Saturday, August 7, 2021

Upgrading our Autopilot - Planning

Planning the Upgrade to our Autopilot

As covered in the previous post (Click here to view), we're upgrading our Autopilot replacing the original unit that suffers from Alzheimer's.

I ordered the major parts as a kit from Defender, added the Rudder Position Sensor kit from West Marine and drew a schematic to ensure I have everything.

Autopilot Schematic
Waiting on the SeaTalkng to SeaTalkng Connector

I missed the cable between the SeaTalkng Spur T's It's on order from Amazon. Should arrive tomorrow (Friday 8/6) so the system will be ready to install starting Saturday.

1st step is to install the RPS Rudder Position Sensor - that will be located in the Aft Locker. It will require some fabrication as the Sensor has to be mounted within certain parameters. There's a great how to article on the Marine How To site. So I'm pretty sure that the first visit down into the Bowels of the Aft locker will be an exploratory run, just to figure out how to mount the sensor. The rest of the install is easy, just mounting the various parts and making the electrical connections.

Here's where I'm considering installing the EV-1 the Attitude Sensor. That bulkhead is about parallel with the Helm Pedestal, the old Autopilot ACU is below the Circled area. Would make for a easy location and out of the way if anyone ever slept in the Aft Berth.

Locating it there would also reduce the amount of cable required to connect the p70s and the ACR / SeaTalkng Backbone.

We were down at the boat today progressing the new Cabin Top Winches, the outside temp was 97ºF but with high humidity is was a lot more painful. So no time to check out the location of the Rudder Position Sensor.

At home this afternoon, I did register all of the Raymarine new parts: Wheel Pilot ST4000, ACU-100, Ev-1 and the Rudder Position Sensor. Their site is not that easy to navigate, it's asking to 'Upload Documents' WTF? So I uploaded a pic of each of the Bar Code strips from each of the units. Then asked Raymarine support if I got it right? The Warranty on all of the products is dependent upon getting the Registration right. Now that's a Get Out Of Jail Free card if ever I saw one. Should have an answer in 3 biz days, that will be August 11th. We'll see.

Saturday August 7th. 2021
Took some pics of the area by the Steering Radial Drive where the Rudder Position Sensor will be located.

This shows the distance from the outer edge of the Aft Locker Shelf support beam (2" x 4") to be about 10" from the center of the rudder post.

That 2" x 4" is not a C34 original, a past owner installed them in order to mount a shelf which covers the Steering Radial Drive and improves the storage of the Aft Locker.

I might touch up the finish of the woodwork and the shaft guide post. Probably use the Same epoxy paint that was used for the bilges last January.

This pic shows the distance of the Radius of the Steering Radial Drive to be approximately  8 1/2" inches

The optimum distance of the Rudder end of the Sensor arm is 5.5" 

Looks like I can drill out where marked in this photo. That will allow a plate to be position on the underside of the Steering Radial Drive.  A piece of Starboard screwed through those holes will make it easier to attach the Tiller Pin.

This shows the underside of the Steering Radial Drive where I hope to attach that piece of Starboard.

The underside of the 2" x 4" aft locker shelf support is not quite level with the underside of the Steering Radial Drive. So a couple of pieces of Starboard will allow the Sensor to be mounted (inverted) closer to the Tiller pin, it needs to be no more than 12" from the tiller pin. So that looks very doable.

Might take a couple of trips down to the boat to manufacture and fit those pieces of Starboard.

So the planning so far:-
  • Rudder Position Sensor can be mounted on the underside of the Aft Locker Shelf support - Stbd side. 
  • Tiller Pin can be mounted on a piece of starboard screwed to the underside of the Steering Radial Drive.
  • The ACU-100 can be mounted where the old ACU is currently installed on the Aft Bulkhead of the Aft Berth as shown in the pic above.
  • The EV-1 can be mounted just above the new ACU-100
  • The p70s Autopilot Control head can be mounted where the Garmin Echo Depth instrument is currently located, we'll have to figure out where to move the Echo instrument. The Echo Depth Instrument can be moved to the Port Side Pedestal wing, we'll just remove the temporary cup holder that is mounted there at present.
Next trip to the boat will be to start on the RPS install, it will have to be early in the day as it just gets too hot right now.

We're planning on taking the boat out on August 16th for a couple of nights, it would be nice to have the Autopilot installed ready for testing on that trip.

See you on the water, maybe not even holding onto the helm.

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