Simrad, the Norwegian partner of Navico brand, has launched a new product: the AP48 Autopilot Controller. An evolution of the smaller AP44, the new controller replicates its functions but with some important improvements.
First of all, a large rotary control dial positioned next to the display provides with a very precise steering control and instant heading changes. Designed for optimal control in all conditions, the AP48’s large buttons are ideal for use with wet or gloved hands an with no controls. The keyboard is complete and it, too, can be used with wet or gloved hands.
Below the 4.1” display, four dedicated ‘dodge’ keys enable soft heading changes (in one positive or negative degree) or instant changes (up to ten-degree positive or negative increments) while, around the rotary control dial, six controls perform the following functions: switch on/off, menu, delete, stand-by, mode and direct access to the autopilot.
Another important characteristic concerns the quality of the display. The full-colour LCD panel is optically bonded to its protective glass covering – eliminating the possibility of condensation or fogging within the display. With a 170-degree view angle, transflective LCD technology makes use of reflected sunlight to brighten rather than obscure the screen, delivering superior day-time visibility and lower power consumption compared to traditional backlit displays. The environment is therefore brighter and the screen is more legible.
Of course, the new Simrad AP48 controller offers a range of complex steering possibilities despite its user-friendly menu. It gives users easy access to a range of built-in turn patterns to assist with fishing, diving, or just making a quick and efficient U-turn. For greater control, boaters can customize turn patterns to execute complex spirals, zigzags and other useful maneuvers.
Thanks to NMEA 2000 connectivity and GPS interface, the “No Drift” mode enables to keep course in all wind and stream conditions without having to set a waypoint while a compatible echosounder module enables the so-called DCT (Depth Contour Tracking) steering possibility. This way, the autopilot maintains a constant water depth beneath the vessel, following depth contours while fishing or cruising.
The installation of the AP48 Autopilot Controller is quite simple and, thanks to its small size, it can be placed almost anywhere. In addition to flush-mount installation, its shell can also be bracket-mounted for additional flexibility.
The AP48 is currently the most advanced compact control unit among Simrad marine autopilot systems. Its price is about 1,000 euros.