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Old 10-29-2014, 11:24 AM   #14
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City: Astoria
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Florence A
Vessel Model: 47' Sutton
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 173
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Air controls were often used on older tugs and commercial boats, many of them still operating. So they must be reliable. Sounds like the OP has a hybrid system where the upper helm is direct cable, and the lower helm air control. That sounds like trouble as you can't smoothly go from one helm to another. But that is an issue with modern electronic controls- you can't start using a second helm without disabling the one in use. That can be dangerous as someone detecting danger at one helm cannot stop propulsion. Hydraulics and cable have no such issue.

I have seen a multi station boat with air control- I knew it was as when docking I could hear the "air spits" when shifting, which I think is kinda neat.. I don't know how that boat solved the "which helm is in command" issue, and whether that same tech might be available to the OP.

Find out which vendor made the air controls, then check with them for second station options.
First- thanks for the replies.

I am not sure how the upper cable is supposed to override the air throttle and will have to get two people on board so I can watch what is going on.
I am concerned about the reliability of a cable system or the new electronic systems if I was to change to one or the other and remove the air system. The air shift system on the vessel is 50 years old seems pretty bullet proof but I don't like the cable to the upper control station.
Some days I like the thought of removing all the air compressors and piping and just having a little 12 volt compressor for a horn. Then I go back to if it is not broken why am I fooling with it?

So, I thought I would see what others have. Good to know that there are some other boats and ships with air controls. At least this was not some random experiment by the original owner. Now, later we will talk about the hydraulic back up drive for the prop. That is another story.
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