Discontinued: Simrad AP50 Autopilot

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Recommended For:

  • Commercial Fishing
  • Large Commercial Vessels
  • Workboats


Discontinued: Simrad AP50 Autopilot

Recommended For:

  • Commercial Fishing
  • Large Commercial Vessels
  • Workboats

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Discontinued: Simrad AP50 Autopilot

  • The Simrad AP50 has been discontinued. It has now been replaced by the next generation of autopilots - the Simrad AP70 & AP80.

You can find details of the new pilots by clicking the links below.

Simrad AP70

Simrad AP80


The AP50 provided you with all the features you would expect from an autopilot with a true commercial pedigree.

Intelligent Steering

The steering performance in the AP50 sets the industry standard. The steering algorithms in the AP50 is the result of over 60 years of steering experience. The special Auto-Heading feature is based on experience from the very demanding offshore market.

The AP50 will provide precise steering, using the least amount of rudder movements necessary. Save fuel and wear on the steering gear with the Automatic Sea state Filter, Automatic rudder offset, Adaptive speed response, Second compass for course monitoring and Adaptive pump speed.

Work Modes

Simrad's WORK mode is taken to the next level in the AP50 autopilot. The Auto Work mode is an automatic steering mode to be used under operational conditions, different from those normally found when a vessel is in normal transit on a pre-set course.

Examples are trawling, towing, being towed, trolling on one engine, slow speed etc. As GPS/chart plotters and Electronic Charting Systems (ECS) has become standard equipment on most vessels today, this WORK feature has now been implemented in the AP50 navigation mode resulting in a Nav Work mode. Combined with a bow-thruster, navigational steering is now possible at low speeds previously considered unsuitable for autopilot use.

Thruster Steering

If the vessel is equipped with a bow/tunnel thruster, it can be connected to the AP50 system. This opens the possibility for Auto Heading for smaller boats not capable of interfacing to previous ship heading control systems on the market. A thruster icon below the mode index indicates that a thruster is connected to the system. Now you can select one of three control functions from the user Set-up menu:

  1. Rudder Only
  2. Thruster Only
  3. Rudder and Thruster

With the AP50 system you will expand the use of your thruster. This makes it possible to hold the vessel at one heading even with no steerage way. Making it possible to trawl, tow, troll on one engine, or steer the boat straight in strong current at low speeds. Even as backup if there is a failure with the rudder. With the new Nav Work mode all this is also possible while navigating a route, preventing drift. The AP50 may be set to activate the thruster automatically when the vessel reaches a certain user defined speed, and de-activate when speed is too high.

Steering Modes

The AP50 system has two "power steering" modes. Follow Up (FU) and Non Follow-Up (NFU). These are used to take advantage of the AP50 as a steering system. The course knob may be used to set rudder or thruster commands. In the NFU mode the rudder will move as long as either the (PORT) or (STBD) button is pressed or a steering lever is used. The actual rudder angle is shown on the AP50 and AP51 displays, and a small arrow indicates that the rudder is moving.

Navigation with the AP50

The AP50 has the capability to use steering information from an external navigator like a GPS Chartplotter or a more advanced Electronic Chart System (ECS). Since Simrad Yachting carries a wide range of products in both these categories the AP50 has been designed to operate with both. The steering and speed information received from the external navigator alters the set course to direct the AP50 to one specific waypoint location or through a series of waypoints. The AP50 is capable of navigating with a resolution of 1/1000 of a nautical mile (1.8m/5.9ft.)

Route Navigation

With a chartplotter simple navigation along a route can be performed automatically. Course changes at each waypoint need to be acknowledged before the turn is made. Heading changes of less than 10° do not need to be acknowledged.

Electronic Chart System

In an advanced Chart System a route consists of a series of waypoints joined together with straight legs. Each waypoint in a route, except the first and the last, has an associated turn radius (size of turn in Nm) defined. This turn radius will allow the ship to turn before the actual waypoint is reached. This is done so the AP50 accurately will follow a route in which the radius of the course change is pre-set in the chart system so the helmsman will know exactly were the vessel is going in the chart.


The FU50 Follow-Up steering lever features a scale with 5° rudder angle markings. The rudder will move and stop at the angle selected on the dial.

The FU50 has a mid-position indent, buttons for mode selection, mode indicators and thruster control.

AP51 Remote Control

A series of optional type approved remotes and interface units are available for the AP50 system. The AP51 remote control unit has a large LCD display for displaying autopilot and thruster functions. It comes standard with a 7 m (23 ft.) cable and can be used as a handheld remote control or it may be mounted in a fixed bracket mount i.e. in the armrest.

The AP51 portable remote control may simply be plugged in to the network and it is ready to use. The AP51 will provide total portable control over the autopilot system including direct thruster control.

AP50 Junction Unit

The J50 junction unit is the brain in the AP50 autopilot system. It contains the steering computer, interface circuits to all system components and drive circuits. Two models, J50 and J50-40 are available depending on the current output needed. A network has been developed to establish reliable high speed digital communication and power distribution between the units in the system. This network simplifies installation and enables the AP50 system to be easily expanded at any time.