The drive is a rotary mechanical autopilot drive system which makes it simple and economical to fit an autopilot on smaller powerboats with mechanical push-pull cable steering. The drive unit is suitable for standard straight shaft configurations and incorporate a drive motor, solenoid clutch and integrated rudder feedback (RFB) capability. The compact drive unit completely replaces the existing manual steering helm and is totally concealed behind the dash, giving a neat, professional installation.
The drive is recommended for use on boats with a maximum speed of 65 km/h (40 mph) and should not be fitted to boats which can exceed this.
The drive should not be fitted to boats where the engine max horsepower exceeds the max horsepower rating for the boat as stated on the boat manufacturer’s tag.
The drive unit either replaces or is used in conjunction with common brands of mechanical rotary and rack and pinion steering helm units. The drive is based on the Morse 290 rotary helm unit and accepts Morse 304411 and Teleflex SSC52 rotary cables without modification. If the boat is fitted with any of the following systems: Teleflex Safe T or Teleflex Big T, Uflex T71, Uflex T73NR or Uflex T81.a cable adapter must be fitted to the cable before installing the drive.
If the boat has a rack and pinion type steering system (or other brands of rotary system), the drive can be used, but the steering cable must also be replaced with a Morse 304411 or Teleflex SSC52.
The drive is designed to produce a maximum cable push/pull of 136 kg, which makes it suitable for the vast majority of cable steered boats. However, some boats fitted with push-pull cable steering systems have very stiff steering or steering which is heavily loaded in one direction due to hull design and engine considerations. Generally speaking, the drive will steer boats that do not require more than a 7 kg force on the rim of a 35 cm diameter steering wheel to hold a course, this equals 1.2 kgm of torque. If the steering wheel input torque exceeds this figure it is recommended that a hydraulic linear actuator drive system is used.
If the existing steering system is a NFB (non feed back) type, the drive can be fitted, but it is strongly advised that the helms person is formally familiarized with the different operational characteristics of the new helm.