NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #2

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

17 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    In 2008 I installed a Furuno NavPilot and since Furuno didn’t sell a hydraulic drive unit they recommended I purchase Accu-Steer which they told me was “very reliable”.
    New Morning has two autopilot drive systems for redundancy (only one is used at a time). Both Accu-steer units failed within six months! The cases and hose connections were rusted and corroded and the pumps just sort of withered away unable to move the rams. They very reluctantly replaced the pumps, and the relacements failed within 500 miles! The rams are from Teleflex and were in excellent shape, but the pumps provided by Accu-steer were junk with service to match.
    I replaced the entire system with Raymarine course computers (X30), pumps and rams which have worked fine for the last 8,000 miles. And the Raymarine system on my previous boat is now eleven years old, has traveled about 12,000 miles and is also still working perfectly.
    Avoid Accusteer.
    I believe the entire autopilot system of course computer, pump and ram (if required as in most sailboats) should come from a single vendor who stands behind their product. You’ll know that AccuSteer is a quality product when Furuno puts their logo and warranty behind it. Until then caveat emptor!

  2. Karl in NY says:

    “Picking those channels and setting the squelch is what’s happening on that iPod”…
    Really, on an iPod?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I meant the iPad in the photo, Karl (I corrected the typo in the entry). And I didn’t mean that the iPad is receiving VHF, though that the big touch screen is great for picking which channels you want to scan on the Fusion IP700.

  4. Gram Schweikert says:

    Raymarine doesn’t actually make their pumps or rams either, though they do put their labels on them, warranty them, and can provide some parts (at a somewhat exorbitant upcharge), though the two parts I have needed for our drives (brushes for the motors and a coil for the clutch valve) have not been able to be supplied by Raymarine as they didn’t have any of the older (2002) parts anymore. The hydraulic portions of Raymarine drives are made by Hy-Pro (http://www.hypro.co.uk/) which has been very helpful in supplying replacement parts for older units, it just takes a while to find them as not all the Raymarine service techs seem to know where to send you when they can’t get the parts. That said, we have been very happy with our two raymarine autopilots which have steered VofJ for well over 20,000 miles if I did my maths right

  5. Don Joyce says:

    I have two Accusteer continuous running hydraulic pumps. One is a spare is yet to be used after 20 years.
    Accusteer assembles their pumps from industry standard components. Other than their manifold block, I can purchase every component from multiple manufacturers at a hydraulic supply house.
    I’ve relocated the Accusteer pump to make room for other equipment and in the process swapped out the gear motor for one with 10% more capacity without ever having to think about whether it would physically fit. Only had to contact the motor manufacturer to ask whether I would be overloading the motor driving two 80 cu. in. steering cylinders (nope).
    The boat has gone through several autopilots, and interfacing them to the industry standard reversing solenoids is straight-forward.
    Furuno recommends Accusteer for good reasons. Accusteer pump systems live on commercial vessels where reliability is just as critical as repair-ability. Its very hard to get both if one installs equipment that has a run of a few hundred to a thousand units. By using industry standard components, Accusteer takes advantage of millions of unit components in the field.
    Finally, of course various hydraulic fitting on my Accusteer units have rusted over the past twenty years. I replaced a few when I changed pumps. All it took was a 5 minute visit to the parts counter at the local hydraulic store………gee whiz, I even got a cup of coffee thrown in.

  6. norse says:

    Was there any mention of some things we’ve been waiting for?
    * Airmar CS4500 n2k version
    * Airmar PB200 sailboat version
    * Navico using the standard PGNs for Class B AIS

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Norse, I did talk briefly with Airmar and their focus these days seems to be expanding the CHIRP transducer line and getting the PB200 technology into niches beyond boating. I didn’t ask Navico about the Class B static data PGN but will try to remember at the next shows. First IBEX, then FLIBS!

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Norse, I did talk briefly with Airmar and their focus these days seems to be expanding the CHIRP transducer line and getting the PB200 technology into niches beyond boating. I didn’t ask Navico about the Class B static data PGN but will try to remember at the next shows. First IBEX, then FLIBS!

  9. Rick says:

    You recommend the Simrad AI50 Class B AIS. Be aware that this unit has NO provision for an external alarm function. Any audible alarm function has to be provided by some other device on the Simnet network. I think this makes it a poor choice as a stand-alone AIS.

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Rick, I think that a lot of AIS users have the alarm turned off or minimized because they tend to be more annoying than useful. Simple CPA/TCPA and/or range alarms may be OK offshore, but it takes more parameters and logic to identify true collision threats in the midst of coastal traffic. That’s why I keep beating the drum about Vesper Marine; they’ve been working on sophisticated AIS alarming for a long time and I wish the other manufacturers would take a close look at what they’ve developed.
    I’m also hopeful that NMEA 2000 alarming will eventually be the way to go. Individual external alarms are pretty crude. I understand that there is a set of Alarm PGNs that’s quite sophisticated, but they haven’t been published by NMEA yet…so it’s going to take a long time.

  11. Rick says:

    I completely agree that most of the existing alarm functions are crude. But being an old, half-deaf, offshore single-handed sailor, and good LOUD alarm is better than nothing.

  12. norse says:

    new cs4500? Not all of Airmar’s pages have been updated to show a new Interface Box which does both NMEA 2000 and 0183. This one does:
    http://www.airmartechnology.com/uploads/brochures/CS4500.pdf
    It is dated “CS4500_rM 02/03/11”.
    Does this mean it might be available to buy soon?

  13. michael says:

    I for one won’t be rushing to buy another CS4500 with or without NMEA 2000. I purchased and installed a CS4500 new in July of 2010. By the time I sailed to the BVI’s in December the water temp sensor stopped working. Search the web and you will find its a common failure. Then when I was sailing to Nuka Hiva in June of 2011 the speed sensor failed – so in total it didn’t last one year. Just one man’s experience but…

  14. Don Joyce says:

    Are you sure its the temperature sensor that fails. They are pretty rugged. My own experience is something on the interface electronics board goes for a variety of reasons such as lightning near misses.
    Best way to check is to remove the temperature sensor leads from the input and put a 10K ohm resister across the inputs. If the electronics is ok you will read something on the order of 77 degrees F. Same for all electronics providers…..
    Airmar puts the same temperature sensor in all of their units, and they seem to make the speed logs/temperature sensor units for all instrument vendors
    Cheers

  15. michael says:

    Thanks for the tip Don. When I first tested the temp sensor, I went to the airmar website which has a list of the expected resistance vs temp – I checked it and the reading I had was no where near what it should have been for the temperature I had, so I had assumed a temp sensor failure.
    Interestingly Airmar has a ‘what happens if the temp sensor fails on my transducer’ FAQ (link below) and they suggest fitting a new airmar temp sensor as a stand alone unit as a cost effective alternative when the units are out of the two year warranty – I guess this didn’t add to my confidence either! Mine wasn’t out of the warranty time, but crossing the pacific I didn’t feel I could afford the time to send it back, and have the unit itself replaced.
    http://faq.airmar.com/index.php?action=artikel&cat=1&id=182&artlang=en
    After the speed sensor failed (6 months or so later), and it brought down the raymarine 0183 network until the sensor was disconnected – I wrote off the ultrasonic ‘experiment’. Just recently installed a NMEA2000 backbone, with GWS10 wind sensor and an Airmar DST800 (depth, speed, and temp) sensor and couldn’t be more pleased. So I didn’t mean to condemn airmar as a whole, but feel the technology (ultrasonic) vs. simplicity/reliability argument, admittedly based on my sample of one – favored the simpler solution!

  16. Bob says:

    I have been interested in a new Garmin AP because of the Shadow Drive feature but recently heard tha I would not be able to use my existing Robertson pump with the Garmin unit. Now I’m looking at the Furuno AP with Safe Helm. Can anyone tell me if my Robertson pump will work with it!

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry, Bob, Furuno Safe Helm is a joint developement with Accu-Steer and only works with their pumps, I’m pretty sure. Have you actually checked with Garmin about your pump?

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