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  • hollyjpkopp


Never update your electronics on a Friday…. And this is particularly true if you are headed into Memorial Day weekend and the start of a 12-14 day passage from the BVI to Maine. You’d think that having the “latest and greatest” firmware and software would be good.  But that’s just not true. 

Our particular situation involved a Raymarine suite of Axiom+ MFD’s, wind, speed and depth system, and then a EV-1 Sensor Core and ACU-400 computer. On Friday morning, up early, I downloaded the Lighthouse 4 package updates for our system, plugged in the micro SD card, and let the system do its thing. Update after update happened, all finished, and then those error codes popped up.  Not sure what it said now, but immediately after our EV-1 Sensor Core vanished from the network. Huh. Now we are starting a passage and have no autopilot.

After grabbing a mooring, we started troubleshooting, with Google at our side. Pretty quickly we discovered that you MUST UPDATE THE EV-1 SENSOR CORE before you update the rest of the system and especially the ACU-400. Otherwise the EV-1 will become unresponsive   Oops. What do we do now?

After chats with Raymarine technical support and realizing that all Tier 2 support personnel had gone home for the 4-day holiday weekend (not that anyone boats over this weekend, right?!), we tried downgrading the system but that failed miserably. Fortunately, from our prior life in the marine industry (building Southport Boats) we had friends at Navtronics in York, Maine. Calling their office, while everyone had gone home, a message was sent to all technicians to call, if possible. At the same time, we started chatting with Cay Electronics on Tortola, who was also closing for 4-days in just 2-hours. But they had a new EV-1 Sensor Core. What now?

Both Cay and Navtronics recommended the same thing.  Power the network from something other than the ACU-400 and try to force the EV-1 update. Navtronics continued to work with us on various troubleshooting tricks but without success. At about the same time we reached the same conclusion…. Go get the new EV-1 Sensor Core before Cay Electronics closed and give it a try. It “should” work?  But no matter what the system tells you, DO NOT RUN AN UPDATE if it starts working. 

So a dinghy dash to the dock, hop in a taxi and off we went to Cay Electronics. Talking with them some more, they might have been able to force the update in their shop on the old unit… but we left it on the boat. So off we went with the new EV-1. 

As we arrived at the boat, there was a bit of angst. Would it work?  Might the ACU-400… the brains of the autopilot, really be the problem. Thankfully, after a quick double check of the network, and the new EV-1 installed, we were literally shouting for enjoy… our trusty autopilot was alive!  Everyone had gone home for the holiday weekend and we were now headed for Maine. 

After some commissioning and calibration, and briefly losing but then finding our Quantum 2 Radar signal, we had it all working. And never again will we update firmware or software on a Friday… or before a holiday weekend… and especially the morning we depart on a 2-week passage. 

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