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Thread: Rudder Position Indicator

  1. #1
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    Default Rudder Position Indicator

    Anyone know of a source for a cool looking (read--old looking, classic...) rudder position indicator? I was just on the Continental site and not too impressed with the new ones (they're the folks who bought VDO I guess last year...)

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    I'll win the smart-ass sweepstakes with my entry: A Tiller.

    ;0 )
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I'll win the smart-ass sweepstakes with my entry: A Tiller.

    ;0 )
    Well, gotta admit that's old-fashioned enough

    But, I know we'll be getting a rudder position indicator for the autopilot we're planning on putting in and figure it might as well have a traditional look to the display...but man, those displays are really pretty modern looking no matter the brand I've seen...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    The only vaguely traditional looking ones I've seen are the ones that fit on the rudder head and are under a piece of glass.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    A couple feet of colored twine with small weights on each end works pretty well and is one of the traditional methods.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    The only vaguely traditional looking ones I've seen are the ones that fit on the rudder head and are under a piece of glass.
    Well, that's sure not an option here...we've a worm gear and the rudder head is sitting right under the worm...about 6" down under the helmsman's seat

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Morning Brenda,

    Here is what we have on Whampoa.







    The cable you see in the third shot attaches to a brass arm that is attached to the rudder post. Unfortunately I could not find a good picture of that brass arm.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Tie a turk's head on the kingspoke.

    Traditional, simple, cheap!
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by SchoonerRat View Post
    Tie a turk's head on the kingspoke.

    Traditional, simple, cheap!
    Yea, well we've already got that

    Let me clarify.

    We are committed to installing a rudder angle indicator for feed to the autopilot. Instead of just not having a gauge for it because all the gauges I've seen are quite modern looking/ugly, we'd like to install a traditional looking gauge for the indicator that we're installing anyway for the autopilot. The gauge can reside on the binnacle where there's an inclinometer as well OR it can reside inside the chart house with the engine controls.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by John Boone View Post
    Morning Brenda,

    Here is what we have on Whampoa.

    The cable you see in the third shot attaches to a brass arm that is attached to the rudder post. Unfortunately I could not find a good picture of that brass arm.
    Yea, some of the rudder angle indicators we're looking at have an arm sort of like you're talking about and they've got just ugly, ugly gauges to go along with it!. Your gauge is analog which is way-cool. We don't have a good spot for a simple analog set up like you've got.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    If Red's wheel is like mine it requires two full turns of the wheel either side of center to reach the rudder stop. A Turks head would only indicate where in the turn it is but would not show which turn.
    As I'm looking to get a traditional looking rudder angle indicator myself I havn't put it past me to design and build one from scratch. I'm thinking of running a pull cable from the worm gear mechanism and attaching it to a simple indicator dial. I'd mount the dial on the back of the cabin where I could see it while facing forward.
    Will

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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    FWIW, I'm installing an autopilot on my sailing canoe later this year...she's depicted in my avatar...and sounds like (in a British voice) "Turn this way...no, honey...the OTHER way! Yes, that's it...oh, no! I didn't mean right, I was pointing left, sweety!"
    Ed Maurer
    Skinny Hull sailing magazinewww.skinnyhull.com
    Florida Fly Fishing Magazine http://FlaFlyFish.com/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by willmarsh3 View Post
    If Red's wheel is like mine it requires two full turns of the wheel either side of center to reach the rudder stop. A Turks head would only indicate where in the turn it is but would not show which turn.
    As I'm looking to get a traditional looking rudder angle indicator myself I havn't put it past me to design and build one from scratch. I'm thinking of running a pull cable from the worm gear mechanism and attaching it to a simple indicator dial. I'd mount the dial on the back of the cabin where I could see it while facing forward.
    Yea, it's more than 2 turns stop-to-stop. I'd thought it was 6 turns (spec on some worm gears) total, but when I just checked it, it seems to be 5 turns stop-to-stop. So 2.5 per side.

    The indicators that feed into autopilots seem to just be a lever arm attached to the rudder stock below the worm gear. I really just thought that someone would have a classic looking gauge--but guess not.

    The favorite indicators I've seen are a brass/bronze pointer on the rudder head or on the binnacle. That really doesn't work with the modern arms I'm talking about or the worm gear, of course w/o some cable finagling like you're talking about.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    The steering on Whampoa is out of an old truck I'm told.







    You can see the autopilot drive, driven by the chain and sprocket mounted on the shaft coming aft from the wheel.

    The wheel position sensor for the autopilot is mounted onto a brass arm that comes off the front of the bronze pipe that the rudder shaft comes up through. It is connected by cable to a brass arm on the rudder shaft as well and moves as the rudder is moved.




    Simple set up but effective.

    A turks head is not too helpful as it takes multiple turns of the wheel to go to full lock on either side.

    Good luck with the project.

    Regards, John

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    This is my "quick search" for an indicator to install while the boat is still here in the yard, on the hard....and then if I don't find anything on the market that will work out, we'll just put this on our list of "cool things to make" and let the autopilot know what angle our rudder is but keep it a secret from us for a while!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Isn't there a rudder position indicated on your autopilot display ? What make and model are you installing?


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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by John Boone View Post
    Isn't there a rudder position indicated on your autopilot display ? What make and model are you installing?
    Well, actually we end up having two autopilots:

    Primary for low energy use/distance cruising is custom pilot by W-H. Yes, there is a rudder indicator on the display--but the display is intended to be at the second steering station in the chart house w/a remote on tether available outside in the cockpit (standard W-H set up). We'd not be looking to the autopilot for rudder position when we're not using it though .

    If you know much about worm gears, you know you can't move them with the rudder stock, they have to be moved from the wheel input--further, all those turns of the wheel required make an autopilot just a little bit slower to respond to input and take more energy.

    Because of this, for the primary pilot, I've modified the rudder head to include a turntable type thrust bearing which allows us to disconnect (and bypass) the worm gear. This lets us use a hydraulic drive on the rudder stock directly w/manual hydraulic pump driven by the main wheel in the cockpit or a second wheel in the chart house (in essence this is a hydraulic steering system and we'll have two separate steering systems available--hydraulic and worm gear).

    The worm gear can quickly and easily be re-connected to the rudder stock with placement of four 1/16" plate/shims between the gear and rudder stock head and putting in/tightening the 4 bolts which hold the gear to the stock head. When we launch, we'll be in this mode.

    Backup pilot is to re-use a chain-drive on wheel shaft (was used by a Wood Freeman (Iron Mike) autopilot that we still have parts of, btw) with a hefty electric motor. According to our discussions with W-H, such motor can be driven by the primary W-H system if desired but will not be responsive as the primary hydraulic system. However, we'll likely purchase an inexpensive "back-up" pilot for this system--haven't decided the brand--opinions??? Originally, the inside steering station worked via the Wood Freeman electric motor on this chain drive with a series of mechanical linkages, by the way. Won't be re-doing that wacky set-up though!

    The W-H pilots remote would only be in the cockpit when the pilot is in use so an angle indicator (on the binnacle or somewhere) would be nice when under sail w/o the pilot.

    Clear as mud?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    OUCH! In the third picture down onmessage #14 you can see two pairs of wires heald to the bulkhead with clips and screws......vibration will wear through the insulation where the edge of the clips meet the wire insulation, possibly causing a short and a fire.....you need to raise the wire so that the clips hold the wire at the overall white covering, and be well secured against vibration.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Could you post a few pics showing what you have to work with (Helm Station) to prime our imaginations.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by George Ray View Post
    Could you post a few pics showing what you have to work with (Helm Station) to prime our imaginations.
    Well, I could...but not planning on it...that's what imagination is for

    Besides, right now the chart house station is covered in parts, parts, parts, ...more parts...paint, googe, tools, clothes, towels, and a big fat cat. The instrument panel is open/backwards...nothing looks like you'd recognize it. It would take too much to "share" right now. sorry. The outside station is all taken apart. Not even in the cockpit--only the worm gear and wheel are there right now. So not much to see right now. It sort of is real depressing to not have nifty pics to show--but we can either show/ah "stage" a nifty pic or do the work. We're doing the work.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    For starters you could use a length of Belden Wire, think old rear wheel drive cars and before automatic chokes where you pulled out a knob on the dash and it moved a lever that moved the carbs choke... Ok.. so your not that old, how about a lawnmower throttle?...It's really only a simple thick wire with a wire casing wound around it and you it works to push and pull things... In this case a litttle pointer on your instrument pannel.

    I didnt see it at Belden
    but these guys have them http://www.push-pull.com/index.html

    Last edited by Gary E; 01-20-2009 at 05:00 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    For starters you could use a length of Belden Wire, think old rear wheel drive cars and before automatic chokes where you pulled out a knob on the dash and it moved a lever that moved the carbs choke... Ok.. so your not that old, how about a lawnmower throttle?...It's really only a simple thick wire with a wire casing wound around it and you it works to push and pull things... In this case a litttle pointer on your instrument pannel.

    I didnt see it at Belden
    but these guys have them http://www.push-pull.com/index.html
    That's a good way of doing it. And, being a woman I shouldn't admit my age...but yes, I am old enough to remember those chokes--my first car (a 1970 Maverick) had one...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Your "Rudder angle indicator" is a cruicile piece of your autopilot. I would be leary of piggy backing, or using a indicator not from the same manufacturer as the pilot. Simrad Robertson for example offer a additional remote display which is about as traditional as you will get. Your best bet would be to consult the manufacturer find out if the drive brain has a aux output for a angle indicator and what the specs are (4-20mill amps, 0-10v) etc. With that you can source a compatible indicator device that looks like what you want. If you go that route I can help you source a indicator just pm me the specs.

    We are using a robertson pilot and a whitlock rotory drive as we have a worm gear steering too.

    Good luck

    Jake

    ebay gauge

    You could match all your engine stuff to these
    Last edited by SV Papillon; 01-20-2009 at 08:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by SV Papillon View Post
    Your "Rudder angle indicator" is a cruicile piece of your autopilot. I would be leary of piggy backing, or using a indicator not from the same manufacturer as the pilot. Simrad Robertson for example offer a additional remote display which is about as traditional as you will get. Your best bet would be to consult the manufacturer find out if the drive brain has a aux output for a angle indicator and what the specs are (4-20mill amps, 0-10v) etc. With that you can source a compatible indicator device that looks like what you want. If you go that route I can help you source a indicator just pm me the specs.

    We are using a robertson pilot and a whitlock rotory drive as we have a worm gear steering too.

    Good luck

    Jake

    ebay gauge


    You could match all your engine stuff to these
    Hey, Jake,

    Input from the rudder angle indicator to the autopilot is crucial, yes. And, one of the things we like about Will Ham (WH) is his flexibility to work with the customer given a variety of gear rather than insisting that everything must come from the autopilot company or it won't work at all... like all the other manufacturers lawyers have told them they must say... My husband is an electrical engineer and part of the work we do together with our company involves instrumentation for research equipment--so safely pulling the right signal off of something without impacting a system usually isn't a challenge.

    On the other hand, we're finding that a traditional looking rudder indicator IS a needle in the haystack of all available options!

    I'd run across the indicator you link to on EBay just yesterday. Good find. It is the only mass produced traditional looking indicator I've seen so far! Regarding the matching gauges, unfortunately, replacing all our standard gauges isn't in the budget anytime soon. We're installing all kinds of brand new things that the boat's previous owner purchased including brand new engine, genset, and instrumentation for both. We wouldn't have chosen the "look" that he did, but we're working with it for now as there are too many other things on our plate to do.

    My search for "tradition" in an visual indicator is ending though as it seems that I'd be happiest simply fabricating something (analog/mechanical) for viewing in the cockpit. Even if what I make is more crude than something that can be readily purchased to put in an instrument panel, I believe I'll be happier with its fit with the look of the boat. So, after launch, I'll likely be posting pics of what I do. I'll probably be frustrated not to have a rudder angle indicator on anything other than the autopilot, so this indicator project is likely to be sooner rather than later

    Thanks for your help.

    P.S. On the other hand...any new input about a good, inexpensive "back up" autopilot to be used with the worm gear is appreciated!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Maybe you could contact these folks about mocking up something using a fuel gauge and a cam follower on the rudder post. Their vintage 30's gauges look good.

    http://www.classicmarineinstruments....troduction.php

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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
    Hey, Jake,

    My husband is an electrical engineer and part of the work we do together with our company involves instrumentation for research equipment
    !

    Definitly make your own! A nice piece of varnished wood or some brass with a radius of little red LEDs at incriments of rudder degree. No or little power draw and easy to make.

    The whitlock drive has a excellent rep but is pretty spendy

    lewmar dist them

    Good luck Jake

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    I was looking through my pictures and I came across this photo of the bridge on board HMCS Sackville in Halifax.



    Notice the little needle indicator just at the top of the wheel pedistal - that looks about as traditional as I can see the rudder indicator being.
    Will

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Brenda,

    Consider modifying the gauges themselves. North Hollywood Speedometer has been servicing
    the Auto Restoration hobby/industry for years. They routinely make custom artwork, do recalibrations
    and can change the look of a modern gauge from:



    to something like this:



    Give them a call. They are very creative.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    thanks for your replies. I was thinking that an auto-restore place might be able to help me someday get all those gages into a coherent look in the chart house!

    Someone I know just told me they have a rudder indicator gage that would look really cool--only problem is that I need a space big enough to accommodate a vertical placement of 8" diameter dial (approx 2" thickness, too)...They've got something that looks like an old steam gage

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Rudder Position Indicator

    Good pics John.

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