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B&G H5000 Pilot System Upgrades


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My current setup on a 46' performance cruiser-racer (is that an oxymoron?) is an H5000 w/Hydra + H5000 Pilot + RC42 Compass + VMHU Wind.

I am interested in upgrading this system if it would produce a tangible increase in performance on autopilot, especially off the breeze in waves on passage. The system as-is does a fairly good job anyway so I don't necessarily want to get too spendy for only a small increment in performance.

The current weakest link is probably the compass. The Precision 9 is an obvious upgrade, and would have the additional benefits of improving target-tracking on the radar and giving us a spare. Next up would be to add a B&G Motion Sensor and upgrade to Hercules software. Off the breeze the Pilot uses TWA in Wind Mode so improving the TW solution seems beneficial.

It is a shame that Navico's satellite compasses (e.g. the HS75) don't appear to output 3D rate information other than heading rate of change (they have the necessary MEMS gyros), since if they did that could fill the roles of both the P9 and the Motion Sensor (though it's always possible that they do using the proprietary PGN that the Motion Sensor uses and that it's simply not documented).

I am under no illusion that simply adding more black boxes is the perfect elixir. Good calibration is obviously equally or more important.

I am inclined to get the P9 for starters. Any real-world experience on the other upgrades?

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I have a similar set-up on my 38' "performance cruiser-racer."  I do have the P9 and it works well.  The RC42 and AC42N computer came with the boat and became a backup autopilot (on a separate N2K backbone).  I wish I had a VMHU - mine is the 508.  What are you using for speed input?  Mine is a Signet Blue Top (pulse type) on centerline.  Both heading and speed calibrate very well.  Wind, not as well.

Our two top local B&G installers each said the motion sensor wouldn't add much, even if I upgraded the MHU.  One recommended the Hercules upgrade and the other said not to bother, so I'm still using the Hydra.  The pilot works well using AWA upwind and compass downwind.  I'd probably have to upgrade the MHU to get acceptable TW performance downwind.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/22/2022 at 3:16 AM, BobJ said:

I'd probably have to upgrade the MHU to get acceptable TW performance downwind.

What's you thinking behind the need to upgrade the MHU to get better TW performance? What's the limitation with the existing one?

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On 2/8/2022 at 2:25 PM, jmurph said:

What's you thinking behind the need to upgrade the MHU to get better TW performance? What's the limitation with the existing one?

Wind speed errors due to flow over the sails.  

Bob, someone else has suggested sticking with the 508 sensor and just calibrating the wind speed table (Peter King?).  I'm not sure if that requires Hercules or not, but the VMHU is ridiculously expensive.  We are planning to go that route with a Hercules processor.  

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/16/2022 at 11:59 AM, Roleur said:

Wind speed errors due to flow over the sails.  

Bob, someone else has suggested sticking with the 508 sensor and just calibrating the wind speed table (Peter King?).  I'm not sure if that requires Hercules or not, but the VMHU is ridiculously expensive.  We are planning to go that route with a Hercules processor.  

Sorry I missed that he said upgrading to a vertical MHU. That should have been obvious to me!

I have a WS320 that we made a 1m aluminium extension for. It's early days, but testing so far as been pretty good. I haven't seen any obvious wind speed anomalies.

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