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Winter Project Help ---- AutoPilot


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I have a Lund Genmar 2450 w/MerCruiser 5.7 Alpha One with Hydraulic power steering. I currently have the original King Autopilot (wheel pilot style) that has seen its better days a few years back. I am going to purchase a new autopilot unit this winter and am looking for input. I had originally decided on the Raymarine Sportpilot as it is the same style as the current unit and is easy to use but others have tried to convince me since I have hydraulic steering that I can get better value out of other units. I do not need the top of the line unit with all the bells and whistles but rather a reliable unit with a simple interface that I can set quickly and more importantly take back over the wheel quickly. Should I go with the SportPilot or can I do better for that money?

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I have an X-5 Sportpilot and power assisted cable steering. I like it for the most part and it works great but if I had hydraulic steering I would definitely have a conventional unit. One drawback to mine is the boat steers much harder with the X-5 installed, another is the wheel isn't as solid as it is without the X-5. Another is that it's mounted behind the wheel where you can see, and more importantly hear it. It's not quiet. You'll probably be able to hear the pump on a conventional unit but it shouldn't be as loud.

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I also have the X-5 and am glad to have it. That being said, if I had hydraulic steering I would have gotten a hydraulic unit. I have heard good things about Garmin, Furuno and Raymarine hydraulic units. You might want to ask Frank (propnut). I know he carries the Garmin line down at Calumet Marine and maybe some of the others as well.

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Calumet Marine does not just carry Garmin, we carry all of the major autopilots. Garmin is just our favorite.

If you have Hydraulic Steering there is no question about it, go with a GHP-10(Garmin), or if you want to stick with Raymarine a X-10 which is also a good unit. Hydraulic autopilots in general are usually much more precise, quicker, and more reliable which means it will maintain control in situations were the Sportpilot will struggle.

I have a Garmin GHP-10 on our tournament fishing boat and it holds use straight on in 6-8 footers when even standing can be difficult.

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Well correction. I have MerCruiser stern drive power steering which as you probably know uses both a cable and hydraulic ram. I am having a very hard time finding anybody who has put an AP on this setup. Is there any manufacturers who make a unit for this or am I back to the SportPilot? This may be why this type of AP was used in the first place and not a standard unit...

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Ive done a few, instead of using a hydraulic pump you use a Octopus drive. Octopus made the drive motor for the extinct Simrad AP12/AP14.

Wire the Octupus drive up to an X10 or a GHP-12 (Same as the GHP-10 but can be used with univeral drives and a rudder sensor).

Hydraulic is still the best option but that adds at least another $1500 for the conversion and this will still perform way beyond a sportpilot.

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I run the Sportpilot on my 24' power assist steering Sea Ray and it is by far the best money I have ever spent on fishing. How did I fish without an auto pilot? It's a little noisy but it keeps the boat straight, I have no problem recommending the Sport Pilot.

After spending $1500 for a conversion you still have to kick out the cost of the auto pilot and the installation. Figure the auto pilot is another $1500 and then your looking atleast 5 hours on an install at $100 per hour..... Do that math, you dont need to convert your steering to get a good auto pilot.

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