I have Simpson S175 electric davits
on my boat, and they have been a bane. After three years of these davits
being among the top superstars of the Urgent Repair list, I have finally started to figure out something about their care and feeding, which I would like to share with anyone else who has these davits. The owners’ manual does not have even 10% of the information which one needs to use these davits.
Some of you will laugh at me, but I only recently figured out how to adjust the belt tension. It’s not in the manual, incredibly. I didn’t think the belt tension was even adjustable since the belt was buried inside the davit. So I would replace them, they would last a couple of months, then blow out, then I would have to replace them again. In fact, they are easy to adjust, and once properly adjusted, the belts last a lot longer. All you have to do is – with tension off the davit cables
-- remove the rear panel, then remove the four slotted screws holding the mechanism inside the davit. Then the mechanism simply slides out the back of the davit where you can get at the adjustment screws.
If you rely on the microswitches to stop the motors when the dinghy
is fully up, you will be sorry. They don’t work. You will blow belts when the mechanism stalls at the top. Be very, very careful when the dinghy
gets to the top. Better yet, bring the dink up the last inch by hand, with a ratchet.
The davits come with a cranked 10mm allen headed wrench for emergency
hand cranking. This is a pretty poor tool for the job. Much better is a 10mm allen headed attachment for a 3/8” ratchet.
If you have to crank them by hand for some reason, it’s better to take the belts off (if you’re cranking by hand because of a blown belt, then this is a moot point, obviously). A huge amount of effort is needed to crank
The clutches need adjustment from time to time. They work pretty well when they’re in adjustment. But the clutches themselves are the most incredible Rube Goldberg bit of nonsense engineering I ever saw in my life. The official procedure for adjusting them runs to eight pages! And this procedure has to be repeated over and over again, to get the clutch
friction right by trial and error. At the very end of the instructions, there is this note: “YOU COULD TAKE A SHORT CUT AND SIMPLY REMOVE THE END CAP, ROTATE 1 TOOTH CLOCKWISE THEN RE-ASSEMBLE AND TEST. IF THE BRAKE STILL SLIPS REPEAT THE PROCESS.” In fact, that’s all you need to know. There is no advantage whatsoever in the 8-page procedure – it’s still trial and error. Adjusting the clutch tension by just pulling off the cap and rotating it is the right way to do it, and saves a lot of frustration.
I have been carrying my Avon
340 dinghy with 25 horsepower outboard
in this davits for three years in all kinds of weather
, including some big storms with huge waves, with all the weight being carried by the davit lift
mechanism. I guess I have to give them credit for being strong enough for this duty. High on my list of things to do is to come up with some way to take the weight off the davit lift
mechanism. I tried various ways to tie off the dinghy with lines without any success. Now I’ve just about decided to have some strops made up with Hyfield levers. These would be attached to the lifting eyes in the bottom of the dinghy and to the rings in the davits near where the lifting cables
come out. I’ll post about this if I can make it work. I have seen these davits (which are very popular in the UK) with small winches on the sides of them, and with lines taken under the bottom of the dinghies and cranked in with those winches. That looks like a good solution, albeit quite expensive.
My davits are rated for 175kg each as a SWL. The actual load of my dinghy is less than half of that (the rib
weighs 81kg, the motor
51kg, then say 30kg of console, steering gear
, and junk stored on board = 162kg. I would not want to carry any more than that in these davits – the motors are working hard.