DIY electronic throttle and gearbox control

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by CDK, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. willisworms
    Joined: Mar 2016
    Posts: 7
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

    willisworms Junior Member

    I have been waiting to post my results until I had proven my system, both at the dock and on the lake.

    First let me start with the why and then move to the how. My boat is older, and the cables were getting stiff. The upstairs controls are routed through the downstairs helm, this is problematic on its own. This combination of old cables and daisy chained routing left my upstairs helm unusable.

    I did replace the cables that went upstairs, but this only improved things marginally. It still left me with shifting that was very hard, and neutral was a chore to find. This made docking unpleasant and "rafting up" down right stress full.

    My plan was to replace the current 4 shifting cables (twin engine) with six new cables. Each helm would be routed to a junction box, then one cable runs to each engine. This was going to cost roughly 900 dollars in parts.

    I came across this thread and started toying with the idea of electronic shift. Throttles I will leave alone for now.

    I am not overly electrically inclined, but can hold my own with wiring. I can fabricate pretty much anything, but was still nervous about tackling this project. It was the idea of being able to incorporate a single "joystick" to shift both engines at once that finally made my decision.

    I based my system loosely on the uflex power a system. I contacted a few electronics guys and talked about getting the electronics end outsourced because that is not my strong suit. I had a few interested parties, but all fell through.

    I am happy to say, that in the end, my system is put together completely with off the shelf parts, making this a true DIY that pretty much anyone can tackle.

    The heart of this system is the concentric LA Controller

    http://www.concentricintl.com/product/linear-actuator-controller-one-actuator-12-vdc-6/

    This allows for 3 programmed positions (forward/neutral/reverse) and is simply plug and play with all concentric linear feedback actuators. You will need one control box for each engine. It comes with a keypad used for programming the stop points and in a pinch could be used to shift the boat.

    The LA Controller also has inputs to connect aftermarket switches. This is where I connected the joystick shift levers. In my system I used waterproof two position maintained joystick levers. These levers have only 2 contacts which is why I needed to install the relays you see in the photo. The relays allow the boat to shift into neutral when neither forward or reverse is selected on the joystick. The benefit of this is also that if something happens to the power running the helm switches, The boat will failsafe to neutral.

    I also decided to add a third joystick which is a 4 position momentary that allows me to control both engines at once. If i move the joystick into the forward or reverse position both engines will shift to either forward or reverse. If I move the joystick to either side it will put one engine in forward and one in reverse. Anytime the joystick is released it shifts back to neutral.

    The linear actuators I used are concentric 4 inch stroke, 35lb with potentiometer. These plug directly into the controller. The actuators are then attached to short teleflex tfxtreme cables which are then attached to the shift plate as usual.

    This system works very well and cost was less than replacing the cables
     

    Attached Files:

  2. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    excellent job. i have a linear actuator controlled thrust deflector on my jet unit but it has no preset positions so neutral is always by guesswork when starting at the boat ramp. i am going to email your supplier to see if they will post a controller to aus. what you are using is exactly what i have been looking for. thanks for that.
     
  3. willisworms
    Joined: Mar 2016
    Posts: 7
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

    willisworms Junior Member

    I'm glad to have helped! That controller is widely available on the net. You should have no problem getting one.
     
  4. Albert Klettke
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: San Carlos, Sonora

    Albert Klettke New Member

    I am also from Kelowna but now live in San Carlos Mexico aboard my Sea Ray. I am very interested in your system, as I want to install it on my vessel. I'll be back in Kelowna for a visit for the last part of June and would like to meet and check out your installation. Maybe someone can explain if you can PM on this forum. The next step would be a DIY throttle system as I would like to eliminate 20 foot long cables.
     
  5. willisworms
    Joined: Mar 2016
    Posts: 7
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

    willisworms Junior Member

    Sure thing! Just let me know when you want to have a look. My boat is in shelter bay marina. I have also now found a source for joystick switches that will eliminate the need for the relays. This simplifies the system even further.
     
  6. Albert Klettke
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: San Carlos, Sonora

    Albert Klettke New Member

    I used to have my sailboat at Shelter Bay. My contact is adklettke@gmail.com
     

  7. willisworms
    Joined: Mar 2016
    Posts: 7
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

    willisworms Junior Member

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