I Need An Analog Automatic Pilot?

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Wheel chain gear?

On Sweet Pea right behind her wheel is a chain gear. I thought it was just some sort of steering thing made of ugly metal. But while doing the new mahogany countertop and painting inside, for her new navigation system, decided the wheel was kinda dull, and I removed it and the gear sprocket.

her old dash

New wood dash and old electronic depth finder gone to the history books

And dang! It says Wood Freeman Auto Pilot on it. Well that answered that question. And to top it off. Bronze! Holy cow. 4 hrs later of buffing, and all that, it looks cool as hell.

cool cast lettering

Wish I could reverse the gear so you could see the type

BUT.. Now I want all of the goodies to go with it. But what a bunch of stuff. Wires, motors, more wires.. But? I wonder if there is a way to hook it up to the new computer nav thing? I would still want to put in the compass for the look.

OH GOD! GEARS, Chains..

But isnt it just sending a signal to a motor that sends a message to a gear on the rudder? And still not sure if its worth it since I am not doing ocean cruises. Or even long bay cruises.

Found a owners manual

The compass, which I think stays hidden?

The unit

This beast. Wear does it all go? Am I going to trip on it? Is it gonna clank around?

Maybe just get a very cool compass and move on..

But there is a copper version, and if its exposed could go with the new copper wire holder I made?

1 inch copper pipe polished and clear coated, covers all the wires .

So, does anyone have experience with one of these rube Goldberg auto pilots?

23 replies
  1. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    I like the copper pipe, great idea. You could mount the unit behind the enclosure with only the sprocket sticking out to connect to the sprocket behind the wheel and just have the look for a while. You could even make a nice brass cover to cover a portion of the chain.

  2. Jeff Hamilton
    Jeff Hamilton says:

    Based on the pictures, you’d have your drive chain exposed in front of the bulkhead where lose clothing and such would get caught and bingo up on the rocks! I would have thought that sprocket (and chain drive system) would have all been hidden behind the bulkhead. If it was ever installed on Sweet Pea you’d see some clues in the way of screw holes and such!

  3. Captain Boomies
    Captain Boomies says:

    I’ve seen one get removed….very “boat of tomorrow” looking. That diagram looks right.

  4. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    What did Sweet Pea do in her former life to warrant an auto pilot? I think that it is cool as heck, but in my experience, anytime you mix sprockets and chains with electrons then throw in some salt water the heartaches begin. Ask the former owner why it got disconnected.

  5. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    You’d be trying to interconnect analog drives and controls to a digital control system with digital feedback loop. I’m sure it can be done, but would you trust this to steer you clear of that nasty rock shoal you ran up on?

    “Welcome to cyberspace, I’m lost in the fog
    Everything’s digital I’m still analog
    When something goes wrong
    I don’t have a clue
    Some ten year old smart a** has to show me what to do”

    -Joe Walsh

  6. Chug-A-Lug
    Chug-A-Lug says:

    Dats a fancy dash.I’m thinking on nailing on a rope loop on my dash to hold my fancy wheel.Would fit in with the boxer shorts porthole curtains

  7. bruce keuka lake
    bruce keuka lake says:

    let’s see here. you just ran into rocks not too long ago, and you want to get rid of the depth finder? for a auto pilot?

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      HAHA yup. So as I said in the article we are installing a brand new nav system. Thats a depth sounder and all of it. It will be in the upper right. The auto pilot is to add something cool that will never be used except for fun. I dont trust any “thing” to drive and steer a boat. They dont have common sense. Then again, I did run up on some rocks. So?

  8. Hamster
    Hamster says:

    I ran a 72 footer in the bay area that had an Iron Mike installed on it. It worked great until we lost the key that was on the shaft of the motor. but that is another story.
    The motor fits behind the dash and only the lower sprocket is exposed, they make all kinds of cool sounds when operating. If you have the parts put it together, they work and are cool.

  9. Briant
    Briant says:

    Aw, forget that bucket of bolts contraption and get yourself a real autopilot like Otto…..

    I am certain they make a marine version….

  10. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    You really have that trawler looks great….the new dash work is stunning…I passed on buying that boat close to 20 years ago and at that time I don’t recall that autopilot being hooked up or operational…so it has been a while. Sweet Pea looks better than the day she was lunched…even if the boatress thinks the old woody trawler smell is something less than sweet…a confindence she once shared with me. I for one love that aroma.
    John in Va.

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    I just found this at the hardware store. And had to figure it out. I may switch to brass once the design is thought out

  12. Matt
    Matt says:

    Thanks Bob, just did. YIKES.. Thats one rough boat. I see how its installed now, and well.. Ya, mmmmmm…

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