Re: [Amel] Autohelm ST 7000 linear unit drive

Horst Pause <horst.puddleduck@...>

You mention low power consumption, how many amps does it take? Or, in a 10 hour opeeration, how many amp-hours?

Thanks, Horst

From: Serge Tremblay <laetitiaii@...>
To: amelyachtowners@...
Sent: Monday, 1 December, 2008 20:10:24
Subject: Re: [Amel] Autohelm ST 7000 linear unit drive

In 2005 installed a completely separate Autohelm 7000 linear drive connected to the rudder post. The setup is completely in accordance with Autohelm instructions. No rubber dampers, but strengthening (epoxy fiber-glassing) of the base to which the drive is attached seemed mandatory as the type 2 linear drive can exert more than a 1000 lb of pressure... Consider the effect when the drive oscillates.

On my boat the operation is not noisy.

During my crossing from Las Palmas to Martinique, in February 2007, i only used the pilot directly connected to the rudder as it required little electrical energy and produced a rapid response considering the huge swells mixing with the waves coming from another direction. During the crossing, the two of us aboard only held the helm for a maximum of a few hours: when reducing sails or tacking and we could have used the autopilot for these purposes.

The other autopilot, my faithful NECO, is properly maintained, tested once in a while and is considered as a backup.

I do not agree with Mr Potter suggestion that daily switching from one pilot to the other would extend the life of both pilots. It might increase the total time before breakdown of one of them, but if a mechanical or electrical system has been in operation for a few hours, save for an exceptional situation, the temperature of the equipment is reached and maintained for the rest of the time. It does not require a rest or cooling down.
I would be more fearful of the thermal shock resulting from a daily switching on of the equipment, particularly its effect on the electronic circuitry. For long crossings, my autopilot is not shut down during manual steering, it is kept on standby.

I consider that a autopilot directly connected to the rudder post is a major security element.
Before the installation of the linear drive attached to the rudder post, while my boat was being crossed from the Caribbean to the Med, a breakdown of a steering cable required the use of the clumsy emergency tiller. Has anyone tried to use this tiller for a few days in a choppy sea?

As for spares: brushes for the electric motor are a must. The control unit is very sensitive to dampness, and i am considering having one as a spare, but i am not sure my first mate would not require that i may only get it if i depart from another of my precious spare part!

Serge Opera Mango#51

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