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autopilot help PLEASE!!!!!


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im thinking of getting auto pilot for my 24 ft sportscraft sportsfisherman and have no idea what to get. any suggestions that is reasonable priced and can i install myself? i have a hummingbird 859ci hd fish finder does it connect to that

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I just had a raymarine smartpilot x-r5 with rudder sensor installed on my boat 2 yrs ago and it works off the steering wheel. its a good one for what it is but there are better units out there. but it does the job for me because I use my big motor for trolling and its got hydrolic steering. I had mine installed because im not very good with things like auto pilot. calumet marine in calumet city IL did mine for me and did a great job.

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With hydraulic steering you have a lot of options. It just depends on how much you want to spend. Not knowing anything about your setup it might be a good idea to talk to a dealer and see what they recommend. Let them know your budget and some of the specs of the steering system so they can give you the best options. All of the units and brands can talk to each other so that doesn't really matter. It is sometimes easier to install the same brand as your GPS because the connections are simpler but all of them will work. I do know that some brands will extend the warranty if a dealer installs it and some void the warranty if it is bought online through some of the bargain sites so be aware of the policies before you purchase. Good luck. I have the Raymarine X-5 (the only option at the time for my boat) and I love it.

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I am using my bow mounted trolling motor with the GPS autopilot feature. I mounted a fin under the motor and just lock in a GPS heading. I don't have to run the trolling motor because the fin does all the work keeping the bow heading in the right direction. My big motor does all the pushing. My boat is a 20' Hewescraft and the only time I have to kick in the trolling motor to help steer is when we are in winds over 12-15mph and I have all my canvas up. Then the wind gusts can push the bow around faster than the fin can push back. The fin is made of aluminum plates riveted together. There is a rubber gasket between the fin clamp and the trolling motor head to prevent metal to metal wear. It is important not to get more than 10% of the fin area in front of the shaft centerline or the leading edge of the fin bites too much water.

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