On my previous boat I had a Raytheon
. The wheel
drive portion was a toy and not really suitable for serious cruising, the head
a fantastic piece of gear
and using it with a number of DIY wheel
drivers I used it to do about 40,000 nm of coastal cruising.
The original wheel drive unit had a little 7 mm wide toothed belt which would shed teeth if overloaded, usually if I let the sails
get untrimmed. It had tiny nylon gears in a planetary gearbox
which wore out and were obsolete and consequently no longer available as spares.
I salvaged a gearbox from a Chinese battery
screw driver and since one could buy a new tool for about $30 used up quiet a few of them. However the arrangement still had the problem with the little fragile belt so designed a replacement from an electric bike drive motor
, a chain sprocket made from a piece of aluminium, a toothed belt sprocket I machined up myself, a 25 mm wide auto timing belt and a Regal Cookware frypan my wife had lumbered me with (It had a warped up bottom to which the bacon would stick and sis a hell of a better job of driving the wheel than it ever had as a cooking
This was a great piece of gear
, I could buy another motor for about $100, a spare belt for about $40 and nothing else ever wore out on it. The only problem I ever had with the head
was a blown output transistor which I replaced for a few dollars. I still have it and intend to build another wheel drive unit for the boat I have now which is fitted with a hybrid unit.
During this years winter cruise
I replaced the instrument panel at the helm
position and in a silly old bugger moment dropped the Simrad
AP16 head. The curse of obsolescense struck again and replacement parts
are hard to find and expensive. The problem with 20-30 year old equipment
is one does not know whether other failure prone parts are ready to fail so I replaced the Simrad
instrument parts with parts from Coursemaster. I wanted to retain the Simrad hydraulic linear drive part because it is a serious industrial unit, readily repairable and other than the motor is probably good for another 40 years.
Having been obliged to a few days of hand steering
my intention is to lay in a spare motor and a full set of seals
for the Simrad hydraulic linear drive and build a 50 amp H bridge to buffer the old ST4000 head and another Raymarine computer and head that I have and I'll consider myself pretty well hand steering proof.