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What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
07-20-16, 06:39 PM
Post: #1
What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
I have a 25' cruiser that is used for trolling on the Great Lakes. I estimate it weighs somewhere around 7000 - 8000lbs. It has an I/O with a V8 that outputs about 250hp to a Mercruiser 888 sterndrive that is mechanically steered. I use a Mercury 30hp outboard with mechanical steering for trolling in the 2 - 3mph range. I want to outfit my boat with autopilot to be used while trolling. The autopilot does not need to be used to control the I/O sterndrive.

I am looking for opinions as to what are the most appropriate and cost effective routes I can take to achieve my goal of trolling along a constant heading, following trolling patterns (do these come predefined or would I need to define them myself?), and navigating to waypoints I have marked with my Raymarine a78 MFD. All of this would be done with my 30hp outboard.

I have previously received the opinion that a great route would be to install a Raymarine EV-200 system pack and use an Octopus drive (type R, I believe) from Aero Marine. This is indeed a great option, but I fear it may be overkill. Could I not get by with a Raymarine EV-200 Sport? Are they still available? I had read an article about Raymarine discontinuing them, I think(?). Do they have any operational or longevity issues? Does anyone know if this would be a less expensive and easier to install option than the T70156 EV-200 system pack with an Octopus type R drive?
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07-21-16, 10:10 AM
Post: #2
RE: What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
Welcome to the Raymarine Forum pkell,

Raymarine has not offered the Sport drive for some time now. While the T70156 EV-200 system pack with an Octopus type R drive may have been specified for an I/O system, it would not be recommended for the outboard trolling motor unless the I/O drive was mechanically attached to the outboard motor to synchronize steering ... and the later would typically require that the I/O engine be running. Autopilots for power boats are specified based the type of steering is presently in place for the drive(s) / rudder(s). In this case, it is recommended that you consider contacting Aero Marine Services ( http://www.aeromarineservices.com/AMS%20...oducts.htm ), as this Great Lakes dealer/installer specializes in mating Octopus drives to Raymarine autopilot products.
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07-22-16, 02:03 PM
Post: #3
RE: What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
Thank you, Chuck. I will contact Aero and/or Octopus for options.
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07-22-16, 03:17 PM
Post: #4
RE: What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
You're welcome.
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08-15-16, 09:29 PM
Post: #5
RE: What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
Chuck - thanks for your help on this. Recently, I purchased and installed the Raymarine EV-200 autopilot system and mated it to the Octopus Type S drive unit. It works very well for my application. A great selling point is that I will get a $300 rebate on it. Everything works perfectly as far as I can tell. It is a godsend not to have to relegate myself or another person to have to steer the boat while we are trolling on Lake Michigan.

Don't get me wrong. Good autopilot is not cheap. But it IS worth it.
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08-16-16, 08:55 AM
Post: #6
RE: What is the most appropriate autopilot to control a 30hp outboard used for trolling?
pkell,

I'm glad to learn of your satisfaction with the EV-200 Power Pilot / Octopus Drive combination. I too have been tremendously satisfied with this combination onboard my own boat.
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