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Backup Autopilot
#1
Hello,
We've got a very old Raymarine autopilot on our 43ft sailboat. It's currently working well but I fear that either the computer or the motor controller board will give up at some point on a long passage. We already use OpenPlotter to hook the boat's aged SeaTalk network into OpenCPN and Navionics. I've been looking at PyPilot as a possible backup option should the main autopilot computer fail.

Does anyone have experience of this?

If I was to buy the computer and controller board hardware packages from Sean, it feels like it should be a "simple" case of wiring the PyPilot motor controller to the existing Raymarine steering ram on the quadrant and linking the OpenPlotter Pi to the PyPilot Pi over WiFi. We'd lose the cockpit controls controls via the ST6002, but on a long passage this wouldn't be too inconvenient.

Is it really going to be this straightforward, and is there anything else I should be worrying about?


Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
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#2
I think you understand what is involved. You can wire gpio pins to buttons for cockpit control as well, and there is a remote control or just use a device to control it.

I'm working on more control options in the future, so far RF remotes are working but a wifi remote with display using esp32 is another possibility.
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#3
That's super useful info. I'll do some digging around about options for having some info and control in the cockpit.

Could you also let me know how the Pi is connected to the motor controller board? It's shown as a waterproof connector, but what sort? To align the installation to the current setup and to simplify the wiring I'd be looking at putting the Pi at the nav-station and the motor controller board close to the Raymarine ram. It's about 6 metres between the two things, but likely further once the cable is run through ducts etc.

Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
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#4
The motor controller communicates to tinypilot via a uart. This is 4 wires. It's possible to use usb, but I don't recommend it for reliability, latency and isolation reasons.. but it does work as well.

A cable length of up to 15-20 meters is normally just fine, although interference is technically possible in that case you can use shielded cable and twisted pairs for each wire grounding one pair, it's unlikely you would need to.
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#5
Is that something that I'd need to build myself, or is it something that could be included as part of the package? What connectors are on either end?
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#6
I use 4 pin waterproof connectors:
https://pypilot.org/store/index.php?rt=p...uct_id=127
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#7
And it's possible to buy a couple of those and chain them together?
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#8
it is possible to use several yes, or you could inform me the length you need. Otherwise it is just 4 wires you can always extend it.
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