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Old 09-01-2016, 14:51   #1
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Dual Pilot Design?

Some long distance cruising boats have dual pilots -- an entire redundant pilot. Which seems like a good idea to me.

How do you design such a system? Simple enough to have the backup ram tied off out of the way, ready to be connected to the quadrant when needed. But it would be much better if both could be functional at all times. Are any set up like that? I guess the second ram would not interfere with the active one, if you could be sure that the bypass valve would always work. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to set it up electrically so that both could not be used at once.

Anyone have such a setup; any ideas?
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Old 09-01-2016, 14:58   #2
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

I love the strong design from Jefa rigid system.. double command is not a biggie... Take at look.. I do not trust too much in wires systems..
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Old 09-01-2016, 15:43   #3
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

Mine is setup so the second drive is unhooked from the quadrant and tied off. The second electronics (computer, display, compass and rudder angle) are all wrapped in foil and packed away with the hope that lightening will spare them.

I don't think you really need a quick pass-over to the second system. You aren't going to loose your AP very often and when you do you can easily drive for awhile or heave-to. Then setup the second one when you have a chance. I have my second drive mounted because it would be too dangerous in a seaway to get behind the quadrant and get the thing mounted. If it was easier, I'd have the drive packed away too.
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Old 09-01-2016, 16:24   #4
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Mine is setup so the second drive is unhooked from the quadrant and tied off. The second electronics (computer, display, compass and rudder angle) are all wrapped in foil and packed away with the hope that lightening will spare them.

I don't think you really need a quick pass-over to the second system. You aren't going to loose your AP very often and when you do you can easily drive for awhile or heave-to. Then setup the second one when you have a chance. I have my second drive mounted because it would be too dangerous in a seaway to get behind the quadrant and get the thing mounted. If it was easier, I'd have the drive packed away too.
That sounds sensible, actually. Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2016, 20:34   #5
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

I had this set up on my Diesel Duck and a Seahorse factory option

It used a dual Capalino quadrant with both rams connected. A by-pass valve and completely separate hydraulic supply insured redundancy. The second Comnav electronic control box and hand held control were permanently wired and ready to go. All one had to do was switch the hydraulic by-pass valve, and turn the electronics on.

In my case the #1 pilot pump came apart from the motor, losing all the hydraulic fluid and hence the steering while coming into port. A panic switch over to pilot #2 (more importantly independent steering system #2) restored steering using the pilot control rather than the wheel.
An excellent system and as I had to use it once in an emergency, money well spent.

Note that the Duck was all hydraulic steering. With cable steering and the only the pilot being hydraulic, I would not have lost steering. All the same it is far easier to have it permanently mounted and an easy change over, rather than have to redo the entire system while sloshing about.
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Old 09-01-2016, 22:11   #6
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

I was in the "second pilot stowed as spares in sealed wrapping" camp. I figured no point in letting the spare ram hydraulic seals wear or the spare electronics corrode. Of course we made it so that all the components of the installed pilot were easily accessible, and I had matching electrical plugs in the installed and spare - so there was no messing around with figuring out how to connect it - mount it and plug it in and it was ready to go. I think I replaced every component at sea at some point except the main black box.
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Old 09-01-2016, 22:58   #7
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

I have two hydraulic drive pumps, both plumbed in. I can switch pumps simply by switching a DPDT switch.


I used to have a second autopilot, also able to switch it via a DPDT switch, but I ended up getting rid of the second one (actually it was our original autopilot) as it's rudder reference unit failed even when it wasn't being used.


Probably good to have two autopilots set up ready to go, but not much point if one of them is a useless POS.
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Old 09-01-2016, 23:03   #8
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

A husband-and-wife couple who crossed the Indian Ocean the same time we did told me that their insurance company required them to have two autopilots installed, one always being on hot stand by. I did not ask them how they were installed.

I have thought about doing the same installation myself but other projects always seem to take priority.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:57   #9
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

Anyone have such a setup; any ideas?

Well you put the other drive unit on the other rudder, of course...

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Old 10-01-2016, 10:17   #10
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

Spares is not dual but can you ever have too many spares?

Joe Harris was doing brilliantly on his recent shot at a world around the world record without stopping and a board on his power regulator friend and he lost the ability to top his batts... run his AP and electronics and lighting etc. One small piece of kit.
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:22   #11
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

I suppose if you wanted to do this . . . the simple way would be just to put a 1 - 2 switch with no 'dual' position (like one of these https://www.bluesea.com/products/110...witch_with_AFD) to power both autopilots. That way, only one can be on at a time and they could never 'fight' even accidentally. You would still be wearing the seals on both rams and double 'drag' on the steering feel, and exposing the spare electronics to corrosion, but it is there mounted for immediate use. We only know two boats that did this and I believe both use an 'alternating schedule' for the autopilots - pilot A this week and pilot B next week, rather than holding one in complete reserve. They did this (I guess) so they 'know' both work.
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:35   #12
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I suppose if you wanted to do this . . . the simple way would be just to put a 1 - 2 switch with no 'dual' position (like one of these https://www.bluesea.com/products/110...witch_with_AFD) to power both autopilots. That way, only one can be on at a time and they could never 'fight' even accidentally. You would still be wearing the seals on both rams and double 'drag' on the steering feel, and exposing the spare electronics to corrosion, but it is there mounted for immediate use. We only know two boats that did this and I believe both use an 'alternating schedule' for the autopilots - pilot A this week and pilot B next week, rather than holding one in complete reserve. They did this (I guess) so they 'know' both work.
Sounds like a good way to fail both... they guy over thought this and should have just carried them as sealed spares.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:41   #13
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

The Dashews seem to have done a good number of boats this way. So you might pursue said info, thusly. And also, it''s common to set up pilots this way on short-handed & solo racing boats. Thus, it's likely that you could get some feedback over on Sailing Anarchy Forums, from guys who've well tested such setups.

Also, the higher tier racers tend to run setups like this. In Addition to keeping WHOLE AP setups tucked away onboard, inside of WT Faraday boxes. Often several of them. Due to the work loads which they put on their pilots causing them to self destruct with some regularity.
Ergo, the multi-layered backup thing.

If/when you find out more, I'd surely love it if you could post as much on the topic, here, as you can. And, Good Luck!

PS: Talk to the guys at; B&G, NKE, WH, etc. as they do setups like this all of the time for their customers.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:46   #14
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
Spares is not dual but can you ever have too many spares?

Joe Harris was doing brilliantly on his recent shot at a world around the world record without stopping and a board on his power regulator friend and he lost the ability to top his batts... run his AP and electronics and lighting etc. One small piece of kit.
Well, poorly planned if a single gear failure can bring down your electrical system, and you don't even have a spare for it.

Electrical power intensive boats should have very robust, failure resistant means of producing power, with much redundancy.

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Old 10-01-2016, 11:56   #15
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Re: Dual Pilot Design?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
The Dashews seem to have done a good number of boats this way. So you might pursue said info, thusly. And also, it''s common to set up pilots this way on short-handed & solo racing boats. Thus, it's likely that you could get some feedback over on Sailing Anarchy Forums, from guys who've well tested such setups.

Also, the higher tier racers tend to run setups like this. In Addition to keeping WHOLE AP setups tucked away onboard, inside of WT Faraday boxes. Often several of them. Due to the work loads which they put on their pilots causing them to self destruct with some regularity.
Ergo, the multi-layered backup thing.

If/when you find out more, I'd surely love it if you could post as much on the topic, here, as you can. And, Good Luck!

PS: Talk to the guys at; B&G, NKE, WH, etc. as they do setups like this all of the time for their customers.
Thanks, all very good advice. I'll look into that and post what I find. I hadn't thought to look at racer practice; that's a great idea.

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