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Old 06-01-2022, 06:47   #1
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Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

I would like to replace my old (2003) Raymarine wheel pilot by a better performing and up to date Raymarine autopilo, on a Jeanneau Voyage 11.2 1991.
It seems physically impossible to install an electric linear drive RM pilot. The length of the linear drive and the necessary 250mm tiller arm can't be built in unless major cutup of bulkheads and moving other items in the space afr around the rudder stock. Really a pity....
My boat has a rack and pinion steering system with a rod moving a 190mm tillerarm on the rudder stock.

QUESTION: is a RM linear drive autopilot unit reallythat much better then a latest generation RM wheel pilot? On accuracy, heavy wind performance,...?
Thanks for your opinions or advices,

Jan
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Old 06-01-2022, 06:57   #2
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Can you tell us how you want your AP to perform better?

We like our below deck linear hydraulic drive and handles our boat in heavy weather well. We use pypilot and it has many of the latest features (possibly more) than a RM AP.

Have been on several wheel driven APs and they tend to slip/don't handle the heavier air as well.
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Old 06-01-2022, 07:07   #3
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

It would take a bunch of testing to actually answer your specific question, and then the likely answer would be something like "yes, but not enough to make a difference."

The advantages to coming directly off the rudder post rather than the wheel are less slack in the system and more redundancy in case the steering fails.

I gather than you are not satisfied with the 2003 autopilot. Can you identify changes RM has made that promise you better performance with the newer model? Are those changes worth the cost? If so, a good path may be to make the minimal change necessary to get that improvement, which might mean just replacing the controller, figuring that the linear drive itself is just a worm screw, and the improvement comes from such changes as a quicker response.

In the process, you might tighten everything up, wheel to rudder.

Ditto on Bill's answer.
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Old 06-01-2022, 08:27   #4
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

I helped a friend install a below deck, linear autopilot on a Cape Dory 30. We didn't have room to mount it either. This is what I came up with.

We mounted the drive to an aluminum plate. Dyneema lines are attached to a slide, through a couple blocks, and then to a short tiller arm attached to the rudder post. He has quite a few miles both inshore and off shore with it and hasn't had ant issues.

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Old 06-01-2022, 08:32   #5
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Wheel pilots are an accessory, linear drives are functional.
Hydraulic units are the real deal.

A unit like a Lecombe & Schmitt 40 or 42 will give you about 35 degrees of rudder on a 180- 200mm tiller arm and all the power your AP needs to command the helm,
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Old 06-01-2022, 09:40   #6
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Re: Keith 74 Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Hi Keith 74,

Yours seems like an interesting solution, although I don't understand the details. Would you have more pictures or like a drawing? I don't understand "the dyneema lines / slide / blocks.

Is it driving a seperate (dedicated) tiller arm? I do see the RM rudder sensor connected to the tiller arm on your pic.

Is it moving freely when the pilot is disengaged and handsteering?

How do you keep enough tension on the dyneema line (loop) so as not to have slack in the system?
You can also PM me if thatís easier for you on
jan dot de dot smet8 at telenet dot be

Thanks

Jan
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Old 06-01-2022, 10:49   #7
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Hi Rucksta,
I checked Lecombe & Schmitt and to my surprise they are a french company. I sent them a mail, also toknow if their power pack (driving the hydraulic linear drive) is compatible with Raymarine autopilot controllers.

I checked the specs and itlooks likepossible to install their 40 type linear drive.

Thanksfor theinfo!

Jan
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Old 06-01-2022, 11:19   #8
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Here is a quick sketch of what we did. A hydraulic actuator could easily be installed the same way if you cannot find on that fits convetionally.

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Old 06-01-2022, 11:52   #9
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

I fitted a Jefa linear drive (sold as Garmon Class A with integrated rudder sense) along with Tinypilot for the controller.

Drives so much better than the squeaky ST4000+ wheel pilot and total cost about same as Raymarine EVO-100 wheel pilot.

I am not sure how much benefit is from the drive or new 9 axis controller. But result has transformed my sailing the boat hard alone (and with my wife downstairs!).

I connected drive direct to the L & S cast aluminium quadrant (I checked with L and S this was OK). Doesnt need to be exact 250mm arm, mine is about 190mm . Boat Bene 343 10.3m.





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Old 06-01-2022, 13:12   #10
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

The hydraulic Octopus drive comes in different ram lengths.
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Old 06-01-2022, 13:26   #11
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azul_b View Post
I fitted a Jefa linear drive (sold as Garmon Class A with integrated rudder sense) along with Tinypilot for the controller.

Drives so much better than the squeaky ST4000+ wheel pilot and total cost about same as Raymarine EVO-100 wheel pilot.
fyi. The "Tinypilot" uses the pypilot programing mentioned in my previous post.

Agree w/the post above that a below deck Jefa linear drive is a good option if you don't want to jump to hydraulic.
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Old 06-01-2022, 13:41   #12
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

On the drive end of the system don't think the grey drive much different from the old black RM WP. On the front end, the new EVO is a significant step fwd in performance. Adding a rudder feed back unit almost always worth the effort.

If you are concerned about energy consumption, driving from the wheel end of things is almost always the preferred arrangement.

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Old 06-01-2022, 14:57   #13
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ON3ZTT View Post
Hi Rucksta,
I checked Lecombe & Schmitt and to my surprise they are a french company. I sent them a mail, also toknow if their power pack (driving the hydraulic linear drive) is compatible with Raymarine autopilot controllers.

I checked the specs and it looks like possible to install their 40 type linear drive.

Thanksfor theinfo!

Jan
You're welcome.

Check out the "eco valve" option

It's a replacement for the standard solenoid designed to reduce power consumption when the vessel is well balanced then it cranks up the volume when required.


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Old 06-01-2022, 15:16   #14
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

Iím in the process of removing my Ray st6000 wheel pilot. Itís ok but it canít handle any serious weather.

Itís also noisy and SWMBO always gets the manual clutch sequence wrong.

Iím using a Jefa drive arm. Hydraulic is completely over the top for that size of boat.

My conversion involves glassing a new ply shelf to carry the library drive anchor point.
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Old 07-01-2022, 10:15   #15
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Re: Autopilot: linear drive vs wheel pilot?

I am now looking deeply into the JEFA Direct Drive DD1 which is compatible with major controller brands, and has a better footprint than an electric or hydraulic linear drive.

Waiting for some details from Jefa and detailed measurements of my current system (tiller arm; angles; available space)

Jan
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