Todd in NY

Which Auto Pilot To Get?

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Which Auto Pilot To Get?

I have a 1988 Crestliner Sabre 220 hardtop with an Evinrude 150hp outboard motor and rotary steering (mechanical, not power assisted). The boat weighs just over 2,000 pounds. My kicker motor is a 1980 Evinrude 7.5. I plan to run the AP off the main motor because the motors are connected with an EZ Steer system.

 

What AP do you recommend I look into? I'll consider all price ranges, at least for comparison purposes. Does anyone run an AP on a similar size boat?

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Todd, what do you have for electronics on the boat now?  Lowrance makes an AP for cable steered outboards, but needs a newer HDS MFD for a head unit.  Even if you dont have lowrance electronics now, it may be cheaper to add in a smaller HDS unit and buy the cable-steered lowrance AP, than to upgrade to hydraulic steering and a hydraulic AP.

 

https://www.starmarinedepot.com/lowrance-outboard-pilot-cable-steer-pack.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiArYDQBRDoARIsAMR8s_QJVFLkrZoiBgr1L842gIuNNinChBT_3ehNjboF5E1hp5CgCRb4274aAl_TEALw_wcB

 

I run the Raymarine EV-100 on my Wellcraft 220 sportsman and yamaha F200, connected with panther quick-connect rod to a yamaha T9.9, I have hyd steering though.  I know some love this system, and some hate it, but it works great for trolling on my boat with the correct settings on the head unit. 

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Thanks for the feedback, CK! I was looking at that Lowrance AP, but I run Humminbird electronics. It's worth doing more research to see what smaller HDS units can be linked to that AP.

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Good luck with whatever route you decide! Because I fish solo or with my wife and inexperienced buddies often, installing autopilot for this past season has improved my fishing experience and catch rate tremendously.  Unless you have a dedicated, experienced wheel-man, AP is a great tool to have.

 

I know we fish the same waters quite often, if you want to hop aboard and give mine a try early next season, you are more than welcome.

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Thanks for the invite to fish with you. It seems like most fishing trips end up with just 2 people, and that's when AP comes in real handy, as you stated. I figured I better start researching now so that I can have one picked out and installed by next April.

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jumping on for info purposes. That looks like nice unit from lowrance.

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I am in the process of installing the hydraulic Lowrance outboard pilot. If you can find an older gen 2 HDS 5 and update the firmware it should work with the Lowrance AP. Other than that the smallest compatible unit they make is the gen 3 HDS 7. The Simrad version is compatible with Lowrance AP, and vice versa, so Simrad may make something that will work as well.

 

There is a guy on GLA website that installed the cable version of the outboard pilot. You may want to look him up and ask him some questions.

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Thanks for the info Tyee!

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I'd like to hop on this thread also, I have a 82 Sea Ray cuddly with hydraulic assists 350merc I/0 with a alpha1 15hp 4 stroke merc with EZ Steer. Was wondering what my options were without doing a search, I'd like to hear what guys with hands on experience, I'm not interested in one that allows you to fish in 5 foot waves, 2+ I'm wrapping it up anyway, I can't physically take the beating either. Thanks for any help. PAP

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What do you mean by hydraulic assists? Is that with a power steering pump on a cable steered boat. ?


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3 hours ago, TileMan Dan said:

What do you mean by hydraulic assists? Is that with a power steering pump on a cable steered boat. ?


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Must be for newer boats. After looking at a bunch of the autopilots on the market, it looks like many of them come with a hydraulic pump that my boat doesn't have, so I'm not sure where that pump gets installed in the system. I found a Raymarine EV-200 unit that doesn't have that pump, so it might work on my boat.

 

I like the Lowrance AP unit but I'm not a fan of Lowrance fish finders. The HDS units are considerably more expensive than Humminbirds with similar features.

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What do you mean by hydraulic assists? Is that with a power steering pump on a cable steered boat. ?


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Yes it’s a cable steer with a power steering pump on the motor.
I am also very interested in this type of AP, my boat also has this type of steering.


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I'm looking for an AP that I can link to my Humminbird 959 NMEA 2000 port. I'm emailing a friend of mine today to get his recommendation. I'm trying to avoid installing a hydraulic steering pump if possible.

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Cable only outboard here, so Todd, will be very interested in your findings, thanks all.

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13 hours ago, Todd in NY said:

After looking at a bunch of the autopilots on the market, it looks like many of them come with a hydraulic pump that my boat doesn't have, so I'm not sure where that pump gets installed in the system. I found a Raymarine EV-200 unit that doesn't have that pump, so it might work on my boat.

Todd, you would still need a drive system for that unit.  I've done a little research into mating a system like the Octopus Type S mechanical drive (type that attaches to cable-drive steering wheel) and Raymarine EV units, and it seems like a definite possibility.  Cabling and programming needed for this, I have no clue, but seems possible.

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8 hours ago, CK3080 said:

Todd, you would still need a drive system for that unit.  I've done a little research into mating a system like the Octopus Type S mechanical drive (type that attaches to cable-drive steering wheel) and Raymarine EV units, and it seems like a definite possibility.  Cabling and programming needed for this, I have no clue, but seems possible.

 

I was wondering about needing a drive unit. I'm planning to call Garmin and Raymarine to get their recommendations. I'm not against getting the Lowrance pilot, but I'd have to find a good deal on an HDS, and I'm already looking at them online.

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Hi guys. I am a certified raymarine installer in Erie pa. I use the Raymarine evolution 200 with the octopus type s on every cable steer boat I do, outboard or sterndrive. Have installed over 50 thru the years. Works like a champ, and is the only way to do it. I'm a little bias toward raymarine if you can't tell. The only other thing that I always put on is the rudder reference. That tells the course computer were your drive is pointing all the time. It works 10 times better with it than without it. The evolution 200 comes with the rudder reference for sterndrives and inboards, but does not work for outboards. There is one from octopus that mounts to the back of the drive unit. Works fine.  The other thing is if your steering cable is stiff or more than 10 years old, replace it at the same time. It will work better and extend the life of the drive unit. If your interested I can give you part numbers and best place to buy. TJ

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If you guys have a cable steered boat there really isnt alot of options anymore. Simrad has a unit along with that lowrance unit u guys mentioned.

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Hodges marine is the cheapest place I found for new Lowrance units. They have them without transducers, or with various ducer options.  The cable outboard pilot does have a rudder position sensor with it. The Simrad Drivepilot is the exact same system as the Lowrance, only it comes with a better heading sensor. That's something I could add later if necessary.

 

I am not partial to Lowrance, by no means, but I felt it was the cheapest, most versatile route for me to go for my new to me Grady White Gulfstream. The hydraulic outboard pilot was very easy to intall, which is a big plus. I have 2 buddies with the same setup. One is on a new 22' Hewescraft and one on a 18' tracker, and they both work very well.

 

My Lund has Humminbird and I love it and would buy Humminbird again.

Edited by Tyee II

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Hydraulic steering kits are pretty easy to piece together used and are considerably cheaper 150hp and below. Bay star makes a decent unit. It’s gonna open your capabilities up more for less $$. I got the ev-100 New last year for 1100 with a $200 mail-in rebate. Cables steer lowrance is 1500? I think. If your gonna spend 1500$ might as well go hydraulic. One thing I noticed was hydraulic kinda acts like NFB cable steer which makes fishing solo way more easier.


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6 hours ago, Little Crappie said:

Hydraulic steering kits are pretty easy to piece together used and are considerably cheaper 150hp and below. Bay star makes a decent unit. It’s gonna open your capabilities up more for less $$. I got the ev-100 New last year for 1100 with a $200 mail-in rebate. Cables steer lowrance is 1500? I think. If your gonna spend 1500$ might as well go hydraulic. One thing I noticed was hydraulic kinda acts like NFB cable steer which makes fishing solo way more easier.


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Thanks for the hands on tech talk.. PAP.

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9 hours ago, Little Crappie said:

Hydraulic steering kits are pretty easy to piece together used and are considerably cheaper 150hp and below. Bay star makes a decent unit. It’s gonna open your capabilities up more for less $$. I got the ev-100 New last year for 1100 with a $200 mail-in rebate. Cables steer lowrance is 1500? I think. If your gonna spend 1500$ might as well go hydraulic. One thing I noticed was hydraulic kinda acts like NFB cable steer which makes fishing solo way more easier.


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I was wondering if your Proline had hydraulic steering or not, and what kind of AP you put in the boat.

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Yeah the proline only had hydraulic the first year and I was able to troll with the wind in many scenarios and keep a relatively straight line. Did just fine really but I didn’t want to just “troll with the wind and waves” so I got the raymarine ev-100 over winter. Wasn’t a big fan but then again my hydraulic cylinder was pushing the max capacity for the ev-100.


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Cable steer outboard pilot is 1300 bucks, so the same price before that rebate you got Little Crappie.

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Yeah not a bad deal. Still need a HDS unit. I’m a lowrance guy tho lol. Might wanna try installing a NFB helm first and see it you like it. There like $50-100 on eBay and make a huge difference in fishability.


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