Autopilot ST4000 problem

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F32Circle
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am

Autopilot ST4000 problem

Post by F32Circle »

The Autohelm ST4000 (Wheeldrive) on my F32 has demonstrated an increasingly frequent problem of abruptly steering dramatically off course. This always (or at least usually) involves a quick turn to port, whereupon we jump to the wheel, release the clutch lever and push "Standby". After manually returning to the desired course we can re-engage the autopilot and it will operate normally for some time. Wonder what could be at fault -- maybe a problem with the fluxgate compass? Otherwise, we've been satisfied with this autopilot in a variety of conditions. Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.
Dale
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

rafontaine1
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:34 am
Location: Liberte, F36, 1986, Portsmouth RI

Re: Autopilot ST4000 problem

Post by rafontaine1 »

I had a similar problem on my autohelm 4000. I took the control unit apart and found water in the unit. Blew it out, let it dry and re-assembled. It has worked flawless since then.

Rich
F36 s/v Liberte
Portsmouth, RI
Rich Fontaine
s/v Liberte
Freedom 36, 1986
Portsmouth, RI

F32Circle
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Autopilot ST4000 problem

Post by F32Circle »

Rich --
Thanks! Sounds like a good first step. Anyway at least for you the problem was confined to the control unit so my guess about my flux gate compass being at fault is probably wrong, other than possibly including a bad connection between the two. I am curious -- When yours failed can you remember did the boat always abruptly turn? Was it always the same direction? To port?

Incidentally we sail out of Old Lyme (Connecticut River, Long Island Sound) and sometimes venture your way. Hope to meet you sometime.

Dale
F32 Hull #67, Saybook CT.
Yanmar 3GMF, MaxProp, Ronca, Muir windlass,
Heart Interface inverter/charger, SeaFrost

AlanK
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:59 pm
Location: Freedom 33 Boston, MA USA

Re: Autopilot ST4000 problem

Post by AlanK »

I'm sure this isn't the problem if it goes wild for no reason. But figured I'd mention that on my raymarine controller if I put it in standby temporarily and then go back to track to waypoint without resetting the xtrack error it often takes a hard turn until it makes up for the error.

rafontaine1
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:34 am
Location: Liberte, F36, 1986, Portsmouth RI

Re: Autopilot ST4000 problem

Post by rafontaine1 »

Dale:
Irronically the first time my autopilot went beserk was when I was sailing from Conneticut River to Shelter Island. Put the autopilot on to go below and the next thing I knew boat was turning to port. It continued that direction whenever I turned it on until I found the problem. Evidently water was affecting circuits driving the motor in that direction.

Rich
F36 s/v Liberte
Portsmouth, RI
Rich Fontaine
s/v Liberte
Freedom 36, 1986
Portsmouth, RI

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