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Autopilot - quick and hard or long and soft?

BillyK

.
Jan 24, 2010
502
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
Do all Wheel autopilots have quick harsh moves like mine? this is not the best example, but when it adjusts it really seems to hit the wheel with a sharp motion. its not easy on it. and I don't like how much pressure that is putting on the steering system overall. i would prefer a softer motion spread out over time to lesson the jerking..

 
May 1, 2011
2,314
Pearson 37 Lusby MD
What sensitivity is set on your wheel pilot? The default setting of 5 will cause a lot of sharp motion.
 

BillyK

.
Jan 24, 2010
502
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
What sensitivity is set on your wheel pilot? The default setting of 5 will cause a lot of sharp motion.
I've set it all the way down to 1 and it still has the same motor input but seems to just correct less and looses heading.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,826
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
This seems about normal for an AP. At the heart of the AP is an electric motor that starts and stops abruptly, there is no soft start to the motor so it cannot ramp up slowly.
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
1,205
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Looks like mine. Normal I suspect.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,087
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I am going to suggest that you remove the wheel, clean and lube the eccentrics the rubber ring wraps the eccentric and makes contact with the belt. You want to lightly lube the inside of the belt. Clean the bearings and lightly lube. (Light = one drop spread on the surface. Lube suitable for plastics.)

NO LUBE ON THE BELT!

Mine was jumping. It would bump the clutch so hard that the clutch would release and the boat would choose its own course while the AP kept trying to correct.

I thought it was the clutch that was failing. Turns out the cause was dirt that was causing the eccentric to fight the belt movement

You might give it a try.
 
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Nov 22, 2011
980
Ericson 26-2 San Pedro, CA
It's been a while since I owned one of these (I now have a tiller-steered boat with a different autopilot), but as I recall, there is a software setting for "hydraulic" that can be turned on or off and affects this. I found that it kept a better course when I had it set for "hydraulic," even though I did not have a below-decks hydraulic autopilot. Anyway, I'd experiment with this setting if it concerns you.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,705
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
Do all Wheel autopilots have quick harsh moves like mine?
It depends on your AutoPilot brand and how you set up the steering.

Mine is Raymarine that has 4 point , High Torque, low speed moves, Motor.

Mine can set 3 sea states too.

What is your AP brand?
_____
Mine does smooth moves when changing course more that 10°
Jim...
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,993
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Do all Wheel autopilots have quick harsh moves like mine? this is not the best example, but when it adjusts it really seems to hit the wheel with a sharp motion. its not easy on it. and I don't like how much pressure that is putting on the steering system overall. i would prefer a softer motion spread out over time to lesson the jerking..

I have the same boat, and, of course, the same AP, and it works the same way. When I first got the boat, 15 years ago, I messed around with the AP settings, but as was mentioned already in this thread, the only thing that changed was the amount of time the AP took to respond. The steering system itself has held up fine, with over 6,000 miles of cruising, and a fair amount of that on AP.