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Autopilot install on O’Day 40

Aug 7, 2015
65
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
Definitely time for an autopilot on my 40 &. I had hoped to do it this winter while the boat is still on the water. However, when I looked at the rudder post I could see no keyway to secure a post. Is anybody familiar with this, could I have missed this? Seems inconceivable that a large boat could have been built w/o such a provision? There does seem to be a horizontal ledge back inside the transom for mounting the actuator.......Edson clearly states that mounting to the radial wheel is a recipe for disaster. Having to drop the rudder & having a keyway milled into it also seems like a recipe to add a thousand more into what is already an expensive proposition as it is.

Insight appreciated.
Lou
 
Sep 23, 2009
1,450
O'Day 34-At Last Rock Hall, Md
Every O day auto helm installation I have seen was wheel mounted as is mine.
 
Aug 7, 2015
65
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
That may well be the case but the Displacement of the 39’s & 40’s exceed the rated capacity of the wheel pilot. While I’m not crossing oceans or offshoring just yet, I’m inclined to bite the boat bucks bullet lest I ever find myself in a position where my bacon is compromised by my frugality.
 
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Likes: Michael Davis
Oct 22, 2014
15,713
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
You are wise to use a hydraulic or linear drive unit on your boat. The wheel pilots are not designed to handle the forces of the larger boats.
 
Aug 7, 2015
65
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
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Likes: jssailem
Oct 22, 2014
15,713
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Louis. The paragraph that started "Custom Tiller Arm" caught my eye.

 
Mar 24, 2012
38
O'Day 40 BC Coast
My boat came with an Alpha 4404. It is a linear drive and the arm is simply clamped with a set screw to locate it. No keyway needed.
Mine quit working and I've decided to replace everything except the drive unit and arm with electronics from pypilot.org.
Take a look at it to see if you are interested in going that way. You can probably save 4-5 k sourcing things yourself. If you are planning on offshore are you looking at OpenCPN for navigation etc? The pypilot autopilot is compatible with it.
 
Aug 7, 2015
65
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
Interesting you should mention this. I’ve just finished assembling a Rpi 4 base system, struggled trying to find a sizeable touchscreen that works & am in the process of building a new panel for it. I’ll probably wait until the new Montessier hat is available prior to install. For now, charts open up, gps seems to work. However, given my knowledge of Raspian (nil) and unfamiliarity with networking in general, I’m reticent to trust my lack of skills with an AP. Baby steps seem in order.

Have you decided what you will use for a drive unit?
 
Mar 24, 2012
38
O'Day 40 BC Coast
I'm using the linear drive unit from the Alpha. It uses very little current. Rumour has it that it is the same actuator Boeing used somewhere on the 747. I suspect there may be more compact versions available now. Mine was installed in the stbd lazarette and they cut through the corner of the propane locker to get a straight run. They could have mounted it to the hull instead and left me with room for 2 full sized tanks.
If you are using OpenCPN then the pypilot plugs right in. The control is pretty sophisticated.
I think that if you can find a suitable arm from a one of the manufacturers you will save some money over having 1 fabricated.