Ask Sail: Not so Sweet Sounds - Sail Magazine

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:

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

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more