DataHub how to use Autopilot

How to enable and use Autopilot, a new, experimental DataHub feature

Matt Crockett avatar
Written by Matt Crockett
Updated over a week ago

From Firmware 3.91, DataHub has added an autopilot feature that supports basic routing functionality for autopilot in experimental mode. This has been rapidly developed and improved through DataHub 4.0 and is now available as a release version. If you'd like to use autopilot, please update your Firmware and enable it as below.

Autopilot requirements

To use autopilot on the DataHub requires the following:

  • A DataHub with Firmware 4.0 or later.

  • An NMEA2000 / N2K network connected to your boat instruments, Chartplotter, Autopilot and the DataHub.

  • The NMEA source on the Datahub is set to NMEA2000 on CAN0.

  • An NMEA2000 Autopilot that supports PGN 129283(XTE), 129284(Nav Info) and 129285(Route Info).

  • A navigation App or Chartplotter that supports Autopilot functionality with NMEA183 XTE, APB, and RMB sentences.

Your boat instruments must provide, at a minimum:

  • An ACTIVE source of GPS - NMEA network or Internal GPS.

  • COG, SOG, and HDT on the GPS and Navigation top menu pages.

What is DataHub Autopilot?

For autopilots connected to the DataHub via NMEA2000, it supports the receipt of NMEA0183 messages, calculation and sending of NMEA2000 messages PGN 129283, 129284, and 129285.

The DataHub Autopilot feature allows you to connect Navigation Apps such as AquaMaps and OpenCPN to convert these NMEA0183 messages when sent:

  • XTE gets converted to PGN 129283 (Cross track error)

  • APB/RMB gets converted to PGN 129284/129285 (Navigation and route data)

This has been tested successfully by the team and customers with RayMarine autopilots and others using AquaMap and OpenCPN.

The DataHub does not send controls for the autopilot heads for any manufacturers. The DataHub sends routing information to the autopilot. You'll still need to enable the track and manage events such as arrival alarms on the control head.

How to enable autopilot on the DataHub

To enable Autopilot on the DataHub:

  • In the NMEA menu, set the NMEA source to: NMEA2000 on CAN0.

  • In the NMEA >Advanced menu, tick Autopilot, then click Save and Apply.

Using Autopilot

To activate the use of autopilot supported by the DataHub:

  • Ensure that the Autopilot feature is enabled in DataHub.

  • As an option, set up N2K filters to prioritize the GPS, Heading, and Depth sensors for navigation. This is done under Services >NMEA >Settings >Advanced

  • Create a route in the Navigation App.

  • Enable route.

  • Engage autopilot.

Important Note: Please ensure you’ve set laptop or iPad/tablet power settings to remain Always On and active, or the autopilot will disengage when your device enters power saving mode.

Troubleshooting Autopilot

The autopilot feature is still in its early use stage and is not guaranteed to work for every combination of hardware/software. It was initially designed for AquaMaps on Raymarine systems and has later been tested successfully with other equipment.

First, please check all your instruments are powered, and in the DataHub, the NMEA >GPS, Navigation and Environment top menus display all expected data from your boat instruments.

If you don't see a complete data set on each menu as expected, please contact support and let us know. Please include a complete listing of all the devices, instruments and Apps you are attempting to use for autopilot.

AquaMaps Autopilot Troubleshooting

In AquaMaps, you can view the NMEA183 stream under Settings > WiFi Settings > Active Connection >Active Receiving to ensure that XTE, RMB, and APB are being sent.

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