Rudder Angle Indicator

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Dec 16, 2007
Vessel Name
Old School
Vessel Make
38' Trawler custom built by Hike Metal Products
Counting stop to stop revs on the wheel, then dividing by 2 to get a good guess if the rudder is centered is not working too well for me, especially in tight spots where other things need attention. Is there any cheap, easy to install, mechanical, batt operated or whatever, rudder angle indicators out there?
Single or twins?Steve
Single. BTW, St. Martin Oil in Denham Springs will deliver diesel to the boat for $1.95.
I will keep that in mind. S or T, I have twins and never worry about rudder direction in close quarter handling. Sorry- no help on the indicator. Take care,Steve
There an option for many brands of auto pilot. Check yours.

OR if purchasing an AP, be sure its part of the package.

Mostly of use for single screw boats but useful for all, check Defender Ind for an aftermarket unit.

Perhaps a cheap crap Vetus would work.

FF is right - AP suppliers sell all manner of indicators. My twin rudders work off one angle indicator (Simrad) - why would you need two? The indicator is nothing more than a potentiometer. The reading*gauge at the*helm*is the expensive part.
VDO makes a pretty good unit that is easy to install. You can have single or dual stations. Sensor attaches to one of the rudders with a spring kit. Seems like it is about $200 for the set up.
Hey Mike,

*** I wanted one too but still am without. Something that helps me is if there is not a lot of wind or current just go slow .. put er in gear and watch real close and almost instantly one can see wich way the helm is*and correct accordingly .. almost always a correction can be implimented much faster than things will go astray. With the watch and see method one dosn't even need to think about rudder position in reverse.

Eric Henning
The only time I look at the rudder angle is when entering or leaving moorage or anchorage.
Boys, I hate to admit to having my head up my ass (or "the worst case of cranial rectumitus I've ever seen" as a cop once told me), but here goes. I do, in fact, have a rudder angle indicator on the boat. I knew it was there but thought it only worked when auto pilot was on and set on "pilot". I always turn the AP off when*leaving the big water and back in the river, thus the rudder angle indicator does not work. However, after reading the many posts on this matter, I got to thinking; if the AP is on and set to "Standby" maybe the indicator show where the rudder is, and it does. Still on the learning curve here.
Baton Rouge
I like watching my rudder angle indicator when the AP is on. It doesn't necessarily do what I would expect. I also check it right before I get underway, as if I backed into a slip or other close maneuvers, I need to know where it is now, not where I think I left it yesterday. One interesting thing is that when I'm underway in shallow water (1-2' under the keel, common around here in the winter) I have to keep maybe 20 degrees starboard rudder just to go straight! I guess it's the effect of the big wheel (counterclockwise in fwd) on the bottom trying to walk me to port.
I've had the same experiences as Keith. I have to get a life as I also enjoy watching the rudder indicator when on AP. When coming down the fairway to my slip, I turn all electronics off except the AP, thus giving me the position of my rudder until I tie up.


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I use my autopilot to center the wheel/rudder for me. When at the dock preparing to leave, or sitting still in a fairway I can hit "auto" and the rudder will automatically return to center position. (then hit standby to allow you to position the rudder as you want)

I have an indicator at the lower helm but nothing on the bridge. I always dock/undock from above for visibility, so the indicator doesn't help me. And with hydraulic steering even counting turns isn't as positive a method as I like. So, hitting auto to center every so often works very well for me.

Reviving an old thread here since I have a similar issue.

I have a VDO rudder angle indicator in the pilothouse along with the Furuno FAP-55 autopilot, but I have nothing on the flybridge. I assume the VDO sender is a single station since I only have the one gauge. I tried to see if there was a model number on it, but couldn't see any numbers at all. I'm sure it is original to the boat...1991.

I suppose I could replace the sender with a dual station. Does anyone know if I will have to replace the old gauge in the Pilothouse if I get a new sender?

I think I could also add a remote rudder angle indicator to the autopilot. From my research, I think I need an FAP-6500 gauge, but I can't find even a reference to one online. Any suggestions for somewhere to look for old instruments?

Finally, any other ideas for getting rudder info up to flybridge?

Thanks, Mike

Mike Metts
KK 42-165
Virginia Beach, VA

Sent from my iPad using Trawler Forum
Single. BTW, St. Martin Oil in Denham Springs will deliver diesel to the boat for $1.95.

Hey Mike,

Is that per US Gallon? If so, do you think he would deliver to Brisbane - we are paying about $1.40 a LITRE
That was 6 yrs ago!
I bought diesel last week at Stone oil, just befor the "jump" into the big Miss, for $1.89. Cash. Bout the rudder indicator, I cant imagine being without one. I seldom look at it except in close quarters or docking. And then only to be sure my rudders are straight. I never turn the wheel in those situations. Twins of course.
Consider a rudder indicator essential. Previous boats had tillers. A tiller is a rudder indicator. So moving to a wheel-controlled rudder, I wanted an indicator. :blush:
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