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NMEA Boater Blog
 

Autopilots: troubleshooting basics, part 2
1/25/2021

Last week we looked at a few fundamentals including a quick dockside check of autopilot operation and then moved into rudder feedback units and compasses. This week we consider drive units, controllers and the all-important sea trial. The information is excerpted from a more technical article that marine electronics dealer John Barry wrote for Marine Electronics Journal. Our goal is to provide a basic understanding of why your autopilot may not be working as advertised and what may be involved to set it on a proper course.

Drive

Autopilot drives come in many flavors and sizes. They all have one thing in common, they steer the boat. Most do this by moving the rudder port or starboard as appropriate. Reversing hydraulic pumps are common. Other types of drives include mechanical linear, hydraulic linear, mechanical rotary, solenoid and others. Some pilots send steering commands to a digital steering system like IPS (Inboard Performance System), etc.

A common failure complaint with any autopilot is "No Drive.” User engages pilot but nothing happens, no rudder movement. This symptom can be easily duplicated at the dock using the nominal operation test described [last week]. Once a "No Drive” condition is confirmed, the drive can be tested separately by direct connection to the supply voltage.

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Volvo Penta Launches Industry’s First Fully Integrated Assisted Docking System at CES

Gothenburg, Sweden, 11 January 2021 -- Volvo Penta today announced the commercial availability of the industry’s first fully integrated Assisted Docking system against the backdrop of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The Assisted Docking system gives the captain better control when docking a boat by automating his or her intentions, compensating for some dynamic variables, such as wind and current, and helping the vessel stay on its intended course. The technology will be on display at Volvo Penta’s virtual booth at CES from 11-14 January 2021.
 

NMEA NAMES 2020 PRODUCT OF EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

SEVERNA PARK, MD—Manufacturers scored big at the 2020 National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Business Meeting held on September 26, following the NMEA Virtual Education Week held last week. A total of 19 products received the top award, and the NMEA Manufacturer of the Year was named. "On behalf of the NMEA Board of Directors, staff, and membership, we congratulate all 2020 award winners,” said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President & Executive Director.

"The member voting count exceeded our expectations. This certainly sends the message to the market that manufacturers have focused on producing top quality products for the boating public, even during a pandemic. NMEA members, installers, and manufacturers have surely kept their eye on the ball.”
 

Boaters benefit from peace of mind on land and sea with Garmin OnDeck Remote Connectivity Solution

OLATHE, Kan./Sept. 15, 2020/Business Wire – Garmin® International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), the world’s leading marine electronics manufacturer1, today announced its new OnDeck™ System, a remote monitoring and management solution that gives boaters 24/7 access to critical and timely information about their vessel2. When paired with the ActiveCaptain® app, OnDeck keeps users connected to their vessel by monitoring the boat’s battery status, bilge activity, door/hatch sensors, GPS location and more. For extra peace of mind, configurable notifications can even let the user know of changes that may threaten the boat, including if it has moved into or outside of a custom geofenced area. In addition to the GTB 10 OnDeck Hub, the system includes a door sensor, temperature sensor, shore power sensor and relay switch.