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mechanical install, Hunter 34
Hello all, I am in the process of updating, fixing, cleaning our new to us Hunter 34, she sails great, just needs some TLC. I am going to be installing a Tinypilot hat, and motor controller from Sean, but I was wondering if anyone here has installed a drive motor in a similar boat. I dont have an existing auto helm, and I prefer to not go the wheel pilot route, I want to be able to change/disconnect the autopilot system without having to physically engage/disengage a manual clutch so i will need a motor with a built in clutch. I just wanted to see if anyone here has done anything similar, before I start yet another R&D project :Smile thanks in advance for any help. 


The challenge is finding a reasonably priced actuator that has the speed and the strength to move your rudder in all, or at least most, sea states. Higher winds and sea states tend to really test the autopilot, and in particular the actuator. The problem is that the lever arm from the rudder post to the outside of the quadrant just isn't that long, so the forces there tend to be pretty high - much higher than required if the boat was tiller steered.

In my case, my boat came with a Raymarine autopilot already installed. The actuator for it is pretty large, as is the wiring going to the actuator from the control box. You also, obviously, need to think about how waterproof it all is.

I suggest looking around Ebay or something like that for a good used actuator from an autopilot. Here's an example:

Here's the specs on my actuator. Note the speed of operation (1.2in/sec) and the force capabilities:
Thank you for the info, I’ll post what I find on the forum. Wish me luck.

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