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Old 29-05-2015, 02:20   #16
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

I gave up on "yachty" rubbish about ten years ago, hatches that leaked and would not let air in, autopilots that failed if you overloaded them, diesel engines with all sorts of gadgets which go rusty, fail regularly and are horrendously expensive to fix. Watchwords today are cheap, durable, dependable, simple, effective etc I don't much care what it looks like and find the scruffy end of the cruising gang the more interesting to be around. If I ever get to Brighton I will know where to moor.
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Old 29-05-2015, 04:16   #17
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

I am on the scruffy pontoon. A rose amongst the thorns.
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Old 29-05-2015, 05:38   #18
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

When I went through this decision making process a few years ago, I chose an Octopus Linear Drive, with an AC12 system. They OEM drives for other manufacturers. It worked great, and was less expensive than the Simrad units. Canadian Metals is a good company to work with. Navico also, better customer support from Raymarine. I work for a dealer for both brands.

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Old 29-05-2015, 05:39   #19
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

BTW, if you want a unit that is better than those listed, our go-to company is Accu-Steer.


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Old 29-05-2015, 06:42   #20
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Chris, is accu-steer (found in furuno drive units) better than lecomble-Schmitt or octopus hydraulic drives? Also what's the definition of "better": more robust, less power draw, etc?


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Old 29-05-2015, 18:01   #21
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Yeti, I think you have received some good advice on the thread. I am not able to add anything to it. You just have to do your research and make your decision.
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Old 29-05-2015, 21:33   #22
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Let google by your guide. It didn't take me long to find a number of different forum entries plus I remember there is a thread on here about one boater being stuck somewhere in the south Pac. That was the reason I looked. Try looking under the original manufacturer's designation.
I think the issues you are referring to were solved many years ago. It was related to improper voltage or amps being applied by the control units. That is no longer an issue.

I can only speak from my experience - not a problem at all with ours.

FYI - we looked at a wide range of autopilot drives for our boat but went with the DD15 because the quadrant is angled and sits below the flat bottom of our propane locker, so far down in the boat that if you were to extend a horizontal line out to either side of the quadrant it would intersect the hull where the distance is not long enough to support even an octopus drive when the quadrant moved side to side.

Anyhow, I am glad we choose the jefa drive because we were able to preserve quite a bit of usable space in the locker that would have otherwise been taken up by a different unit.

Also, our unit really doesn't work very hard at all. We work do minimize the effort needed by the autopilot when sailing by properly balancing the rig, by motorsailing, or by tweaking the control unit to be more responsive. The majority of time (maybe 80+%) our rudder is straight and only moving by about 5 degrees (estimating) from side to side. We have a large barn door rudder so I assume that a more responsive boat with a fin keel would be even better with the unit.
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Old 01-06-2015, 19:49   #23
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Well I originally wasn't considering the Octopus linear hydraulic drives as their specs say they may need more amperage than the AC12 can deliver. However, I emailed the folks at Octopus directly and they say there shouldn't be any issues really.

So pairing this info with some of the other feedback that has been received I am now definitely thinking about one of the Octopus 7" hydraulic linear drives.

And once again, a big thanks to all that have contributed info, opinions, and/or experiences. This forum has always been a wealth of info since I've owned the boat.
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:37   #24
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Autopilot Drive Selection

I've just dismantled a predecessor to the Raymarine Type 1 autohelm pump. They are made by HyPro in the UK and their website has some more detailed installation guides and diagrams of the internals of their current drives. Cheapest complete unit I've found is about 750. Couple of comments; the motor draws 8 amps on its own, not what I'd call 'sips power?' While others have clearly had great service from these units the motors fixed magnets on mine had cracked and come away from the motor casing. My engine has only done 700 hours! AP is 12 years old.
I'd be more confident with new ones though I intend to reglue mine and reinstall. The hydraulic pump appears to be very simple and I'm sure will last for ages.


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Old 05-06-2015, 19:33   #25
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

So today I went out to the boat and got under the cockpit and really did some close looking, measuring, and thinking. I came to the conclusion that the space was too tight to mount anything in front of the rudder post. Fuel tank, fuel lines, aux fuel pump, and fuel filters are kind of in the way. Behind the rudder post there are two bulkheads about 20 inches apart. the forward bulkhead isn't really in the way but can be used for mounting with the rearward bulkhead. Behind the rearward bulkhead is more storage space.

The limited space ruled out the Raymarine stuff for me. I also ruled out the regular and split versions of the HLD350 because even though the split version needs less room. with the lines coming out the back and not to the side it was too much room. I left myself with the Octopus 7" remote linear drive (OCTAF1012LAR7)or the Simrad DD15. Both will require about the same amount of shelving work for mounting purposes. The Octopus will also most likely require a little bit of space on the rearward side of the rearward bulkhead for the tail end of the pushrod when the wheel is full to starboard. I feel that either would do the job in the space provided.

Since the space would work for both the cost element is where the decision more or less got made. The Octopus could be had for $1500. The DD15 would be around $2100 plus another $200 or so for a draglink for a total cost of around $2300. The Octopus has been ordered.

The Octopus will fit the space, is more powerful and is cheaper. But, it will require a little more construction and more maintenance over the long haul (fluid changes, top offs, rebuilds?).

Any thoughts? Am I missing anything?
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Old 05-06-2015, 20:09   #26
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

What about the rudder reference unit? It's integrated with dd15 (if you go simrad) - or is at least natural with the installation, while for octopus it will be extra (both money and shelving work).

Power consumption though: when engaged, how much does the clutch alone consume in either case? I think it was 1.4 amp for dd15, don't know about octopus.

I am not sure about maintenance of hydraulic drives, I wouldn't worry about that - if smth breaks you'll have to deal with it, but I'm not aware of anything regular.

For what it's worth...
Anton


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Old 05-06-2015, 20:18   #27
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
So today I went out to the boat and got under the cockpit and really did some close looking, measuring, and thinking. I came to the conclusion that the space was too tight to mount anything in front of the rudder post. Fuel tank, fuel lines, aux fuel pump, and fuel filters are kind of in the way. Behind the rudder post there are two bulkheads about 20 inches apart. the forward bulkhead isn't really in the way but can be used for mounting with the rearward bulkhead. Behind the rearward bulkhead is more storage space.

The limited space ruled out the Raymarine stuff for me. I also ruled out the regular and split versions of the HLD350 because even though the split version needs less room. with the lines coming out the back and not to the side it was too much room. I left myself with the Octopus 7" remote linear drive (OCTAF1012LAR7)or the Simrad DD15. Both will require about the same amount of shelving work for mounting purposes. The Octopus will also most likely require a little bit of space on the rearward side of the rearward bulkhead for the tail end of the pushrod when the wheel is full to starboard. I feel that either would do the job in the space provided.

Since the space would work for both the cost element is where the decision more or less got made. The Octopus could be had for $1500. The DD15 would be around $2100 plus another $200 or so for a draglink for a total cost of around $2300. The Octopus has been ordered.

The Octopus will fit the space, is more powerful and is cheaper. But, it will require a little more construction and more maintenance over the long haul (fluid changes, top offs, rebuilds?).

Any thoughts? Am I missing anything?
You can mount a DD15 upside down under the cockpit or other structure. Then you might not have to build anything.
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Old 05-06-2015, 20:21   #28
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

On my boat I too have limited space.
I got around that issue by having a custom drive unit made. It was CHEAPER than the off the shelf units as well.
The main difference between it and the production versions, is that the BODY of the ram is fixed to the quadrant, not the arm. This means the body slides up and down the arm, rather than the arm moving in and out. One end of the arm is fixed to a bulkhead.
Power is via a (separately mounted) Simrad RPU160. Any decent hydraulic place can make a ram to suit. Mine has done many miles, and been absolutely trouble free.
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Old 05-06-2015, 20:45   #29
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Where were you last week Neptune! It never occurred to me that what you describe was an option. I probably would have looked into it. Heck, the drive is already ordered but I may still look into it a little bit.

Zboss,

For mounting the DD15 upside down underneath the cockpit. In front of the rudder post was the only option for that and there was just no room at all between the steering arm and the fuel tank. With the wheel at full port the steering arm and link to the rudder arm were basically touching the fuel tank. There was no space and it didn't seem like a workable solution was available. Also the fuel tank is directly under the cockpit and there is basically about 4" or so between them. There is basically less than inch between the bottom of the pedestal and he tank. Very little room in there at all.


Anton,

For the rudder position sensor I had already purchased an RF300 several months ago. It hasn't been installed yet and that will take some effort as well.
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Old 05-06-2015, 20:55   #30
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Re: Autopilot Drive Selection

Yeti,
Sorry, can't read all the threads - there is just too much going on, and only limited time! My ram was about $600 IIRC. Good luck with your selection/install :-)
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