Trouble shooting an autopilot

This is a small FAQ with the most common problems you can encounter with your autopilot. For other types of problems please consult us.

When pressing auto the boat makes a sharp turn and the rudder moves to one of it’s end positions

This happens when the autopilot and the boat has different opinions about what is right or left, or should we say what is starboard and port side. The autopilot tries to steer the boat to for example starboard, the boat turns a little to port side so the autopilot tries a little more to starboard and so on until the rudder moves to it’s end. If you don’t have a rudder feed-back unit you simply switch the two cables to the drive unit and the problem should be solved.

If you have a rudder feed-back unit the problem is a little more complicated. It can either be the polarity of the drive unit that is wrong, same as above, or the rudder feed-back unit that is incorrectly installed. Please check your manual for the correct way to install the rudder feed-back unit.

The autopilot does not show the same course as the magnetic compass

If it’s a fixed offset between the autopilots displayed course and the magnetic course the autopilot compass is not in line with the boat. The arrow on the compass shall be in line with the boat pointing forward. When installing the compass this can be difficult to see. Simply loosen the two screws holding the compass and moving it until the two headings correspond to each other should rectify this problem.

If it is only on certain courses this problem occurs something is disturbing the compass. There is something generating a magnetic field close to the compass and on certain courses this magnifies together with the earth magnetic field. Remove any source of magnetic disturbances and if that is not possible move the compass to another location in the boat. If the problem is only small you could try to calibrate the compass. How that is done is described in the manual.

I have an AP47 and I’m not happy about the way it steers the boat

Check if the autopilot is correctly set for use with or without rudder feed-back unit by entering the technical parameters. The correct setting of rF parameter is explained in the last pages of the manual.The parameter should be set to 0 for virtual rudder feed-back and to 1 if you have a rudder feed-back unit.

It has happened and it will happen again that the AP47 comes with wrong setting from the factory. We are sorry about it but it’s out of our control. It’s very simple to check this and should always be done after installation.