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Old 16-12-2013, 16:10   #1
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Tiller pilots reliability

Reply with your experience with tiller pilots. I have one that I forgot the name of and I coated the circut board with electrical liquid tape. Next step is to replace the brushed motor with a BLDC motor. I want to make it super reliable since I've heard lots of stories of them failing and going into a port and waiting for weeks to get it fixed..ugh. Whats your thoughts on tiller pilots?
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Old 16-12-2013, 18:36   #2
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

Limited but not good.

Use mine to drive an wind vane">Aries wind vane, even though it's a big boat almost no load as you are replacing the wind paddle input.

Raymarine 2000.

Brand new, after about 300 hours it crapped. The thrust bearings around inner end of the worm drive wore out. In St Johns, Newfoundland. Order a second, once it arrives I take off without properly checking it out. Can't get it to work, gyro is no good outta da box. Order a second, now in a small remote town. That comes in and....yup, screwed gyro, just like the other.

I end up making one good one outta the cast. Once I got home I sent the whole lot off to RM who repaired it all for free, but now I've got three tiller pilots. Which, after that exercise, sounds about right.

I got a CPT wheel pilot for the big boat, but have not fit it yet. Will likely use the tiller pilots on the small boat, driving the aux rudder vane.

One data point only. I ended up wrapping the unit in Saran Wrap with tape to moisture proof.
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Old 16-12-2013, 19:22   #3
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Had a Raymarine ST1000 for about three years. Used it on a little day sailor and it never missed a beat. Not really a taxing job for it though.
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Old 16-12-2013, 19:30   #4
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

Anyone serious about wanting a super reliable autopilot will not be coating a tillerpilot innards with goop (you made a big mistake with the liquid rubber) and hoping for the best. Really. If a bullet-proof AP is important to you, get a real below-deck pilot. Tiller pilots are fine for small boats, day sailing, motoring, light conditions and driving a mechanical windvane. These things simply were not designed for long-term offshore work.

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Old 16-12-2013, 19:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Anyone serious about wanting a super reliable autopilot will not be coating a tillerpilot innards with goop (you made a big mistake with the liquid rubber) and hoping for the best. Really. If a bullet-proof AP is important to you, get a real below-deck pilot. Tiller pilots are fine for small boats, day sailing, motoring, light conditions and driving a mechanical windvane. These things simply were not designed for long-term offshore work.

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Why was it a mistake to cover the circut board?
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Old 16-12-2013, 19:53   #6
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pirate Re: Tiller pilots reliability

Having had mainly boats with tillers I've used them a lot..
ST1000 and ST2000... yes they die eventually.. most things do... but they've steered me across oceans and thousands of miles coastal..
Fitted one to a Catalac I delivered from UK to Turkey past Istanbul... had a silly little wheel and the owner did not fancy the price of a WP... the TP was £ 215 and never played up once.
Hell they're that cheap you can carry TP and a back up for half the price of the cheapest wheel pilot.
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Old 16-12-2013, 19:56   #7
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

What kind and size boat do you have?
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Old 16-12-2013, 20:04   #8
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What kind and size boat do you have?
30 feet with tiller stearing, fin keel. I,ve always liked tiller stear more than wheel stear as you know exactly were the rudder is for triming your balance upwind and you can realy feel the load on the rudder. Also less moving parts to maintain.
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Old 16-12-2013, 20:24   #9
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

I used a simrad, but mostly as a spare. Did probably put a few hundred hours on it. I painted it white as I believe they often fail due to getting to hot and the black case can't help!

You can find a ton of info on tiller pilots on the single handed Transpac race forums.
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Old 16-12-2013, 21:09   #10
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

Quote:
Originally Posted by d design View Post
Why was it a mistake to cover the circut board?
I coat all accessible circuit boards, battery compartments and connections with Corrosion Block.

Here is my cover letter for a Raymarine ST2000 I returned for an out of warranty repair.

ST2000

Board died. Only emits an alarm. Nothing smelled burnt. Don't think the smoke got out but what do I know.

Brushes in motor worn down to nubs.

Copper trace on compass eroded. Jumper wire soldered on while mid pacific, worked fine.

Ball screw worn. Mounting post has play. Rod end worn. All contribute to end play.

Cordset crimped at strain relief, resulting in broken sea talk (yellow wire) inside bundle. Cable shortened while underway to eliminate damaged portion. Worked fine.

Key buttons leak, sea water on pcb and inside case. Made a cover of waterproof sunbrella. Worked well but still had to remove pcb to rinse/dry/recoat with corrosion block a couple of times. came back to life each time.

the latest board fritz did not seem to be associated with an event. plugged it in one day and nada.

all in all a very good product with over 15 thousand nm bluewater, 20 thousand total.

Not sure what you can do with this but I thought I'd try.

Thank you for your time.


Sincerely,
############
Oday25

For the listed flat rate price of $300 I received a unit consisting of all new components save the lower case half and a used mounting pin, neither from my unit but serviceable (minor wear marks not affecting performance).

Total time from mailing to receipt was one month. Not in a hurry, boat is on the hard.

With better waterproofing from Raymarine (button pad liberally sealed) and an improved sunbrella sock, I expect this unit to run until the motor brushes wear out.

Longest I ever used the unit was 31 days/24 hours a day coming back from Cabo San Lucas MX to SF via clipper route. All in all very pleased with the product.

Biggest issue turned out to be the plug and socket. The fit relies on a labyrinth to keep water out of the socket. Doesn't have a watertight seal. After several days in salt spray, all of the cockpit surfaces are conductive. Current leaks from the + to either the seatalk or nmea wire induce an additive correction when using wind trim or gps waypoint methods. Results in "accidental" jibes.
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Old 16-12-2013, 21:31   #11
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Thanks for all the replies. This is all good data for moding my tiller pilot to improve reliability . Cheers
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Old 31-08-2018, 05:26   #12
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

Since my post above Iíve gotten a bit more experience.

I used one of the ST2000 units on the boat for a while. Maybe a couple of hundred hours. Then the gyro went. Would not hold a course, wanders all over.

So I fitted the second unit. This one lasted about 20 hours, probably less. Then it would just go crazy, clearly the gyro as the displayed compass heading would wander all over. No always, sometimes it would work for a bit then go nuts.

Interestingly it seems that of the 3 units one has a good gyro. Bits itís drive unit failed. If the other 2, which came with bad gyros out of the box, but were repaired by RM, both gyros have failed again.

Iím not going to bother to send them back for repair. Iím buying a TinyPilot from BoatAlexander and will truly to use that to replace the RM gyro/control circuit.

The other option is to buy a Peligic tiller pilot. More money but they seem to be much better built. According to Peligic the drive arm is a drop in mechanical replacement for the RM tiller pilot. Of course the controller head and drive are different.

From my experience with the RM 2000 I would NOT recommend it to anyone. If you get good use, then good on you. One of mine worked OK. But 2 did not. Frankly one still has the plastic over the screen, thatís how new it is.
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Old 31-08-2018, 05:39   #13
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Re: Tiller pilots reliability

I have a Raymarine ST2000. It basically drives the boat almost the entire time I'm out unless I'm tacking back and forth across the shipping channel near traffic as in leaving Hampton near HRBT or just feel like steering for a while

It's quiet, easy to recalibrate if you have to move it from port to starboard etc. I haven't had it long though so maybe 80-100 hours this year

It also came with it's own cable which is nice. It drives a Bristol 27 6600 lb Disp. No problems at all so far

Here's a link to Webb Chiles's account on tiller pilots:

https://www.cruisingworld.com/webb-c...sets-off-again

His Sheet to tiller rig: https://www.cruisingworld.com/simple-self-steering
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