Fixing Raymarine Autohelm Rotary Drive AutoPilot – Replacing a Burnt Out Clutch Switch

Fixing Raymarine Autohelm Rotary Drive AutoPilot – Replacing a Burnt Out Clutch Switch


Hi and welcome to a new playlist on
maintenance. We have had loads of maintenance jobs and we’ve got hours of
footage and I’ve only now just got around to editing it together. So this
isn’t a template, it isn’t a how-to video it’s just a vlog about how I did it
using the resources the tools and the people I had around me at the time. So
any hints and tips please make comments below. So it was way back in episode 28 when we
were traveling for my Ibiza to the mainland.. and I could smell this kind of
burning rubber smell. At first we thought well maybe it’s the engine but I could
kind of smell it coming from the instruments. The boat was on autopilot
and just like going in all sorts of directions and then it just cut out and we
came down below and we actually smelt the drive unit that we realized
something was pretty critically wrong with it. Unfortunately we’d lost the
dinghy so we couldn’t get ashore so we had 600 miles ahead of us. It’s no bad
thing we don’t mind a bit of hand steering we really enjoy it but it gets a
bit tedious and it gets a bit exhausting after a while particularly when there’s
only two of you doing the night watches. So when we got to Almerimar I took it
out.. put it on the nav table – had a look inside to see if there was anything
obviously wrong with it – whether there were some loose wires but beyond that I
had no idea how to diagnose this problem. If you look back on episode 30 when we
had a problem with a rat we put a word out on the net if anybody had a terrier
that could actually help us flush out the rat. Now Oscar came along and his
owner Ant from SV Impavidus. He didn’t flush the rat out because it was already
dead – we didn’t realize at the time – but we got talking and it turns out that he
is an engineer. So when I asked him if he could fix the problem he said ‘no’ but
I’ll show you how to do it his philosophy is to increase the knowledge
pool in the live-aboard Cruisers network so we can all start doing repairs for
ourselves and I would like to carry that philosophy on as well. Our channel is SV Impavidus, and you’re doing how-to’s and how to fix your boat up? Yeh, I’ve got a background of engineering and electrical work. With your boat, you know what we’d
like to do is come and give you a hand to do it and pass the knowledge
on. You know if you’ve got knowledge you should share it which is the main thing
is having the evidence to actually take it apart yeah
you diagnose it and then fix it well sews it to you you can’t make it any
worse woody it’s already broken. We first looked at the resistance and the
resistance was very low so we thought there was something wrong.
Most of the auto pilots work in a similar way where a magnet engages the
drive to the wheel and on your boat when we engaged it we got a smell of burning –
like almost a cartoon puff of smoke – it was yeah. Let’s have this apart see if we
can get at the coil. It certainly shouldn’t smoke like that with 12 volts on it so it’s something wrong in there. Now this is a 24 volt motor but we can use 12 volts just
to make sure that it’s working and running. We’ve got negative there and
positive on that one and it’s only 12 volts so half the operating voltage of
that. When we switch it on that little motor drives it pulley inside here and
that pulley goes on to another pulley this side – a little belt. You then got a
what’s called dog clutch which this solenoid operates. When the solenoid
pulls in – watch that wheel – yep and your rudder moves. Disengage it and it stops. We know that
there’s a resistance in this motor cause we checked it earlier with your
multimeter. We know that this coil is faulty yeah Yeah and it’s coming out of that little
breather hole there look. Can you smell the burning plastic? yeah this is what I
smelt actually. Yeah the motor’s now burnt out completely. If you smell like now – might as well take it off. It’s all burnt on the inside. The coil has got really hot. That in there is one
end of the coil and that has got extremely hot at some time. That’s where
it connects to this wire there look and it’s actually burnt out there. It’s a really
simple piece of engineering. It’s just an electromagnet which causes this to move
and hold that. The cable is actually dipped in an isolator like a varnish.
That’s where your insulation has broken down. Can you see it there – it’s all melted The current has been able to jump from one of those strands. So all of that gear box
to me feels pretty damn good but that is definitely the cause your problems.
You might get a secondhand one – you go onto eBay you might find and there’s a
Chinesey one made. I don’t think we’ll be able to rewind it to be honest. All I would do with this is I’ll get some Emery cloth and just clean this up here because
that is a mating surface to that. Like that. I would just lightly rub some
grease over it with your finger but no more than that. Unfortunately we
couldn’t source one in Spain we had to send back to the UK to get one. It took
a few weeks to get delivered. So the new clutch switch has arrived and hopefully
we’ll get it fitted today. We got a new one which is about 181 pounds – about 200
euros. We’ve sent the old one back to get recoiled I wasn’t sure whether that was
possible so in the mean time I did get a new one so hopefully if the [old] one can
get recoiled then we can use that as a spare. So after Ant’s excellent tutorial I
had the confidence to put it together and reinstall it myself. Because the clutch is a 12-volt clutch
I’m going to connect it straight to the batteries. So we’ve got it freewheeling
at the moment – yeah on the clutch switch and as soon as I connect the negative
that should hopefully connect together. And no smoking or burning smells this
time. Yeah that is fully engaged there. So I think we might have done it. The rewiring probably took longer than
the rest of the job put together. First the clutch switch wires. This is such a fiddle. Nah, blue’s popped out again. You need to be a gynecologist to
get your fingers in there to actually get the wires in place. It’s like you need
three pairs of hands. Right, I think the only way I’m going to do this is trim
the wires and try and get them in separately That’s the negative in. Yes! Then the motor drive wires. So now I’m going to have to trim those then get them back into here. Ok so I think this is the problem – is the
clutch goes in here and the fuse for the clutch is here but it’s not obvious that
these two are connected. It does say clutch up here on the
outside of the box and if the fuse is over to this side it’s on a 24 volt
system and if it’s over to that side it’s on the 12 volt system. Now when we
checked it – it was actually in the 24 volt system so whether it was installed
wrongly or put there by a previous owner I don’t know. But I think that is the
reason that that clutch switch burned out. The boat is in no fit state to go
anywhere at the moment so I’ll let you know in a few months time how we get on with that. So comment below with any hints tips advice on the subject of auto pilots. Let’s share the knowledge let’s pass it on to everybody so we can
increase that knowledge pool to everybody in the liveaboard community. For this particular job – which is the auto helm rotary drive, I’d just like to thank
the guys from the Amel forum and obviously Ant as well. Thanks in particular to the Patrons.
These videos wouldn’t exist without your support. And if you want to do it. Do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *