When we purchased Magnolia she had an older Raymarine Autopilot installed that we used to get Magnolia home from Florida, well almost. The Autopilot is really only useful in open water so as luck would have it the installed unit died about one day before arriving the Intercostal Waterway in North Carolina. Since then Magnolia has been hand steered but with our imminent departure next summer it was time to get an appropriate Autopilot installed.
The linear drive was the first item to be replaced. This is the top of the rudder post and the drive unit moves the rudder as directed by the Autopilot computer. We were able to reuse the rudder indicator from the previous Autopilot.
The original Autopilot computer was installed in the engine room. That always seemed like the one of the crazier things we had ever seen. Why would you put a sensitive piece of electronics in the hottest space on the boat? Beats us so we relocated the new computer to the aft cabin where it will rest comfortably!
Final Autopilot computer installation in the Aft Cabin locker.
The Fluxgate compass was mounted in the forward cabin locker and cabled back to the Autopilot computer in the aft cabin.
Next electrical power cables were connected from the Autopilot computer to the main 12volt distribution panel in the engine room.
The Autopilot control head was plugged into the boat wide Raymarine bus cable and instantly came to life. Annette and I completed the in-port commissioning procedure without incident so all that’s left is get underway and complete the underway commissioning procedures hopefully this Saturday.