Vessel overview

navigation station - Master RL70C

Slave RL70C in cockpit, relocated 2/09

Starboard instruments

Port instruments

Wind testing (click on photo to enlarge)



Jeanneau SO43

2003 Model

Hull 227

Updated 01/28/2011

Raymarine System


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:


Product Code

Serial No.


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 berth)

Smart Heading System



Gyro compass (closet aft berth)

Fluxgate Compass



(closet aft berth)

Type 25 drive (type 2) M81131 420086 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

E85001 Interface



behind Nav. station panel, new 07

ST60+ Tridata - master



Ver 1.0, Starboard helm, new 06

AirMar Knotmeter sensor



New 06

Depth transducer



 AirMar - replaced '07

ST60+ Wind - Slave 4/09



Ver 7.03, Starboard helm , new '06, '08

Wind Vane E22078 0390022 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

Radar Scanner



Mast  mounted - repaired by RM Dec '05 after being flooded by rainwater.

SeaTech Navigator Ver 4.1 Build 5540   Laptop via serial port
Icon MC402 UPC 731797302696 0105367 Gets position from 125 GPS
SkyMate 100   SCID 2505058796 Dealer  CN510133, 3.86 Client

Data in red not confirmed.

E85001 NMEA connections provide communication with the following devices:



Laptop Computer

RS232 serial for SeaTalk out via serial cable, blocks NMEA output on E85001.

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).



Icon MC402

uses $**GLL from RL70C for Lat/Lon

SkyMate 100 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 cockpit 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.

Ongoing issues

  1. SkyMate is not getting usable position data ($GLL) from the GPS via the NMEA out connection on the master RL70C. It appears that the RayMarine practice of sending a source label attached to the NMEA string can't be decoded by the SkyMate 100. SkyMate has to resolve this, Icom has.
  2. Master RL70C freezes, crashes and reboots. This most frequently occurs when entering channels or harbors where there are multiple charts for the area being transited. It happens more often when 2 C-Map chips are present but also occurs when only one is in the master RL70C. RayMarine says it is a C-Map issue, C-Map says it is a RayMarine bug. Other users have reported the same problem to us.

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 current issue.

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 issue?

3/9/07 - 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+ Pilot.

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.

5/10/07 - 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 system.

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 trust it.

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.

8/08/08 - 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 speed is okay but wind direction is off. Called tech and received troubleshooting info:

Shield to

  • 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.

1/09 - 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 events.

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 direction.

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).

Had the 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 design 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.

Tried 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.

11/8/10 - 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 the master.

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.


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