Finish Time: 6 hours
Tools and Supplies:
*Box wrench set
*Electric drill and bits
*Wire stripper and crimper
*Assorted heat-shrink marine wire connectors
*Clean-up towels for hydraulic fluid spills
*Hydraulic fluid (SeaStar HA5430 )
*Petroleum-resistant pipe sealant
Installing an autopilot is relatively easy. We installed the new, compact SP-110 from Si-Tex Marine Electronics (si-tex.com), which can be configured for mechanical or hydraulic steering systems, aboard a 22-foot outboard-powered cuddy-cabin boat with Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering (teleflexmarine.com) and a GPS/chart plotter. Unlike many autopilots, a physical rudder feedback unit is not required, simplifying the project.
1. Electronic Compass
Mount the electronic compass horizontally in a dry location, low in the boat, close to the centerline and free of magnetic interference, such as from stereo speakers. The heading arrow must parallel the centerline and point toward the bow. We mounted ours in a dry compartment below the cabin V-berth.
2. Autopilot Pump
Mount the hydraulic reversing pump in a dry location as close as possible to the hydraulic steering helm in order to facilitate running and connecting hoses between the two. Also, due to magnets in the pump motor, keep it at least 40 inches from the electronic compass and its cable, and your boat’s compass.
3. Hydraulic Plumbing
Adapter kits (Teleflex HF5501, $115, westmarine.com) allow connecting the helm and pump. Use a petroleum-resistant pipe sealant on the male threads when installing fittings. In connecting hoses to the pump, it doesn’t matter which side is port or starboard , because the SP-110 configures itself.