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Old 04-05-2017, 01:50 AM   #1
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Throttle Design....

Most runabouts and small single engine boats seem to have one shifter/throttle. Straight up is neutral, push forward for increasing forward power...pull back for increasing reverse power..... That seems really simple and straightforward.

Why do most twin engine boats have a 2 shifts for each engine...a Foreward/neutral/reverse....and a seperate throttle ???

Wouldn't docking a twin engine boat be much simpler with just 2 shift levers instead of 4 ? ?
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Old 04-05-2017, 02:24 AM   #2
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Both Morse and Kobelt make them . Various others make them in electronic versions. I prefer the Kobelt mechanical versions. I'm sure Hopkins Carter probably carries them, I know Hamilton Marine does. Defender probably as well.
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Old 04-05-2017, 02:26 AM   #3
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I have had a boat with a single, and one lever.
Now I have a boat with twins and 4 levers. For docking or other close quarters work, I usually set the throttles at the minimum the Lehmans will tolerate without coming up to see what`s happening, switching gears between fwd/rev for each engine as necessary. On rare occasions I have applied additional throttle to one or other engine during a maneuver, but not often enough to want a dual function lever.
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Old 04-05-2017, 06:18 AM   #4
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Some love single lever operation and some dont. Mostly, I don't....

Some engines are easier to set up also...., too many I have controlled, especially inboard outboards had such small throws it was easy to overcontrol.

Usually that issue can be fixed...but from the factory they weren't fun for me.

Electronic controls seem the best for single levers.....at least in my experience.

Lots of the big Carolina sportfish all seem to love singles and the captains back up standing backwards...
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:08 AM   #5
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I believe mechanical single lever don't work for dual stations, there is too much resistance from the unmanned station. Electronic controls solve this problem. An engine that is running poorly can be problematic with single levers but a diesel's governor general will keep it running, more an issue with gas engines. Running a twin engine sportfish with single levers is an awesome experience, with great visibility, and ease of adding throttle you can make the boat dance in tight quarters. It really is alot of fun.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:19 AM   #6
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Single lever controls are complex to set up for dual stations, need something like a Panish box or go full electronic. Also easy to "slam shift" a transmission. With one push of the lever you can rev the engine high before the hydraulic trans engages. Then with a bang it engages. Hard on the machinery.

I prefer the simplicity of separate throttle and shift.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:25 AM   #7
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Thank for bringing this up... I have been meaning to discuss this for a while now. And like you, I often wonder why they did it like this.

Our old boat with a single had separate shift and throttle, now our new twin has separate as well. They are pretty far apart. It has made the learning curve from single to twins way steeper. As we sit in Morehead City, surrounded by sportfish boats, I aww at their maneuverability when docking and wonder if a new system would be a good investment.

Our current system is hydraulic, using glycol (anti-freeze) as its pressurized fluid. The system takes up a great deal of space and looks like it is loaded with failure points. In addition, it really is not that great of an advancement in technology.

I dunno you guys... if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but I sure would love to simplify (as I see it) my docking life. Is it worth it? I don't know that either. I am going to go explore electric options. But I then realize that with an electrical failure come a HUGE new problem... no throttle control. Maybe there are other options.

Anyway, I just wanted to chime in and find out the positives and negatives of single lever versus dual and see what the options are, if any.
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:55 AM   #8
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I prefer the four lever set up. Just set the RPMs and only work the shifters. No chance of over powering when shifting and screwing up the docking.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:10 AM   #9
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I have electronic micro commander and couldn't be happier. But, I think it all has to do with what you get used to. My last boat, also had single lever. I have driven a friend's dual lever and it always took some getting used to.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:16 AM   #10
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Benthic2, are you some sorta bottom dweller? How did you choose that name?

Back to the subject... you didn't ask about double stations, so I want to add that I've specifically spec'd a single lever Kobelt for my single station, single diesel. I found in the past with my 4 lever setup that when things got exciting when docking I would often grab the wrong lever. Docking can be challenging enough without that happening in stressful situations.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:25 AM   #11
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For me, dual engines, gas or diesel, I have better control with the four levers for several reasons. One reason is that you get a good solid shift with the four levers, but when a lever controls throttle and shifting you must keep in mind to shift enough to engage, but often you do not want throttle above idle. I would rather not worry about that and go with the good solid shift. Just me. Besides I have gone to single engine now, but I do have two levers.
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:22 AM   #12
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So I got motivated to do some searching for control systems. Glendinning looks very appealing. It has a 'Slow Mode' that would prevent over-throttling when docking. Basically, full forward on the controls only gives half throttle on the motors. Half throttle on my boat would be plenty to get out of most jams. SeaStar has a system too, but I don't seem to like it as much. Anyway, for $7000-ish I could have two stations and cabled backup controls in the case of power loss. Seems like an option to look at in the future. We'll see.

Mechanical - Glendinning Products
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:48 AM   #13
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Mako....I used to do a lot of scuba diving, and I've been using it as a screen name ever since....

Thanks for the replies everyone.
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:07 PM   #14
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First off, diesel engines don't have throttles!!!

Ok, now that I got that off my chest...I prefer 4 levers on twin engine boats. I am sure I would get used to single lever control but my main concern would be over controlling. Also there is a lag in transmission engagement that you have to get used to.

A story....a buddy of mine had a Tolly 44 with 3208s and electronic controls. There were about 10 people on board and we were cruising along a bayou with cow pastures on either side. THe group felt a need to go exploring the countryside on land so we were able to nose the boat up onto land. I was appointed to babysit the boat and its position while people disembarked on their landside journey. Well as people got off the bow of the boat, the boat got lighter and started to float off. So as the appointed helmsman, I put the engines in gear....nothing happened. I guess I was impatient. So I added power...by now the transmissions had engaged and the boat leaped forward with the newly added, but delayed power. I was not used to the delay in transmission engagement of the electronic controls.
On this same trip...while leaving the dock, his son and a friend were running around the boat. The main DC panel was right at the companionway. Well since we had just fired up and were in the middle of leaving the slip, the cover for that panel was open. Kids running around....one of them hit the DC Master breaker the second the boat cleared the slip. We had some rearward way on and there was no way to stop it. LUCKILY and amazingly, the captain knew exactly what had happened. He ran from the helm to the panel and turned the master back on. At this point we had gently drifted across the fairway and into the only empty slip on the other side....didn't hit a thing!!!

Just some things to think about with electronic controls.... There are what we call in the airline world..."Threats"...that are associated with them and you need to understand them.
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:28 PM   #15
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combination

So would it be possible to an electronic control on the upper deck and mechanical control at the main helm?

My upper deck has been disconnected by the PO. He had it jam and then stopped using it. thinking electronic upper deck would be the way to go then.

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Old 04-05-2017, 07:58 PM   #16
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I prefer the separate throttle and shift. When maneuvering in the marina, through locks, docking, etc. I drop down to dead slow idle, shift myself over the the port side where the shifters are and literally do all maneuvering, steering, docking etc., using the shifters (augmented occasionally with a turn of the wheel to kick the stern ken way or the other). I have no thrusters.

Trying to do this and make sure I don't add any throttle using single shift/throttle leavers would be difficult with the risk of accidentally adding some unwanted throttle.

I love maneuvering at idle with just the shifters. It's a beautiful thing.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:48 PM   #17
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I have had single lever dual function electronic controls, and know how to increase throttle only while leaving the clutch in neutral. How is this accomplished with the mechanical models?
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsky View Post
I have had single lever dual function electronic controls, and know how to increase throttle only while leaving the clutch in neutral. How is this accomplished with the mechanical models?
Not sure I understand the question. But I had a single lever mechanical in my old boat and you pop/pull the lever out and that disables the engagement of the transmission allowing you to rev the engine without moving.... If that is what you were asking. I think outboard controls have a similar feature.
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:03 PM   #19
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I have had single lever dual function electronic controls, and know how to increase throttle only while leaving the clutch in neutral. How is this accomplished with the mechanical models?
On Kobelt controls, while in neutral, move the lever sideways, away from the housing, which disconnects it from the gear change mechanism, but leaves it connected to the throttle. You can then move the lever forward to increase the engine speed for warmup. Returning the lever to the neutral position will allow it to automatically re-engage the gear change mechanism and work normally.

That was much harder to explain than it is to do

Yep, what John said . . . I was asleep at the switch
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:29 PM   #20
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Never tried dual lever so cannot say but I have dual action single lever and like it. One hand on the wheel, one on the lever, easy going.

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