The vessel has a Pathfinder Plus system of navigation instruments
connected via a Hsb2, SeaTalk and NMEA network. The components and their
status are listed below:
RL70C display –Master (nav. station)
RL70C display –Slave (Helm)
V4.11 (updated Nov 2010)
Type 400 Autopilot, model 150?
Software upgrade 2003 to V227 by Raymarine (closet aft
Smart Heading System
Gyro compass (closet aft berth)
(closet aft berth)
Type 25 drive (type 2)
tested ok 5/14/10 by Electronics Unlimited of Fort Lauderdale
Raystar 125 GPS
New 6/9/06, wired SeaTalk config.
ST6001+ Autopilot control
Ver. 4.06, Starboard helm, new ’06
behind Nav. station panel, new 07
ST60+ Tridata - master
Ver 1.0, Starboard helm, new 06
AirMar Knotmeter sensor
AirMar - replaced '07
ST60+ Wind - Slave 4/09
Ver 7.03, Starboard helm , new '06, '08
New 6/21/09 along with wire harness
ST60+ Tridata -slave
Ver. 1, Port
helm, new 06
ST60+ Wind - Master 4/09
Ver. 7.03, Port helm, new '06
Mast mounted - repaired by RM Dec '05 after being
flooded by rainwater.
Ver 4.1 Build 5540
Laptop via serial port
Gets position from 125 GPS
Dealer CN510133, 3.86 Client
Data in red not confirmed.
E85001 NMEA connections provide communication with the following
RS232 serial for SeaTalk out via serial cable, blocks NMEA output on
We have a NMEA cable connected to the master RL70C that is a
work-around for getting NMEA output for the following devices (this is
necessary, as we understand it, because the RayTech Navigator program on the laptop causes the
E85001 to convert data to SeaTalk for the RS232 serial output).
uses $**GLL from RL70C for Lat/Lon
So far proven incompatible
The seatalk circuit in the cockpit appears to
be an open ended branch arranged in order from the Smart Heading
computer in the following order: ST6001, tridata master, wind master,
wind slave, tridata repeater and cockpit RL70C slave. One of the things
I've questioned is should that branch be wired as a loop with a seatalk
cable (for power) going back to ?? I've talked to several installers,
getting a positive yes and no.
During new vessel delivery sea trials it was determined that the
RL70C plotters were displaying information erratically. The vessel icon
would travel along the course line skewed or backwards, the chart
display and radar displays were mirrored from each other showing the
land to be to port on the chart while the radar overlay depicted it to
starboard. The system could be synchronized so it displayed properly
only to have it revert to it's initial behavior when re-powered. After
hours of cell phone discussions with RayMarine (RM) techs a local
service provider attempted to download a program upgrade into the course
computer resulting in the computer freezing and being sent back to
RayMarine. Their supposition was that the computer software was having
problems with the presence of the slaved RL70C. When the system was
re-installed it exhibited the same behavior as before.
We finally reached a RM tech that advised us to go through the
initialization sequence using the Autopilot (not the RL70C menus) then remove the yellow SeaTalk connection from the
Rate-Of-Turn gyro (GyroPlus2). We did that and the heading and radar
overlay problems disappeared. The ROT gyro status LED blinks red all the time so we don't know if its functioning or not. At
any rate the system displays the proper information and the auto-pilot
functions as expected. Our system is wired per Owners Handbook, Doc
#81198-1, Feb. 2002, page 28, lower schematic with the exceptions that
NMEA out appears to be connected to the slave RL70C and the yellow
SeaTalk wire from the GyroPlus2 is not connected at the T400 Course
Computer. The rate output is wired per page 29. Older
manuals show the fluxgate wired through the GyroPlus2 with a SeaTalk
feed to the Course Computer and NMEA to a RL70C (Type 150/400 Autopilot
System installation Guide, Doc. # 81173-3, June 2001, page 21).
The system has an on-going issue in that the master RL70C shuts
down and reboots periodically disconnecting the radar scanner and
freezing the slave RL70C. After reboot the slave functions though radar
has to be restarted. This happens frequently when entering a harbor or
constricted waterway while one is trying to zoom in on the chart. I
suspect it has something to do with the way the charts quilt but cannot
confirm this. At any rate it has added to my gray hairs many times. RayMarine says it's a C-Map issue and of course C-Map says it's
a RayMarine issue. I put the problem on RM - I bought their product. I can help
lessen the frequency of crashes by making sure I have only one C-Map
chart chip in the master RL70C (diminished functionality).
Late May 2007 lightning struck near the vessel while it was in
it's cradle on the hard. We discovered on launching that the knot meter
didn't work. BoatUS had a surveyor haul the boat and thoroughly inspect
it - confirming that there was no direct hit and that EMI had apparently
damaged some of the instruments ability to communicate via SeaTalk. One by one the
instruments were replaced until the system worked and all the user menus
were functional. By the time we had everything working and communicating
properly we had replaced all of the cockpit instruments (with the
exception of the slave RL70C), the knot meter transducer, and the VHF as
the remote microphone circuit no longer functioned properly. After the
instrument replacements the system worked as it had prior to the damage.
It still crashes when there are multiple charts for a given area and
occasionally when ranging up and down.
In January 2007, while installing SkyMate, we were unable to get a
usable Lat/Lon output from the E85001 interface. We replaced the E85001 with no
success. SkyMate operation via the laptop (e-mail, FAX, position
reporting) is communicated using a USB port but the SkyMate's CPU should
be getting it's Lat/Lon via NMEA from our RayStar 125 GPS (if no GPS
signal SkyMate uses a less accurate doppler satellite calculation). We had a
SeaMark tech onboard
2/7/07 to troubleshoot the problems and design a work-around so
our VHF received lat/lon from the master RL70C, leaving the E85001
dedicated for serial communication by the RayTech Navigator program via
a SeaTalk conversion. This left our SkyMate
without a GPS input.
Partial System Log
I've started to log our problems in the hope
that I can find a pattern and resolve the problems. Black text indicates
we've fixed or learned to live with an issue. Red test indicates a
02/24 /07 -
When we left to cross the Gulf Stream we had the radar scanner on.
Every time I tried to range in or out the master RL70C crashed and
rebooted, shutting down the radar scanner and loosing the route data.
(The slave shows no map data available until the master reboots. The
master reboots, waiting for a "continue" to acknowledge the RM
disclaimer.) I tried the radar without overlaying it on the chart. Again whenever I
tried to change range the master rebooted. Usually when we are using
radar we are entering harbors or approaching unfamiliar shores.
We try to range down the master before we come into these area
thinking that the slave may be asking for detail that the master
hasn't accessed. It seemed to help a little. As I think back to earlier crashes some seemed to occur at random...
however sometimes the system ranges up by itself (a little trick it
does when you leave it on a low range, 1-6 nm, for an period of time). The crashes may have
occurred during one of those system range changes - we may have only
noticed the crash and reboot. I don't believe the scanner was on
(other than standby) every time the system rebooted (it is always on
standby). This happens enough that we've coin the term "Raymarine
Moment" for the events. The radar scanner had been repaired by Raymarine in December '05
after shorting due to water intrusion... though the problem existed
before that time. RL70C power supply
We've had several cases of the master rebooting
while in the Bahamas - with the radar in standby or off. The most recent was
today when it rebooted 3 times while we were entering the narrow
channel into Norman Cay with range set at 1nm (there is a chart
overlap in this area). It sure makes life
interesting... being in a tight spot and having a Raymarine Moment.
We've even had it reboot at night when the slave RL70C was off
and the master was on anchor watch. Naturally it defaulted to anchor
watch off when it rebooted. It's almost worse than no system as you
can't trust it.
3/23/07 - Squalls
forced us to use the radar for the first time since we crossed the
gulf stream. We've avoided it to try to minimize the number of crashes
- turning the scanner off each time we initiate the system. Every time
we changed range the system crashed with either or both the slave and
master rebooting. Causing us to wait while the radar powered to
standby so we could restart the scanner. It didn't seem to matter
whether we had the radar screen or radar overlay on the chart.
It seems like every time the processor has to deal with
a heavy load something reboots? Very frustrating!
We've elected to quit using the radar, but
still have occasional crashes. Additionally the chart changes ranges on
it's own - typically up to 12, 24 or 48 miles from 1 - 6 nm, something it has always
done. We've tried making sure the master is at the range we want
thinking it may be conflicting with our ranging on the slave, but
that doesn't really seem to solve the problem.
5/1/07 - Today
the system powered up with the autopilot reading 180 degrees off our
heading, hence the two RL70C displays show the boat backing down the
course line. Haven't had this issue since the original system was
installed and troubleshot. User calibration only provided 2 choices -
indicating the pilot doesn't know its on a sailboat. Tried to get into
dealer calibration, get a CRL display, no access. Got to get RM on the
line again as the manuals don't address this. Checked the radar overlay
and it is showing land off the port side of the boat which is correct
orientation to the bow but 180 degrees to reality. Last time this
happened we had to do 2 circles to linearize the system with the yellow
SeaTalk wire connected from the Course Computer to the ROT gyro, then
disconnect the yellow SeaTalk wire from the ROT gyro and make final
heading corrections to the Autopilot via the dealer menu at the 6002+
5/2/07 - Contacted Raymarine and got
assistance in accessing the Dealer Menu (hold standby until Cal
displays, then press Auto once, displays lock OFF, use display to access
features), made the heading correction.
Next step, re-initialize with the yellow SeaTalk wire on, then remove it.
While traveling in dense fog using radar we had a brief "Raymarine
Moment" when our radar and chart plotter crashed as we crossed the
interface between two electronic charts. I had 2 chips in the master as
we were leaving one C-Map and entering another. I removed the chip for Norfolk
to Jacksonville, leaving the Chesapeake chip in place and rebooted the
6/24/07 - Entering the
traffic in New York Harbor the system rebooted twice (radar was off). I
had 2 chips in as this was an area where we changed chips. Removing one
settled the system down.
8/07 - Our wind
instrument is acting funky... sometimes it is reading correctly and
sometimes 30-40 degrees off. If I calibrate a correction on one tack I
get double the error on the other. In that the ST60 head was new 1 year
ago I suspect the masthead sender. I took it down, inspected, cleaned,
straightened the warped vane and reinstalled it. Didn't make any
difference. Some days it works perfectly, most of the time we can't
Ruth had a "Raymarine Moment" the other day.
While sailing in autopilot auto mode she moved away from the helm to
adjust a sail. The system elected to chose that moment to dump to
standby causing the boat to violently turn into the wind. Don't
know why but it happens every so often, 4-5 times a year.
11/3/07 - We continue
to have operating surprises. Last week the autopilot went to standby
(helmsperson caught the wheel in time), later is lost the route data a
couple of times. This week it elected to quit reading the C-Map chip -
switching to 1200 nautical mile range. We got the chart back by
switching the C-Map to the other socket. Makes life interesting.
11/07 - One of the
system's little frustrations is the trick of jumping ranges by itself.
We may have the system set at a 1.5 mile range while negotiating a
narrow inlet only to look down a find the chart has reset to 24 miles.
This leads to panicky process of scrolling down thru 12, 6, and 3 mile
ranges to get back to 1.5. I guess this is a feature designed to make
one remember the larger picture. At 6 knots that's hardly a concern.
1/30/08 - Generally
the system works. Other than an occasional auto-helm dump we can depend
on the depth, speed, log and GPS. The chart plotter continues to have
"Raymarine Moments", jumping up 2 or 3 ranges while you are entering a
narrow channel or just plan rebooting at the cost of routes or waypoint
planning. This past week it's been cranky again. It's still a big step
above doing it all with a hand bearing compass and grease pencils
(though we keep them handy... just because).
5/25/08 - Haven't
logged any notes lately, not because it's gotten better, I've just
gotten use to the crashes and the charts changing scale on their own.
You have to pay attention to details like system date when looking at
tide charts, today it was 5 years off. Who knows why, yesterday it was
correct. Ariel's new system has it own little quirks. Hey, it beats a
hand bearing compass and a sextant.
- I have to give Raymarine credit for vastly improving their tech
service system. We had need to get our masthead wind indicator repaired.
Where once that meant hours on hold I quickly was connected to a tech
rep on each of my recent calls. While our unit checked out okay (it
sometime worked okay on the boat too) they agreed to sell us a
discounted replacement. I installed the new unit, eureka, we have wind
speed and proper apparent wind angles again!
11/15/08 - The
replacement A22012 masthead wind indicator started reading wrong. Wind
is okay but wind direction is off. Called tech and received
- red should read 8vdc read 2.3
- 4.5v - too low
- blue 6-8vdc read 1.6 -
1.7v and minus .2 to .3v
- green 2-6vdc read 4.9 to 5.0v
and 2.2 to 2.3v
- yellow 0-8vdc (wind speed)
read 2.2 to 2.3v and 1.0 to .9v okay
Tested at ST60+ and at junction box, readings matched. Went
aloft to clean contacts, found wiring suspect (anchor light wiring
chafed into ST60+ wiring). Ordered a new wiring harness.
We replaced the mast wiring for the wind
indicator. Early indications are that it solved the problem with wind
direction. The values across the pins to shield are in line with
the exception that red reads 7.75v. After a couple of weeks we were
right back where we started.
3/23/09 - ST60+ wind
indicator not registering speed. Inspection revealed that the unit was
intact and the cups rotating. Next time we booted the system wind speed
was there. Software glitch? On a similar vein the chart plotters
continue to shut down and reboot occasionally - makes for some fun
4/17/09 - Wind indicator not working this
am. Later started on its own, then stopped again. Wind
direction okay too. Drives me nuts! I checked the yellow to shield
voltage and 1.29 - 1.33vdc, well within specs. I checked the wiring in the hull
up to the master ST60+ Wind indicator head. Voltage at head indicates wiring okay. Swapped
the two heads making the former slave the master. Required that I move both
heads. Three hours later I had wind speed?? Time will tell.
5/11/09 - After a
month of not being used, the ST60+ wind indicators have been acting
funky the last 4 days. Sometimes correct direction and wind speed,
sometimes only wind, sometimes nothing. Obviously swapping the heads
didn't work. Turned off the repeater and the master worked - for several
hours. Turning them off and on results, sometimes, in them working for
several hours. I'm going to have to create a tap so I can use a
voltmeter to monitor the lines full time. For now I've turned both ST60+
Wind heads off
out of frustration.
5/12/09 - Booted our system this morning and
was surprised to see the ST60+ Wind heads turn on. They were both
working correctly. Software issue?
Perhaps the rain storm made some contacts in the masthead indicator?
The units worked properly all day after I adjusted the
5/16/09 - The wind
system worked for a day. Then it started getting funky again. Direction
would drift, correcting it worked for a while... sometimes as long as a
day. Wind speed would come and go. Today we are at anchor in high winds,
a Nor'easter, and wind speed is showing 0.0. Whoops, wind speed just
came on as I'm writing (10:30am). Again, it is raining - a factor? Only
the masthead instrument is exposed to weather. Wind direction is wrong.
6/11/09 - I've been
taking voltage readings at the wind indicator junction box... even made
a pigtail to confirm the readings at the ST60+ master (photo above
left). The readings appear to be in the range the tech gave me but the
heads now point to 0 and wind speed reads ---. Occasionally the needle
will jerk and wind speed will display. But only seconds during a day.
Because of our experience where a component upstream of a second unit
will cause the second unit to behave erratically I think I may need to
strip the entire Raymarine package and send it in for service. I'm
talking 13 components (sans the radar scanner, knot meter and depth
transducers) so it will be no small task and will leave the vessel
unusable. My alternative would be to replace all the components with
another brand but that isn't cost effective (besides, our Autohelm components all
worked great on our former boats - it's just this system that has been a
problem from day one).
6/15/08 - Removed the
temporary pigtail at the ST60+ Wind head as the readings match the
junction box at the base of the mast. The unit does not respond to wind
speed or direction (nor does the slave). When I try to enter user
calibration I often get no response. When I do get CAL pressing the DISP
button results in 2 beeps.
6/17/09 - the ST60+
Wind head has the twitches today... the --- for wind speed flashes to
0.0 while the needle bounce to 60 degrees port and back to dead ahead
(the wind is dead ahead). After 5 minutes the unit went to its frozen
positions, dead ahead and ---.
6/22/09 - I
disconnected the ST60+ Wind master from the seatalk cables and powered
it from a 12vdc source. The unit turned on and the wind needle twitched
about 10 degrees each side of dead ahead. Wind speed showed ---, flashed
10.2 (about what I'd estimated), then settled to ---. I took readings of the feed from the masthead
instrument and added them to the
log of readings
I've been keeping.
I called Raymarine technical support to see
if there was anything else I could check. The tech said not to get too
bound up in the voltage readings, rather send in the two
ST60+ Wind instruments and the Wind Vane for their evaluation and an
estimate on repairs if they could be effected.
6/25/09 - When I went
to the masthead to remove the wind vane I found the connection corroded
(just replace in January) and one pin broken. Apparently the corrosion
was making intermittent contact for a while, explaining the on again off
again performance. Deck tested a ST60+ head with a new vane and wire...
appeared to work. Next we'll have to pull the new wiring harness and
mount a new vane; a half day job. This time I'm not going to trust the
Raymarine seals alone, adding a dielectric paste.
7/10/09 - Ruth and I
mounted the new mast wiring and wind vane - eureka, we have wind speed
and direction. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the dielectric
paste keeps the connection working properly. Next step, send the old
vane in for a new connector.
8/2/09 - The wind
instruments are working well. Now we have just the issue of chart
plotter reboots. This morning we had 7 in 8 miles while navigating in
dense fog. The crash turns off the radar, looses map detail below 150
miles and looses any route or goto that is activated (chart data
unavailable on the slave). When the error goes away 8-10 toggles to zoom
in brings back the chart at 3nm range, then into radar to reset, then
reset the goto.
11/14/09 - The system
has been it's old self. Basically reliable with little aggravations like
changing the chart plotter zoom level, crashing if we have 2 chips in the master and
crashing if it wants too... stuff we've learned to accept as normal.
5/5/10 to 11/1/10 - System
continues to manifest it's little glitches (chart plotter changing ranges,
rebooting)... today the auto pilot added a new one:
When initiate Auto on the ST60plus (6002)
control head the helm locked (no movement) allowing the boat to drift
off course about 30 degrees before displaying the error "drive stopped".
The ST60+ display did not reflect any changes during the drift. With the
unit in Auto, if I
tried to turn the wheel the linear actuator (type 25) resisted my efforts.
I tried Auto / Wind and the unit appeared to
work initially with the wheel moving and the display reflecting these movements.
After 4-5 minutes the boat drifted off course and the head displayed
"drive stopped", a message reputedly reflecting too much load on the
actuator though manual actuation of the wheel seemed normal.
Later in the day I tried Auto again. This
time I pushed the wheel hard against the linear actuator in both
directions getting a countering thrust from the actuator. I released the
wheel noting that the actuator was making normal short adjustments. The
unit operated normally the rest of the afternoon (2 1/2 hours).
linear actuator bench tested by Electronics Unlimited of Fort Lauderdale
0n 5/14, it passed. Next step is to look into the pilot
computer as several techs have told us our model has several built in
and software problems that cause problems like we've experienced (mainly
the sudden switching to standby). Recent
Raymarine financial problems have interrupted the supply of corepacks.
Throughout the summer we limped along with an unreliable
autopilot. The auto pilot faulted every 3 - 5 minutes
until settling down after 2 hours. The next 2 hours it ran perfect. The
wind was aft and the sea state relatively smooth. If the person at the
helm applied a light assist on the helm when course corrections were
need the pilot would "awaken" and steer for another 3 - 5 minutes before
freezing. Sometimes the pilot motor felt spongy, like one could ease it
over a step and then the pilot would firmly take over.
Raymarine tech suggestion that we disconnect the rate of turn gyro to
see if it resolved the problem. It did not. Contacted Navtronics to set
an appointment to have the system checked. Currently it is working okay,
following the previous pattern of needing to be nudged when the wheel
quiets for about 1-2 hours before operating normally. Their finding was
that the servo motor in the linear actuator were sticking or dusting,
causing the servo to fail intermittantly. Time to send the unit to
Raymarine. We couldn't due it at that time due to travel commitments and
we were able to force it to work 90% of the time during our Canadian
travels and on to Annapolis. Usually once we got it working each time we
turned it on it worked until we turned it off (sometime this was a long
as 48 hours). Toward the end of the trip it worked 95% of the time but
we don't trust it and elected to send it in for repair.
11/1/10 - We received our linear actuator
back from Raymarine and installed it. Works great. Over the next few
days we tested it thoroughly and found it works like new.
The slave RL70C in the cockpit had it's second
screen failure in a week. The first clear, this one didn't. After
testing supply voltage and removing the unit and connecting it to the
power supply for the master we and the Raymarine tech agreed the unit
had an internal fault and had to be sent to New Hampshire for service.
Mike (Raymarine) found that the screen power plug had vibrated loose
causing the display problems. While the unit was there they upgraded the
software to the current version.
11/22/10 - The master RL70C was sent to
Raymarine for software upgrade to correct the problem of radar crashes
when changing ranges in chart overlay mode. Problem thought to be caused
by wide span between software versions on the newly upgraded slave and
12/7/10 - The RL70C master arrived late
last night so I installed it this morning. I'm happy to report that
the master and slave both have functional radar overlay on the chart
and both appear to range up and down without crashing.
12/9/10 - The slave and master continue
to work well and we are enjoying some of the display and data
enhancements the software upgrade added.