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Attention Autopilot Guru's

Old 01-26-2003, 05:17 AM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
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Default Attention Autopilot Guru's

I have a question about adding an autopilot to my boat. I have been poring over the catalogs and really want to upgrade with the addition of an autopilot this year. My problem / question is this:

Can an autopilot be used with an unbalanced cylinder?

If so, which one(s)? I'm leaning towards the Simrad AP12 or AP14, depending on my budget at the time.

I installed Hynautic hydraulic steering on my project boat seven years ago. Due to the placement of the cylinder (old stern drive), I had to go with an unbalanced cylinder. There was simply no room to have the other end poking out. The cylinder is about 7.2 cubic inch displacement and is controlled with dual helms.
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Old 01-26-2003, 05:59 AM
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The only question is how to install the rudder feedback. I am not sure what sort of drive you have. The AP12/14 comes with a linear feedback.
Go to simradusa.com and download the manual or the section regarding feedback. You can call them if you still have questions.
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Old 01-26-2003, 07:05 AM
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tidester

I am finishing up the installation of a Simrad AP-12H. I have called Simrad twice for assistance. Both times I spoke with Sean Edmonds. Very knowledgeable, and very helpful.

I reached him at 954-922-7700, ask for him by name. Not sure if he can also be reached through the product support number, 800-426-5565, as I simply haven't tried it.

As noted above, the linear feedback unit mounts on the hydraulic cylinder. The feedback unit has a rod that connects to one end of the ram, and moves with the steering head. Max allowable stroke seems to be in excess of 12". Don't see why it could not adapt to your steering setup.

Happy to send you some pics of my installation.

Brian

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:02 AM
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Thanks guys... I'll give Sean a call tomorrow and get their opinion.

The hydraulic cylinder mounts just like an outboard type, with the linkage arm to the stern drive steering yoke from the end of the cylinder's ram. My only concern is that the turns of the wheel are different going from port to starboard and starboard to port with an unbalanced cylinder. It will be interesting to see how that affects the operation of the computer and hydraulic controls with an autopilot, or if the controls can somehow be adjusted to compensate for that. That was my concern.
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:33 AM
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Tidester,

I am pretty sure it will work in the setup sense, hydraulically and all that. On the feedback I am not sure if there will be any problem or not. I can't remember if when you are doing the setup run to syncronize the feedback unit if you first turn all the way stop to stop, which would imply its just looking for the centerpoint with no relevence to straight ahead required. I think that is how it does it, in which case you will have no problem at all. There was soomething else in the boat ride you have to take to get it all working that makes me think an unbalanced system (turn to turn) will work too - it never tells you to point the boat straight ahead, only go in circles.

As for the actual connection, that won't be a problem. That's just brackets and they can always be fabricated.

Certainly call Simrad first, but I don't think you are going to run into any real problems.

Thom

"For every complex question, there's a simple answer. And it's wrong."
(--H. L. Mencken)
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:50 AM
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ocnslr
I would like a picture of the linear feedfeed
if you have time. did you use the camel back system that the unit comes with? or what I'm asking is how did you sucure the feed back.
thanks
Guts
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:58 AM
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Definitely talk to Simrad, but I think that many I/O setups do not normally use the linear feedback sensor so your umbalanced cylinder should be no problem at all. The I/Os can use the same type of rotary rudder feedback sensor as straight inboards with rudders on posts. The sensor reads off the steering arm on the inside of the outdrive transom. At least that's the way the AP-11 in my old Carolina Classic was done.

[This message was edited by Saltdog on 01-26-03 at 12:15 PM.]
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Old 01-26-2003, 11:25 AM
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Guts,

I did not use the camelbacks that came with the kit to mount the Linear Feedback Unit (LFU). When the LFU was taped in place with the camelbacks, and the motor tilted up, the LFU would hit the upper two bolts that mount the engine to the transom. This picture shows that temporary installation.



Instead, I followed a tip from Sean at Simrad and slid the entire LFU into a piece of hose (1-1/8" ID worked), then used large SS hose clamps to mount the LFU to the hydraulic cylinder. Used two cable ties to hold the LFU in position, and also used some extra pieces of the hose to protect the finish on the hydraulic cylinder from the hose clamps. This picture shows the LFU as finally mounted.



Hope this helps.
Brian

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'
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