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Autopilot - Garmin vs. Raymarine

Tim Eichel

Member
I am ready to upgrade to a below deck hydraulic ram autopilot. I am looking at Raymarine EV200 and Garmin Reactor 40. Raymarine has been doing this much longer that Garmin, however, I do want to use Garmin for my other electronics on board so......I am undecided and was hoping for some insight.

I also looked at B & G but more expensive. Not out of the question yet but leaning away.

Anyone have any thoughts on these or maybe others?
 
We went with Raymarine (EV200 and also the control head), matching the rest of our electronics. I would have been fine with any of several brands, but at least two experienced advisors said the Raymarine is a solid choice. Matching the brand at least meant it was pretty much plug-and-play with the existing NMEA2000 trunk line cable, and autopilot data and controls can all be easily duplicated on the chartplotter (which on our boat is located about 4 ft. from the control head, so not exactly a huge value add).

No report on longevity yet, but through one season so far the Raymarine has been rock solid at keeping the boat on course with reasonable electrical draw in mild to moderate conditions. That said I don't have much to compare it to - there was a broken Autohelm wheel pilot on our 382 when we bought her, and a working one on our previous boat (that I always hated).
 

Tim Eichel

Member
Keefer, thanks for the info, much appreciated. Do you think the EV200 is powerful enough? Did you ever consider going up to the EV400?
 
Raymarine calls for the 200 on boats up to 24,000 lbs displacement, and since the 382 even fully loaded for cruising should be well under that we did not seriously consider any of the more powerful options (including hydraulic). I think if we were planning any serious offshore work I might have thought harder about it.

I would say the 200 is more than enough to handle the boat in all conditions we've encountered so far. It is such a huge improvement over almost anything I've experienced before that the temptation is to say it is a perfect fit. But really we have not put it through anything like a stress test.

I'm sure there is a limit past which you'd want more power, but I don't have the experience to say where that limit might be or whether it is worth the tradeoff of increased electrical draw under more normal conditions. Raymarine says 18-36 Watts for the Type 1 mechanical drive (EV200) and 48-72 Watts for the Type 2 (EV400), so it really is quite significant. (https://www.raymarine.com/view/index-id=579.html)

Would love to hear the opinions of some of the more experienced Morganeers out there!
 

jose santin

Member
I installed the Garmin autopilot. It interfaces via the NMEA2000 bus to the chartplotter, GPS, and wind vane. giving you many choices of steering input. I went with the planetary and worm_gear electric drive. I have had limited use so far but it performs flawlessly. If you go with Raymarine make sure it can be interfaced to the rest of your system. I would stay away from any system that uses a belt.
 

Tim Eichel

Member
Jose, what model Garmin did you install, Reactor 40? When you say "planetary and worm_gear electric drive" are you are referring to the Garmin Class B Compact Drive Unit?
 

CodyS

New Member
Tim-
Which model of autopilot did you choose to go with? I am needing an entire array of electronics and am leaning towards Raymarine with the EV200. Any thoughts or advise would be appreciated.
 

yurek

Jerzy Borzym
I have old Navico hydraulic system, still working.
I bought Pelagic control head and power unit.
It just come yesterday, I will install in few weeks.
They are new on the market, but Pelagic was design by pretty good sailor.
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
After some recent bad experiences with Raymarine support, ill never buy a Raymarine product again. If it breaks (and quality isn't the best) good luck

I just helped a friend with a problem he had with Pelagic. Top notch support, super impressed. They were very concerned he was having problems and insisted the just replace it at their cost, including international shipping.

I am strongly in favor of the Pelagic. Don't think they have one that will work on our boat though?

Don't know about garmin, but definitely not a fan of Raymarine.
 

CodyS

New Member
Warren-

I contacted Pelagic, told them that I have a 1980 Morgan 382, and the following was their response.

"Hi Cody,

Assuming this is a wheel-steered vessel that has not been converted to tiller, we would recommend the Pelagic below decks system, or if space is tight the compact version.

Feel free to email or call if you have any other questions.

Thank you,

Suzy"

Given their response, I assume the recommended unit will work on our boats. I'm very novice in the sailing world, but I think that this is the unit that will be going on my boat. Customer Service in the marine industry has been a huge "let down" since I've purchased my boat back in November. Based off of your comments alone, I think that they are worth a shot.
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
I didn't know they had a below deck unit, I only knew of their tiller pilots. You will be happy with it.

I case you don't know, its sold by scanmar, the maker of the monitor windvane. Suzy has been fabulous to me over the years.
 

yurek

Jerzy Borzym
Yes, they have great support.
I wrote:
I have old Navico hydraulic system, still working.
I bought Pelagic control head and power unit.
It just come yesterday, I will install in few weeks.
They are new on the market, but Pelagic was design by pretty good sailor.
My last update:
I'm connecting their system to Octopus Hydraulic drive, (under deck hydr. unit ) just finish wiring today, didn't do to much testing, but rudder is moving controlled by Pelagic.
Let you know more after sea trials.
Warren how your new spectra steering cables are working, do they stretch (creep) ?
 

Warren Holybee

Active Member
There was a lot of creep the first 1500 miles or so. I was tensioning them every couple days while sailing. But it seems to have stabilized.
I was worried enough at first to look up what can be expected for creep, and it is on the order of a few percent initially. That doesn't sound like much, but it works out to about 4-5 inches or so, which is substantial.

I don't know what brand or grade of spectra I have, it is whatever unlabeled stuff was on the shelf in St. Thomas. There are higher grades with little or no creep that would be better.
 

Tim Eichel

Member
Tim-
Which model of autopilot did you choose to go with? I am needing an entire array of electronics and am leaning towards Raymarine with the EV200. Any thoughts or advise would be appreciated.
Hey Cody, I went with the Garmin Reactor 40 mechanical retrofit and the class B ram. Love it! Easy to install and works great. Price was $1000 less than B & G. I can help you with installation tips and best location for the ram when you're ready. Good Luck!
 

CodyS

New Member
Tim-
Where did you find the TA 125-150 tiller arm needed for the Garmin Reactor 40? The tiller arm I have, 926-10-610-MK11 which was on the boat when I bought it, unfortunately isn’t compatible with the Reactor 40. Did you have to get the tiller arm direct from Edson?
 
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