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[CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
01-26-18, 12:07 AM (This post was last modified: 01-26-18 09:40 AM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #1
[CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
Hi,

I have searched for information but have not found the answer.

I have a perfectly good Raymarine Autopilot system on my Nordic Tug 37 (Raymarine Smart Pilot S3G with ST 8001 Control head). It is connected to a Raymarine Fluxgate Compass that is working well. The Autopilot works extremely well even in rough following seas that are a challenge to steer manually. I would like to keep the Autopilot in place and running.

I am replacing the my Raymarine E120 Classic MFD, the Raymarine (?Raystar) GPS, and the accompanying DSM 300 and analog radar. I am replacing the E-120 system with a third party MFD and third party radar.

Other sensors/devices in the system:
1. Airmar 150WX providing GPS and heading information in addition to weather & wind etc.
2. Airmar H-2183 Fast heading sensor giving 10-20 Hz heading values via NMEA 2000
3. Vesper XB-8000 AIS providing GPS and AIS data and also acts as a NMEA 0183 - NMEA 2000 bridge to a Brookhouse iMux channeling 0183 data.
4. I plan to have the Cummins Engine data streaming to and from the new MFD via 0183.

I can have GPS and any other 0183 data ported to the Autopilot via the iMux or from the third party MFD's 0183 OUT port.

Since I am removing the E-120 MFD. How do I keep the Autopilot running as well as it has been without the E-120 in the system? (Before removing the E120, if I tried starting the Autopilot without the E120 MFD powered up, I would get a "Seatalk Fail" Alarm. How do I avoid this?)

What components of the current system do I need to keep? (I do not actually care if it receives instructions from the new MFD, I just want to be able to dial in a heading and have the boat stick to that...)

Any suggestions or insights greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-evan
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01-26-18, 10:12 AM (This post was last modified: 01-26-18 10:34 AM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #2
RE: [CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
Welcome to the Raymarine Forum Evan,

Understand that unlike later Raymarine MFD designs, the SeaTalk communications interface of the E-Series Classic MFDs was designed to output power to the SeaTalk bus. However this feature was initially included within the system to address systems featuring a very small SeaTalk buse featuring the MFD and GPS sensor alone. In such systems, switching the MFD ON would also supply power to the SeaTalk bus. In systems featuring a larger SeaTalk bus, it was recommended that MFD SeaTalk/Alarm Cable's red lead not be connected to the SeaTalk bus to prevent an underpowered SeaTalk bus which would potentially cause the reported symptom.

For systems having a SeaTalk bus, Raymarine recommended a best installation practice of powering the autopilot's control head(s) alone via one of the autopilot course computer's SeaTalk ports. To do so, all 3 leads of the SeaTalk cable which has been interfaced to the autopilot control head will be used to interface the other end of this SeaTalk cable to one of the autopilot course computer's SeaTalk ports. For the SeaTalk cable connecting the system's other SeaTalk devices to the autopilot course computer, it was recommended that only the data (yellow) and ground (shield) leads of this cable be interfaced to the autopilot course computer's other SeaTalk port. The power lead (red) of this SeaTalk cable would then be connected to a dedicated switched 12V power circuit, permitting the circuit to be powered independent of the autopilot.

Should your autopilot be interfaced to the autopilot control head(s) in the manner specified above, then it is recommended that:
- the SeaTalk ports of the autopilot control head(s) be inspected for signs of corrosion
- the plugs of the SeaTalk cables be inspected for signs of corrosion and to ensure that they have been fully seated
- the leads of the SeaTalk cable connecting the autopilot course computer to the autopilot control head(s) are free of corrosion and have been firmly seated within the corresponding terminals of the autopilot course computer's SeaTalk port
- the vessel has been connected to shore power, its batteries have been permitted to obtain a full charge, and while still connected to shore power, the autopilot is tested again. Should the autopilot continue to report SeaTalk Failure, then it would be recommended that a SeaTalk cable which has been connected to a 12V power circuit alone be connected to the autopilot control head's second SeaTalk port.

Should the SeaTalk Failure persist thereafter, then it would indicate that a failure has occurred within the SeaTalk communications circuitry of either the autopilot's control head or within the autopilot course computer. As it is possible for one of the autopilot course computer's SeaTalk ports to fail (to include not supplying sufficient power) while its second SeaTalk port is fully operational, it would recommend that the autopilot control head's SeaTalk bus be shifted to the autopilot course computer's other SeaTalk port to correct the problem. Should this not resolve the problem, then it would be necessary to test the autopilot course computer with another compatible autopilot control head (ex. p70S, p70RS, etc.) to fault isolate the problem. Please note that Raymarine's Product Repair Centers can no longer service SmartPilot (S1G/S2G/S3G) autopilot course computers.
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01-27-18, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 01-29-18 08:55 AM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #3
RE: [CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
Thank you Chuck,

I will give this a whirl and report back.

The autopilot has always worked flawlessly, as long as the E-120 was powered up so I'm optimistic.

-evan
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01-29-18, 08:56 AM
Post: #4
RE: [CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
You're welcome.
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02-04-18, 10:56 PM
Post: #5
RE: [CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
So, I removed the E120 from the system.

I supplied the Control head with an auxiliary power source through the second Seatalk connector. Powering up the Autopilot (an S3G AST BTW) though resulted in the head unit reporting "No Pilot". @#%$#%@!, says I, bewildered.

I traced the Seatalk cable and finding it intact wondered whether there was a problem with the Seatalk Terminal on the Course Computer. There were actually two Seatalk cables sharing the same terminal. One of these had been in contact with the E120. Removing this old cable gave a transient chirp from the Head unit and a heading readout.

Long story short; It all makes sense as to why the Autopilot would give a Seatalk Error when the E120 was off…That was the only way the Control Head was getting the Seatalk information. The proper Seatalk Wire connection from the Course computer to the Head Unit was flakey & not making contact. It looked to be inserted properly but was kind of curled up & not contacting the Course Computer post that it was sharing with the other seatalk cable at the terminal. It was this connection with the alternate cable in its connection to the E120 that made it a functional system.

Anyways, I have not done a sea trial yet but it all looks functional now.

The extra power source to the head unit is not needed and appears redundant.

Cheers,

-evan
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02-05-18, 11:15 AM
Post: #6
RE: [CA] Keeping Autopilot in use without Raymarine MFD
Noted.
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