Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by HONDAM

  1. Unless you have hydraulic steering that autopilot will not work. The cable one is more money

    Even if you do have hydraulic the Lowrance kit supplies the smallest pump ive ever seen on an autopilot. It is about half the size of a typical autopilot pump, a small pump limits its performance in making coarse changes. That compounded with the relatively low quality sensors they have to use to keep the price down and the high demand on the autopilot for trolling I don't believe it will be your best option.

    This autopilot will probably work fine on cruisers but I am doubtful of its trolling ability. A Simrad system or even a Garmin system will network with your Lowrance id probably examine more options before making a decision. Most modern autopilots will network with almost any current GPS, anything with NMEA.

  2. All nmea wires should be stranded tinned wires so you should find the same with your autopilot connection as well. The Scotchloks were originally designed for telephone wire which is solid but it will also work well on stranded wire. Garmin actually provides them with their units to make such connections.

    Both the red 3 wire connectors and the Yellow 2 wire connectors will work.

  3. NMEA 0183 comm cable must be a twisted pair 22AWG wire with at least 95 percent shielding. NMEA 0183 wire is usually a 6 conductor wire with one of them being a bare shield which allows for 2 comm channels and a common ground. In a pinch if you cant find any Ethernet wire will work, its just one size small but it will work as a temporary solution.

    Barrier strips are the approved method of termination but ive used Scotch Lock connectors in the past and even though they are not approved by NMEA personally believe they are just as good.

  4. There is only one manufacturer of drive units left, that is Octopus Drives out of BC Canada. Fortunately Octopus Drives works with many different manufactures to provide affordable autopilot packages as well as universal compatibility to build your own autopilot. One limitation of the octopus drive is it requires a minimum 8.5in clearance behind the helm, if you do not have this your must either make accommodations to get it or switch to hydraulic steering.

    One of the best value autopilots is offered by another Canadian company, Comnav. They have been in business since 1982 making commercial, government, and recreational systems for all sizes of vessels. These autopilots are known for being bare bones functional and reliable at an affordable price. The 1420 model offers everything you need in one box; Drive unit, Computer, Compass, and rudder sensor all included at a price of under $1800. This autopilot I would recommend to anyone looking for the best value for your dollar or as an affordable first autopilot. It is very easy to use and simple to install. Its controller does not have a display but it will network with a NMEA 0183 GPS and display on the GPS screen.


    The next option is the Simrad AP-24R. This is the next generation of the popular AP-14R with some improvements, better controller and the virtual rudder sensor. They used to make the rudder sensor into the drive unit but now that they don't include a physical rudder sensor you must add one to get proper performance while trolling. This drive the cost up over $2000. This autopilot I would recommend as an upgrade over the Comnav, it has a digital display will pair well with a Lowrance or Simrad.


    Both those autopilot use a simple Fluxgate Compass. You can achieve better autopilot performance by using an autopilot that has better sensors. To do this you will have to build your own. If you buy the octopus drive with their rudder sensor and pair it with an autopilot like the Garmin Reactor that has a 9 axis solid state altitude heading reference system. This system will run you closer to $2700 and if you fishing in a wide variety of conditions that would be more demanding on an autopilot may be worth the extra money.


  5. It's usually pretty easy depending on the pump. Just install a switch that lights up when it's on in place of the old manual override switch and when the pump kicks on automatic it usually feeds juice back to the switch so even though the switch on the dash is off it will still light up. But that all depends on the setup of the pump it works 95% of the time.

  6. Go to gemeco website and download their catalog. They have more of the hard to find marine electronic plugs that anyone. The are a wholesaler so if its in their catalog you will need to find one of their dealers to buy from.

  7. I found some very reasonable sources online for battery cable and I would definately use tinned cable. Corrosion can really sneak up on you on a boat sometimes it will start causing probablems before you can even see it. Its very important to use at least a 1000mca or 800cca on most outboard especially 4cyl and larger and to properly terminate your connections. Just bolting the cables together will work but is definately not the right way to do it. It can cause reliability issues and possible cause a fire if done that way. Power posts or distribution blocks should be used.

  8. Marine engines do not cruise like cars, there is always much more load on a marine engine than a car and the vacuum levels are not the same making it very hard to tune. It's not impossible though and it may be easier on some boats then others but IMO not worth the hassle or expense.

    All marine engines for as long as I can remember have mechanical advances. You would be very hard pressed to find a marine vacuum distributor.

    I would caution you against putting car parts on the boat. They are not built to the same safety requirements and specifications as marine parts and could cause you to be stranded or even worse a fire or explosion.

  9. The Garmin with the maps pre-programmed in and the CHIRP transducer is just over $900 on our online store where the dragonfly is about $650 with the maps.

    I believe the power cable has the NMEA wires included in the pigtail. So nothing would be needed just connect the wires.

  10. From what I have heard the sonar has been excellent and people have been relatively happy with the unit. Although the GPS is basic and it has absolutely no com ports if you need to network it with your VHF or another unit, I don't even think you can add an external antenna.

    If your looking for a combo unit the Garmin 547xs would be a much better CHIRP combo with the best GPS but cost a little more.

    You can actually network your DS-400 with the Garmin but not the Raymarine Dragonfly.

  11. The reason to spend $500 is to get away from the discontinued equipment, im not positive on that price either may be more or less. They most likely will send you a refurb LRA-2400 under warranty and that would be free of charge. And they will send you an upgraded one for free BUT only when there are no more LRA-2400s to be had. They have a very specific program in place to handle situations like this on what they replace warrantied units with and how much they charge for upgrades. For them just to give you a 4G radar because of all your issues is going to be unlikely and would need special approval since it doesn't follow their standard warranty procedures.

    I certainly understand 100% not wanting to put any more money in it. It basically comes down to how but faith your going to put in your Lowrance. IF you have absolutely confidence in them providing you with a quality radar and the first 2 were just flukes then stick with the LRA-2400, if you still have confidence in your Lowrance to be able navigate effectively but want a little insurance then spend the money to upgrade, although if your not sure if your Lowrance will last 1 day or 5 years then id get rid of the whole package because it is an important safety item for the type of water we navigate on here in the great lakes and with any safety item its only as good as its reliability, needs to work every time you ask it to or its no good.

  12. You should probably get rid of it and get a 4G if staying with Lowrance. Through the Lowrance Advantage program you should be able to upgrade at a relatively low cost. I know it costs $500 to upgrade from a 3G to a 4G, shouldn't be to much more for your LRA-2400, its just not on my price list to tell you for sure. I wouldn't waste the money on the 3G if your staying with Lowrance definitely the 4G. If you PM me the serial number of your radar i can tell you for sure what the upgrade would be.

    Lowrance radars are not to popular especially before broadband so its hard to tell if just bad luck or sub-par manufacturing. Even with the newer broadband tech a strong HD unit would still be my first choice like the Garmin or Raymarine.

    If you dont want to throw any more money at it and thinking about switching i would take a strong look that the Garmin GPSMAP 740 and 741(new version of the 740 with CHIRP sonar). Awesome units and they do sell them with as an 18inch radar bundle too to save some money.

  13. A recent success story for this Advantage program. I just recently took an older HDS-10 Gen 1, that was completely fried and no longer fixable on trade for a brand new HDS-12 Touch for about $1500 which has a MSRP of $2999. So basically I was able to give the customer nearly a $1500 value on a several year old non working unit under this program that would have been otherwise worth $0.

  14. just to clarify

    the Lowrance gps receiver itself is very unreliable not nessesarily the lowrance unit itself

    if its a NMEA 2000 unit you can use other manufacturers gps receivers

    I have received a couple calls about this and wanted to post to claify

    and thank you the guys who called for pricing remember to check our on line store for quarterly specials and sales


    ^^^^ What he said is what I meant, just the Lowrance external GPS antennas the HDS units have been pretty good for reliability.

  15. I'm extremely happy with my Garmin 740S from Calumet Marine and it works under an aluminum hard top.

    He's exactly right at under $1000 you can not buy a better unit. 7 inch touchscreen with a 1000watt sonar and the best gps on the market regardless of price, one very strong unit.

    Just one tip, do not buy the 300 watt transducer get at least the 600 watt p66 to take full advantage of the sonar.

  16. If you go with a external antenna, do not buy a Lowrance, very unreliable. You can go with any NMEA antenna like Garmin, Maretron, Raymarine, ect. As long as its NMEA it will network.

    As far as a new one, what kind of budget or screen size are you looking at?

  17. I would just go through and rebuild the cylinder, its fairly easy and the seal kit comes with instructions. Just take your time and change 1 oring at a time. Some of the kits even some with new bodies. The seals don't wear out 1 at a time, if you have 1 leaking it wont be long before there is more especially since you have to take it apart to fix it.

    But to answer your original question I believe its an o-ring and depending on which style cylinder you have I believe the tube will unscrew from the base.

  18. Electronics ignition requires a different shift module, so unplug it for now to eliminate it from the equation while searching for the problem. I don't think it could cause a spark knock but its always easier to divide and conquer on problems like this.

    If you look in all of the marine catalogs for electronic ignition upgrades all that i know of say not to use on shift assisted motors which basically means OMC cobras. OMC made a special kit for upgrading those motors which was expensive because it came with another shift assist module and the distributor upgrade and is what is needed to do it right. This kit used to be $400 or $500 from OMC and is no longer available. Ive tried looking online for one for a 4.3L V6 recently and found them advertised in the $200-$300 range but every time i call to make sure they had it in stock no luck.

  19. Anyone using a Simrad AP 12 or 14r is using a very simular setup, its basically the same thing. It will probably be adequate for calm to mild weather days and wont work on moderate to high wind or wave days. I would call Octopus and confirm this.

    The Sitex uses older technology as far as their compass which has been around a long time and works good in most cases. But if your looking for more modern better performance you can buy an Raymarine X-10, Garmin GHP-12, Simrad AP-24 and pair it with that same octopus drive.

    The 'optional' rudder reference sensor is definitely needed.

  20. I would make sure you order the right unit. The GPSMAP 550 is an older discontinued unit with preloaded maps for Australia and the UK, not so helpful in michigan

    The units out right now with the great lakes maps in them are:

    GPSMAP 541s - lower resolution/Power version of the 546s

    GPSMAP 546s- 1Kw dual frequency sonar with the power to run 3d charts

    GPSMAP 547xs - CHRIP sonar, just came out this month

    EchoMap 50s - HD ID dual frequency sonar with wireless connectivity.

    If you let me know a budget and what features you find most important I can help you pick the right one.

  • Create New...