Raymarine EV-100 Wheel Autopilot (06/2018)
Here are some notes on installing the Raymarine EV-100 wheel
autopilot on a Catalina 270.
I searched for a page like this one and came up empty when I was
researching my installation. If you are considering this
installation, maybe these notes will help.
I had initially found lots of confusing information on whether this
Raymarine autopilot can be installed on a standard NMEA 2000 network
or not (as opposed to the Raymarine "Seatalk" network). The product
info on the Raymarine website is particularly obscure about this and
various forums hinted that yes it can but there was conflicting
The short answer is: YES. If you have a NMEA2000 network and are
considering this autopilot, yes it works.
The longer answer is that it takes some tedious cable gymnastics,
but the work is straighforward and it all works. I wrote a separate
page on that here, check out the details: Networking
There are many pieces to the autopilot:
I find that the documentation provided adds a lot more confusion
than it should. The wheel drive manual is written to cover an
earlier generation of this product and a lot of it does not apply,
- EV-100 sensor core: this is the heading/compass sensor.
- ACU-100: This is the control unit.
- Rudder position sensor. This is not included in the base package but is highly
- Wheel drive: The disc and motor that hook up to the wheel.
- p70: The display and user interface.
This is the easiest one. It can be installed anywhere on the boat
but it needs to be on the centerline (they say) and facing the bow.
I installed it under the V berth as the Catalina 270 has empty space
there and I had earlier installed a bulkhead which made for a
convenient mounting spot.
The EV-1000 only has one connection. It plugs straight in to the
NMEA2000 network (after modifying the cable).
This is the CPU of the system and has many connections. It can be
installed anywhere but it needs to be vertical (on a bulkhead), I'm
not sure why.
It has the following connections:
Even though it can be installed anywhere on the boat, the above
wiring requirements will largely dictate where it can go.
- Dedicated power (up to 7A load).
- Drive motor (which gets its power through the ACU-100).
- NMEA2000 network (so it can talk to the EV-100 and the p70
- Rudder position sensor.
On the Catalina 270 I installed it on the bulkhead behind the aft
cabin. This puts it near the rudder post (immediately behind) and
steering pedestal (right above).
This took by far the most effort. It needs to be parallel to the
rudder post rotation so every boat will need some kind of custom
Here's what I came up with for the C270:
Wheel drive and motor
When I first opened the box and started to eyeball the installation
I got worried this may not fit the C270. The factory engine gauge
cluster takes up a lot of space and it wasn't clear whether there
was enough left for the wheel pilot.
In the end, it did fit! But it was extremely close...
The main problem is this rod which keeps the wheel drive in place.
As seen on the photo below (click to enlarge) the rod is tight
against the gauge cluster and also at the highest possible point in
its slot on the wheel drive. If the factory gauge cluster had been
even 2mm higher on the steering pedestal, it would not have worked.
Another problem is that the clutch lever hits the gauge cluster when
lowered (engaged). I had to cut off more than half of the lever arm
so that it can be fully engaged. It works fine as there is very
little force needed on it, so the loss of leverage is not an issue.
Just doesn't look quite as nice but most people probably won't
I ran the wire from the motor (the black plug on the photo above) up
to the navpod and then down the steering guard tube into the aft
cabin. From there it routes to the ACU-100 control box.
Mounted up in the navpod with the other displays. Only connection is
to the NMEA2000 network (after modifying the
After a year of use (including one week-long cruise) I can say I'm
very happy with this autopilot. Would definitely buy it again.
I use it heavily given that most of my sailing is single-handed. I
only hand steer in and out of the harbor, most of the time out in
the ocean the autopilot is always steering. Nearly all the time I
use it wind mode, where it keeps the wind angle consistent.
One annoyance is that if the wind shifts, it starts beeping a wind
shift alert for a long time (unless I press a button to stop it).
While this seems like a nice feature, I'd expect it to only alert
for significant wind shifts. Unfortunately it will beep away for
even a 3 to 5 degree wind shift which is very silly. I wish the
minimum wind shift angle was configurable but it is not. So in
slightly shifty winds, it ends up beeping all the time and I have to
constantly silence it. On the plus side, it continues steering just
fine even while beeping, so if I can't get to it I can just ignore
I've sailed it in winds from 5 knots to 30 knots without issues. As
long as the sails are balanced (and reefed above about 20 kts) it
steers fine all day.
In short-period swells above ~5ft or so it can't steer that well.
When hand steering, I see the waves coming and can anticipate them
but the autopilot can only react after the fact, which means it ends
up swinging the course a lot. Can't really call it a fault because
it has no way to see the waves but something to be aware of. When
the swells are above 5ft and winds are above 20kts I tend to always
hand-steer. The autopilot can still steer in these conditions if
needed, so if I want to go down below for a moment it works ok.
The major bug in this autopilot is the auto-tack feature. It
basically doesn't work at all, which is very disappointing.
Pressing 1 and 10 together (either + or -, depending on tack) is
supposed to auto-tack the boat so I can concentrate on releasing the
jib and sheeting it in on the other side. It is a wonderful feature
for a single-handler. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work!
What happens is that the autopilot heads up across the wind but
after the bow is only a few degrees to the new tack, the autopilot
suddenly centers the wheel!!! So it doesn't turn enough to complete
the tack. The boat either ends up in irons or (most often) just
swings back to the original tack (meanwhile, I've sheeted in the jib
on the other side already, so now we're hove to).
Every now and then it keeps turning enough to complete the tack but
80%+ of the time it fails miserably. Very frustrating. Seems like
this should be a simple feature to get correct but Raymarine
completed messed it up. It doesn't work.
Still.. for the price this autopilot works well and I recommend it.
Just be aware the auto-tack is broken.
my Catalina 270 page.