Win more races
Call Us: Bill Fanizzo 312-218-0339

Forensic troubleshooting

Forensic troubleshooting

This page describes how to bring up an Ockam instrument system for the first time. It could apply to new installations, but the installer is usually around for that. Rather, this paper is written for somebody with no previous experience bringing up a system in an unknown condition for the first time. We will concentrate on the basic functions, boatspeed, apparent wind and heading, and get them working correctly.

After the system is up and running, tuning up and calibration is the next step and is covered in the manual.

Reference will be made to various manuals.

The system manual is available at
Newer systems use the Tryad processor
and the Multiplex interface



Poke around and find the system components. The CPU is usually aft near the power source. The masthead and boatspeed interfaces are usually forward near their sensors. The Heading interface could be either forward or aft.

  • The system is powered from the ship’s battery. Power goes to the CPU where it is regulated and sent on to all other system components over the Ockam bus network consisting of coax cable with BNC connectors  BNC cable and tees BNC Tee.
  • Examine the condition of the cables and connectors. If they’re cruddy, you might want to do some prophylactic replacement or cleanup to save yourself time.
  • Be sure the sensors (boatspeed paddles, masthead and cable, compass) are attached to their respective interfaces.
  • If you have 005 displays, you will need the set of cards that define what they display. You will especially want to find the following cards:

Test Configuration
Test Errors

Windangle Apparent

Windspeed Apparent



  • If you have Matryx displays, familiarize yourself with their operation. You should set up some pages for troubleshooting. Include the functions mentioned above for the 005 display.
  • Magnum jumbo displays are usually controlled by remote buttons. Menu 14 has cals, configuration and errors, and Menu 15 has everything.
  • If possible, manipulate the sensors to check for bad bearings and such. You should pull the boatspeed paddle(s) and check for fowling and freely turning impellors.

 Check for Power

When you turn the power on, light(s) on the CPU should flash or come on. If not, do Power Troubleshooting (pdfman p. 35). Don’t rely on displays to tell you if power is getting to the CPU.

  • For the classic 001 CPU, the light should flash. If it comes on solid, it indicates either low battery voltage or a shorted bus (p. 36).
  • The T1 processor takes about 30 seconds to boot up, during which some of the indicator lights will come on. After boot is complete, the status light should show green or flash red, indicating errors (covered later).

Bring the Displays up

  • When you power up the system, do all the displays come on? If not, do Open and Shorted Bus Troubleshooting (pdfman p. 41).
  • Test your ability to select functions either with buttons or cards. All systems output at least ‘Test Configuration’, ‘Test Errors’ and ‘Time’.

Check the Interfaces

On a display, select (or insert the card) Test Configuration (pdfman p. 20). This number indicates which interfaces the CPU is communicating with.

  • If dividing by 2 gives an odd number, your system has boatspeed.
  • If dividing by 4 gives an odd number, your system has wind.
  • If dividing by 8 gives an odd number, your system has heading.

If you don’t have at least these interfaces, find the interface(s) responsible for the missing elements and do Bus Troubleshooting (p. 41) on them.

Check for reasonable numbers for Boatspeed (0.00), Windangle Apparent (where the masthead vane is pointing; positive to starboard, minus to port, 0 ahead, 180 astern), Windspeed Apparent (if the cups are turning, a number greater than 0.0), Heading (agrees with the binnacle) and Heel (near zero).

If there are any major problems at this point, you should probably call in a Dealer or pack up the interfaces and sensors and send them in for us to look at.

Motoring around

The next step is to test proper operation of the inputs. Take the boat out and motor in a straight line. Check for;

  • Boatspeed responds with reasonable numbers. Check the value against GPS Speed Over Ground.
  • Heading agrees with the binnacle.
  • Windspeed Apparent looks reasonable.
  • Windangle Apparent agrees with the masthead vane.
  • Log any Test Errors that come up.

Repeat at 60º increments around a full circle to test Heading vs. the binnacle and Windangle Apparent against the vane.

If things seem to work OK, you’re pretty close to a working system. Review Functional Troubleshooting (p. 35) and read about any Test Errors encountered (p. 38) for help with any problems encountered.

Sailing around

Next, go sailing. Here we’re looking more closely at Windangle Apparent, Heading and Heel.

  • When on starboard tack, Heel and Windangle Apparent should both be positive, and when on port, negative. If opposite, flip the heel sign switch on the interface (pdfman p. 84).
  • Heel should give a reasonable number.
  • Windangle Apparent should accurately follow the wind vane all the way around the clock.
  • Check Heading against the binnacle while heeled to check the sensor under sailing conditions.

Repeat on both tacks, beating, reaching and running.

Fixing problems

Apparent wind:              See

Boatspeed:                   See


Leave a Reply

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux