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Old 15-07-2009, 01:07   #1
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Power Hydraulic Steering / Continuous Pump

I have a 65' heavy displacement yacht under construction and also have a small and weak (well physically anyway) wife who I think could have trouble steering with the manual hydraulic system I had planned. I am thinking of installing a powered hydraulic component. Could do autopilot/jog lever using the autopilot pump power or go the extra step to a continuous running pump and powered steering ram. Battery is not a limit. Anyone with experience of CR pump/powered systems? If I do power steering should I provide redundant pump?
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Old 15-07-2009, 01:57   #2
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The commercial fishing in British Columbia typically are using a 'demand' reversing pump on their auto pilot systems. The pump I used on my boat was made by "Octupus" and worked day in and day out for 15 years. This is an address where you can find more info about that brand: Octopus Precision Instruments, 660 Derwent Way, Delta, BC, Canada, V3m 5P8
tel (604) 524-9641

Also if you are interested the most common autopilot in the BC fishing fleet is ComNav. The only problem I ever had with thier system was the potentiometer (sp?) on the rudder followup- it had to be kept reasonably dry.
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Old 15-07-2009, 04:01   #3
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Octopus Autopilot Drive Systems for Power & Sail boats

ComNav
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Old 15-07-2009, 04:14   #4
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Why do you want power steering? Our auto also uses a demand reversing pump. It is a nice system that does not use a whole lot of amps.
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:47   #5
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Why power steering

Well, as first mentioned, my wife is very small and physically weak. I can see that the autopilot option will get us out of trouble while the pilot is engaged (and I suppose most cruising is done on autopilot) but I had wondered if the reversing pumps were up to the task of hand steering at other times. Some manufacturers seem to advise against using reversing pumps for continuous steering assistance. The responses so far would seem to suggest that the pilot pump option is viable. Thanks for the feedback - good to know the commercial experience.
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Old 20-07-2009, 14:07   #6
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IMHO, the CR pump option has the failing of heating the hydraulic fluid, as well as requiring unneccessary power to keep running- not a problem on a motor workboat for instance. Under normal sailing conditions the actual demands on the autopilot actuator will be far less than you'd expect- think of normal conditions underway- one just eases the wheel a little from time to time. On the other hand, when the going gets heavy- think low-speed manoeuvering or lumpy water- the demands are far higher. Then a CR system comes into its own- a solenoid valve or few just click open and closed.
Why not do both then?
Maybe have the big heavy-duty CR unit as a slogging-tool and a reversible unit for the light-duty stuff?
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Old 20-07-2009, 17:54   #7
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Good lateral thinking

Thanks Splash,
What a good idea. I like redundancy if it can be achieved and had not thought of this solution but it makes sense. Simple switch to change over. I had been planning for dual rams anyway so this would be easy to implement.
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