Author Topic: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54  (Read 685 times)

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Hobiehobie

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Re: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2022, 02:43:35 PM »
This is great info.  Let me look at the material enclosed , digest and I am sure I will have more questions.

jt11791

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Re: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2022, 05:14:03 AM »
Here's some further info.  Attached is a Lewmar publication listing the various drive units that they make (or made).  They are similar in construction and all use the same motor and clutch (with 12V and 24V versions).  The main difference being the output style.  Some are direct shaft drive to the steering gears (you probably have one of these), others have chain sprockets, and some are lever arm and drag link.  My boat has both a sprocket/chain drive and also an arm/drag-link drive.  You can probably add an arm/drag-link drive like mine, which mounts under the aft bunk on the port side and connects directly to the rudder quadrant.  Having two drives in place is much better than having a spare to swap with your only drive (though that is better than nothing) as it allows you to "hot swap" from one to the other with only an electrical switch.  Autopilots don't die when the seas are small and the sailing easy.  Ask me how I know...I had to replace both of my drives in 2018.  I was in a storm and one drive gave up.  I switched to the other and was rather smug for a couple of hours until it died too.  Hand steered the next 950nm, boy was that hard!  Thankfully I wasn't solo.  Safe in port, the autopsies showed that the clutches in both of my drives were worn out (my boat is 2001, so they lasted about 17 years).  I contacted Lewmar and they were reluctant to sell me the parts to rebuild them myself, they would have, but they did not have everything I needed in stock and couldn't give me an ETA.  Instead, Lewmar has a trade in deal (at least they did in 2018) where you send them your drive and they sell you a new one for 40% of retail price.  In the end it was probably better to do it this way as this is a really good deal and the drives they sent me were new, not rebuilt units.

The man I dealt with at Lewmar in 2018 was Anthony Cinotti acinotti@lewmar.com  I don't know if he is still there, but worth a try.  He was responsive and helpful.
   
S/V Renegade  H54-19

Hobiehobie

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Re: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2022, 08:37:52 PM »
I have Whitlock Lewmar Mamba solid rod drive. Any thoughts?

jt11791

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Re: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2022, 06:09:06 AM »
I have redundant auto pilots on my 54.  Two of everything.  One drive is linked directly to the quadrant, the other has a chain drive to the wheel.  Happy to answer any questions.

Steering system maintenance is mostly about lubrication (grease) and making sure nothingnis loose.  Do you have a cable drive system or shaft drive?
S/V Renegade  H54-19

voodoo

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Re: Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2022, 01:49:36 PM »
I've also struggled to find info on the steering system and am very interested in any maintenance or service info.

Hobiehobie

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Adding a redundant autopilot and steering system to H54
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2022, 08:15:22 PM »
Hi all.  Planning a short handed/solo transatlantic passage and a very experienced friend of mine suggested adding a separate back-up autopilot system that could be attach to the rudder post to switch to if the Mamba steering and/or Lewmar autopilot went down, broke etc.   Makes sense, as carrying a duplicate autopilot computer, autopilot motor, rudder sensor, etc (my first solution) would be of little use  if the mamba system itself broke. 

Has anyone done this, or have any thoughts on making the steering system more bullet proof?  Also, there seems to be not one person on the US east coast who knows anything about Whitlock Mamba, and Lewmar are basically useless in providing services or guidance overhauling/maintaining the system.

If i could get this done I would then only need to to worry about an Orca biting off the rudder!


 

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