Re: 2nd. Autopilot on AMEL-54



I can not comment on the specifics of a AMEL54 installation, but I have some general comments for you.  

A backup drive is an excellent idea.  Even the best mechanical stuff has a finite life span, and can fail without warning.  Hand steering for days on end when you have a small crew is not my idea of fun.  Been there--done that--do not need to do it again.

On my old boat I had an Octopus Hydraulic autopilot drive installed that was a backup to a wind vane. When the hydraulic unit was not being used it added NO noticeable load on the steering system.  It would be compatible with any other type of unit.  

Key on the installation of any ram style AP drive is making sure it has a good, solid structure to push against.  In general, it is not a good idea to have a AP drive attached directly to the quadrant that the wheel uses.  In the very unlikely event of a problem with the quadrant, the AP is a backup to the wheel if it is connected to a separate tiller arm.  I do not know how complex such an addition would be to a 54. You'll have three separate steering systems, the wheel, the linear drive and the hydraulic drive. The fewer parts they have in common, the more reliable the whole system will be.

In my experience hydraulic AP drives tend to make a LOT more noise than the linear drive. Mounting the pump remotely (in the engine room?) will help, but you'll still notice a lot more noise. That probably changes when you get to units with continuously running pumps, but that is likely not suitable for a 54. 

Good luck!
Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Great Guana Cay, Abacos, Bahamas

---In amelyachtowners@..., <Rudolf@...> wrote :

Hi everyone (and Amel-54 owners),

Since few month I’m a happy owner of an Amel-54. We plan to go long distance (cross oceans), and I think its a good idea to have a second Autopilot. Our A-54 is from 2007 with one electric Raymarine AP (I think linear drive). 

We plan to add an independent Raymarin autopilot system with hydraulic ram. If you have any experience with two AP and especially similar configurations (one electric one hydraulic), I'd like to know your experience.

I’m very interested to know your layout on the rudder quadrant and how you have installed everything.
If you have any pictures how the "AP-RAM" are installaed, I would love to see. 

Further: Did it worked well, or you had issues with it? 
Was the linear drive still able to turn the rudder with the extra load?
Does it turned out as a wise investment?

Thanks for any advice and kind regards

Ruedi Waldispuehl

SY Wasabi 

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