Garmin autopilot doesn’t want to play

When Liberation was launched in Isola, one of the things which needed to be done as part of the first sea trial was calibration of the auto-pilot.  Calibration involves putting the the system into setup mode and following the instructions on the screen – you drive the boat in large circles in one direction, then you turn and drive in circles in the opposite direction, followed by turning left and turning right and zig-zagging.  When the programme is complete the unit confirms the calibration and it is then capable of driving the boat as it should.

During the sea-trial this calibration failed and Keto were unable to achieve a working auto-pilot – Ed crossed the border into Croatia with manual steering only, and Bavaria ordered the new unit and arranged for it to be fitted in Umag.

When the unit arrived in Croatia at the beginning of June, it was installed by Almi d.o.o. who are the local Garmin installer.  They disconnected every cable related to the auto-pilot and reconnected it all again – as they found the connections were not right which had been made in the factory.  The ECU (control computer) was replaced as was the GHC10 remote control unit at the helm.  They tested as best they could on the pontoon – ensuring that it would work going left and right which all worked – a sea trial should have been carried out to do the full calibration but the boat was not in a state that it could be moved as Keto were in the middle of installing the davits!

When we left Umag on 24th July, the first task was to complete the calibration which should have been a simple task of following the on-screen instructions.  However, no matter what we did, the calibration would not complete successfully – although we were very dizzy by now!  We thought that potentially the waves were too high out in the open water outside Umag as calibration is supposed to be completed on flat water.

We should really have turned around and gone back into the marina and got Almi d.o.o. to take another look at it and complete the sea trial – but by this stage, we just couldn’t face going in again and decided to try and sort it out elsewhere on the way.  We were probably doing something wrong and decided to just read up on it when we were laying at anchor and try again.

After pulling up the anchor at Funtana the following day, we tried again to do the calibration – more circles, more wheel turning but still no luck.  Ed called Clipper Marine as the auto-pilot was part of the factory options and not something we had installed ourselves and when we got to Opatija, Garmin come on board and installed yet another ECU in the cubbyhole.  This time we were able to do the sea trial with Garmin on board and the unit was successfully calibrated … phew!

Finally, we have a working auto-pilot and one issue is crossed off our list.

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