Using a Garmin TR1 autopilot as a first mate....

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by missinginaction, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 1,102
    Likes: 254, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    As I put my little cruiser away for the winter I'm looking at making a further improvement for next season.
    In August I took her on a first of what I hope will be many longer cruises. Traveled about 160 miles and through 19 locks on the Erie canal. I do my trips single handed, so this really was an adventure!
    One thing I learned on this trip was that driving the boat all day tended to get a little tedious. I loved the trip and fortunately locking through every hour or two broke things up a bit. That said I can see now the usefullness of some type of autopilot.
    I'll post a few photos below so that you can get an idea of what I'm running. My boat is fairly small by cruiser standards (25 feet LOA). Main engine is a 302 Ford and a V-drive and I've installed a Yamaha T9.9 high thrust kicker as an emergency engine and maneuvering thruster. Steering is via a Teleflex "Big T" cable set up.
    After installing the kicker I discovered that at displacement speeds (where I spend all my time) the kicker steered my boat far better than the rudder. I can run the boat on the kicker alone in relatively calm winds and steer with the rudder but the helm is sluggish. If the winds pick up to say 10-15 knots, I can't hold a course with the rudder and have to fire the main engine. So, the issue is how to steer the kicker from the helm(s).

    After doing a little research I discovered the Garmin TR1.

    My thinking is to install the TR1, mount the wired remote inside the boat at the lower helm and use the optional wireless remote when I'm on the flybridge.

    I can run the main engine at about 1800 RPM and get about 7 knots out of her or run on the kicker and get about 5. Based on some experiments I find that with the main running and the rudder neutral I can steer quite nicely using the kicker, running the kicker at about 1/4 throttle, just enough to provide some steering thrust.
    If running on the kicker alone I can maneuver just fine by turning the outboard and leaving the rudder in the neutral position in just about any wind conditions that I'm likely to encounter.

    I'm thinking this set up would give me a nice system that would allow me to set a course and hold it for awhile. It would also give me throttle control for the kicker from anywhere in the boat.

    It seems that fisherman love this TR1, but my application is a little bit out of the norm for this system. Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

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  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
    Posts: 1,854
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 896
    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    CAN'T help you with your question but I have talked to the Garmin people several times over many years and always found them very helpful so I would go right to them to find your answer.
  3. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 1,102
    Likes: 254, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    That's a good idea Rasorinc. I looked on their website and saw a number for customer service/technical support.


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