Rant - Raymarine ST1000 Tiller Pilot

Elbows

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24 Dec 2016
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137
Success at last! Just in case anybody's interested in the extended saga...

I was going to demagnetise the original ram but couldn't find a suitable scrap transformer to make a demagnetiser out of. Also, if the ram had become magnetised once then it could happen again so I decided to make a new one out of 316 stainless. I found some suitable tubing on eBay but then found that the internal thread in each end was 19tpi, an unusual pitch which my standard set of lathe change gears couldn't manage. So the first job was making a 38 tooth change gear so that I could cut 19tpi threads. I ended up making a new plastic drive nut as well as the thread inside the original was quite short. Making the drive thread the full length of the nut seemed sensible as it would reduce the rate of wear. Of course this meant that I could have used whatever thread I wanted in the ram as a matching new fitting for the outer end would have been easier to make than a gear, but by the then I'd already cut the thread in the ram.

Put it all back together and it was a definite improvement but the compass heading was still changing as the unit operated causing it to hunt in and out. After a spot of testing it turned out that the threaded drive rod had also become magnetised and as it rotated it affected the compass. I ordered some 316 stainless studding but when it arrived it too was slightly magnetic. Turns out they'd sent me 304 by mistake, but my researches revealed that even 316 can become magnetic if it is heavily cold worked. Studding is usually produced by rolling the thread which certainly counts as heavy cold working, so I decided to go for brass instead just to be on the safe side.

Made the new brass drive rod and also fitted a new toothed-belt pulley as the original was a bit cheap and nasty and it was getting chewed up with the constant dismantling. Put everything back together yet again and it worked! Nice steady compass reading as the ram moved in and out, although it does change by about 5 degrees when it nears full extension. I think it's the steel circlip which holds the slider onto the nut getting close to the compass, but that doesn't matter when the tiller is hard to starboard anyway.

But now I had a new problem - excessive vibration! The brass drive rod had a very slight bend in it which I thought wouldn't matter as the rod is only constrained in 2 places, but turns out it does matter. So took it all apart yet again to get the rod as straight as I could, reassembled it and this time everything worked perfectly.

So, it's been a ridiculous amount of work and I must have dismantled and reassembled it at least 20 times. I've ended up remaking more than half the internals as well as adding the microswitch mechanism, but it hasn't cost much and it's been an interesting project. I'm (reasonably) confident that it will now carry on working. Time will tell.
 

Concerto

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Chatham Maritime Marina
Sounds like you are the man to go to with any problem with a Raymarine ST1000 autopilot.

Just imagine how much you would have been charge if you paid a commercial price for labour and machine use.

When are you putting it to an on the water test?
 

Elbows

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24 Dec 2016
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137
Sounds like you are the man to go to with any problem with a Raymarine ST1000 autopilot.
No thanks! I've had enough of them for a while :)

Just imagine how much you would have been charge if you paid a commercial price for labour and machine use.
True, but that seems to apply to maintaining a boat generally. I enjoy doing this sort of thing for myself and friends, but if it was a paid job it would just become a chore.

When are you putting it to an on the water test?
It's going to be a few weeks as the current project is overhauling the engine which was sadly lacking in compression last time I tried to start it. I had originally planned to get away on my next trip at the beginning of May, but realistically it's probably going to be closer to June.
 

anoccasionalyachtsman

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15 Jun 2015
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4,182
Well done that man. And just think, Autohelm could have done this, ooh, thirty years ago? In between the two meetings they forgot to schedule on waterproofing and waterproofing...

But on the bright side, you can now cut 19tpi threads and so can now make extension pieces for Raymarine and Simrad at reasonable prices, and retire early.
 

zulloboy

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20 Aug 2012
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Melbourne
Elbows, your installation is a work of art compared to mine - Venus de Milo vs train-carriage-graffiti.

In my defence, my cobbled-together dogs-breakfast worked so well on initial sea-trials and has continued to do so for about a hundred hours since, that I resolved to not fix that which appears to be no longer broken. Not because I'm lazy, oh no sir, not me!

I used smaller 5A/125Vac switches and fitted them with RC snubbers to help cope with arcing damage. Since they should never see stall current (of around 1.5A) and thus carry and break a maximum of somewhere below one amp, I figured this would suffice.

And Mr Flica, your comments really are both stupid and ill-mannered. Look inside any other mass-produced electro-mechanical device (like my $50 cordless drill) and you'll see vastly superior design and robustness. Raymarine's approach to these items is a disgrace.

Cheers, Graeme
 

Sea Devil

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Boulogne sur mer & Marbella Spain
SVB is offering a Simrad TP32 tiller pilot for SVB Price: €599.95 about 530 UKP so I suppose the way to go is Simrad.. I am grateful for this thread as it actually helps people know what is not value for money or well designed. If we all buy Simrad next time then ....
 

Spyro

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18 Jan 2003
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Clyde
Raymarine have not improved or changed a thing on the ST1000/2000 in at least the last 10 years they only thing they seem to have done is double the price.
 

oldmanofthehills

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I'm buying a Pelagic all the way from California. Bit more expensive but used by the Pacific racers who go quite a long way off the USA coast, and can have car-key style remotes at $49 extra to use in cabin. I will install this weekend. It can drive the old Raymarine 1000 ram on my boat, so keeping as this backup as do the trans-ocean boys, but going whole hog so getting Pelagic ram. Mounting of ram same as Raymarine ram, ST1000 etc so no new holes to drill.

No more Raymarine cr*p control units for me.
 

Malmac

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5 Feb 2021
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The autohelm you had way back then wasn't the present ST1000/2000. Raymarine have had years to come up with something better, it should easily be doable for the money they are charging. The washers inside breaking and the broken bits lodging under the gyro is a common problem as is water ingress but they just keep pumping out the same model with the same design flaws. Spending around £500 on a unit is not being miserly.
Hi Spyro,
My name is Mal and I live near Sydney on the east coast of Australia. I have purchased a ray marine ST 2000 and was hoping to combine it with a remote. I asked a local marine electrician to help me but he said, after consulting with a colleague, that not even a NASA scientist could connect it up. After seeing your two pictures I realise it obviously can be done and I’m wondering if you could help me with information on how to install the relay in the remote as far as wiring it up is concerned. There is a guy in Australia who sells these units but he has temporarily halted production otherwise I would just buy one of his.
 

Spyro

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Hi Spyro,
My name is Mal and I live near Sydney on the east coast of Australia. I have purchased a ray marine ST 2000 and was hoping to combine it with a remote. I asked a local marine electrician to help me but he said, after consulting with a colleague, that not even a NASA scientist could connect it up. After seeing your two pictures I realise it obviously can be done and I’m wondering if you could help me with information on how to install the relay in the remote as far as wiring it up is concerned. There is a guy in Australia who sells these units but he has temporarily halted production otherwise I would just buy one of his.
Firstly I wouldn't do it on a new unit that was still in warranty.
You need something like this New DC12V 4 Channel Wireless RF Remote Control Switch Receiver Transceiver +Lidh | eBay
Basically all you do is extend the function of the auto, standby, +10 and -10 buttons.
I removed the housing of the remote unit so it would fit in the st2000 housing. You will need to be handy with a soldering bolt and a multi meter.
Extend the 12v supply of the unit to the remote unit. Then find the points on the st2000 circuit board where the buttons close the circuit to operate the functions. The buttons are just a simple on off switch. What you are doing with remote is replicating the actions of pressing the buttons on the unit. It's not rocket science.....lol
 

DavidTocher

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30 Oct 2001
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104
Location
Limerick, Ireland
Using Thomas Knauf's website extensive data on Seatalk
Thomas Knauf SeaTalk Technical Reference
an Arduino sketch from
Raymarine autopilot ST4000+ User manual | Manualzz
I built a remote for my ST1000+. The 4 channel fobs come in various flavours - some fob receivers have outputs the reflect the state of the fob key but others toggle or hold 'on' until the key is pressed again. The Arduino sketch decodes the actual wireless code but I modified the code to work with my 'echo the key pressed' receiver. I haven't tried it out yet but the output is correct Seatalk sentences when viewed on a 'scope. The parts cost less than a tenner. The main bits came, slowly, from AliEpress; the fob - about $1.50 and Arduino Nano about the same price. The other expenses are an enclosure and a few transistors and resistors from my grot box.
 

Spyro

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18 Jan 2003
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SVB is offering a Simrad TP32 tiller pilot for SVB Price: €599.95 about 530 UKP so I suppose the way to go is Simrad.. I am grateful for this thread as it actually helps people know what is not value for money or well designed. If we all buy Simrad next time then ....
The price of these things are incredible for what is in them. Really surprised someone in China is not knocking them out for a fraction of the price.
 

KompetentKrew

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27 May 2018
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1,844
The price of these things are incredible for what is in them. Really surprised someone in China is not knocking them out for a fraction of the price.
I have a Pelagic tiller pilot actuator / arm, which I used to replace the Raymarine equivalent, QO47.

The Pelagic works perfectly with my Raymarine SmartPilot autopilot controller, and I believe with the newer Evo, too. It's handled force 7+ just fine, and I've crossed Biscay with it.

The Pelagic appears to be a rebadged Chinese industrial actuator, and I wrote this week to the suppler on made-in-china.com to see about getting a spare. I will update the forum when I have more information, but the headline price appears to be only £40.
 

Malmac

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Joined
5 Feb 2021
Messages
2
Firstly I wouldn't do it on a new unit that was still in warranty.
You need something like this New DC12V 4 Channel Wireless RF Remote Control Switch Receiver Transceiver +Lidh | eBay
Basically all you do is extend the function of the auto, standby, +10 and -10 buttons.
I removed the housing of the remote unit so it would fit in the st2000 housing. You will need to be handy with a soldering bolt and a multi meter.
Extend the 12v supply of the unit to the remote unit. Then find the points on the st2000 circuit board where the buttons close the circuit to operate the functions. The buttons are just a simple on off switch. What you are doing with remote is replicating the actions of pressing the buttons on the unit. It's not rocket science.....lol
Thanks Spyro for your help with this issue which I found very helpful. I have now decided in light of your advice re not to compromise the warranty, to install it in the cockpit of my Macgregor 26 m , which has a wheel, but tie it into an emergency tiller which I am in the process of fabricating. When the Australian manufacturers of the remote ( Madmanmarine) get back into production I will then install it below deck . I thank you again for your assistance
 

Spuddy

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8 Jul 2003
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1,956
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Kent
Hmm, Pelagic sounded tempting but nearly twice price of ST2000. I've been thro 2 st2000 and a Simrad because of water ingress. Pampered them with jackets, not using them in rain or spray ( just when I want to shuffle up under spray hood. No avail! Spent my money on a Hebridean wind vane kit instead
 
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