autopilot on a small sailing catamaran

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by vforvasilis, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    I want to install a wheel autopilot on a 16 feet sailing catamaran!!!
    check out the boat. is 70 % homemade
    [​IMG]
    any good idea?
     
  2. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What do you want to power and control it with? A blade in the water can provide the power, but creates drag. Wind vanes don't use electricity but work poorly downwind.
     
  4. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    hi gonzo
    i have already install a solar panel 20w and a 55ah battery for my electric outboard.but i use the outboard only in the port.i think to use that battery for the autopilot
    what about the electric Consumption for a small control unit and the motor?
     
  5. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Please tell us why you would want an auto pilot on a 16 foot cat. Of course it is a do able project but why on such a little boat?
     
  6. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    nice question! you can ask me also why i installed a wheel steering system! The answer is that i start a project and it work nice.the project is a mini yacht with clean energy and as more systems has a larger boat,all control in cockpit(sails,anchor,fins),full furling sails,auto pilot etc.
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    There is nothing in the market that is designed for such a small application. The cheapest wheel mounted autopilot is about $2500.00 (US). How good are you with electronics? It is possible to find old or broken tiller steering autopilots where the flux gate compass and some of the electronics still work. You can use one to control a motor that will steer the wheel. The power necessary depends on how well your boat behaves. A boat that needs a lot of correction and is hard to steer will use a lot more power than a well behaved one.
     
  8. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    First of all thank you for your time.
    i am good with electronics and i am looking for an old control unit with built in compass.something like autohelm or something close to that,and i will use a 12v motor with belt to steer the will.
    1)do you know any website with used old unit?
    2)i'd like to fix my own control unit.... can i found directions or any kit?
     
  9. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    You might try E-Bay.com for used nav gear, autopilot, or whatever you might want.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A tiller pilot sends power to a motor. It reverses polarity to make it go one way or the other. You may have to add a relay or electronic switch to make it handle a bigger motor though. Ebay is probably a good source.
     
  11. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member

    You could also use an active rudder. I have seen New minnkota trolling motors complete WITH autopilot offered for $1000 and less on internet. Some of them selfstowing at no extra charge. Might find this a simpler installation though a drain on your batteries. If you also had a windvane auto steerer, just use the "active rudder" trolling motor going downwind when the windvane steers poorly, as Gonzo pointed out.
    For less battery drain, Find a burned up 55ib thrust Terranova motor cheap. Buy the autopilot head new and install. Remove the burned motor at the bottom and glass up a rudder blade around trolling motor shaft. Now the only electricity used is turning this rudder by the autopilot head.

    Below is a PDF from Amateur Yacht Research Society on auto self steering with many DIY versions.
    It's too big to upload but you can download it HERE: http://www.ayrs.org/repository/AYRS013.pdf

    From Minnkota: "Constantly repositioning and redirecting your boat wastes valuable fishing time. That’s why our patented AutoPilot system (available on Riptide® ST and some SP motors) does the hard work of navigating for you. Lock AutoPilot onto your desired heading, and let it automatically and continuously make adjustments to keep your boat moving in the right direction.

    Upgrade your Terrova with the AutoPilot™ plug-in module. The compass locks onto a heading to keep you on track – even through wind, waves and current – so you can concentrate on catching fish.

    With AutoPilot you can:

    • Troll along a current line, or over a shelf or ledge
    • Hover in place over schooling fish
    • Troll parallel to the shoreline
    • Repeat a productive troll

    Minn Kota’s AutoPilot utilizes a patented, state-of-the-art compass system that locks on to a particular heading and automatically and continuously makes adjustments to keep the boat moving in that direction – even under high wind or chop"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtZuToju1Zg
     

    Attached Files:

  12. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    hello friends
    thanks for any information, your help was really very important to me.
    i bought a used autohelm st3000 from ebay for 135 euro.(control unit, motor and belt)
    i already checked the electric consumption and that is 2.5 amp max for a 7000kgr boat and heavy work.
    my catamaran is 150kgr only, i believe that i will have lower power consumption.
    in addition my solar panel is enought to keep my battery in high level of charge.
    i will post again when i install the unit.
     
  13. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

    hi friends!
    i already done with my handmade sailing catamaran and i upload a video on youtube with my baby cat to sail on autopilot!!!!
    finally i install the autohelm st 3000!
     
  14. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member


  15. vforvasilis
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    vforvasilis Junior Member

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