Antti

Autopilot_tomblix1.jpg
Autopilot_tomblix1.jpg (89.71 KiB) Viewed 2301 times
Autopilot_tomblix2.jpg
Autopilot_tomblix2.jpg (84.65 KiB) Viewed 2301 times
Autopilot_tomblix3.jpg
Autopilot_tomblix3.jpg (71.92 KiB) Viewed 2301 times
screens_tomblix.jpg
screens_tomblix.jpg (80.07 KiB) Viewed 2301 times
Best regards from Tom

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