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Product Tutorials > Autopilot Tutorial >

Simrad Autopilot Guide




Autopilot Guide

Simrad autopilot systems give you reliable and accurate control over your heading, without years of experience at the helm – saving you time and fuel by making efficient turns, and keeping you closer to your planned course.

Predetermined turn patterns and features such as automatic depth-contour following assist with fishing or diving: taking the helm so you have more time to spend on the offshore activities you love.

When combined with a chartplotter, Simrad autopilots not only manage your current heading, but provide full course-control.

Controllers

How you control and monitor your Simrad autopilot system is entirely up to you. Dedicated controllers offer an always-visible display, and instantaneous response at the touch of a button. Simrad multifunction display integration means easy touchscreen control with full waypoint and route navigation. NMEA 2000® networking means you can connect any combination of dedicated controllers and multifunction displays, anywhere on board – perfect for dual-helm vessels.

  Dedicated Integrated Full Control
AP44 Autopilot Controller  
IS42 Smart Instrument Display   Requires OP12
GO XSE  
NSS evo2  
NSO evo2  

 

Autopilot Computers

An autopilot computer is the brains of your Simrad autopilot system. It continuously monitors data from heading sensors, rudder feedback units and other on-board instruments, and steers to your chosen heading or course. An autopilot computer also includes the electronics required to operate your drive unit – depending on the size of your boat and drive unit required, you’ll either need a standard or high-current computer.

  NAC-1 NAC-2 NAC-3
Voltage 12V 12/24V 12/24V
Max Drive Current (Avg/Peak) 8/12A 8/16A 30/50A
Clutch Output 12V DC
min 10mA
max 3A
12/24V DC
min 10mA
max 3A
12/24V DC
min 10mA
max 3A
Solenoid Support  
NMEA2000
NMEA1830 Input/Output    
NMEA2000 Rudder Feedback
Compatible with Simrad 80 Series Remotes  
Compatible with passive remotes    
Dedicated Pilot Head Control  
Configurability 5 response levels All Settings All Settings

Drive Units

An autopilot drive unit translates instructions from your autopilot system into movements of your rudder or outboard. The drive unit you’ll need depends on the type of steering system you have and the size of your boat. There are two main types of drive unit:

  • Hydraulic steering pumps add autopilot capabilities to outboard or sterndrive (inboard/outboard) vessels with existing hydraulic steering systems.
  • Mechanical drive units add autopilot capabilities to cable-steer runabouts and larger rudder-steered vessels with inboard engines.

 

Steering System  Size/Capacity/Compatibility Recommended AP Drive Required Computer
Outboard/Stern Drive with Hydraulic Steering Hydraulic cylinder < 15 cubic in or 250cc RPU80 NAC-2
  Hydraulic cylinder(s) 10-33 cubic in or 160-550cc  RPU160 NAC-3
  Hydraulic cylinder(s) 17-58 cubic in or 290-960cc RPU300 NAC-3
Outboard/Stern Drive with Mechanical Steering Compatible with Morse 290,304411 and TeleflexSSC52 cables. Helm-1 NAC-2
Inboard with Hydraulic Steering Hydraulic cylinder < 15 cubic in or 250cc RPU80 NAC-2
  Hydraulic cylinder(s) 10-33 cubic in or 160-550cc  RPU160 NAC-3
  Hydraulic cylinder(s) 17-58 cubic in or 290-960cc RPU300 NAC-3
Inboard with Mechanical Steering Boats up to 9000kg T0 NAC-2
  Boats up to 12000kg T1 NAC-3
  Boats up to 20000kg T2 NAC-3
  Boats up to 36000kg T3 NAC-3
  Boats up to 55000kg T4 NAC-3
Sailing Boat with Quadrant or Tiller 25ft to 37ft  SD10 NAC-2
  Up to 45ft DD15 NAC-3
  Boats up to 9000kg T0 NAC-2
  Boats up to 12000kg T1 NAC-3
  Boats up to 20000kg T2 NAC-3
  Boats up to 36000kg T3 NAC-3
  Boats up to 55000kg T4 NAC-3

 

Rudder Feedback Units

Rudder feedback units are small sensors that measure and report actual rudder position to your autopilot computer, enabling precise rudder control for smooth and accurate steering. On many smaller boats, Simrad Virtual Rudder Feedback (VRF) eliminates the need to install a physical sensor by using a software-based approach to calculate rudder position.

  • Rudder feedbacks are typically used on boats with inboard engines and displacement hulls.
  • VRF can be used on many outboard and sterndrive (inboard/outboard) boats with planing hulls.

 

  RF25N RF300 RF70N RF45X
NAC-1
NAC-2
NAC-3

 

Heading Sensors

To set and hold a course, your autopilot needs to know your current heading. This is supplied by a position sensor – an electronic compass – below deck.

The Simrad FC40 Fluxgate Compass is compatible with our full range of recreational autopilot solutions. For the best autopilot performance, we recommend the Simrad RC42 Rate Compass which includes a solid-state rate sensor, which directly measures rate of turn. This provides greater precision than a compass alone.

Remotes

Our autopilot remotes can be combined with a multifunction display at the helm to add traditional hands-on steering control, or mounted elsewhere aboard your vessel to provide autopilot heading control from a flybridge or other convenient location.


Autopilot Selection Guide

How to Select your Autopilot System

Pick the drive that complements your boat from the selection guide below. There will be a system pack available with everything needed to fit and commission your pilot.

System Pack Options:

Pro-pack:
Includes a rate gyrocompass for the ultimate in steering performance

Standard pack:
Contains a standard fluxgate compass

Virtual Rudder Feedback pack:
Select this for outboard systems where the rudder position sensor cannot be fitted.

Drives for Power Boat Steering Systems

 

AP24/28 Systems Mechanical Drives for Wheel Steered Yachts

MSD50   
  For all size boats with I/O Stern Drives.  
Typically fitted up to 39 ft.  

 

AP24/28 EVC   
For all size boats with Volvo EVC.   

 

 

AP24/28 Systems Pumps for Boats with Hydraulic Steering

RPU 80   
Hydraulic Steering Rams 80-250 cc   
capacity. Typically fitted up to 35 ft.   

 

 

RPU 160   
Hydraulic Steering Rams 160-550 cc   
capacity. Typically fitted up to 50 ft.   

 

RPU 300   
Hydraulic Steering Rams 290-960 cc   
capacity. Typically fitted up to 70 ft.   

 

 

MSD50

Cable operated stern drive systems with a choice of fitting kits to suit most engines.
 

Pumps

Hydraulic pumps for use with all hydraulic steering systems. For outboard engine installations VRF™ system packs are recommended. Specific fitting kits are available for Verado Engines. The pump
selection is based on the size of the Verado Rams.

Autopilot Selection Guide Yachts

TP 10/22/32 Tiller Steered Yachts

TP10  
Tiller steering up to 29 ft.  

 

TP22  
Tiller steering up to 33 ft.  

 

TP32  
Tiller steering up to 35 ft.  

 

 

AP 24/28 systems Mechanical Drives for Wheel Steered Yachts

SD10  
Wheel steering up to 36 ft.  

 

DD15  
Wheel steering up to 45 ft.  

 

 

AP 24/28 systems Hydraulic Drives for Wheel Steered Yachts

HLD350  
Wheel steering up to 39 ft.  

 

HLD2000L  
Wheel steering up to 50 ft.  

 

HLD2000LD  
Wheel steering up to 65 ft.  

 

 

SD10 Systems

A flexible inboard pilot that is a true alternative to lightweight cockpit mounted pilots.
 

DD15

High efficiency and low back drive are key characteristics of this Direct Drive actuator.
 

Hydraulic Linear Drives

Hydraulic drives, renowned for their rugged power and reliability, mount directly on the steering quadrant.


 






  
       


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