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Old 16-02-2015, 22:34   #1
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Boat: 1984 Beneteau First 38
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Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Hi all,

This is my first post here. I have been lurking here for a year or so but just registered today. I have learned much from the forum and hope that I can contribute in the future.

Our ‘84 Beneteau First 38 is on the hard here in Chicago. It was just 2 F (-16 C) at dawn yesterday. Nevertheless, we actually went down to the boat yard to check on her in the cold & snow. She looked like she needed a warm blanket around her. We didn’t stay long.

When we purchased the boat 2 years ago she had Raymarine TackTick instruments and a non-functioning analog Autohelm 5000 autopilot. The TackTick was fine except that our mast is a bit too tall & the masthead unit consistently loses its wireless connection to the display units. Thus we regularly had no wind speed or direction display. Previous owner should have read the TackTick manual where a maximum mast height is listed. The autopilot was disconnected when we purchased the boat and we never put any effort into making it work.

So we are upgrading marine electronics this winter. We have decided to go with B&G. New masthead unit, combined speed/depth/temperature sensor, and a ZEUS2 multifunction display/chartplotter at the helm. For autopilot computer we will go with B&G’s Triton Pilot Package (AC42 Pilot Computer, RC42N Rate Compass, & RF300 Rudder Feedback unit) which can be controlled from the multifunction display.

What we are not sure about is which drive unit to install. She still has the original GOIOT steering system (wheel, pedestal, chain/sprocket, etc.) with a heavy duty quadrant below to which we will attach the drive.

We are considering the following drives. Any comments pro & con?

NAVICO’s SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L <- electric motor hydraulic drive
LECOMBLE & SCHMITT Linear Drive 40ST16 <- electric motor hydraulic drive
NAVICO’s B&G RAM Drive Type T2 <- electric motor RAM drive

The SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L is our current 1st choice.

We have heard that the linear drives (which use hydraulic fluid to move the piston) are more durable and require less maintenance. Also, that it is easier to disable a linear drive from the rudder if the autopilot fails. In addition, we have read that the Lecomble & Schmitt uses far less power. Beneteau currently uses Lecomble & Schmitt linear drives with B&G autopilot on their latest Oceanis 38.

Our sail boat is a 1984 Beneteau First 38:

LOA: 12.25 meters (40.2 ft)
Length at Waterline: 10.32 meters (33.9 ft)
Beam: 3.9 meters (12.8 ft)
Draft: 2.1 meters (6.9 ft)
Displacement: 7100 kg (7.1 metric ton); (15,653 lbs) <- displacement empty

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Doug In Lakeview
s/v déesse
1984 Beneteau First 38 – Hull #178
Belmont Harbor – Chicago
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Old 17-02-2015, 06:31   #2
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Doug.
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Old 17-02-2015, 06:43   #3
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougInLakeview View Post
We are considering the following drives. Any comments pro & con?

NAVICO’s SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L <- electric motor hydraulic drive
LECOMBLE & SCHMITT Linear Drive 40ST16 <- electric motor hydraulic drive
NAVICO’s B&G RAM Drive Type T2 <- electric motor RAM drive

The SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L is our current 1st choice.

We have heard that the linear drives (which use hydraulic fluid to move the piston) are more durable and require less maintenance. Also, that it is easier to disable a linear drive from the rudder if the autopilot fails. In addition, we have read that the Lecomble & Schmitt uses far less power. Beneteau currently uses Lecomble & Schmitt linear drives with B&G autopilot on their latest Oceanis 38.
You can use pretty much any drive unit from any manufacturer with this autopilot package.

The B&G RAM T2 is also a hydraulic drive with electric motor. The only difference from the others is that it is in a clever compact design instead of in several parts.

We have both the B&G RAM and a Raymarine linear drive - which is truly an electromechanical drive with no hydraulics. We use the Raymarine drive as the primary drive unit.

The hydraulic B&G RAM drive presents more drag on the steering system and uses more power than the electromechanical. It is also MUCH noisier in operation. By the specs, the hydraulic RAM drive has a bit more torque, but we have never encountered conditions that the Raymarine has not handled.

Any of the drives you are considering will work well. I would pick the one that uses the least average power. You will also need to do some careful measurements of the mounting location, as all of these differ in dimensions necessary. If you have a tight space, this may rule out some of them.

Whichever you get, pay close attention to the mounting structure. These drives present tremendous forces and need to be mounted well. A simple shelf won't do it - you need to plan this mount to be one of the strongest points of your boat. Most AP problems are due to poor/weak mounting.

Mark
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Old 17-02-2015, 07:43   #4
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougInLakeview View Post
Hi all,

This is my first post here. I have been lurking here for a year or so but just registered today. I have learned much from the forum and hope that I can contribute in the future.

Our ‘84 Beneteau First 38 is on the hard here in Chicago. It was just 2 F (-16 C) at dawn yesterday. Nevertheless, we actually went down to the boat yard to check on her in the cold & snow. She looked like she needed a warm blanket around her. We didn’t stay long.

When we purchased the boat 2 years ago she had Raymarine TackTick instruments and a non-functioning analog Autohelm 5000 autopilot. The TackTick was fine except that our mast is a bit too tall & the masthead unit consistently loses its wireless connection to the display units. Thus we regularly had no wind speed or direction display. Previous owner should have read the TackTick manual where a maximum mast height is listed. The autopilot was disconnected when we purchased the boat and we never put any effort into making it work.

So we are upgrading marine electronics this winter. We have decided to go with B&G. New masthead unit, combined speed/depth/temperature sensor, and a ZEUS2 multifunction display/chartplotter at the helm. For autopilot computer we will go with B&G’s Triton Pilot Package (AC42 Pilot Computer, RC42N Rate Compass, & RF300 Rudder Feedback unit) which can be controlled from the multifunction display.

What we are not sure about is which drive unit to install. She still has the original GOIOT steering system (wheel, pedestal, chain/sprocket, etc.) with a heavy duty quadrant below to which we will attach the drive.

We are considering the following drives. Any comments pro & con?

NAVICO’s SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L <- electric motor hydraulic drive
LECOMBLE & SCHMITT Linear Drive 40ST16 <- electric motor hydraulic drive
NAVICO’s B&G RAM Drive Type T2 <- electric motor RAM drive

The SIMRAD Linear Drive HLD2000MK2L is our current 1st choice.

We have heard that the linear drives (which use hydraulic fluid to move the piston) are more durable and require less maintenance. Also, that it is easier to disable a linear drive from the rudder if the autopilot fails. In addition, we have read that the Lecomble & Schmitt uses far less power. Beneteau currently uses Lecomble & Schmitt linear drives with B&G autopilot on their latest Oceanis 38.

Our sail boat is a 1984 Beneteau First 38:

LOA: 12.25 meters (40.2 ft)
Length at Waterline: 10.32 meters (33.9 ft)
Beam: 3.9 meters (12.8 ft)
Draft: 2.1 meters (6.9 ft)
Displacement: 7100 kg (7.1 metric ton); (15,653 lbs) <- displacement empty

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Doug In Lakeview
s/v déesse
1984 Beneteau First 38 – Hull #178
Belmont Harbor – Chicago
Doug--

We are sailing a 1986 Beneteau First 42 which is quite similar to your boat albeit slightly larger. Our auto-pilot is a Roberson/Simrad AP-11 (which has by now be replaced by the AP 24). Our drive unit is a slightly earlier version of the HDL2000L which has proven to be an excellent, reliable unit in all circumstances/weather/seas. Our drive unit is aligned fore-n-aft on the inboard starboard side of the quadrant well, mounted on a block aft of the well. The drive ram link is attached to a vertical pin welded to a plate which is, itself, bolted to the steering quadrant. With this arrangement, the drive easily rotates the quadrant between the stops in either direction and avoids the need of any secondary tiller arm to the rudder post.

The foregoing arrangement has proven very robust over many thousands of miles. While not inexpensive, the HDL2000 series drives are certainly worth the investment.

FWIW...
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Old 17-02-2015, 08:47   #5
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Attaching ram to quadrant

Some useful info in this recent thread.
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Old 17-02-2015, 08:56   #6
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

The L&S 40st does have the "eco pilot" solenoid control available to cut power use way down. I just spoke to PYI yesterday about getting one for my 40st, and the cost is $192.00 for part #2202047.

On our current boat, we use the Raymarine mech drive and have nothing but love for its perfect service. I would install one again, but I need a drive that can have the cylinder mounted externally for our new boat (transom hung rudder). L&S are the only ones that make a drive specifically for that purpose.

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Old 17-02-2015, 09:38   #7
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Re: Need Advice on Autopilot Drive Unit

Would defiantly go with hydraulic ram and remote electro-hydraulic pump, keeps the motor in a nice dry accessible space not berried down where it is potentially wet and connections will corrode. Variable volume pumps seam to have the plus that they can be tuned to the boat. Just thoughts as I have little experience with inboard pilots, just fitting my first one so like you been looking at the options
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