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Replacing my x-5 drive with a linear drive
I have some more news about this product, and I need some advice on my plan to rig up a linear drive to the X-5 controller.
First, the X-5 product. I have had two wheel drive units fail, and it seems I am not Robinson Crusoe. West Marine up and down the country has X-5 system packs with the wheel drive missing, because they've been replacing them faster than they can get supply of spares. Raymarine don't have any spares either, until "December". One helpful person at West Marine has said she believes that a "tweaked" unit will be available when new stock is available. So I don't need to warn you not to buy one, you probably won't be able to, I certainly can't find one in stock anywhere. Perhaps they will release a new wheel drive in December. The power boat version has been recalled as the clutch can fail and leave you hard over with with no control of the boat.
Secondly, I have a cunning plan to replace the wheel drive with a linear mechanical drive, but there are a couple of challenges. The X-5 outputs 6 Volts to the motor leads. The polarity is swapped for steering each direction.
For the linear drive I need 12 V for the drive and a clutch input. The X-5 does not support the clutch input, so I thought I'd just put this on a manual switch next to the autopilot control. I don't know if any damage would be done to the unit if it got supply to the drive without the clutch engaged, but I'm guessing not. To get the 6v up to 12v I'll need some sort of solenoid with a 6v switching voltage and a 12v switched voltage, somewhat like an anchor windlass solenoid, but it will need a bunch of diodes to cope with the current reversal business. So three questions - does this seem/not seem feasible to anyone. Secondly, can anyone recommend a solenoid solution that will work with this setup? Lastly is my assumption about the clutch function correct?