I have a 25ft boat with a 225 Merc outboard with hydraulic steering and also Merc 9.9 kicker that is steered with a linkage rod
from the 225 motor. (not sure of the linkage system brand name but you see this on a lot of boats)
A few years back I purchased a Simrad AP-24 autopilot system with virtual rudder feedback. The virtual feedback allows you to
use the system without a real feedback as to the real position of the rudder as when you have an outboard motor.
When I purchased the auto pilot it came with the display and everything that was needed. Now I see you have to buy the display separately.
I installed it myself which was pretty easy. The installation manual was very good. When I first powered the unit up I had to enter dock side settings before taking the boat out on the lake. Once I did this I took the boat out in Little Sodus bay in Fairhaven and did the actual calibration of the autopilot. Using the manual (which explained things well) this was very easy.
Other than changing some tuning settings like how fast you want to make a turn or zig zagging etc I have not changed much
I just cant believe I didn't get an autopilot sooner. I normally fish with one other person or people who cant seem to drive, so its much better now when your trying to net a fish, in the wind , running back and forth trying to keep the boat strait.
The autopilot is also connected to my Lowrance HDS 10 Sonar/Chart plotter etc and can take me to way points and follow depth contours
A few suggestions I have are.
Don't try to calibrate the autopilot while fishing.
When you install the new hydraulic lines from the Autopilot pump to your existing steering lines use Seastar brand tubing
with bronze or brass compression fittings with inserts (I got the fittings from home depot0 that go inside the tubing so the tubing wont collapse when compressing the fitting onto the tubing. I tried other plastic and copper tubing and it didn't work so well.
What others are saying about getting an autopilot that works with your Garmin display makes good sense