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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?
 
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