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:
Updated:
Original:

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

11thHourRacing

Video: 11th Hour Racing Returns to America

Newport welcomed America's ocean racing home team, 11th Hour Racing, back to its waters earlier this week for the start of their autumn training season. In the video, which recounts their Atlantic Crossing from France, Charlie Enright, Mark Towhill and their international crew ...read more

AdobeStock_180386204

BVI Sets Date for Re-Opening

The BVI Tourist Board has set December 1st as the date visitors will be allowed to return to their territory, just in time for the winter charter season to kick off. Several charter companies including Horizon Yacht Charters, Dream Yacht Charter, TMM, CYOA and Conch Charters ...read more

DSC_5337-2

Boat Review: X-Yachts X4⁶

The Danish builder X-Yachts does not simply stick taller or shorter rigs and keels on the same hulls to create boats for both cruisers and racers, as some mass-production builders do. Nor is it content to build two distinct lines of cruisers and racers. Instead, the company has ...read more

Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 1.18.36 PM

Harken Changes Hands, Stays in the Family

. In a video posted yesterday, Peter Harken cheerfully announced that his company, Harken Inc., the trusted hardware brand bearing his last name, which was formerly owned by founders and their families has changed hands. The owners have sold their shares to employees—"passing ...read more

OceanRace

Newport Hosts The Ocean Race Summit on Ocean Health

Hundreds of participants from around the world tuned in yesterday for the latest installment of The Ocean Race's (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) Summit Series, which aims to bring the best of ocean racing—leadership, resilience, tenacity, collaboration—to solving the ocean’s ...read more

sp360_fs5-024crop (1)

Highfield SPORT 360

The new 2021 SPORT 360 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more

sp560_drone-028crop

Highfield SPORT 560

The new 2021 SPORT 560 is the next generation of Highfield boats. Highfield is celebrating its 10th year in the market this year and in this relatively short period of time has now delivered over 30,000 boats to happy customers in 38 countries. Highfield is already the ...read more