Raymarine SmartPilot X-5 Autopilots Reviews
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Raymarine SmartPilot X-5 Autopilots

3 ratings (3 Epinions reviews)
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Software problem - beware!

Jun 7, 2009 (Updated Jun 7, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Interface and Controls:
  • Durability and Reliability:

Pros:Seems robust. Powerful. Only seems to use about 1A average in operation.

Cons:No way to reduce convergence to track limit to less than 30 degrees.

The Bottom Line: Nice system, worth paying more for. Allow plenty time to install it all. But Raymarine has to fix the convergence angle problem first!

I bought this to replace a series of Simrad TP32 units that worked only a few hours between repairs - the minute balls fall out out of the screw drive and the pushrod slips in and out freely and as an added bonus the little balls short out the electrics too.  Anyhow 1000 miles so far with the SPX-5 TP and no failures.  It's potentially a very nice system.  A lot of work to install with the drive, head unit and computer.  The problem with it is in track mode (steer to wpt).  If it thinks the XTE has got a little too high it swings the helm 30 dregrees to get back on track and then 30 degres the other way when it hits the track.  OK for a powerboat maybe but useless under sail.  If you're sailing close to the wind the 30 degree turn can pinch off the sails, lose way and steering....  Or worse if the wind's following.  This problem always happens after advancing to the next waypoint - inevitably you have passed a wpt before pressing the button to head for the next one.  This means you will be a little off track, so you guessed it the SPX turns 30 degrees beyond the course to the wpt, holds this until the XTE is 0 then swings 30 dregees back the other way.  I raised this with Raymarine and offered to trial a fix for them. All that needs to be done is to reduce the 30 dregree max convergence angle.  They said there's nothing that can be done, but they did mention that this was new firmware - presumably then not the proven software that their advertising suggests you are getting.  It seems crazy that the convergence angle isn't user adjustable, all it needs is a small firmware change to allow the convergence angle with the track to be limited to say 10 degrees max rather than 30.  Anybody else out there seen this problem?

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 1100
Primary Location of Use: Inshore waters and bays
Primary Type of Use: Cruising
Length of Boat: 25-40 feet

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