Ask Sail: Not so Sweet Sounds

My newly installed stereo system works great out on the water until I turn on the autopilot. Then every time the pilot makes a course correction, I hear a grinding noise on the stereo, at any volume level. Is there a cure?
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

NOT SO SWEET SOUNDS

My newly installed stereo system works great out on the water until I turn on the autopilot. Then every time the pilot makes a course correction, I hear a grinding noise on the stereo, at any volume level. Is there a cure?
Stan Panek, Dana Point, CA

Gordon West is an electronics expert who specializes in radio communications

Gordon West is an electronics expert who specializes in radio communications

Gordon West Replies

Autopilot drive motors are very noisy! Assuming the music is coming in from your MP3 device, the autopilot noise is likely coming in through the stereo amplifier power lead. Power lead filters are available from your NMEA authorized marine electronics dealer, as well as from all automobile stereo installation stores. A 10-amp filter will work fine on your stereo, but you may need a 20-amp filter to clean up the noise close to the autopilot drive motor. If the filters help, but doesn’t completely stop the noise, you may need to run your stereo system and its associated amplifier on a separate 12-volt battery with its own independent solar charging system.

Related

Pestilence

Sailor-Punk and the State of Cruising

Back when I was a young man, sailing back and forth across the North Atlantic in an old fiberglass sailboat, it seemed fairly obvious to me how all that was wrong in the world might be set right. Everyone should be issued a boat at birth! Or so I declared to any who would listen ...read more

promoOnTheHorizon600x

Cats On The Horizon

Dragonfly 32 Evolution Denmark’s Quorning Boats has been systematically upgrading its line of folding, performance-cruiser trimarans in recent years as part of a long-term effort to incorporate the latest developments in yacht design, with the latest to receive this treatment ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The double range  Every skipper knows about ranging two objects in line to keep the boat on track in a cross-current. What’s less obvious is monitoring both sides of a gap such as a harbor entrance. ...read more

FamilyCruise

Bareboating on Puget Sound

Depending on where you are, Puget Sound can look no bigger than a mountainous version of the Intracoastal Waterway. That’s what I thought when I first laid eyes on it from the lighthouse at Mukilteo Park on a sunny day last July. Then I went to the top of the iconic Space Needle ...read more

Bali4point1

Boat Review: Bali 4.1

Coming fast on the heels of its predecessor, the Bali 4.0, the Bali 4.1 adds a number of improvements, many of them inspired by feedback from owners and charterers. She’s an evolution of a concept that has already proven popular and very many benefits from its builder’s ...read more

Headsail

Ask Sail: Silencing A Rattling Headsail

Q: Our Pearson 26 has a 110-percent jib that tends to rattle very noisily at the top hank. We only bought the old boat recently, but it must have been happening for a long time, since there’s a deep groove worn inside that bronze hank. The jib has an unusually large and wide ...read more

Alerion2048x

Alerion Yachts 33, the 90 Minute Get Away

Easy to sail, luxurious, and swift; the Alerion 33 is the solution to your busy life. The intuitive, simple rig design, easy set-up, and put-away mean there’s no need to wait for crew to enjoy a weekend, a day, or an hour out sailing. Her beauty and comfort are evident in the ...read more