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It is possible to to drive a tiller using a winch drive. I have success with this using a 1 inch pipe mounted to a windshield wiper motor. A line is wrapped around this pipe 5 turns, and connected to the tiller.

The alignment of the pipe is critical to ensure the line does not walk to the ends.

The advantages over tillerpilots or linear actuators:

  • use windshield wiper motors from cars, available for very cheap. These motors also have two speeds.
  • easily adjust the gain by using different size pipe (recommend 1 inch or smaller diameter)
  • reuse existing line connections from windvane
  • testing shows this is more efficient than using a tillerpilot

The disadvantages:

  • Slack in the lines gives more play in the system
  • More work to connect/disconnect lines than lift tillerpilot from pin
  • More involved mounting to the boat
  • lines across cockpit
winch_drives.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/30 16:47 by