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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My recently purchased boat included this autohelm unit. Previous owner didn't use it, he stating it would not keep up in the chop of the Pamlico. I can see that fact being true but it would be nice to engage it for short periods of time to adjust sails, hit the head and etc. My question is this. I did a bench test, hooked it to 12v, it works great. However when I had it in standby mode the motor is still locked in place and not free wheeling. I could not turn it by hand, is it suppose to be like this? I noticed there seems to be a tension relief or adjustment on the motor, Does the belt tension have to be relieved to go in to standby mode? From what I've read about these units they are old but solid and reliable. Also does the belt tend to wear regularly, will probably get a spare just in case.
 

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One of None
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I have one for my boat..it's old... it works! Yes the belt needs to slide on the wheel best to leave off unless you actually going to use/need it.
 

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Living the dream
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My unit was terrible for not working very well to the point I named it "Cone of Silence". One day I had a light bulb moment whilst frustratingly trying to get it to relieve me of helm duties and I squirted some (well lots, actually!) silicone spray at the drive's cog and presto! - it started working perfectly. Thanks to some Googling, I found out later that both there is a bearing under the cog that corrodes and binds; and how to disassemble the drive to clean and lubricate the bearing and the gearbox. It works perfect now!
 

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One of None
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I know this! You can steer by holding a cell phone near the box!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. That's exactly what I was curious about. So I just disengage it and slid the belt to the side when not in use.
 

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Unpaid Intern
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Yes, that's the intent. Like some others mentioned, when we're not using the Autohelm, we remove the belt from the wheel part and let it hang on the wheel hub/axel. This way we don't wear down the belt, etc., when not in use. But you don't have to do this and many others do not.
-J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My unit was terrible for not working very well to the point I named it "Cone of Silence". One day I had a light bulb moment whilst frustratingly trying to get it to relieve me of helm duties and I squirted some (well lots, actually!) silicone spray at the drive's cog and presto! - it started working perfectly. Thanks to some Googling, I found out later that both there is a bearing under the cog that corrodes and binds; and how to disassemble the drive to clean and lubricate the bearing and the gearbox. It works perfect now!
Good advise, thanks. I've been goggling autohelm repair, haven't found it yet. Any links? I would love to have this thing working at 100% when reinstalled.
 

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Also, turning the motor by external force can generate enough back EMF to blow the FETs in the control unit. Don't do it. If you need to turn the wheel, you must always disengage the clutch.
 
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