PG 500 error messages



Our PG 500 is reporting the following errors:

First, when we turn on the auto pilot we get the following message:
"Heading sensor NG" And all other systems OK

then it goes immediately to the next screen with the following message:
"Cannot recieve heading data"
"Please check heading sensor"

Then the unit has no GPS coordinates or is able to engage into auto pilot.

The PG500 compass looks like the following:

Auto light - is steady green light
True light - is fast blinking green light
Calib light - no light is on at all
Status light - slow blinking light

It is my understanding (and I could be wrong) that this all means we have a magnetic deviation error? If true, what do we do to correct it?

If not...what is the problem.

Yes, you compass has an error. When the compass is in a good location without metal or electronic interference the STATUS light should go SOLID, within three minutes of being powered on. If yours is blinking, it isn't happy. Your heading issue is not related to your autopilot's position (GPS) issue. You have several items you need to address. I would start by clearing the compass to factory defaults. (Para 2-5 [pg7]) and power the compass back up. If you still have a flashing STATUS light after three minutes, you need to remove the interference or relocate the compass. Once you get a good status light, you need to find out why the autopilot and the compass have no communications. I recommend you check your wiring where the compass goes into the pilot process (TB8) for correct wiring. Next check the software setup to ensure you have it setup for the PG500 at 4800 baud rate. You should be able to run the compass test and get the ROM and RAM numbers of the compass when talking correctly.
I am having the same problem with my new PG-500. After relocating it COMPLETELY out into thin air, the status light continue to blink after resetting memory and/or running diagnostics. So, bad unit?
The PG500 has been used for many years and is a very good compass. The only PG500 units that I have seen go bad are due to water intrusion. This unit isn't waterproof.

Over the years, have seen a lot of bad installs from being mounted on a wall, upside down, or being too close to big metal or electronic interference. (This unit is not intended for metal hull boats, either) With that said, it is possible to find a good location and see the status light flash from time to time. That flashing is to let you know it notices something but this isn’t always critical. For example, if you are in a docking area with a huge seawall that has lots of concrete with metal rebar, it can make your compass flash. This is interference not related to the boat. Normally the heading will still be good and read correctly in cases like this. The compass is letting you know everything isn’t perfect.

When setting up a new compass it should be taken out away from the dock and properly setup. You should be able to turn the boat 360 degrees and the status light stay solid. Now, if the USS Enterprise parks next to your boat, expect to see the status light flash. Every boat is different. I have seen a few fiberglass boats that were never able to get a flux gate compass (not just the Furuno units) to work on; because of all the RF and big metal objects. In extreme cases like this you might have to revert upwards to a sat compass.

In MOST cases; if mounted properly, you can find a good location and it works great. If you doubt your compass, please feel free to send your unit in for a full test workup. We offer a great two year parts and labor warrantee.
Ok, so now the unit has a solid STATUS light but a blinking TRUE light. No other lights are on. The manual does not deal with this situation. What does it mean, and how should I deal with it?
Please see page 4, Para 1-5, Note 2.
This light has to do with NMEA GPS data that was given to the compass; and now it isn't. If you are not planning to force the compass to caluate TRUE, then don't feed NMEA to this compass. Once you have ever put it in TRUE mode, and no longer wish to input magnetic variation info, it is best to CLEAR the compass (Pg 7) and setup normally.
Great. All dialed in and working fine. Thanks for the help.