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View Full Version : TP autopilot on a tiller that goes up and down



kingfisher
24-02-09, 05:22
The tiller on my boat can move up and down. It is S-shaped. When it is down, it is below the seats, when up, it can lock in the bottom of the mainsheet track (there is a notch there).
http://sirocco31.tripod.com/images/kuip.jpg
The rudder blade is connected to the rudder stock, which goes straight through the boat, and the helm is attached to the rudder stock with a single sturdy bolt: cylindrical rudder stock comes trough the cockpit floor, helm is a stick of wood with metal plates on either side, bolt goes through plate-stock-plate. So the helm can move up and down freely and still perfect control left/right.

I want to install an autopilot. I cannot install an interior one, as I have no quadrant, and no access to the rudder stock. But I am more than happy with a TP2000. However, I assume that once the autopilot exercices some force, it will push the tiller down, as well as to the side, to the point where the autopilot will jump out of the connection point. Or it will push the tiller up, into its parking groove in the main sheet track, and push itself into oblivion.

How do I immobilise the tiller in its up/down movement? I could put two collars underneath and above the attachment point, but then it would be permanently immobilised. I need something that can be installed with minimal effort and looks nice (oooh, and I want an Ferarri too :-)

Refueler
24-02-09, 06:59
My tiller also is able to move up and down, but I fitted a small block at stock end of tiller to stop it dropping below the point that Tiller pilot needs.
You could lock the TP to the tiller, but then you'd lose the emergency ability to knock the TP of the pin to regain full manual control instantly.

vyv_cox
24-02-09, 08:15
Same as Refueler. The metal end of my tiller hinges upwards but is prevented from dropping further down by a bolt that is tapped vertically into the rudder stock. If you need to preserve the requirement for the tiller to drop down below the point at which the TP operates, you need to apply some sort of block that will hold it in position when the TP is operating. I don't believe that the TP will try to push the tiller upwards, provided it is more or less horizontal when operating. Mine certainly never has.

kingfisher
24-02-09, 09:28
Ah, great feedback already. I can see where I can click a stopper underneath the rudder each time I install the autopilot, or use a bolt that I can screw up/down. However, the rudder stock base in the cockpit floor is rectangular, and the cockpit floor has water gutters, so there is a chance that the stopper will block at the rudder base, thereby destroying the tilller or TP?

I really need to post some pictures here.

Can a TP work with some up/down movement? Or should the tiller be fixed solidly in that axis? Because another plan is to put a wedge between the rudder stock and the tiller.

Refueler
24-02-09, 09:46
My block is physically on end of tiller ... so that when tiller drops down - the block sits against the rudder stock itself. That way there is nothing to catch on the bench or under the tiller.
Previous to fitting it - the tiller used to drop till it hit the bench under - this added a few cms to the distance Tp had to extend arm to maintain course - it also reduced the max it could extend to.

Simplest way to describe my bracket is like an upside down U with rudder stock in one end and tiller into other.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y245/nluther/tillerblock.jpg

Here's the real life thing BEFORE block was added - you can just see that tiller is drooping !! ....

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y245/nluther/superanne/best_pal_onboard.jpg

And here it's still able to be raised ....

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y245/nluther/superanne/Image004.jpg

Excuse the scruffy appearance ... !

Spyro
24-02-09, 17:08
When the tiller is fully down that is when you want to fit the TP if it goes too far down you have to fit some kind of stopper as others mention. There are various brackets available from Raymarine that you can be fitted on top or below the tiller to raise or lower the height of the tiller pin so that when the tiller is in it's resting position the TP can be fitted horizontally. As VYV_COX says I never found it pushed the tiller up.

Krusty
24-02-09, 19:41
I also use a TP2000 on a hinged tiller: solved your problem by forcing a fibre washer between the rudder head casting and the s/s tiller hood, in line with bolt, and tightening up until the tiller was held at all angles by the friction.
The only drawback is the requirement for a little more effort to lift and lower the tiller by hand, but I don't find it a problem even when short-tacking: and when I want to lift the tiller high to clear the cockpit it stays where it is put without a lashing. Simplicity!

kingfisher
25-02-09, 05:18
I can easily tighten the bolt that holds the tiller to the rudder stock, so that the tiller becomes difficult to move up and down, but when I see the force that the TP can produce, I still fear that the TP will force the rudder down. Consequences: the TP jumps its plug, or worse: the tiller is pushed between the benches, where its movement is limited, and the TP pushes itself to bits while I'm on the foredeck.

Refueler
25-02-09, 07:02
I actually altered the design of my tiller bracket to rudder stock. Originally it would not raise up more than about 25 deg. from horizontal. I ground away part of the bracket to allow it to hinge up fully.

The hingeing down - pity you cannot provide a photo or drawing of the set-up - then we could advise better how to stop it.

But yes you are correct - you must stop it dropping too far from horizontal.

ditchcrawler
25-02-09, 09:43
I have a tiller which hinges up & I have a wedge of timber which goes in under the stock to lift it up a few degrees for normal sailing as it is more comfortable at this level.I take the wedge out when using autopilot so the tiller is horizontal.However i have used it with the wedge in & it seems to make no difference.It seems that a few degrees from horizontal is acceptable.

Refueler
25-02-09, 09:48
[ QUOTE ]
I have a tiller which hinges up & I have a wedge of timber which goes in under the stock to lift it up a few degrees for normal sailing as it is more comfortable at this level.I take the wedge out when using autopilot so the tiller is horizontal.However i have used it with the wedge in & it seems to make no difference.It seems that a few degrees from horizontal is acceptable.

[/ QUOTE ]

Of course - but the OP tiller - I get impression is dropping sufficient for TP to be popping of the pin.

My tiller dropped about 5 maybe 8 deg below horizontal till it grazed the bench under. It still worked ok but I didn't like the reduction of arc and also the rubbing away of the gelcoat on the bench.
My block on the end of tiller cured it and now all's tickety-boo. Plus I can still raise it vertically out of the way.