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Old 09-02-2018, 11:57 PM   #1
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Rudder pos.+autopilot+power steering?

Can all these be installed in one package? I have a hydraulic steering system, which works, but very hard to steer. I do not have rudder indicator, nor autopilot.
It would be nice to have them all, but the autopilot can wait. Unless, there is a nice solution for all of these?
I certainly need the rudder indicator. The steering wheel is huge, possibly for sailboats. I have motorboat.
Anyone have an opinion on my needs, perhaps recommend a solution? One by one, or all at once to save money?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:15 AM   #2
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"I have a hydraulic steering system, which works, but very hard to steer."


Why / How is it hard to steer?
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:30 AM   #3
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Virtually all modern auto pilots have all those features.

Good point about finding the source of the hard steering first.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:41 AM   #4
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From your pictures ,it looks to be a very robust & professional setup you have but the dual,push pull steering cylinders with the short throw and short tiller arms look to be best suited/designed for a power-assisted pump not not a manual helm. I've seen lots on them here on the east coast, mostly used in down-east & Nova Scotia built commercial boats. They all have the short-ram, close-throw setup at the rudder but are also all power assisted by engine driven pumps. I could see why it would be hard to steer with a manual helm pump & so little tiller leverage at the rudder post, in addition to the two cylinders being linked in series.
You would probably need a higher volume autopilot pump which needs a larger pilot to drive it which means more $$. They would all give you a rudder position indicator. That's the cheapest part!
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
From your pictures ,it looks to be a very robust & professional setup you have but the dual,push pull steering cylinders with the short throw and short tiller arms look to be best suited/designed for a power-assisted pump not not a manual helm. I've seen lots on them here on the east coast, mostly used in down-east & Nova Scotia built commercial boats. They all have the short-ram, close-throw setup at the rudder but are also all power assisted by engine driven pumps. I could see why it would be hard to steer with a manual helm pump & so little tiller leverage at the rudder post, in addition to the two cylinders being linked in series.
You would probably need a higher volume autopilot pump which needs a larger pilot to drive it which means more $$. They would all give you a rudder position indicator. That's the cheapest part!
I think you have nailed it. This is exactly what could be my problem. I am not saying I cannot steer, but it takes forever to turn the wheel to the right position. In a tough situation that is not safe, or even dangerous. Docking can be very tricky with current and wind, if you don't know where the rudder is and takes a while to position it.

Do you have any recommendations on the power steering installation?
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:26 AM   #6
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A couple things I might add:

Count your steering wheel turns lock-to-lock. If it takes a lot of turns, power steering will not fix that. Typical boat is 3-4 turns. Mine is 6.5, which is annoying when docking. I do have electric over hydraulic power steering, and it makes it easy to turn but no faster going lock to lock. I may change my helm for more cu.in./rev or change rudder cylinder for fewer cu.in./stroke.

Regarding the steering being stiff, take the rudder cylinders loose and then manually stroke rudder stop-to-stop. See how hard it is to move. Might have something going on that tube causing binding.
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
From your pictures ,it looks to be a very robust & professional setup you have but the dual,push pull steering cylinders with the short throw and short tiller arms look to be best suited/designed for a power-assisted pump not not a manual helm. I've seen lots on them here on the east coast, mostly used in down-east & Nova Scotia built commercial boats. They all have the short-ram, close-throw setup at the rudder but are also all power assisted by engine driven pumps. I could see why it would be hard to steer with a manual helm pump & so little tiller leverage at the rudder post, in addition to the two cylinders being linked in series.
You would probably need a higher volume autopilot pump which needs a larger pilot to drive it which means more $$. They would all give you a rudder position indicator. That's the cheapest part!

I've had yrs. of experience with "N.S." power steering. I agree with you that his "hard Steering" is due to using short stroke cylinders on short tiller arms. Very little leverage in this setup.That is why the giant steering wheel is used-for leverage.
These rams & arms would work fine with an engine driven power steering pump or a suitably (volume) sized electro hydraulic pump & jog lever.


Heavy Duty marine Power steering


The solutions are either:


1. Electro hydraulic pump (common autopilot pump) & jog lever or charlynn orbitrol power steering helm



2. Engine driven power steering pump (as sold by Marine Hydraulics) link above with jog lever or charlynn orbitrol.


3. New tiller arm 12" long and 12" stroke single cylinder. This will give you the proper leverage to reduce steering wheel diameter &/Or number of turns lock-lock to 4 or less.
You can then stay with your existing manual hydraulic helm.


In any of the above,the pump vol. output must be sized to move the cyl. volumn Lock-Lock in 4 turns or less.



Any decent autopilot can be interfaced to either of the above solutions.
My experience with commercial vessels has been that any modern autopilot will steer about any vessel as long as the rudder drive components & heading input to pilot are suitable.


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Old 09-03-2018, 11:00 AM   #8
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I'm sure you experts can convince me, but I fail to see an issue with the steering ram arrangement - it seems to me that any hydraulic system will work fine if the helm pump is properly matched to the ram arrangement. You can use a lower volume helm pump with short rams or a higher volume pump with long rams and get essentially the same results. Am I missing something?

Is the issue with stiffness/effort required, or just with losing track of rudder angle? My system is about six turns lock to lock but I can easily spin the wheel. I rely on my rudder indicator heavily in docking and close quarters maneuvering. Without it I'm in trouble, but with it the system works fine for me.
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:17 AM   #9
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I'm sure you experts can convince me, but I fail to see an issue with the steering ram arrangement - it seems to me that any hydraulic system will work fine if the helm pump is properly matched to the ram arrangement. You can use a lower volume helm pump with short rams or a higher volume pump with long rams and get essentially the same results. Am I missing something?

Is the issue with stiffness/effort required, or just with losing track of rudder angle? My system is about six turns lock to lock but I can easily spin the wheel. I rely on my rudder indicator heavily in docking and close quarters maneuvering. Without it I'm in trouble, but with it the system works fine for me.

With manual hydraulic steering,the helm pump must put out a volumn of oil per revolution in order to move the cyl. a certain distance of stroke. At the same time,that vol. of oil must be under sufficient pressure to move the cyl. piston against the back pressure from the rudder.Your arms are the source of the required pressure in a manual system.


Pressure required to push a 6" long tiller arm against a rudder force is double the pressure reqd. if tiller arm is 12".



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Old 09-03-2018, 11:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Regarding the steering being stiff, take the rudder cylinders loose and then manually stroke rudder stop-to-stop. See how hard it is to move. Might have something going on that tube causing binding.

I did count the turns. In my case it is 7.75 lock-to-lock.

What do you mean by loosen the rudder cylinders? Disconnect them from rudder?
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Old 09-03-2018, 11:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
The solutions are either:
3. New tiller arm 12" long and 12" stroke single cylinder. This will give you the proper leverage to reduce steering wheel diameter &/Or number of turns lock-lock to 4 or less.
You can then stay with your existing manual hydraulic helm.
Len
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Is solution #3 the easiest to remedy this problem immediately? Can I do this myself, or requires professional knowledge?
I would certainly want powered steering at one point, but I need a solution fairly quickly for now.
My turn is 7.75 end to end. This is a lot of wheeling, when things are tight. Of course, not having a rudder indicator does not help either.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deblen View Post

Pressure required to push a 6" long tiller arm against a rudder force is double the pressure reqd. if tiller arm is 12".

Len
Sure, but at the same time volume required is 1/2 to turn the rudder a set amount. The net mechanical advantage is a function of pump capacity, ram volume, and the length of the lever the ram operates on. You can change any of these to change the net mechanical advantage. If you stick with the 6" in your example you could get the same pressure/volume requirements as a 12" attachment by doubling the volume of the ram.

At the end of the day it's a trade-off between effort turning the wheel vs the amount of rudder movement for a revolution of the wheel. Ram size and placement is one component of that, but not the only one.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:08 PM   #13
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It's all about the mechanics. You can calculate how much force is required to turn your rudder, decide how much rudder angle you want, figure out your arm length and cylinder throw to get what you want.
Not hard to understand from looking at the pictures why your helm is heavy. Lever arms are really short. From what little I know this dual cylinder short arm arrangement is an east coast lobster boat thing. It does a couple of good things, it's compact, can provide large rudder angles and it doesn't put any side load on your top rudder bearing. Problem is that its low mechanical advantage, I've only seen it used with power steering, usually hydraulic.
Your boat is big enough that you could consider power steering but it's probably $7k worth of stuff and someone who knows what they're doing to install it.
You could also look at redesigning your manual steering, you'd keep your Kobelt helm pump, which is a good one, but new lines, cylinder and arm. That would be less expensive, you could likely end up with less steering load, but you will never end up with light steering.
If it was me and I just wanted to try something that wasn't expensive to see if it helped I'd replace the lines from the helm pump back to the cylinders with 1/2" ID copper and your helm pump has adjustable output, so adjust that to less flow. Small hydraulic lines, looks like your hose is 3/8" or less, really add friction and no matter what you end up doing the 1/2" lines can stay. By adjusting the pump, the screw above the steering shaft, you change the pump output per revolution so you will be trading more turns for less load.
After saying all this the first step is understanding your rudder load. It's not hard to calculate, Dave Gerr writes a good book that includes the calc and they were reprinted in an old issue of Professional Boatbuilder.
And the suggestion of just putting on a 12" arm and using a 12" cylinder may or may not work depending on you rudder loading but would result in rudder deflections of less than 25 degrees, which most would consider too little for proper maneuvering.
On using the jog function on your autopilot to steer, most autopilot hydraulic pump are fixed output and designed to provide a turn rate that works with the autopilot, this is normally too slow a rate to be used for maneuvering.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:51 PM   #14
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The amount of work required to turn the rudder is the same, regardless of the cylinder and helm pump. Short tiller arms and small volume pump, or long tiller arms and large volume pump result in the same effort. "Effort" here seems to confuse two things: the number of turns required to lock the rudder, and the force required to turn the wheel. You can exchange one for the other, but there is no free lunch. Unless there is excessive friction in the rudder bearings or the rudder itself is an unusual shape.
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Old 09-03-2018, 12:57 PM   #15
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So I did a little quick googling. That twin 200 series cylinder is the configuration that Teleflex recommends for your size boat. They spec using their 1275v helm pump, so I compared that to Kobelt, which is the manufacturer of the pump you have. The Kobelt 7005 pump has the same output as the 1275v. So you should verify that your pump is a 7005, it's marked on it somewhere. I could not find in the Teleflex literature where they recommend a tiller arm length so I just did the trig, if you want 35 degrees of rudder deflection, which is what they use, you need a 5" tiller arm. So you could measure from the rudder shaft centerline to the center of the hole in the arm where the cylinder bolts and see what you have.
So if you have a 7005 pump and 5" tiller arm length you pretty much have the configuration that Teleflex recommends for your size boat. Curiously they also recommend a max steering wheel diameter of 36", I'm not sure why they care.
Also Teleflex does recommend 5/8" OD copper tube for the hydraulic lines for their 1275v pump. So the same size as I suggested you try on your boat.
The other thing that has not been suggested is that you check your rudder bearings and see if they are causing additional friction. Try unbolting your cylinders and see if you can turn the rudder by hand.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:40 PM   #16
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Normally in a hydraulic steering install, a rudder angle indicator is also installed. Often on wheels you'll see a marker for the rudder midships position. It doesn't work on hydraulic because the mark will gradually move in relation to midships, because there isn't a mechanical link between the rudder and wheel. So you need an indicator.

The autopilot for hydraulic steering comes with a pump. As an autopilot option, you can add a jog stick to operate the rudder via the pump without using the wheel. That's what I do. I rarely touch the wheel. Having an autopilot is like having an extra person on board. You still need to run a proper watch, but you're not tied to the wheel. Autopilots are especially nice on long, straight courses. I use my autopilot nearly 100% of the time.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:45 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sean9c View Post
So I did a little quick googling. That twin 200 series cylinder is the configuration that Teleflex recommends for your size boat. They spec using their 1275v helm pump, so I compared that to Kobelt, which is the manufacturer of the pump you have. The Kobelt 7005 pump has the same output as the 1275v. So you should verify that your pump is a 7005, it's marked on it somewhere. I could not find in the Teleflex literature where they recommend a tiller arm length so I just did the trig, if you want 35 degrees of rudder deflection, which is what they use, you need a 5" tiller arm. So you could measure from the rudder shaft centerline to the center of the hole in the arm where the cylinder bolts and see what you have.
So if you have a 7005 pump and 5" tiller arm length you pretty much have the configuration that Teleflex recommends for your size boat. Curiously they also recommend a max steering wheel diameter of 36", I'm not sure why they care.
Also Teleflex does recommend 5/8" OD copper tube for the hydraulic lines for their 1275v pump. So the same size as I suggested you try on your boat.
The other thing that has not been suggested is that you check your rudder bearings and see if they are causing additional friction. Try unbolting your cylinders and see if you can turn the rudder by hand.
The results:
Helm Pump - 7005
Tiller length - 6"
Wheel dia - 40"
Hose dia - 3/8 see photos
Hose length - aprx. 35-40' - boat is 54' total
Rudder - won't turn by hand, after disconnecting the cylinders

The rudder is large and there is plenty of grease visible at the tiller area. I cannot what is below? There is greasing nipple in the middle of the rudder cylinder and it has some grease residue. I suspect it was greased at some point.
Should this still turn by hand if the bearing were in good shape? I tried to hammer it, but it would not move.
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:51 PM   #18
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The autopilot for hydraulic steering comes with a pump. As an autopilot option, you can add a jog stick to operate the rudder via the pump without using the wheel. That's what I do.
Where is your autopilot pump connected to the system? At the helm, or at the rudder?
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Old 09-03-2018, 02:56 PM   #19
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Unless there is excessive friction in the rudder bearings or the rudder itself is an unusual shape.
The rudder seems to have a rectangular shape. At least, this is what I can see on the only haul-out photo I have.

The bearings can be good or bad, I cannot tell. I am not sure how easy it is to get to the rudder's vertical shaft? I can try to open it one day, but it looks very heavy duty.
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Old 09-03-2018, 03:25 PM   #20
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Len
Is solution #3 the easiest to remedy this problem immediately? Can I do this myself, or requires professional knowledge?
I would certainly want powered steering at one point, but I need a solution fairly quickly for now.
My turn is 7.75 end to end. This is a lot of wheeling, when things are tight. Of course, not having a rudder indicator does not help either.

Sean is giving you good advice. / Len
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