EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

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BOAT
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EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:42 pm

There are 4 issues with the Ray Marine EV-100 Tiller Pilot:

#1. The RayMarine linear drive unit only pushes 9.5 inches. The tiller arms on 'boat' swing 13.5 inches port to starboard. That means you lose 4 inches of rudder swing when connected to the drive unit.
This is an issue for me because I need a very fast hard over time to come-about in light winds. Loosing 4 inches of rudder throw is over 17 degrees (3.1 per second rate of helm change) and is unacceptable to me.

#2. RayMarine says the unit needs a 14 to 18 inch tiller. The tiller arms on 'boat' are only 13 inches long.
This is also a problem because the drive is designed to go directly on a tiller. Drilling the steering tie bar is okay because a broken tie bar is not a problem as MacGregor designed the system so the starboard rudder always works even without a tie bar. My problem is that the steering tie bar is too flexible to provide a firm connection for the drive unit in my opinion.

#3. The drive unit has a plastic end cap even though it was clearly designed to take a 3/8" IPT metal ram on the end like they use on airplanes and ships.
This is an issue unless you want to carry spare caps. When the plastic ones strip out or break you will need a replacement.

#4. The drive unit puts a LOT of drag on the steering.
Yeah, no way I can steer all day with that drag on the helm. I just did not like it.


So I figured the only way to deal with rudder steering drag and rudder swing was to have a very easy way to disconnect the drive from the cockpit, and be able to reconnect it just as easy. As for the plastic cap I figured that would be easy to replace with a metal one. Making the tiller arm over 14 inches would require a lightweight mod, so this is what I did:

I got to work on a piece of real lightweight aluminum and shaped it like this:

Image
This will make the tiller arm 14.5 inches ½ inch within RayMarines spec.

Then I dealt with that cheap plastic thing they stuck in the end of the ram. I fashioned a REAL ram end from a nickle ball like they use on Navy ships:
Image


Then I made a trap cage on the aluminum extension to grab the ram ball:
Image
The ball can’t escape the trap unless the arm is at 90 degrees, (dead amidships).
Last edited by BOAT on Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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BOAT
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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:54 pm

I attached the aluminum extension to the starboard tiller arm and attached the block for the drive unit just off center. I also put another aluminum limit stop guide at the end of the drive unit housing to guide the ball back into the ball cage trap:
Image
This provides the 14 inch tiller RayMarine wants and also keeps the drive unit up high away from my toes when I am asleep in the berth. (Part of the reason for an AP is so you can sleep!)

Using the same logic as the MacGregor rudder system I just ran a line down the same tube the rudder uses. When you pull on the black ball up in the cockpit it raises the drive housing:
Image

The drive housing will only lift out when the rudder is dead center (there is a mark on the helm to tell you when it’s in position) because the trap is slotted to only allow the ball to escape when the rudder is dead amidships:
Image
Above shows what happens when I pull on the black ball on the rope up above decks - see the drive housing is lifted up and that takes the ball out of the trap.
There is an aluminum guide with some carpet on it to guide the housing down to the same spot every time it's lowered so it always hits the ball trap dead center when I release the rope with the black ball on it.
Last edited by BOAT on Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:09 pm

When you want to use the auto pilot you just turn the helm to center and drop this black ball so the line is all in the hole:
Image
Above is a picture of the black ball when the drive unit is engaged.

I have tested it dozens and dozens of times and it works great!

Final thoughts:

When the drive unit is engaged it puts a LOT of drag on the steering and the grinding noise of the drive unit in standby bugged me. Now I just pull the little black ball next to me on the helm and disconnect from the drive unit and I am back to the easy steering with a full swing that I like. The RayMarine software and electronics are excellent – I laid out the whole thing on the floor in 'boat' and powered it up before I installed it and everything worked perfect right out of the box. The control head lit up just like an iphone with fancy splash screens and everything. The only hard part was removing the factory tachometer which catigale gave me some advice on. (Thanks catigale).

I did have to create this gadget to lift the drive housing out of the trap:
Image
The rigging was easy because it just uses the existing rudder rigging tubes that MacGregor puts in at the factory to operate the rudder lift.
Image
Last edited by BOAT on Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:48 pm

Forgot to post the pedestal control head. Here is is:

Image

When I get all the hatches back in covering all the rudder mechanism I will post that too.


Here it is with all the hatches back in place:

Image


Image
Last edited by BOAT on Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jimmyt
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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by Jimmyt » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:28 pm

Nice job! So many great ideas... Thanks!

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by darrenj » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:12 pm

That is awesome!

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by kadet » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:57 pm

Wonderfully engineered great job.
Plastic end cap gee Raymarine have gone el-cheapo on the Ev-100 that's going to last on a tillered boat in the sun all day NOT :|

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by Pizzanova » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:25 pm

At first I thought the 'control rope' was an odd choice because you certainly have the skill to make either a lever or button system but now I think you artfully followed the 'mac' design. I like it. I have been interested in an autopilot system for a little while. I was wondering if an off the shelf actuator like this one would work?
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Heavy-Duty-16-In ... 4188268c74

I think that with the right interface, it should be able to accept nmea control sentences from a chartplotter.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by Jimmyt » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:03 pm

Check the duty cycle rating and make sure your application fits. Appears the unit has plenty of power, but how they define the 25% duty cycle would be worth checking before you get too much invested in it. The few autopilots I've seen seem to be running more than 25% of the time (granted not at full load). Cool idea, if you can find an interface for it, though.

Also, check the travel speed rating. .39 in/sec might be a little slow, but again I'm no expert. A little inspiration...http://youtu.be/AdpxTa__YCw

Come to think of it, if you know what nmea control sentences are, I probably know less about it than you do...
Last edited by Jimmyt on Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:36 pm

kadet wrote:Wonderfully engineered great job.
Plastic end cap gee Raymarine have gone el-cheapo on the Ev-100 that's going to last on a tillered boat in the sun all day NOT :|
Thanks Kadet, You know, I don't think Raymarine did the plastic cap as a cheapo thing - I think they did it because of liability. I think RayMarine was purposely making the plastic cap their designed point of failure to protect damage to peoples wooden tillers, gel coated gunnels, etc . . . I think that because the drive unit is all factory grade steel with a threaded stainless 3/8" IPT end that is obviously designed for a regular aircraft grade metal ram tip. RayMarine makes lots of rams and they all use threaded IPT ends to accept steel yokes, rams, and pinions. It's common in aircraft and naval applications - I really think the plastic cap was done by RayMarine on purpose at their expense to protect them from liability for what is supposed to be a 'consumer grade' product. My suspicion is they provide the same unit to their large ship and airplane customers with all metal ends.


Pizzanova wrote:At first I thought the 'control rope' was an odd choice because you certainly have the skill to make either a lever or button system but now I think you artfully followed the 'mac' design. I like it. I have been interested in an autopilot system for a little while. I was wondering if an off the shelf actuator like this one would work?
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Heavy-Duty-16-In ... 4188268c74

I think that with the right interface, it should be able to accept nmea control sentences from a chartplotter.
I like the rope so much better than an electric motor because I can actually 'feel' the drive ball drop into the trap with a "clunk" and I just wiggle the wheel a little to make sure I'm fully engaged and it just has a really good 'feel' to it. It's like your hand is lifting and dropping the arm in place and you can feel it click in. Same with the release - you can feel it lift - you know if your on center because the rope will not lift if your not amidships. It just has a great feel.

Your right about the ram, the ram really does not matter - any ram would do - even Captain Victor's Wheelhouse drive would work fine - the key is the GPS MOTION SENSOR and its software. The motion unit senses 9 different axis of movement AND speed AND location and compensates the rudder angle for the waves, heel angle and speed all at the same time faster than we could ever react. The sensor unit is obviously from an airplane - I looked it over real good and the sensor looked to me like it was just the same unit they sell to their airplane customers without the gyro housing. That's all it is - Raymarine just replaced the gyro housing with a plastic mount and probably re-wrote the same software from the airplane pilot. That might explain the strange price for the sensor core and actuator brain. I got this unit because RayMarine was having their "Splash into Summer" August rebate sale and with a discount from Anchor express and the rebate I was able to get under 1299 dollars. I don't think Raytheon wants to erode the price on their aircraft sensor cores so they give away the drive units to boaters to sell the core. Any drive ram will do. It's that sensor core that's the important part.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by kurz » Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:52 am

Wow I like your tiller mount AP Job!

One of the benefits of this installation is that in case of failing you can backup easily with an other tiller AP, maybe cheaper, as long you have a cable or wireless remote, just exchange.

So with this system - why not go to the much cheaper Tiller APs? what are the problems with the cheaper ones?

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by fouz » Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:33 am

Wow! I'm impressed. Great craftsmanship and DIY engineering.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by BOAT » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:17 am

kurz wrote:Wow I like your tiller mount AP Job!

One of the benefits of this installation is that in case of failing you can backup easily with an other tiller AP, maybe cheaper, as long you have a cable or wireless remote, just exchange.

So with this system - why not go to the much cheaper Tiller APs? what are the problems with the cheaper ones?
No problem at all - This will work just fine with the cheaper 400 dollar all in one tiller drives. You just put another hole in the block to accommodate the slightly longer all in one units and you might need to bend the aluminum housing guide in or out a little to guide the ball correctly and the system will work just fine. You will need to screw a ball ram on to the end of the all in one if it does not already have one.

As for the wireless remote; that's the next step. RayMarine offers a very nice wireless dongle; it's very small.

The answer to your question: "why not go to the much cheaper Tiller APs?" is the sensor core. The all in one units don't have a multiple axis sensor core - they just hunt for a GPS heading as opposed to the sensor core that actually senses change in the boats attitude and makes corrections in the rudder angle before the boat even goes off course. Only a computer with multiple sensors hard mounted to your deck can do that.
Last edited by BOAT on Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by Wayne nicol » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:13 am

very cool Boat,
awesome install- good job. very techno!- cool!

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Re: EV-100 Auto Pilot Install

Post by RussMT » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:00 pm

Absolutely awesome. From the head unit mounted in the pedestal to the simplicity of the disengage and engineering of the arm. Great job. Love love love it and I may have to steal this. I believe Vic will come out with a great product, but with the head unit Raymarine provides along with (as you pointed out) their 9 axis sensor, this might be the way to go if he doesn't have a unit on the market soon.

And no BAGEL!
I couldn't agree with you more about the bagel mount and the resistance of the control arm connected full time.

At first I was thinking of taking your idea and "improving" on it with an electric solenoid release. But then your changed my mind with the "clunk feel". That makes a lot of sense. For something critical like this, you need to know if it's in or out. Did you sacrifice an old tiller for that line route block system?

Okay, now for the questions.

Your new tiller arm you fabricated. Is appears to be bolted ot an existing bracket or something. Looks like the connecting rod (between rudders) is attached to your new arm. Is that correct? Can you describe how this is connected to exsting rigging more.
Image

Okay, so you are in the Sumner category for fabricating metal stuff. For the rest of us slobs, how did you make that "cage trap"? How did you attach it to the aluminum tiller arm?

The photo above appears the existing steering linkage is aft of the tie bar. It looks to be connected to your new arm and the tie rod connected to your new tiller arm. Will this throw the alignment of the rudders off. M rudder alignment seems to be something we M owners can't adjust whereas X owners can.

Again, thanks for documenting this.

--Russ

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