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Old 17-04-2015, 13:53   #16
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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Originally Posted by ullar View Post
OK. So, the comparison should have been Jefa against Octopus, LeCombe-Schmitt and other drive makers. How would you order those?
I don't have any experience with Jefa and Octopus, and only limited experience with L&S.

After a lot of debate and hand wringing, I switched from a B&G hydraulic linear drive to a Raymarine mechanical linear drive (used with a Simrad/B&G autopilot). It is the only piece of Raymarine gear I will allow on the boat and it performs exceptionally well. We are more happy with it than the B&G drive because it uses less power, is much quieter, and has less (none) parasitic drag on the steering.

I think mechanical drives are under-rated, so I would expect the Jefa mechanical drive to also be decent.

On the other hand, L&S and Octopus hydraulic linear drives are highly regarded and used extensively.

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Old 17-04-2015, 13:56   #17
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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Amazing isn't it, that some people actually pay attention to what you post.
Indeed. I thought I was on everyone's ignore list. Figured CF set up new accounts that way…

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Old 17-04-2015, 14:23   #18
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

I've had a Jefa drive mounted in a Jefa torque tube system ("transmission") gearbox for the last six years. Best I've ever had -- by far. Strong, no drag when hand steering, quiet, quick, low battery use. Best of all, reliable.

I've had it connected to a Simrad system with separate rudder angle detection but I'd expect Garmin's systems would be just as good if not better (Garmin did the autopilot design/engineering more recently). With a direct electric drive, there's not much ambiguity to rudder angle if setup right.

In my experience, stand-alone rudder angle indicators are among the most frequent failure points in an autopilot. I carry a spare indicator but not a spare drive (of course, the drive is a good bit more expensive).
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Old 17-04-2015, 15:17   #19
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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So instead of a clutch that is powered and draws power continuously to connect the drive motor to the rudder, the L&S has no clutch, the motor is always connected and the signal from the controller turns the motor on directly to rotate as needed? Is this basically correct?
No, the clutch solenoid basically acts as a mechanical switch in a way. The power needed to activate it is much less than the power required to keep it active. It uses far less than the normal clutch solenoid that must be powered all the time that it is activated. It does fail safe to the off position.

From LECOMBLE & SCHMITT - steering systems for sailing boats : optional extras for pedestrals - hydraulical & mechanical steering (LS France - official web site)
Quote:
The "Ecopilot" energy saving device was designed to meet the demand for electrical energy saving on sailing-boats. Power reserve on board is often very limited, however it is essential for the operation of an autopilot system.
The "Ecopilot" acts on the electro-valve which engages the autopilot. The power consumption of this electro-valve represents a major part of the total autopilot consumption.
Its action consists of letting through - during a short moment – the necessary current for the electro-valve to switch on. Then the current is significantly reduced but still sufficient to maintain the electro-valve in position.
Thanks to this system, the daily consumption of the electro-valve is reduced in average from 30Ah to 5Ah.
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Old 17-04-2015, 15:43   #20
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

i was also told (by LS) that this low-consumption EcoPilot clutch is not to be used with NKE computers - for the simple reason that an NKE autopilot senses the current it sends to the clutch and after the clutch engages, drops the current significantly (in other words, functions the same as the EcoPilot itself - as just described above by DeepFrz)
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Old 17-04-2015, 15:52   #21
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

IMO, Hydraulic drive units are the most robust, this is why they are used on industrial systems in harsh environments -like excavators. They also mean that the electric component (the pump) can be installed in a dry location. The pump is (often) the noisy bit, and the hydraulics are immune to water.

On my boat, the hydraulic ram has done over 40,000 NM, and has not required ANY servicing. It is a custom unit that I designed and had made, so sorry, no manufacturer to recommend.

The Pump has been replaced (with a bigger capacity one) and had 2 sets of brushes
in this time. It's a Simrad RPU300.

State of the Art AP's, like the B&G h5000 series are head and shoulders above the basic units. Here is why - they have Gust response, crash recovery, and the sensors are clever - like, for example, the heading sensor is a real rate gyro, and the 3D motion sensor compensates for boat/rig movement and ensures that the wind instruments are accurate in rough seas. These are the pilots used in boats like open 60's, so at 30 Knots downwind with a Gennaker, the skipper can sleep! They are the closest thing to a helmsman that you will find.

I currently have an older model (Simrad AP24) - still sold as the B&G Triton. (Same as all the Simrad ones that use the AC42 computer). It's been good, but is now superseded by the H5000. The improvement must be experienced to be believed! I'll seriously consider an upgrade to the H5000 before my next major voyage. They are not as pricey as they were....

Don't scrimp on your AP for a shorthanded long voyage. Good luck!
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Old 17-04-2015, 16:53   #22
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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Originally Posted by ullar View Post
OK. So, the comparison should have been Jefa against Octopus, LeCombe-Schmitt and other drive makers. How would you order those?
Why order them?

b.

PS LS is often mounted with NKE, this should tell you the story.

I have not seen a Jefa / NKE combo yet, but if you dig into Jefa they will tell you if this is a good combo.

Octopus I have never seen, I cannot tell.
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Old 17-04-2015, 17:07   #23
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

On a light/twitchy boat, NKE head may have the upper hand.

Otherwise, get a decent 'gyro controlled' brain and match with a strong arm and you are home. "Oversize" the arm, whenever in doubt. Remember heads are matched to specific arm amperages. If you get too small a brain, you will be locked in with a smallish arm and ... likely unhappy with your AP.

Best APs I have ever used all had rudder feedback/reference inputs.

Hydraulic APs sound different. I prefer them when the arm is mounted where I can hear it.

I think Jefa is a fine company. I would trust what they say about best heads to use with their drive.

Remember APs consume power and they lose power/get slow when your voltages go down. You want good batteries and supreme charging capacity.

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Old 17-04-2015, 17:16   #24
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

Our Raymarine linear drive has been flawless with little noise, low power and no maintenance needed. If it wasn't for the need to have an external mount on our new boat, I would install one in a heartbeat. Instead, we are going with either l&s or custom making a set-up with a manual bypass control to save power.

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Old 18-04-2015, 02:03   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
After a lot of debate and hand wringing, I switched from a B&G hydraulic linear drive to a Raymarine mechanical linear drive (used with a Simrad/B&G autopilot). It is the only piece of Raymarine gear I will allow on the boat and it performs exceptionally well. We are more happy with it than the B&G drive because it uses less power, is much quieter, and has less (none) parasitic drag on the steering.
Mark
Glad to hear that. We installed a Raymarine Type2S mechanical drive to our 9T 41 footer two years ago. And fortunately not a glitch up to now. It's working in full Raymarine environment. However, for my view, it still has quite a bit of drag on steering when not engaged (try to extend the arm by hand), and there definitely is some noise from it. In my boat the drive is installed below the ceiling of the aft cabin (couldn't figure out any better placement) and I can hear it working when sitting in the cocpit.
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Old 18-04-2015, 06:24   #26
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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Originally Posted by ullar View Post
Glad to hear that. We installed a Raymarine Type2S mechanical drive to our 9T 41 footer two years ago. And fortunately not a glitch up to now. It's working in full Raymarine environment. However, for my view, it still has quite a bit of drag on steering when not engaged (try to extend the arm by hand), and there definitely is some noise from it. In my boat the drive is installed below the ceiling of the aft cabin (couldn't figure out any better placement) and I can hear it working when sitting in the cocpit.
Interesting. That is the same drive as ours on a similar size and displacement boat. On ours, I can easily pull the arm in and out by hand with just two fingers. There probably is drag on the system, but we have pull-pull steering (and two quadrants/rudders) which already produces a lot of drag - so maybe any additional drag just isn't noticeable above the normal amount?

Perhaps mounting does affect noise level. Ours is mounted on a bulkhead immediately below our aft berth, but that bulkhead is glassed into the hull itself, and the berth floats above it. However, even when I lift the berth while it is running, the sound is just a very low volume "whish" as it moves. Like I said, you cannot hear it at all with the berth in place and your head right over it, and it is barely audible when staring right at it.

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Old 18-04-2015, 06:57   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post

Interesting. That is the same drive as ours on a similar size and displacement boat. On ours, I can easily pull the arm in and out by hand with just two fingers. There probably is drag on the system, but we have pull-pull steering (and two quadrants/rudders) which already produces a lot of drag - so maybe any additional drag just isn't noticeable above the normal amount?
Mark
Just out of curiosity pulled out my spare Typ2S. Yes, I can move the arm with two fingers too. Perhaps I was just whining and other drives are even worse.
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Old 18-04-2015, 12:33   #28
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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Originally Posted by ullar View Post
Perhaps I was just whining and other drives are even worse.
It takes a good grip and a lot of strength to pull out the arm on our hydraulic linear drive.

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Old 19-04-2015, 21:47   #29
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

I have a garmin head unit with a Jefa dd15 drive unit sold as a simrad DD15.

They indeed are low power due to the pancake motor (of course, depends on how well you trim), almost completely silent, and have an integrated rudder feedback.

We had to replace the stock simrad rudder feedback unit with a garmin rudder feedback unit because the simrad rudder feedback is not (*or was not*) compatible with the Garmin head unit. So, whatever head unit you use, make sure its compatible with the rudder feedback unit.
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Old 20-04-2015, 07:58   #30
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Re: Autopilot Jefa vs BG vs NKE

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So, whatever head unit you use, make sure its compatible with the rudder feedback unit.
Alternately, if you are running a NMEA2000 system, just get a NMEA2000 rudder feedback unit of any make/model and it will work with everything.

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