AutoPilot upgrade from manual hydraulic

SkunkBoat

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#1
So I'm thinking of adding autopilot to my 265 Express. It has manual Seastar 1.7cu in Tilt helm.
I would need to add power assist pump which I'm seeing as $1800...can that be right?

For autopilot I see I would also need an autopilot pump at $400.

And I would still need an autopilot from garmin or sitex or raymarine. They all seem to come with an autopilot pump and total $2400 but that does not include a power assist pump....

I'm guessing I could get the electronics without the pump but it would probably cost me more!

so I'm looking at $4000 to upgrade? Holy ship!

I need a beer. I need to sell this beast and dust off the canoe.

any insight into various brands of autopilot and connection to Seastar powerassist/autopilot combination pump would be appreciated
 

Halfhitch

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#2
You don't have to install power steering to install autopilot. If you are happy with the way your boat steers manually now, just install a normal autopilot with a standard AP pump.
 
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SkunkBoat

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#4
Thanks guys. I did not realize that you can use an autopilot pump without also having power assist. You know, Seastar website isn't very clear on this subject. I did finally see one illustration with only an autopilot pump byut they don't explain it all. They also don't explain which Autopilot Controllers to use or how they connect to the Seastar AP pump....is it a standard? or does everyone have different plugs and pin outs?

So, assuming I don't want power assist, I can buy whatever brand of autopilot "kit" and they are all in the $1500 to $2500 range, depending on brand and bells and whistles.
I have twin 225s with a single seastar cylinder and a crossbar. I have Garmin electronics.

Garmin Autopilot
 
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Halfhitch

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#5
Skunk, The instructions with the autopilot will explain all the connections you need to make. As far as which controller to use, it will depend on which course computer you choose. Usually there will be more than one controller that is compatible with any given course computer. Just make sure that the controller you choose has the ability to let you change course using the controller itself without needing to use the MFD screen. That is my feelings anyway. My particular controller has two sets of buttons for course change. One set changes course one degree for each click and the other set changes the course 10 degrees for each click. The one I had before had a rotary knob that took care of those duties. Every brand has their own idea. If you spring for the shadow drive then that is all mute because you just take the helm away from the computer by simply turning the wheel. I'm not a huge fan but have only ran my friends boat that has it and have never owned that system myself. My buddy has had a bit of trouble with it but that one case means nothing.

The controller doesn't connect to the pump. It connects to the course computer. The course computer is connected to the pump by two wires Positive and negative 12v. The course computer keeps track of the boats heading, course over ground, pitch, roll and yaw, then it compares all that over time how it compares with the course that you have ask it to keep. It then runs that pump forward or backward by reversing the polarity of those two wires so the fluid will be alternating its direction as needed to keep your engines pointed in the necessary direction to satisfy the course requirements.

I would recommend that you pick a kit that includes a good quality pump of the correct displacement for your hyd. system (that's where the Seastar charts come in handy). Some of the cheaper pumps are noisy and they are a very busy piece of equipment so quiet is good. Also do some research to make sure the autopilot you choose will hold heading at idle speed troll. That way you can leave the helm to take care of rigging duties and such with the AP holding course and your trolling spread stays nice and tight. My particular setup will hold course at 1 1/2- 2 knots steadily. I have an older system and it includes a rudder indicator and a fluxgate compass. From what I understand some of the newer electronics do away with those separate items...just make sure, if you use this AP for fishing that it works at slow troll speed. Good luck. Have fun....it's the best add-on there is.
 
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#6
Top reply Halfhitch

I’ve just installed a new Lowrance unit in my Marlin, “Lowrance autopilot with twin outboards” thread on here recently, it works a treat. The flux gate is replaced with the point 1 electronic version nowadays.

The Lowrance unit took me through the commissioning which made it all incredibly easy.
 

SkunkBoat

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#7
yes I've been reading thru mfg's websites. Garmin warns against using the $1500 model if you want to go slow...which is the whole point of getting it....so that puts me at $2k+
Thinking I might prioritize the windlass at $800 over the autopilot at $2000