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daga 03-12-2021 01:20

Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
Anjea has a Raymarine ACU 200 driving an Octopus 1212 pump with a Hydrive 313 actuator. The system was leaking oil and I could not see where from so I called a local hydraulics specialist to remove the whole system, service it, and reinstall.

After reinstalling, the technician was unable to bleed the system and now seems to have abandoned me saying he is unable to get parts, so I am attempting to solve the problem myself. I am not sure parts are necessary as the system worked before it was removed and serviced.

The technician stated that they replaced seals in the pump and that that was the cause of the leakage. Here is what I have done since he left:

1. Removed the bypass valve and tested it. The valve clicks and spits oil when connected to 12V. It draws 1 amp and measures 10 ohms, both as per spec. I can freely blow thru the valve when it is not activated, but not when it is activated. I checked the bypass valve output from the ACU200 and it reads 12 volts when the autohelm is activated, 0V in standby. To me it seems that the bypass valve works 100%. Does it matter which way round the wires go?

2. I reassembled the system and filled the reservoir with oil. I connected the bypass valve directly to 12V then connected the pump. The pump runs but the actuator does not move. After 60 seconds or so the oil needs to be topped up. I reverse the pump every now and then. After a few topups the oil in the reservoir has turned to foam from all the aeration. I wait for the foam to subside, top up and run it again. But the oil foams again and I still get no response from the actuator. I have done this for maybe half an hour with no response at all.

Can anyone suggest what the problem might be?

tkeithlu 03-12-2021 08:00

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
It sounds like you are getting air into the system somewhere, or perhaps have a lot of air in it to begin with. I'd consider the junctions on the vacuum side of the pump for a leak inward.

"No response at all" certainly sounds like a bypass is open, but you tested that. The alternative is that you are pumping only air.

I'm also getting the impression that you are leaking oil. Test by cleaning all the junctions and then wrapping dry paper towel around each. If it leaks, you'll get sopping wet towels.

When you fill the system from the top (the helm pump reservoir in my system), it should run without churning air. Burping my system is simple - turn the wheel hard over to hard over a few times, and the bubbles come to the top.

I'm feeling some sympathy. I recently finally found a small leak just above my steering cylinder. It took several years of pouring hydraulic oil in the top and having it leak out the bottom. The paper towel test finally revealed the not-quite-right thread.

daga 04-12-2021 01:54

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
This morning I did the following:

1. Removed the pump and bypass, cleaned, checked and reinstalled.
2. Filled reservoir with oil
3. Activated the bypass (I can hear a very faint click)
4. Swung the wheel back and forth many times.
==> there was no significant resistance but strange gurgling noises emanated from below. Looked like some bubbling.

5. Activated the pump
==> the reservoir immediately fills with foam which bubbles out the top over everything.

I was unable to see any obvious leaks and the foaming oil covers the pump and bypass valve so I can't see whether the pump or bypass valve is leaking.

In short, I haven't made any progress. I am baffled by the foam, which seems totally wrong to me. There is obviously air getting into the system, but how do I find where it is coming from?

daga 04-12-2021 03:28

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
The big question is


I am trying to sail south and I have limited time left on my South African visa . It is Christmas, Omicron is upon us, South Africa is isolated, and it takes time to get anything from overseas.

If you have any idea at all why I cannot bleed the system, or what the problem could be, please let me know.


deblen 04-12-2021 04:27

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
I googled "octopus 1212 pump".
Here is one hit. There are several other hits.

Most any brand small reversing autopilot pump will work as a replacement.
Cheers/ Len

daga 04-12-2021 10:53

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
Yes, I have scoured the Octopus site for info, followed their suggestions, bled the system the way they say and even emailed them seeking help. No reply yet.

There is a Raymarine Type 1 pump I can buy off the shelf, but it lacks a bypass valve and nobody seems willing or able to supply one.

Wainui 04-12-2021 12:43

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
I just did my octopus rams seals myself. Pretty easy.
When the pump and ram were removed I ran it using a 12v battery in my garage.
I first engaged the solenoid and manually moved the ram in and out until no air was bubbling into the reservoir. I then ran the pump motor by connecting the motor to the battery.
You can also bleed the ram by undoing the 2 brass screws next to the solenoid 2 turns and move the ram in and out.
The Octopus system is fairly simple.
PM me if you still having problems.

RaymondR 04-12-2021 21:59

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
Don't start buying spares yet.

The indication is that there is air in the system which is having trouble getting out hence the foaming oil.

Do the hydraulic lines go into the cylinder on the top side or the bottom side?

daga 05-12-2021 02:40

Re: Octopus Hydraulic Pump Problems
Thanks to everyone who replied. The autohelm works. I was misled by this label on the pump:


This is not true. The brass screws must be CLOSED. That label applies when the pump is NOT fitted with a bypass valve. When a bypass valve is fitted the brass screws on the front are bleeder screws with a completely different function.

Being a hydraulics ignoramus I read the label, and the purging instructions that came with the pump, but they are all for a system without a bypass valve. I finally got hold of the correct instructions from a friend, and realized what I had been doing wrong.

In my defence, Rocco the hydraulics technician was also fooled.

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