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Old 25-02-2017, 12:34   #1
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Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

I have a 16 tonne steel pilothouse cutter with a transom-hung rudder supported by a skeg (as opposed to pintles). My two steering stations are hydraulic to a Marol linear ram (about 20 cu. in.) that turns the rudder quite easily and which may be bypassed for windvane use.

I would need either to modify this setup for an autopilot and electrically activated hydraulic pump, or, preferably, to add a second hydraulic ram for just the AP. I'm looking at the Octopus line (see Linear Drive Family | Octopus Autopilot Drive Systems). Any thoughts on this product line, what control heads work well with it and how best to install it? Thanks in advance.
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Old 25-02-2017, 12:57   #2
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

Have installed various combinations and sizes of their equipment. All good gear, IMO. Any good A/P builder can supply a suitable power unit for the correct size pump. These can be stand-alone systems or incorporated into your existing Hydraulics.
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Old 25-02-2017, 14:38   #3
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

In my opinion the piston pumps might be quite noisy, depending on where and how they are mounted. The gear pumps should be quieter but not offer the claimed reduced power consumption. You might want to ask them about that.
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Old 25-02-2017, 15:04   #4
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
In my opinion the piston pumps might be quite noisy, depending on where and how they are mounted. The gear pumps should be quieter but not offer the claimed reduced power consumption. You might want to ask them about that.
Noise wouldn't be an issue as on passage we sleep not in the aft cabin, but in mid-ship sea berths. In addition, it's a custom boat with unusually good access. We can soundproof pretty much anything. Thanks for your opinion, however.
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Old 26-02-2017, 09:23   #5
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

I installed a similar setup and it works. Yes you do get pump noise but not more than you would expect. I drive mine off the house bank via a 'H bridge' that I got from Robot Power in CA which separates the drive power from the AP control and keeps electronic noise away from the electronics supply. The unit will definitely draw its full current as I found on the trip from Aruba to Panama but steered faultlessly through some nasty steep seas. The variable output works and is useful to tune the system to get the best steering response. Solid unit, would recommend it.
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Old 26-02-2017, 10:01   #6
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

The Octopus linear drive ram has been used on sister ships to my 16 ton cutter. I have no personal experience but I have not heard any complaints.
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Old 26-02-2017, 10:09   #7
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

The OCTOPUS ram is a excellent piece of gear, i had one on a 44 footer, with lots of miles on her, look at PELAGIC [Google the contact] for the control, it goes for about $ 700 and is awesome, small, with all the latest technology.
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Old 26-02-2017, 11:31   #8
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

Thanks for the endorsements. I tend to skew to what the fishing boats use already instead of the "yachtie" brands, but for fairly obvious reasons there is far less said about such products in the cruiser world.

I have more than enough battery Ah to run any AP and 12 V ram I choose. That was the baseline.

I will investigate further, particularly in the case of Pelagic. Thanks.
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Old 28-02-2017, 15:49   #9
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

I am not sure I understand the various solutions/ options so I am only sharing how my hydraulic steering is setup. is very simple. The helm is hydraulic drive. The pilot is just another standard manual steering pump that has an electric motor that connects to the steering pump with a chain. The manual pumps have one way valves and simply "T" together. I could add more stations by teeing into the hydraulic lines. No worry having to switch "control" when an autopilot is engaged

We do have an electrical mechanical auto pilot as backup in case of a major fluid leak. Electric valve to bypass press in hydraulic sys.
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Old 28-02-2017, 19:37   #10
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Re: Opinions on "Octopus" linear hydraulic drive

I used one of their pumps on my Tartan 44 years ago mated to a Furuno pilot, the pumps are very well built and gave me no issues in the 5 years I sailed that boat.
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