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Noisy wheel-drive autopilot

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Feb 12, 2009
132
Beneteau 37 JBM, St. Clair Shores, MI
I just replaced my ST4000 wheel drive unit (black) with the Raymarine MKII wheel drive unit (grey). I used my same ST4000 control-display unit. After a couple of sea trials, it seems like the grey wheel drive unit is MUCH noisier....clicking, clanking sounds on the plastic.... and almost constantly adjusting the wheel slightly. Any ideas as to why it is so active, and more importantly, noisy?
 
Jun 14, 2008
6,747
Hunter Legend 40.5 Long Beach, Shoreline Marina, CA
Just to start with the obvious, have you checked the sensitivity adjustment? It's been a long time since I had one, but I believe there is one.
 
Sep 25, 2008
1,051
CS 30 Toronto
There is a belt tension adjustment on the back near the motor. Check the manual.
May be too loose and slip.

Yes there is a belt inside the grey plastic cover. The installation instruction tell you how to adjust the tension.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,149
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Earplugs, maybe?

We have a new (last season) X5 model. I replaced a very old A4000 setup. While the steering algorithm is indeed better on the new model....
The plastic squawks from the new clutch unit are astounding! As soon as it is clutched in (handle down and secure) every little motor movement produces an obnoxious amount of "Plastic rubbing on plastic" squeeling noise.
*Winter project list add on: take this drive back to the the dealer for replacement by Raymarine!

While it looks physically just like the one that was replaced, unlike the old one, this one is Gawdawful noisy.

Odd thing is, that a friend that bought and installed one on his sailboat at the same time has no such noise at all.

Maybe a Raymarine QC problem!?

(big sigh) "It's always something!" , as Rosanna used to say on SNL.
 
Feb 12, 2009
132
Beneteau 37 JBM, St. Clair Shores, MI
What does this adjust????

I don't see anything in the manual that explains what this adjustment does......can anyone tell me????
 

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May 11, 2005
3,431
Seidelman S37 Slidell, La.
That is the belt/clutch adjustment

Loosen the allen head screw in the center. Turn the square knob to adjust, and retighten the screw. I dismantled mine this year, there was a bunch of little fuzz bunnies around the drive wheel, and the clutch rollers. Removing all this crud helped the noise a bunch.
 
Oct 28, 2008
24
Catalina 320 Lake Texoma
Re: That is the belt/clutch adjustment

Since Raymarine won't answer my question, I guess Vegas did . Will a grey drive unit work with an ST4000+ unit with the rru. is the electrical connection the same?
 
Feb 12, 2009
132
Beneteau 37 JBM, St. Clair Shores, MI
Re: That is the belt/clutch adjustment

Yes, used the original black two-prong plug and it plugged right in.
 
Sep 25, 2008
1,051
CS 30 Toronto
If you installed it yourself you'll know how the inside looks like. The cogged belt rides along the grey donut. It goes around a idler wheel and then the drive motor. The idler wheel is used for adjusting the tension. The little black knob on the back side is the hub of the idler wheel. If the tension is not correct, the belt will slip around the grey donut and make noise.

As Nice and Easy said; little fuzz bunnies also make the noise.
 
May 6, 2010
392
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
While this may or may not apply to the newer grey unit - for anyone still using the older black unit, I had two and both sounded like there was a bag of rocks inside when they turned. I took them apart, and cleaned everything inside - especially the groove where the wheels ride. I then put a very small dab of synthetic brake caliper grease on each of the axles where the wheels turn. The unit is now almost silent and much more enjoyable to use.
 
Jan 22, 2008
9
Macgregor 26S Absecon NJ
Funny, I had pretty much the same experience. Just installed a whole new Raymarine X-5 on my MacGregor 26X, used it the first time this past Saturday, and was really annoyed at the noise. I have a complete brand new system—computer, fluxgate, controller, wheel drive.

Seems to me there are two aspects of the noise.
A) It’s just plain noisy whenever the motor activates. Maybe it’s possible to add some dampening material, a complete pain-in-the-rear trial & error process.
B) The motor activates way too often—constantly making little adjustments that are reversed moments later. In waves, it produced a series of rapid wheel oscillations that exactly matched the waves. Very impressive response-- very annoying. There is a “Response Level” parameter, lowering this value should cut down on helm activity. It helped a little bit for me. Maybe there are some other settings buried in there that would help, like "Rudder Gain" and "Rudder Damping".

If anyone has found solutions, please share!

Ted Grant

PS: The instructions on temporarily changing the Response level are on page 41 of the manual, reproduced here:
Response level
The principal method of adjusting the performance of an SPX-5 Wheel system is by
changing the response level. This controls the relationship between the SPX-5 Wheel
system’s course keeping accuracy and the amount of helm/drive activity.
Screen Text Effect on operation
RESPONSE 1-3 This setting minimizes the amount of rudder activity but may compromise
short-term course keeping accuracy,
RESPONSE 4-6 This setting gives good course keeping with crisp, well controlled turns
under normal operating conditions.
RESPONSE 7-9 This setting provides the tightest possible course keeping and greatest
rudder activity. This can lead to a rough passage in open waters as the
SPX-5 Wheel system may fight the sea.
To temporarily change the response level:
1. Press -1 and +1 or resp to access the RESPONSE screen.
2. Use -1 or +1 to adjust the setting.
3. Press disp to confirm the change.
 
Jul 10, 2007
551
Seidelmann 34 Blitz Atlantic Highlands, NJ
I agree it makes too much noise, mine is on the third season and no change. In my opinion it even makes too much noise if you have pilot off and clutch disengaged.

I was told that it the way it is by others in my area.
 
Jun 5, 2004
241
Catalina 30 MkII Foss Harbor Marina, Tacoma, WA
...I've been using my new X5 for about a month...mine is quiet...the reason for my post is someone mentioned that Raymarine had not replied to questions...my experience also...horrible tech support/ customer service.
 
Apr 12, 2010
131
Sabre 38' MK II Oriental, NC
I have the earlier black version autopilot drive and have asked Raymarine for help on service etc.
There now have a forum were a Tech try's to answer questions and offer assistance online. Check this link.
http://raymarine.ning.com/
There is some helpful info available by looking through the previous answers as well.
Mster
 
Jul 14, 2012
3
grampian gemini 30 33 lake superior
Chances are that the inside of the wheel is just dirty and needs a good washing. Do not use WD40 on it or you will ruin it. Use soap and water. Take the wheel apart and clean the belt and remove each of the rollers and clean them. Check to make sure that one of rollers has not broken off from being dirty. It it has, drill it out and bolt it back on.
 
Jun 3, 2004
109
Oday 40 New Bern
Just made the same replacement and haven't sea-trialed yet. Because the torque restrainer thingee had to be cut back, I was wondering if perhaps that wasn't scraping on the interior of the wheel. Will be followingnthis thread closely.
 
Jan 11, 2004
35
Hunter 340 Washington, NC
I just replaced my ST4000 wheel drive unit (black) with the Raymarine MKII wheel drive unit (grey). I used my same ST4000 control-display unit. After a couple of sea trials, it seems like the grey wheel drive unit is MUCH noisier....clicking, clanking sounds on the plastic.... and almost constantly adjusting the wheel slightly. Any ideas as to why it is so active, and more importantly, noisy?
I have a Raymarine X5 autopilot. All of the Raymarine systems use a similar computer with the later ones a little more sophisticated.

There are system settings, "Response" 1 through 5 where 5 is very active and keeps an over precise course and this is not necessary. Normally I set the response on "2" for only ocassional wheel movement. Saves battery power and wear and tear on the motor and controls. too. "Rudder Gain" is another setting that is important. I have pictures of my install if that is of any help to anyone.

I sailed as crew on a Caliber 40 offshore 700 miles from North Carolina to Newburyport, MA in May and it had an overactive Raymarine autopilot and the response was set on the lowest setting. The autopilot interfered with the SSB radio too !

Wayne - S/V Wind Drift
 
Sep 19, 2012
1
Seaward 32RK North East
I just fixed this same problem on our boat 2 days ago! The squealing was the belt going between the tensioner, motor and the clutch. We had to pull the wheel pilot off the wheel and smeared the OUTSIDE of the belt (not the notched side) with a little silicon grease. It completely fixed the problem. All there is now is a little noise from the motor.
 
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