Send Autopilot Heading from Personal Computer to Autopilot

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Jdawg, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. Jdawg
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    Jdawg New Member

    G'day. Would anyone know if it's possible to interface a regular personal computer (running windows/linux) to a commercial marine autopilot unit?

    Specifically, I'd like to be able to send a heading input from a personal computer to the autopilot. Preferably I'd like to avoid redesigning an autopilot unit myself. Cheers!
     
  2. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Communication between a PC and marine equipment is easy, using an RS232 port and the NMEA protocol. But you probably want the autopilot to do a bit more than just receive a number between 0 and 359.
    So you need an autopilot with fully remote operation software.
     
  3. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Perhaps you can. You would be best to contact the autopilot manufacture to learn how to communicate to the autopilot. Protocol NMEA, SigCos, Rs232 and the sentences recognized.

    Ive never used a GPS driven, route steering , autopilot. Sounds like a gimmick. .

    External compass and wind input sensors supply un dampened data, the autopilot dampens this data and steers. All you must do is supply the correct sentence at the correct rate.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Autopilots have a knob for adjusting the heading. Are you trying to control an autopilot through wifi or other remote system? Otherwise, why complicate it so much?
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I suppose a fisherman would have all his hot spot waypoints programed and he could use the waypoints to direct the auto to troll his fishing lures along these points. As a navigation method its pretty goofy and would be unusable. Not worth the trouble.
     
  6. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A $200 GPS will have all those features already built in.
     
  7. Jdawg
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    Jdawg New Member

    Cheers for the input. Haven't had much luck with the manufacturer. Most of my gear is already Raymarine so I'll be buying one of their autopilots.

    Would anyone here know what sentences the modern Raymarine autopilot listens for (heading only)? For the application I'm really only after providing heading instructions.

    FYI, my end game is to remove the rest of the Raymarine kit (MFD, Route Planning Software) and be able to add additional autopilot capabilities through my own software.
     
  8. Jdawg
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    Jdawg New Member

    Can you point me in the direction of one? Cheers.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member


  10. Jdawg
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    Jdawg New Member

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