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Old 07-17-2019, 07:20 AM   #1
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City: Narragansett Bay
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Sharp Autopilot

I have a GB 36 with a Sharp Autopilot. (Made in the UK in the 80ís). The pilot needs updating however the chain drive and motor is a solid piece of gear with a good solid mount. I would like to use the existing drive with a new Garmin, Comnav, Raymarine, or the like. I canít seem to get a straight answer from any of the support lines on whether the motor is compatible. Does anyone have any experience with the Sharp pilots or know how to determine the type of motor that it uses. Google comes up almost empty. Sharp seems to be long gone.
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #2
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You're right about the dearth of search results. This one was interesting, notably the clutch and feedback wiring comments:

https://forums.sailboatowners.com/in...ibbean.137901/

I'd start with having a full inventory of what model/part numbers are involved. That often helps find better search results. Then look at the wiring coming out of the existing equipment.

There's a fine line on the costs between retrofitting to old gear and outright replacement. Sometimes the time/labor/parts to engineer a retrofit meet (or exceed) the cost of new.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:03 AM   #3
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Cigatoo that's a good question. I used to have an old Wood Freeman autopilot in my boat. The drive and clutch were fantastic but the old analog "brain" was always hunting around, certainly not as ideal as a modern computer driven system. It would be ideal to take a modern controller and just take the signals out to some relays to your electric motor. How about buying a used controller on eBay and giving it a try.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:24 PM   #4
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The motor drive will almost certainly work. These are just DC reversible motors, you just need to purchase the course computer with enough drive (it is listed in the specs usually). All of the magic of modern autopilots is in the course computer, the drives have changed very little for a century.

The question would be what the clutch on your old drive requires.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:19 PM   #5
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Well I have found the manual and it is a 15 amp motor. Comnav says their 1420 will drive up to 20 amps. I have the wire schematics for the Sharp motor and clutch. Comnav seems to think that it can be done. I am waiting to see if they will provide wiring information between their unit and the Sharp motor / clutch assembly. If they can tell me how to wire their unit into the Sharp motor all else should be straight forward
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