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Old 09-07-2015, 08:21 AM   #1
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Why do some twins have a separate transmission lever and throttle lever, whil...

I have skippered several twins over the years and have seen about half the boats feature integrated trans/throttle and half separate them. Maybe it's because I learned on a single lever per motor, but that's what I still prefer.

My own 2009 Leopard 37 powercat also has a single lever for each motor.

What are the advantages and disadvantages, as you guys see it? Thanks!


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Old 09-07-2015, 08:39 AM   #2
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I certainly prefer single lever. Perhaps the separate gear/throttle levers were less expensive at one point vs the combined gear/throttle single lever?
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:55 AM   #3
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Both my boats are single engine. Charter boat has 2 levers; trawler has 1. When I setup the charter boat controls, I set the levers so there was a long travel. Shift into forward or reverse is past 45 degrees. The single lever on my trawler has a much shorter travel to engage. While I like the single lever while docking, I wish the travel to engage was a little longer (it can't be changed). Also, when I purchased the boat the cables were stiff and very long to the docking station making it a little more challenging to shift the single lever without adding throttle. That problem was quickly resolved. Obviously would never have had that problem with a 2 lever system.

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Old 09-07-2015, 09:01 AM   #4
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My current boat (for 14 years) has the separate throttle and gears. I really love this because when maneuvering you can just leave the throttle full back and not touch them in most cases. Then just use the gears.

I am now looking at a boat with the electronic dual controls. While I am sure I will soon get used to them, my concern is how to manage the throttle when bumping in and out of gear. They may have stops at different levels that you can get a feel for, I just don't know yet.

I think the big difference in technology between the two is the wired separates versus the electronic duals.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:11 AM   #5
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Two levers are simpler to maintain, adjust and trouble shoot. And so old school. Two lever setups won't work for the many vessels setup with 3, 4 or 5 stations. Ask Codger how he likes his new school setup.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:07 AM   #6
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Although we have never owned a twin engined vessel, we've had a variety of single lever and double lever control systems. In my view, I am happy with any of them. It does take a bit of adjustment to go from one to the other (something about muscle memory I suppose) but once past that things are good.
Docking is usually the only time that the operational differences come in to play, and typically only the transmission is being manipulated so the differences between setups are minimal.
On our electronic Twin Disc controller, there were definite detents when you moved the lever from neutral to forward/reverse that ensured that you were in gear but still at idle.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:15 AM   #7
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It comes down to personal preference, and a few technical details:

1. If multiple stations, like mine with two, single lever requires either electronic controls or a complicated mechanical box to separate the control motion of one lever to gear and throttle motions. I prefer simple.

2. Slam shifting: An aggressive motion on the single lever can go through neutral, into gear, and rev engine before clutch can engage. Gear then engages with engine rev'd, which is hard on machinery. Electronic controls can be programmed with a delay, but this is just more complexity.

3. On my older mechanical injected engine, I have idle set pretty low, about 500rpm so I can get a nice slow idle speed. When shifting, I set idle up to about 600 and leave stick there. Not possible with single lever.

4. Warm up: When I start up, I like to let engine idle at 800 while handling lines. A single lever would require mashing buttons or some other action to keep gear from engaging. Not a big deal, but just another thing to do.

5. Sick engine: If engine has a problem, it can stall at dead idle. Two lever lets you keep rev's up when shifting. Never happened on mine, but has on others, especially gassers with dodgy carbs.

All this is pretty much moot with modern electronic engines and modern electronic shift gears. Single lever is where everything is headed and that is fine. I prefer the old mechanical engine that does not require any electricity to run and is completely free of any software or electronic bugginess. And bugs do happen in the electronic controls.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:06 AM   #8
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I like the smooth control of two lever systems.

With one lever the amount of throw or distance the lever controls the throttle is a bit less than half on a single lever system. Then couple in the usual non-linear elements of cables, quadrants and levers ect and often there is an abrupt throttle response. I much prefer a two control system feeling I have better control.

I had an OB w electric shifters that took up almost no lever movement .. just a short click and the rest was all throttle. I liked that one especially in close maneuvering while making a landing ect.

I've got a single lever control on a newer OB now that I don't like at all.

My Willard has the levers backwards .. shift on the right throttle on the left. Seems ok but I hope I don't get another two lever boat.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Ask Codger how he likes his new school setup.
I like the single lever controls...it's the "electronic" application that I don't like.

1) LIKE


2) Don't Like
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:40 AM   #10
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Like Eric I prefer dual lever controls. The longer throw makes it very easy to make fine adjustments with the power levers which makes it easy and quick to synchronize the engines. Our 1973 PNW boat doesn't have automatic synchronizers.

However we've run single lever contol boats, notably narrowboats in the UK, and they were fine, too. So it's a matter of personal preference.

One of my favorite control systems is on the narrowboat we've used for a number of trips in the UK. I'd venture to say it's unlike any system anyone on this forum has ever seen. It's the traditional type of control that was used on the working boats of the first half of the 20th century, and is comprised of a speedwheel (throttle) and a gear rod (shifter).
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:16 PM   #11
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I like the variable pitch propellers used in Norway. Very smooth and excellent control of forward, reverse and speed.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:56 AM   #12
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The joy of the single lever setup is when manuvering gets hairy.

The fact of very intuitive operation is a big help for most recreational skippers .

NO "oops" I wanted reverse , not 2100rpm during a docking spectacular.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:13 AM   #13
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I retrofitted our boat with Glendinning electronic controls last year, and wouldn't want to go back to cable. They are intuitive to use, and butter smooth.

While I understand how some might be concerned with the fly by wire approach, I'm not- electronics are in every facet of our lives, and their stability is without question. Cables can fail, too....
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
I like the smooth control of two lever systems.

My Willard has the levers backwards .. shift on the right throttle on the left. Seems ok but I hope I don't get another two lever boat.
Now why do I feel just a wee bit confused..?
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:44 AM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. PB. Mr. mb's levers are reversed because he's in the northern hemisphere. The Coriolis Effect doncha' know...
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:15 AM   #16
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Why do some twins have a separate transmission lever and throttle lever, whil...

Comment deleted. Will just start a silly multi page discussion with little redeeming value.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:50 AM   #17
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Our 1973 GB has the two power levers on the left, shifters on the right. But not long after that GB changed to power levers on the right, shifters on the left which seems to be the convention as all the boats I've looked at with dual lever controls are set up this way.

I like having the shifters on the right as this puts them closer to the cabin door so whoever's at the helm can lean out the door while maneuvering or to talk to the person on deck and still manipulate the shifters.

But weVe run a GB with the more conventional configuration and it was equally intuitive.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:07 PM   #18
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separate throttles allow RPNs to be set above idle for docking maneuvering.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:25 PM   #19
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Correct and proper; shifter to the left, throttle to the right of each other and both them, thruster control, and wheel within reach from the deck:

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Old 09-08-2015, 01:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
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separate throttles allow RPNs to be set above idle for docking maneuvering.
Not a good idea IMO- the higher idle can transmit excessive shock to the driveline when shifting. When docking, I'm bumping in and out of gear; if I need throttle, I simply roll the handle past the shift detent and have the power on- no grabbing another lever.
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