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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Fareham
    Posts
    6,500

    Default Autopilot Drive Units.

    What do you guys use for below-deck autopilots? The boat is a 1990s design 39-foot 6.6-tonne cruiser/racer with a balanced spade rudder.

    I'm replacing all the instruments and the autopilot. The current electro-hydraulic drive unit needs about 12kg force to back-drive it with the pilot switched off and steering by hand. No great sweat as we have a big wheel, but the ram seriously damps the steering and takes all the feel out of it. I'm looking at a Raymarine electric linear drive unit but wondering if the Jeffa Steering products are significantly better in this regard. Or is there something else out there that I should be considering.
    ۞

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Cowes
    Posts
    315

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJE View Post
    What do you guys use for below-deck autopilots? The boat is a 1990s design 39-foot 6.6-tonne cruiser/racer with a balanced spade rudder.

    I'm replacing all the instruments and the autopilot. The current electro-hydraulic drive unit needs about 12kg force to back-drive it with the pilot switched off and steering by hand. No great sweat as we have a big wheel, but the ram seriously damps the steering and takes all the feel out of it. I'm looking at a Raymarine electric linear drive unit but wondering if the Jeffa Steering products are significantly better in this regard. Or is there something else out there that I should be considering.
    I've got a similar sounding boat, maybe a touch heavier now in mainly cruising mode, have a Raymarine electric linear Ram with ( now ) old SP1G / ST6002 AP, it's going well and 13 years old this year

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    falmouth
    Posts
    15,490

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    The simrad robertson HLD unit is first rate. Mine is still going strong after 21 years use. Bit expensive mind you.
    this post is a personal opinion, and you should not base your actions on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJE View Post
    What do you guys use for below-deck autopilots? The boat is a 1990s design 39-foot 6.6-tonne cruiser/racer with a balanced spade rudder.

    I'm replacing all the instruments and the autopilot. The current electro-hydraulic drive unit needs about 12kg force to back-drive it with the pilot switched off and steering by hand. No great sweat as we have a big wheel, but the ram seriously damps the steering and takes all the feel out of it. I'm looking at a Raymarine electric linear drive unit but wondering if the Jeffa Steering products are significantly better in this regard. Or is there something else out there that I should be considering.
    I’ve put the Jeffa unit on my new trimaran and while the mileage to date is relatively low I have had no issues and steering remains light. It’s being driven by a B&G H5000 system.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Tarbert
    Posts
    539

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    I’ve got a Jefa drive installed in our Nic 35. Its the DD1, and controlled by the Simrad NAC-2 computer. Its superb, quiet, plenty of power and low battery usage.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Nic 345, Tamar river, Devon
    Posts
    2,317

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    Have you flushed the hydraulic system through and made sure it is all working correctly? Any restriction in the bypass valve could have a significant impact. Worth doing first as it could be a cheap fix!

    Yoda

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    S.W. France
    Posts
    7,219

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    Quote Originally Posted by yoda View Post
    Have you flushed the hydraulic system through and made sure it is all working correctly? Any restriction in the bypass valve could have a significant impact. Worth doing first as it could be a cheap fix!

    Yoda
    Yes, I was wondering about that, I looked at an Octopus Electro/hydraulic unit and it was easy to move when off.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    The Known Universe
    Posts
    394

    Default Re: Autopilot Drive Units.

    I have just fitted a raymarine type 2 computer and 2 x P70 Control heads but have went with the Jeffa linear drive unit, as for as I am aware their own units are superior than those that they manufacture for the main brands , it is cheaper as well.

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