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Old 29-05-2012, 12:58   #1
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Auto pilot for tiller

I have Edson wheel steering on my boat,I also have an emergency tiller in the lower cockpit at the stern end,can I or has anyone else used a tiller type auto pilot on the emergency tiller? Will this work for me ? thanks DVC
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Old 29-05-2012, 13:28   #2
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Re: Auto pilot for tiller

The answer to your question depends mostly on the type of rudder on your boat and if the tiller will allow attachment of an AP at an efficient location.
If you have a balanced or partially balanced rudder and a tiller that will allow an AP attachment it may well work, at least in smooth seas.
The rudder on my boat is a barn door type and the tiller does not make attaching an AP easy. Even if I could attach an AP to the tiller I doubt it would work very well as it takes a lot of effort to move the rudder in even flat conditions. The late Hal Sutphen, who owned a sister ship, told me he had to rig the emergency rudder on a trip back from the Caribbean and he was glad he had a full crew as no one could take the helm for more than 1/2 hour. They eventually rigged a tackle on the tiller to give a little more mechanical advantage.
I rigged tackles on my tiller (as shown here), but thankfully I've never had to determine if this rig really works.


John
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Old 02-06-2012, 16:47   #3
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Re: Auto pilot for tiller

If you have a servo - pendulum type wind vane, it's easy - you buy yourself a tiller pilot, Raymarine or Simrad for $400, attach it to the rail, make yourself a bracket that fits where the vane attaches and you're in business. The tiller pilot takes the place of the wind and you have the best of both worlds for not too much $$$ I bought a used Monitor and for under $2500 I was on my way!,


Works great - I have Edson gear as well and you'll play hell rigging up a pilot to turn the wheel without sprockets & chain.
You might get away with a CPT, but I doubt it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 17:21   #4
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Re: Auto pilot for tiller

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Originally Posted by tropicalescape View Post
I have Edson wheel steering on my boat,I also have an emergency tiller in the lower cockpit at the stern end,can I or has anyone else used a tiller type auto pilot on the emergency tiller? Will this work for me ? thanks DVC
G'Day mate,

It all depends on how much force it takes to move the tiller while sailing in the conditions in which you want to use the a/p. Typically emergency tillers are not well thought out and often take a lot of force...

So, I suggest that you go out sailing. Using a simple scale (type that honest fishermen use to weigh their fish), determine the force required to move the tiller while maintaining your course. Then peruse the manufacturers specifications for thrust available from their various models of tiller pilots. When you find one that seems to meet the requirements, check their installation manual to determine how far out along the tiller they recommend attaching the drive. Compare that distance with where you attached the scale when you made the measurement, and if different, make the correction in required thrust. If it still meets the specs, it should work ok.

A simple way of looking at it is if it is hard for you to steer with the tiller, then it will be hard (or impossible) for the a/p to do it!

Good luck!

Jim

PS FWIW, our boat has both wheel and tiller (originally steered exclusively with the tiller, so it isn't an "emergency" setup. We have an Autohelm ST4000 tiller pilot, and it will steer our boat under only mild conditions. Boat is 46' and roughly 11-12 tonnes in cruise trim, so well beyond the mfgs specs for that pilot.
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Old 02-06-2012, 17:55   #5
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Re: Auto pilot for tiller

One big problem you might have is the tiller pilot having to turn all the wheel steering stuff (cables, pulleys). The wheel mechanical advantage is set up from the wheel to rudder and not viceversa. Just try moving the rudder with the boat out of the water, not very easy. Above deck tiller pilots are generally not that strong. There are plenty of wheel pilots out there why not try one of those?
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Old 02-06-2012, 23:35   #6
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Re: Auto pilot for tiller

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Originally Posted by Opie91 View Post
One big problem you might have is the tiller pilot having to turn all the wheel steering stuff (cables, pulleys). The wheel mechanical advantage is set up from the wheel to rudder and not viceversa. Just try moving the rudder with the boat out of the water, not very easy. Above deck tiller pilots are generally not that strong. There are plenty of wheel pilots out there why not try one of those?
I have an old AP for the wheel but there is a Tiller AP for sale rather cheap and I thought if it would work i could get a cleaner setup..maybe ...thanks DVC
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