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Old 05-02-2018, 05:22 PM   #1
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rudder angle

My twin screw Marine Trader 38 has hydraulic steering, and it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that I would greatly benefit from knowing when my rudder is centered. What are my options to make that happen?
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:46 PM   #2
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If you have an autopilot they can often be fitted with a rudder angle indicator that shows on the autopilot display. Some chartplotters also have that capability. If either work for you, then you need to get an indicator from the manufacturer of the autopilot/chartplotter and hook it up. I have never seen a stand alone rudder angle display, but I suspect that they exist. Check Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad, etc.

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Old 05-02-2018, 05:51 PM   #3
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Install a rudder angle indicator. The sending unit is attached to the rudder post and then there is a remote indicator. Garmin is one of many makers.
OR
Knowing how many turns of the helm wheel stop to stop, 1/2 the number of turns should place the rudder at 0 angle. Put a decorative cord on the spoke when the rudder is centered. You just have to remember to count the helm turns.
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:55 PM   #4
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Your AP may already have that feature. What make and model?
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:21 PM   #5
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My broken rudder indicator needs to be fixed! Find a properly operating indicator to be very useful. Didn't need one when using a tiller to steer, however.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
My twin screw Marine Trader 38 has hydraulic steering, and it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that I would greatly benefit from knowing when my rudder is centered. What are my options to make that happen?
Are you trying to do it old school (very Basic), or do you want a gauge ?
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:14 PM   #7
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Install a rudder angle indicator. The sending unit is attached to the rudder post and then there is a remote indicator. Garmin is one of many makers.
OR
Knowing how many turns of the helm wheel stop to stop, 1/2 the number of turns should place the rudder at 0 angle. Put a decorative cord on the spoke when the rudder is centered. You just have to remember to count the helm turns.
I have no autopilot, but I do have a Garmin chartplotter (model 741). I'll do some homework to find out if I can plug a rudder angle indicator into the Garmin's network. Thanks. As for turns on the helm, it is roughly 5 full wheel rotations from hard-to-port to hard-to-starboard, so the decorative cord is not going to work well for me on this boat. I did use the same idea on my former sailboat, and that worked out reasonably well.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:16 PM   #8
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Are you trying to do it old school (very Basic), or do you want a gauge ?
All I am really interested in is when the rudder is centered. Anything that will quickly tell me that is going to satisfy all my requirements.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by OldDan1943 View Post
...
Knowing how many turns of the helm wheel stop to stop, 1/2 the number of turns should place the rudder at 0 angle. Put a decorative cord on the spoke when the rudder is centered. You just have to remember to count the helm turns.
+1
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
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All I am really interested in is when the rudder is centered. Anything that will quickly tell me that is going to satisfy all my requirements.
For a fix now,follow the advice in post 3. You can also operate the boat straight ahead,and mark the top spoke.If you have twins,be sure your engines are at equal output.
Longer term, install a simple rudder indicator gauage.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:28 PM   #11
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I made one that is very accurate. I bought a universal fuel gage and sender. Hooked the sender up to the rudder linkage and when the gage is showing half full the rudder is centered.Cost under $35.00.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
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All I am really interested in is when the rudder is centered. Anything that will quickly tell me that is going to satisfy all my requirements.
Bruce and others have you covered with good ideas


Just a basic gauge and KUS senso can be installed for under $150
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:50 PM   #13
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I made one that is very accurate. I bought a universal fuel gage and sender. Hooked the sender up to the rudder linkage and when the gage is showing half full the rudder is centered.Cost under $35.00.
Sneaky.

Any hints as to how this was rigged up?

Did you mount the gauge upside down, and does the needle mimic the rudder angle while steering to port or starboard?
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:14 PM   #14
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Kenkís idea is a good one. The fuel sending unit with a float arm, take the float off and center the sending unit where half full is straight ahead. Should work on both port and starboard. Hard part would be securing the fixed part of the sending unit where half full reads straight ahead.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:27 PM   #15
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Kenk’s idea is a good one. The fuel sending unit with a float arm, take the float off and center the sending unit where half full is straight ahead. Should work on both port and starboard. Hard part would be securing the fixed part of the sending unit where half full reads straight ahead.
So...instead of the float moving up & down to indicate full or empty, you rig it to indicate port or starboard by moving sideways, right?
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:44 PM   #16
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Both Raritan and VDO make nice stand alone rudder indicators.
http://raritaneng.com/ruddermaster/

KenK, I like the fuel gauge trick. Very clever.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:51 PM   #17
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Or eBay https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-PCS-KUS-R...1ag6i6&vxp=mtr
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:36 PM   #18
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My Willard works out really well counting turns of the helm.
There’s three turns L to L so going all the way either way is quick and 1 1/2 turns finds rudder position centered. Easy and fast. Both important.

Two turns L to L or four would work too but two turns would require power steering (probably) and four turns is much more helm spining. Sore fingers?

But w/o power steering three turns is probably too fast for most trawlers. But there’s quite a few smaller (less than 33’?) trawlers that could go there.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:53 PM   #19
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My AT34 has Vessel View by SmartCraft and has a rudder position indicator..... which I find useless because of its location on the display. I added a Garmin rudder position indicator at near eye level. At the same level, I have a Garmin depth sounder indicator attached to a glue, to the inside of the hull, depth sounder.
To me, these two indicators plus a magnetic compass and current paper charts can get you home or to your destination, if necessary.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:21 PM   #20
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Google: Rudder Angle Indicator
Lots of good possibilities.
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