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Auto Pilot for H34

Apr 14, 2010
230
Hunter 34 Slidell, La.
It's been a long time since I posted on the forum and after searching for some info on auto pilots(EV100) for instance, is this the best choice for our H34. I've seen a lot of installations of this unit on other boats but, couldn't find anyone who has installed it on a Hunter 34. Just trying to decide which direction to go. Any help from owners that installed it on the H34 (possible with pictures) could tell me the pros and cons of this unit.

Thanks ,

Bub
 
Nov 6, 2006
8,455
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
Hey, Bub. Good to see ya still out there. I have the old 4000+ and am satisfied with it. The new generation stuff like the EV should be fine with the wheel drive unit. Be prepared to install a rudder reference unit even though they say it is ok without... and it may be ok, because of the upgraded sensors. Sorry I can’t help.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,753
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Bub, it's not only H34s, but boats similar to yours. This will vastly widen your pool of available data.
That said, the general consensus for wheel pilots is that 34 and 36 footers are at the upper end of wheel pilots' abilities. They work, but with certain caveats: good sail trim is essential and most wheel pilots do not work well going downwind or with quartering seas. While this article is almost 20 years old, the basics remain valid: http://www.c34.org/faq-pages/faq-autohelmwacky.html
Also, the EV model is reported to be superior to the old 4000 from those who have had both. Some have also reported that they kept the 4000 wheel gear when they upgraded the head end because the construction of the older wheel gear was better and heavier. Kloudie is also right about the RPS.
Since the next step is to get a below decks ap, the EV should work fine for you in most situations but the most challenging conditions.

This is from a skipper who is still running an ancient ST-3000!!! My boat can literally sail itself going upwind, and I learned sail trim years ago with sheet to tiller self steering on our previous boat, a C25. Sail trim is critical to help the ap work properly and to not overload it.

Good luck, it's the right, and almost the only choice one has for a wheel pilot these days.
 
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Likes: jssailem
Sep 30, 2017
24
Hunter 34 Gunpower Neck - Aberdeen, MD
i just installed a raymarine AP in my H34. will respond later tonight with details and pictures
 
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Likes: kloudie1
Apr 14, 2010
230
Hunter 34 Slidell, La.
Thanks Stu and Claude. And yes Claude we are back in Slidell at a friends dock on Bayou Liberty. Best thing about this dock it's Free....It's good talking to you guys again. I have some other things we want to do to the boat, one step at a time thou.

Bub
 
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Likes: kloudie1
Nov 26, 2012
1,105
Hunter 34 Berkeley
I installed the EV 100 in my H-34. It is the least expensive option by far and is fine for taking the wheel when you need it to. I did not install the rudder sensor and the boat will zig zag a bit. I have two main complaints: It does not hold a course well when going very slow like, for example: when you need it to hold the boat to windward while going forward to drop the sails. My other complaint is that the system is not very hardy. It is fragile, plastic. I have had it on my boat for three years and it is still working but I doubt I will get ten years out of it. Also, you have to rinse the wheel drive with fresh water periodically. Salt is hard on it.
 
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Likes: BrianRobin
Jan 22, 2008
101
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
I've had a Raymarine 4000 for 20 years(?) on my 1984 Hunter 34 and it has worked perfectly all that time.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,753
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Another question, does the ev100 display show rudder angle?
bubby,

I've always been able to answer these kind of questions by downloading the manuals from the manufacturer. Beats speculation! :)

Like: if you don't have a RPS, how can it do that?!?

Follow?
 
Apr 14, 2010
230
Hunter 34 Slidell, La.
I guess I should of been more clear. I was wondering for the people who do have a rps installed did it show on the display the angle.
Sorry
 
Sep 30, 2017
24
Hunter 34 Gunpower Neck - Aberdeen, MD
Ok... Bub... great question. My family bought a 1985 Hunter 34 in 2015. The original 80s instruments had been removed, and a Standard Horizon chartplotter had been added. This provided 'enough' nav but we always wanted an AP. Previous sailboat was a 2001 Sun Odyssey 37 that came with a full RayMarine package so we sorely missed "Ray", the name we affectionately applied to our AP. I spent awhile researching options, with a clear bias towards RayMarine. After much reading, plus previous experience, we decided on the EV200 and the i70 instrument pack. While the EV200 is certainly more expensive and more difficult to install, in my opinion and experience it provides superior reliability compared to the EV100. With that decision made, attention turned to purchase. We ended finding a great deal on Anchor Express which at the time came with a $600 rebate from RayMarine (in the form of a Visa Gift Card). Here is exactly what I ordered:

Order Items
Qty Code/SKU Product Name Price Total
1 T70158 Raymarine EV-200 Sail Linear Drive Evolution Autopilot - T70158 $2,699.99 $2,699.99
1 T70226 Raymarine i70s System Pack, Wind, Depth, Speed - T70226 $1,139.99 $1,139.99
Subtotal: $3,839.98
Shipping $10.99
Tax: $0.00
Grand Total $3,850.97

Now for the installation....many articles advise NOT using the existing rudder post quadrant to connect the EV200. There are many reasons for this, mainly because you want to keep the manual and AP steering systems as separate as possible, and the existing quadrant was not designed for the vector loads of the EV200. So now I needed a 2nd tiller arm. Brand new ones online are quite expensive, but I happened to find a used Edson tiller arm on ebay for $150. This tiller arm was exactly what I needed, its arm would clear the travel no problem, would fit above the existing quadrant, just one problem....The bore size was 2-3/4" whereas my rudder post was 2-1/2". No problem. I purchase and fitted a pair of copper collets which closed the gap between the post and the tiller arm. Best to remove the existing quadrant first before mounting the tiller arm. Take lots of pictures and - very important - mark the rudder stock with the exact location of the quadrant. There is a bolt that passs through the quadrant and rudder post.

There is barely enough room above the standard steering quadrant to fit the tiller arm I purchased, it's very heavy duty. You really have to measure carefully to ensure you can fit the tiller arm and it can move back and forth without rubbing. It's a tight space due to the aft potable water tank. Now to mounting the motor. You need a solid mounting point, so I selected the horizontal bulkhead (probably has a better name) to port of the potable water tank. Drilled 4 holes through and bolted the motor. I must have measure a million times to ensure the location was perfect, the push rod travels slightly forward/aft as it articulate in/out, so you have to ensure the travel is not encumbered in any way through the full end-to-end stroke. If I recall correctly, I had to remove a bit of the plywood that holds the potable water tank, nothing structural. Ok, at this point, I have the tiller arm mounted to the rudder post, the EV200 motor mounted securely and the push-rod connected. One very important point...you must use the angle iron travel restricter forward of the quadrant to ensure it limits the travel of the rudder back and forth. In other words, the travel of the EV200 must exceed the travel of the quadrant limited by the restricter. Otherwise the EV200 pushrod will be compressed or extended beyond its range. This is covered very prominently in the installation instructions.

The rest of the installation is straightforward. Find a location for the fluxgate thingy and the computer, runs the wires and connect everything. There are two options for the SeaTalk NG power. You can either power the SeaTalk NG bus separately from the computer, which allows you to use all the other instruments and displays without powering on the autopilot computer, but we elected to just power the SeaTalk NG bus through the AP computer. May change that later on....

The i70 instrument pack comes with a display, wind instrument, and triducer (temp, speed, and depth) and a converter box (ITC-5) to convert the analog signal to SeaTalkNG. This is all simple wire routing and connections, not too bad.

Now to the mast... (I know your question wasn't about instruments, but in case you go all in, this might be helpful...). We installed the triducer through-hull over the winter. Luckily, it wasn't too bad to remove the old crusty through-hull and mount the new one. The RayMarine through-hull comes with a flap in the cylinder the helps reduce water when you swap the blank with the triducer. It works, though it's kinda flimsy. For the wind vane, the mast come off. That's where we ran into some problems. The marine where we dock the H34 has a self-service crane (glorified telephone pole with boom, winch, and wire). The mast must be removed because the wind vane wires must pass through the deck under the mast step. We wanted to remove the mast anyway to inspect the mast/rigging, install LED deck lights, and a few other items to fix. While removing the mast, the boom broke and mast fell about 7' onto the bimini. All in all, it wasn't too bad, no one was hurt and no damage other than a bent bimini frame a few rips in the canvas. You are probably aware of compression post issues. PO had replace the post, however the 1" PVC pipe that runs as conduit through the deck to keep water out (?) did not quite line up with the channel in the compression post, so I had to eventually remove the entire post and carve a bit of deck material to provide slightly more room for the wire to run. We have yet to re-step the mast as we're waiting on the lift to be fixed, but the wires appear to route normally now, and we will run a chase line in case other wires need to go through. the kit includes a terminal block to connect the wind vane wires in the mast with those that come up the compression post and through the deck. those wires connect to the same ITC-5 connector box as the triducer.

We added an older WAAS GPS on Ebay (the newer ones are insanely expensive) that connects directly to the SeaTalk NG network. And after much research I purchased a ShipModul multiplexer http://www.shipmodul.com/en/index.html. These devices are AWESOME. They combine, bi-directionally, NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 datagrams and broadcast via WiFi. A simple cable converter allows this device to be connected to the SeaTalk NG network, so I've connected all the RayMarine devices to the Standard Horizon VHF/AIS and the Standard Horizon Chartplotter. Very cool DIY tech...

Feel free to ask any questions, I'm happy to share my experience....I will upload a bunch of photos next
 
Sep 30, 2017
24
Hunter 34 Gunpower Neck - Aberdeen, MD
IMG_5030.jpg
this is before the install looking aft from the aft cabin.
IMG_5164.jpg

This is the Edson tiller arm I got from EBay. you can see it's very heavy duty, and the copper collets are installed
IMG_5163.jpg

more on collets.
IMG_5561.jpg

After the motor is installed. be very careful to ensure proper placement before drilling holes...
IMG_5558.jpg

The push rod connection worked well, if you get a different tiller arm, make sure you can make this connection well.
IMG_5562.jpg

after installation. note that although it looks like one, there are actually two. the top one is the added tiller arm. the lower, round one is the original quadrant.
IMG_5563.jpg
looking starboard
IMG_5564.jpg

looking aft and starboard, a little better view of the rod/arm connection
 
Sep 30, 2017
24
Hunter 34 Gunpower Neck - Aberdeen, MD
IMG_8239.jpg

In case you need to remove your mast, there are several very good articles on the forum with great step-by-step instructions. Attaching the noose just above the lower spreader
IMG_8245.JPG

As you can see we literally almost had the mast on the ground, it was at this point it fell.
 
Sep 30, 2017
24
Hunter 34 Gunpower Neck - Aberdeen, MD
IMG_5044.jpg

one more photo. This is the stopper angle iron. It's not in this picture, but I had to add 3/4" of wood to the stopper to slightly limit the travel allowed by this, otherwise it would have been more than that allowed by the ram.

And lastly, although I have not completed this step, I do plan to drill a hole through the rudder post and insert a bolt through the post and the tiller arm. Right now, the friction of the screws that hold the tiller arm to the post are sufficient, but don't want to rely on that. Will drill once I'm certain the angles are correct and everything is calibrated. only get one shot at that hole....