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[TG] Controlling a SmartPilot S3 with Axiom 9
04-27-20, 08:27 PM (This post was last modified: 04-27-20 11:53 PM by Tom - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #1
Controlling a SmartPilot S3 with Axiom 9
Hi, I've been searching the forums for info on controlling legacy SeaTalk/NMEA0183 autopilots with an Axiom plotter, but the most recent info I could find was 2014, suggesting that unless it was an Evolution autopilot then it wasn't possible. I have a 10 year old boat with ST290 instruments, autopilot & controls, with 2 i70's to replace the old s60 displays at the helm, and an Axiom 9 at the nav station. These are interfaced to the instruments with an ITC5, and connected together with a SeaTalkng bus. I have the original E80 chartplotter at the helm, but the buttons on it are now playing up and I cant use it as my backup to control the pilot.

My question is firstly (and most importantly as we're about to cross the Pacific), if my ST290 autohelm remote controller dies, I need to be able to control the autopilot - how can I do that with the Axiom?

Secondly, we've now got both SeaTalk and SeaTalkng busses running for'd and aft on the boat - can I simplify this for efficiency and simplicity, to just the ng?

Your advice would be appreciated! Cheers.
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04-28-20, 01:09 AM
Post: #2
RE: Controlling a SmartPilot S3 with Axiom 9
Hello boxxy,

You can send navigation data from an Axiom to a previous-generation autopilot, but cannot control it (as in, switch pilot mode or do calibration.) Secondly, no MFD (of whatever generation) can act as a standalone pilot controller for that generation of pilot, they always had to have a dedicated pilot controller in the system in order to go into Auto/Track mode.

If you're crossing the Pacific short-handed though, my strong advice would be to consider a lot more redundancy than just the pilot controller. I would advise a complete, fully-installed backup pilot with a single On-Off-On changeover switch. This isn't necessary if you have a reasonable crew, but if the idea of hand-steering to the next port-of-call is not a pleasant one then I would put serious thought into it. The drive unit and course computer, as a mechanical part and a device which handles large amounts of current, are probably at least as or more likely to suffer failure than the display (which is little more than a screen and some buttons), and if the pilot is ST290-vintage then it's probably rather more than 10 years old and I hate getting calls on sat-phones from people who are two-up a fortnight from port with a failed pilot and no backup.

Finally, on the Seatalk and SeatalkNG wiring: if you still have an ST290-vintage pilot and ST290 instruments then you probably need at least Seatalk1, Seatalk2 (between the ST290 DPU, the Graphic and other ST290 components, and SeatalkNG with the Axiom and perhaps the i70s. It's a messy system, but I'd need to know exactly what components you have in order to make any specific recommendations about tidying it up. Can you draw me a wiring diagram for how things are now and attach it to a reply?


Raymarine since 1999.
Interests: Diagnosis of problems in sonar/fishfinders, NMEA2000, ethernet comms, autopilots, thermal cameras
Location: Sydney, Australia.

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