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Old 12-21-2018, 10:50 AM   #1
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Hydraulic Ram

So it you followed my last thread about the broad brush statement about electronics I saw on YouTube, I have another question about what I saw on the very next Sailing Uma video I want to ask about.

They were installing the hydraulic ram for their autopilot and they are using B&G components. I saw the ram he was installing had the hydraulic pump attached TO the ram. In other words, it was an all-in-one unit that does not require dozens of feet of hydraulic tubing filled with oil running thru the boat. No pump under the helm and lots of fittings that are, in my mind, lots of points of failure.

Is that even possible on a boat with hydraulic steering or will we always be forced to use a pump at(under) the helm? I guess the big question is: Can the rudders position be manipulated while maintaining a hydraulic helm as an independent system or will it blow out the hydraulics? Moreover, could the helm be converted to an electric helm to get around this? Is that even a thing?

Just curious. Thanks.
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Old 12-21-2018, 12:42 PM   #2
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"it was an all-in-one unit that does not require dozens of feet of hydraulic tubing filled with oil running thru the boat"


On any boat with hydraulic steering you already have dozens of feet of hydraulic tubing filled with oil running through the boat. If you have cable steering it is possible to have a single purpose autopilot ram that moves the steering. You won't be able to disengage the manual steering when the autopilot is engaged so the wheel will move with the autopilot.


" Can the rudders position be manipulated while maintaining a hydraulic helm as an independent system or will it blow out the hydraulics?"


Yes. There are relief valves in the hydraulic steering that let the rudder be moved independently of the hydraulics. But why would you want to do that?



"Moreover, could the helm be converted to an electric helm to get around this? Is that even a thing?"


Never heard of "fly by wire" steering on a recreational boat. I wouldn't want one if they existed. Remember the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max?


But what is wrong with a hydraulic autopilot pump near the helm station tied into an existing hydraulic steering sysem? Yes its a few more feet of tubing and maybe four connections, but so what? Hydraulic steering with an autopilot pump is considered the best.



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Old 12-21-2018, 12:57 PM   #3
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If you already have a hydraulic steering system then more than half the job is already done.
A hydraulic pump can be installed anywhere on the boat. It does not need to be near the helm station[s]. All you need to do is run the wiring, controls and the power wiring.
Cut into the existing hydraulic lines, bleed the system and away you go after some testing and likely some minor adjustments.

Often mfgrs. suggest mounting spots for ease of access and often at the highest point in the system so if service requiring pump removal is needed the entire system need not be drained.
Even so shutoff valves that can withstand 1,000 psi should be used, not the typical ball valves at 600 psi. That should be done even it the pump is in the engine compartment or lazarette.

As far as another failure point is concerned, if the system is installed properly and well using good materials and techniques it should be one of the more reliable systems aboard.

My own experience is that when my autopilot gave up it did NOT affect the steering of the boat. I only lost the AP function. It has now been repaired and just awaits my time and inclination to do it.
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom.B View Post
So it you followed my last thread about the broad brush statement about electronics I saw on YouTube, I have another question about what I saw on the very next Sailing Uma video I want to ask about.

They were installing the hydraulic ram for their autopilot and they are using B&G components. I saw the ram he was installing had the hydraulic pump attached TO the ram. In other words, it was an all-in-one unit that does not require dozens of feet of hydraulic tubing filled with oil running thru the boat. No pump under the helm and lots of fittings that are, in my mind, lots of points of failure.

Is that even possible on a boat with hydraulic steering or will we always be forced to use a pump at(under) the helm? I guess the big question is: Can the rudders position be manipulated while maintaining a hydraulic helm as an independent system or will it blow out the hydraulics? Moreover, could the helm be converted to an electric helm to get around this? Is that even a thing?

Just curious. Thanks.
Check these guys out and give them a call. Great folks, though more commercial oriented.

Marine Steering - Jastram Engineering Ltd. - Marine Hydraulic Cylinders, Steering Systems, Digital Ship Controls and Boat Motor Starters - Product Specifications
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