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Old 11-09-2006, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Raymarine autopilot

Has anyone experienced a similar problem to ours and can someone suggest a reliable 'fix'?

While crossing the Atlantic earlier this year our Autopilot linear drive failed. It had only been in use a few months. Investigation showed that both magnets inside the case of the drive motor were adrift. They apparently are glued to the steel case and the adhesive had failed.

I have had no joy from Fracmo, the motor manufacturers, who have simply ignored me. The Raymarine dealer in Vancouver told me that spare motors were not supplied and that I would have to buy a new drive at a cost of nearly $2,000. I knew that there was no warranty as I had carried the drive as a spare for 6 years, but did some concern and help for what was obviously a manufacturing fault.

In Martinique I learned from the dealer that this was a known problem to him and he suggested that I persevere with Raymarine. The Vancouver dealer now said that the matter would be referred to Raymarine, but nothing was heard from them at all. I then got the name of the customer service manager, Eric Turnquist at Raymarine USA, from their web but had to write twice before receiveing a reply and was then offered a replacement motor for nearly $400. This for a simple DC motor that should cost a tenth of that!

I have twice faxed the correspondence to Raymarine head office in the UK, but without any response at all. Needless to say, I won't be buying or recommending Raymarine products again, a pity since when they were Autohelm they gave great service and made good products. Our Autohelm linear drive had lasted 15 years and 60,000 miles.

Has anyone else had a similar problem?

Having asked both Fracmo and Raymarine whether the magnets can be glued back and if so with which adhesive and been ignored, can anyone suggest what I should use? The magnets are made up of a graphite composite, very greasy-feeling, that may need a special adhesive and I presume that it must withstand quite high operating temperatures.
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:27 AM   #2
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I was just on the phone with Raymarine yesterday asking questions about autopilots since I'm about to install a Corepack S3. I asked which they recommend, mechanical linear drive or hydraulic. I was told "without a doubt" to install hydraulic and not mechanical.

As such, I guess they know that the mechanical linear drive is problematic.
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Old 11-10-2006, 07:35 PM   #3
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Peter has always preferred hyrdraulic steering to mechanical. On sv Watermelon we had an hydraulic autopilot which worked exceptionally well. It was a Raymarine controller attached to the original Robertson hydraulic ram (we DID NOT like the Robertson!). The hydraulic ram attached to our steering quadrant; not the best use of hydraulics, perhaps, but better than the mechanical autopilots we saw.

Our MV Watermelon is installed with hydraulic steering to begin with, and our Raymarine autopilot operates without a hitch. Of course one much check the hydraulic fluid occasionally to be sure the level is okay, but that's just one more item to check off before starting the engines.

We had magnets on our anchor windlass go adrift, and try as Peter did, it never worked well again. He just couldn't get them reinstalled exactly right. Since it was a salvaged discard from another boat it wasn't a painful experience to toss it and put in a new one, though. The magnets probably were dislodged when the previous owner tried to remove the windlass with a small sledgehammer. Peter went over there to help the guy get the windlass off the boat (it just needed a retaining clip released and the windlass just slipped out of its mounting. Lesson that day - if it didn't require brute force to install, it shouldn't require brute force to remove so look for the clue to the "easy button").
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:15 PM   #4
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I'm really surprised Raymarine UK have not responded to the issues raised - we've always favoured their kit not just for functionality but also for the high levels of service they've provided.

Are you sure they got the fax's and the contact number was correct?

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by Andy Copeland

I then got the name of the customer service manager, Eric Turnquist at Raymarine USA, from their web but had to write twice before receiveing a reply and was then offered a replacement motor for nearly $400. This for a simple DC motor that should cost a tenth of that!
I buy 1000s of DC motors each month. In general, DC motors cost considerably more than an AC motor of equal torque and speed. $400 for a DC motor of this type is not unusually priced. This is why I made certain to install an AC driven watermaker.
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:44 PM   #6
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Im a little disappointed in Raymarine myself. I am trying to find someone here in Sint Maarten who can service Raymarine, but all the dealers have dropped them. One former Raymarine dealer/installer/service center informed me that Raymarine has taken to penalizing installers for warrantee work. Not sure what exactly the story is, but it seems the level of service I used to expect from Raymarine is no longer there.
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:36 AM   #7
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Don, did you see Budget Marine?

Also, try calling Aussie John on the VHF. He should be in SXM right now. see: atlasdeliveries.com

john@atlasdeliveries.com

he's a nice guy, been there a long time.

Jeanne
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Old 11-16-2006, 08:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Jeanne. Budget Marine wont do service, and the people they recomended Electec - are very reluctant to even look at it. They in tern recomended Nicole Electric, who sent me back to Electec... In other words no one seems to want to touch Raymarine...

I will try to track down Aussie John.
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:38 AM   #9
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Andy; We had similar problem with our linear drive and went with a new Fracmo motor for same $400. We found Raymarine phone service to be terrible, as you did. But we found their online email support service to be very responsive. We are saving the old motor and hoping you find a fix for the magnets, and if so please pass it on to us.
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