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TOPIC: Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one...

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 29 Sep 2020 19:03 #118826

  • Kirsty Hamilton
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Hi Mike,
I am very sorry and can only apologise for my slow response as I only see your message now!
I'll ask our friend Engineer call you tomorrow if that is OK ? (just so that you'll both know what you are talking about!).
Thanks for your assitance.
Take care.
Kirsty.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 Sep 2020 09:58 #118538

Kristy please phone me on +33 778 78 37 10
Mike

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Mike & Rosaleen Miller

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 16 Sep 2020 23:13 #118533

  • Kirsty Hamilton
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Hi Mike,
you mentionned your set-up in a previous post and we are very interested to hear about it in more detail as this sounds really good...
This recycling of a proven system is very attractive and the low cost is a big selling point.
Our system would be even simpler than yours as only using one steering wheel so there is even more reason to check out if your system could work on our boat.
Would it be OK to get more info about your own system if it works well? (some pictures and/or some reference of the equipment fitted to Aquarelle would be awesome!!).
As well, do you have a rudder position indicator to allow you to know where it is at any given instant?

Don't worry if getting some information is not possible but that would certainly help.

Thanks...

Kirsty
(...and the crew that is getting more and more excited at the thought that the boat might soon move again!!)

Mike Miller wrote: A solution that is used on many of the Irish barges is to use the steering system from a combine harvester, this includes an engine driven pump, but will also work without the engine running ut more effort is required. You should be able to purchase all the bits for less than 200 euro from a tractor dealer. I have now used this system on 2 boats with dual helm. I have the tiller attached to the rudder post with a clamp that will give if the rudder is hit but can be reset without difficulty in a few minutes, if necessary. I have only once had to do this in 16 years.

Mike Miller
Aquarelle
LEEUWARDEN
NETHERLANDS
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one. 16 Sep 2020 22:50 #118532

  • Kirsty Hamilton
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Hello Balliol,
Thanks a lot for your analysis of the problem.
Your point about hitting an object in reverse is very relevant.
We are cruising in a Canal system that is in desperate need of dredging and hitting a shopping trolleys (or worst, a boulder from a collapsed wall) at random is very possible!!
Some form of a pressure relief within the actuator will be necessary...
Thanks!
Kisrty

Balliol Fowden wrote: Hi Kirsty. Greetings from wet and windy Oban.

I think we are presuming that you have a motor barge, i.e. it is no longer sailing, which makes a big difference to the forces in normal use.

Paul’s L& S formula should be fine in normal use, i.e. happily cruising along. In addition to considering the L&S calculated figure you could consider and compare the direct empirical approach, on the presumption that the system has worked fine in the past for a long time, and consider that the previous weakest links in normal use may have been the duplex chain at the wheel, or perhaps the pinion shaft assembly through the stern post, or the universal joints in the shafts. It would be easy enough to establish for example what the capacity of the roller chain is, and “match” the remainder of the system to that.

Whatever, the forces involved in steering a motor barge will be relatively small.

However, the ultimate force that the system may have to withstand will almost certainly be the case where you are travelling astern and hit a submerged object, quay wall etc. There you will have a force exerted on the system of basically speed x displacement of vessel (is it actually only 20 tonnes displacement?) x radius of tip of rudder. Imagine the tip of the rudder at say 60 degrees coming up against a stone wall at 1 knot astern with 20 tonnes of barge following! Steering system designers do not always consider this scenario!

As the mechanical system was I suspect that if you reversed into an obstruction the system would have “free wheeled” until the rudder came up against its physical stops, presumed to be the anti-ventilation plates over the prop with the rudder at 90 degrees. Thus the ultimate force would be a racking force on the rudder, but the rudder would be taking it, not the steering system.

A rotary actuator might not, subject to design, “free wheel”. If that is the case, and I might be hypothesising unnecessarily here, any overload force will be taken within the hydraulic system, or at some point downstream of the hydraulic system. That latter could be the pinion shaft through the sternpost or perhaps the key way between the shaft and pinion, either of which could break.

That would be the case if the hydraulic system locks up, but it may also be that your hydraulic rotary actuator includes some form of pressure relief or overload valve. You would have to check that with the manufacturer what the situation would if an excess force were to be applied from the driven unit, the rudder.

Alternatively it may be possible to incorporate a pressure relief valve elsewhere, but it it would be important when enquiring to make it absolutely clear that the overload force will be coming back from the driven part, the rudder.

On the rare occasions that we installed hydraulic steering we did the calculations, looked at the manufacturers’ recommendations and then went up a couple of sizes, but that was with rams and a pressure relief valve in the system.

Balliol.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 16 Sep 2020 22:33 #118531

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Hi Paul,
Thanks a lot for your comments and the link for doing some loading calculations... we shall check it out.
The experimental equipment is not really an option as there is no mean of steering at all at the moment but the proposition of using the old loads on the helm is a fair point.
Thanks!
Kirsty

Paul Hayes wrote: Hello Kirsty
I'm sorry, I don't know the formula, but a quick Google search "calculation of forces on a boat rudder" came up with a lot of hits.
Including this one, although I haven't gone past the first page.
www.ls-france.com/en/power-assisted-hydraulic-steering-systems/torque-calculation-assist/

The other thought crossed my mind is. You know the length of the original tiller, how much force is required to move it in the worse conditions? The only similar boat I have driven I would say " not a lot", i'd say well less than 20kg, but that is from memory, and we are all built differently.

So as torque is force x radius,

Make a gesstimate, or set up some experimental equipmen to gain more accurate figures.

Good luck.
Paul Hayes

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 13 Sep 2020 22:24 #118484

A solution that is used on many of the Irish barges is to use the steering system from a combine harvester, this includes an engine driven pump, but will also work without the engine running ut more effort is required. You should be able to purchase all the bits for less than 200 euro from a tractor dealer. I have now used this system on 2 boats with dual helm. I have the tiller attached to the rudder post with a clamp that will give if the rudder is hit but can be reset without difficulty in a few minutes, if necessary. I have only once had to do this in 16 years.

Mike Miller
Aquarelle
LEEUWARDEN
NETHERLANDS
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one. 13 Sep 2020 11:53 #118479

  • Balliol Fowden
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Hi Kirsty. Greetings from wet and windy Oban.

I think we are presuming that you have a motor barge, i.e. it is no longer sailing, which makes a big difference to the forces in normal use.

Paul’s L& S formula should be fine in normal use, i.e. happily cruising along. In addition to considering the L&S calculated figure you could consider and compare the direct empirical approach, on the presumption that the system has worked fine in the past for a long time, and consider that the previous weakest links in normal use may have been the duplex chain at the wheel, or perhaps the pinion shaft assembly through the stern post, or the universal joints in the shafts. It would be easy enough to establish for example what the capacity of the roller chain is, and “match” the remainder of the system to that.

Whatever, the forces involved in steering a motor barge will be relatively small.

However, the ultimate force that the system may have to withstand will almost certainly be the case where you are travelling astern and hit a submerged object, quay wall etc. There you will have a force exerted on the system of basically speed x displacement of vessel (is it actually only 20 tonnes displacement?) x radius of tip of rudder. Imagine the tip of the rudder at say 60 degrees coming up against a stone wall at 1 knot astern with 20 tonnes of barge following! Steering system designers do not always consider this scenario!

As the mechanical system was I suspect that if you reversed into an obstruction the system would have “free wheeled” until the rudder came up against its physical stops, presumed to be the anti-ventilation plates over the prop with the rudder at 90 degrees. Thus the ultimate force would be a racking force on the rudder, but the rudder would be taking it, not the steering system.

A rotary actuator might not, subject to design, “free wheel”. If that is the case, and I might be hypothesising unnecessarily here, any overload force will be taken within the hydraulic system, or at some point downstream of the hydraulic system. That latter could be the pinion shaft through the sternpost or perhaps the key way between the shaft and pinion, either of which could break.

That would be the case if the hydraulic system locks up, but it may also be that your hydraulic rotary actuator includes some form of pressure relief or overload valve. You would have to check that with the manufacturer what the situation would if an excess force were to be applied from the driven unit, the rudder.

Alternatively it may be possible to incorporate a pressure relief valve elsewhere, but it it would be important when enquiring to make it absolutely clear that the overload force will be coming back from the driven part, the rudder.

On the rare occasions that we installed hydraulic steering we did the calculations, looked at the manufacturers’ recommendations and then went up a couple of sizes, but that was with rams and a pressure relief valve in the system.

Balliol.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 13 Sep 2020 11:03 #118478

www.vetus.com/en/vetus-knowledge-center-steering-systems
Recall the ASAP catalogue has the calculations.
Also David Gerr's Nature of Boats on page 391.
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Colin Stone
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www.luxe-motor-kei.co.uk
DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 13 Sep 2020 10:16 #118477

Oh dear, maths. On our smallish rudder I cannot move it if I detach the ram and try to shove it from side to side using the little Vetus tiller clamped to the shaft If I put a bit of tube over the 'tiller' its easy so force x radius applies, short tiller = hard work. If your hydraulic ram is a big one with a long travel then it takes a lot of hydraulic oil to extend the piston and its rod, therefore you need a big pump that so that each turn of the wheel squirts a cupful of oil down the pipe,. Sadly a little pump = many turns and a big expensive pump = fewer turns. You probably know all this and I have probably misunderstood the question but it might just help.
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 13 Sep 2020 09:21 #118476

Hello Kirsty
I'm sorry, I don't know the formula, but a quick Google search "calculation of forces on a boat rudder" came up with a lot of hits.
Including this one, although I haven't gone past the first page.
www.ls-france.com/en/power-assisted-hydraulic-steering-systems/torque-calculation-assist/

The other thought crossed my mind is. You know the length of the original tiller, how much force is required to move it in the worse conditions? The only similar boat I have driven I would say " not a lot", i'd say well less than 20kg, but that is from memory, and we are all built differently.

So as torque is force x radius,

Make a gesstimate, or set up some experimental equipmen to gain more accurate figures.

Good luck.
Paul Hayes

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 12 Sep 2020 23:48 #118474

  • Kirsty Hamilton
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Hello,
Since my last communications and the useful comments of some members on this forum, things have progressed a bit regarding the design of our new steering setup...

Let me recap where we are;
Old mechanical steering system removed from our old Tjalk Barge (built in 1910) and new hydraulic system considered to replace it.
We have been in touch with Parker (hydraulics supplier) and the system that we are thinking about seems an option that could be neat and efficient.
The type of actuator that we could possibly use could be an Helical Hydraulic Rotary Actuator ( ph.parker.com/us/21058/en/helical-hydraulic-rotary-actuator-l10-series ).
One of the main issue that we have is working out the loading that could be exerted on the rudder to make sure that the actuator that we choose is rightly sized and good for the job.
Those actuators are quite expensive and even though we want to be on the safe side and have some safety margin within the gear that we chose for such critical operation, we don't especially want to unnecessarily get an actuator that is far too large…
As well, one of the reasons for trying to size rightly the actuator is that the volume of oil necessary to move it changes drastically when a larger model is being chosen (hence the sizing of the helm pump could change a lot and/or the number of turns of the helms could become ridiculous if we wrongly size the actuator).

So, our question to the forum is as follow.
Would anybody know what sort of loading can be expected on the Rudder in the worst-case scenario?? (roughly…)
Once we know the maximum forces playing around the rudder and the torque required to act on it then we will be able to choose the right Actuator and get the project moving forward.

If any of you is willing to assist that would be awesome.
Here are a few numbers that might help with the maths…
Barge Gross weight; 22t
Length; 17.5m.
Width; 3.75m.
Draught; 1m.
Rudder size; ~ 1m2 (projection of one side of the rudder…) so about 2m2 submerged in total.

Thanks for any help or advice…

Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 01 Jun 2020 08:30 #116350

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Hello and thank you very much to all the contributors to this thread as the responses are extremely useful for us and the coming hydraulic steering mods.
We will update you when things get more precise and to confirm that we haven't missed anything before installing a new system.
Thank you! ...dank u wel...

Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 21 May 2020 17:52 #116128

My 70 - 0 - 70 is 10 turns lock to lock, so 5 in normal 35 - 0 - 35 use. And I can spin the wheel.
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DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 21 May 2020 11:27 #116117

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Peter Smith wrote: Hi Kirsty,
As Balliol says the hydraulic system is a bit dead but the advantage is the rudder doesn't override the wheel when travelling in reverse at any speed.
With our system it takes a lot of turns of the wheel (20 or so) to go from lock to lock. It can get busy in a confined environment however the key is to go very slowly. When I am creating a disaster it also happens slowly! On the other hand at cruise speed we only use a wheel adjustment of one spoke at a time due to the big rudder. If we made the total lock turns less ( the pumps are adjustable) then it would take tiny afdustments at cruise speeds.


I always go astern very slowly, even though I can lock my wheel!!

20 turns is a lot, lock to lock, particularly on a manual hydraulic system, which cannot be "spun" in the same way as a free-running mechanical system. Personally, for a 70+ - 0 - 70+ arc I would go for about ten to twelve turns overall, but it is a matter of personal preference, whether the rudder is balanced (not in this case I think) etc.

However, perhaps the best place to start is with what Kirsty was used to before, and whether that worked OK for her. It is then a matter of counting sprocket and gear teeth to work back to how many turns she had before.

I am not sure that the pumps are "adjustable." I think that you may have to do a bit of trial and error. The pump and motor capacities are usually expressed in c..c.'s of oil per revolution, easy to work out once you know what ratio you want.

Kirsty, I will send you a pm.

Balliol.
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 21 May 2020 02:09 #116113

Hi Kirsty, I have a 25meter barge with a no power as sits rudder upgrade. The rudder is large, literally half the size of a house door. It has a hydraulic pump directly connected to the ships wheel, some half inch pipes going to the Rams. I don't see an issue to have a hydraulic rotary drive for your pinion, which from the outside would appear traditional and neat.
As Balliol says the hydraulic system is a bit dead but the advantage is the rudder doesn't override the wheel when travelling in reverse at any speed.
With our system it takes a lot of turns of the wheel (20 or so) to go from lock to lock. It can get busy in a confined environment however the key is to go very slowly. When I am creating a disaster it also happens slowly! On the other hand at cruise speed we only use a wheel adjustment of one spoke at a time due to the big rudder. If we made the total lock turns less ( the pumps are adjustable) then it would take tiny afdustments at cruise speeds.
If you wish there is a thank you button at the bottom of the post, it reduces she's the number of posts and still conveys the message.
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 20 May 2020 20:54 #116108

Hi Kirsty.
Most double activating rams in the marine environment are:
1) Relatively large diameter. This is because manual helm pumps operate at low (ish) pressure, so the piston area has to be large to turn low pressure (pounds per square inch or kg per cm2) into pounds of thrust, which acts on the tiller traveling through an arc, the number of degrees of tiller movement is dictated by a) the length of half of the piston travel in accordance with the length of the tiller from piston rod attachment to the centre of the pintle. The length of travel is a fixed known, however, many tillers have a number of attachment holes, so that there's some adjustment for the number of degrees of tiller turn available, it must be remembered that by altering the effective length of the tiller, the torque applied to the tiller (hence the rudder) and the rater of response will be effected.

2) "Balanced cylinders", which means that the area that the fluid acts on is the same in each direction, this is achieved by having a rod of the same diameter as the piston rod (effectively a double length piston rod) which extends out of the "blind end" of the cylinder end cap. This insurers that equal volume of fluid goes in and out at the same rate.

What is sometimes used is standard non balancing cylinders, one pushing to port, the other to starboard. Again they act against the tiller.

I hope that this description makes sense. A scan around online catalogues should help.

Paul Hayes
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 20 May 2020 10:23 #116095

Actually on our boat it is all in the counter, we have a little tug with a stern shaped like a small luxemotor so everything fits on the top of the rudder shaft but possibly due to the hopeless skills of the steerer we sometimes need that little bit extra to get out of trouble!

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 20 May 2020 08:17 #116093

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Mike Miller wrote: A very cheap solution is to use an orbital unit and ram from a combine harvester, sometimes it is also possible to get the pump as well but only if it is for steering only. A source of pumps are 4x4 cars but you will need to reduce the pressure relief valve, just put some washers under the bolt that holds the spring in place. We have this set up on Aquarelle and even have 2 orbital units for dual helm, but have to have a change over valve. You should be able to purchase orbital units for about 50 euro, and combine harvesters do very little work so second hand ones are like new. Remember to also get the spline from the end of the steering column. It is not necessary to use steel pipe nylon is sufficient.
Mike
In Amersfoort Netherlands.

Thanks Mike!
Great tip...

Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 20 May 2020 08:14 #116092

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Richard Cooper wrote: This is an interesting thread, our boat has a double acting ram pushing and pulling on a Vetus 'tiller arm' and as Balliol says, this arrangement does not allow for rudder movements much over a certain max. as things start to foul. Ours is satisfactory but it could be better. There is a theoretical max to shove the rudder over after which it ceases to work properly but sometimes when trying to poke the boat into a tight gap in a marina I reckon a few more degrees might save a bit of embarrassment. If our present system ever fails then I reckon a rotary thingy is the way to go.

Hello Richard,
Thanks for your comments.
The comment about that extra bit of angle on the rudder is a fair point !
From you description I assume that the whole ram assembly is outside and we would indeed favour an internal setup...
Regards.
Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 18 May 2020 17:14 #116051

A very cheap solution is to use an orbital unit and ram from a combine harvester, sometimes it is also possible to get the pump as well but only if it is for steering only. A source of pumps are 4x4 cars but you will need to reduce the pressure relief valve, just put some washers under the bolt that holds the spring in place. We have this set up on Aquarelle and even have 2 orbital units for dual helm, but have to have a change over valve. You should be able to purchase orbital units for about 50 euro, and combine harvesters do very little work so second hand ones are like new. Remember to also get the spline from the end of the steering column. It is not necessary to use steel pipe nylon is sufficient.
Mike
In Amersfoort Netherlands.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 18 May 2020 15:32 #116049

Richard,
A usual rudder range whilst underway is 35 - 0 - 35 degrees. Anymore than that, possibly less, and the water flow over the rudder stalls. But to be able to go to 70 - 90 degrees is very useful as a quick burst of power will direct the wash sideways, effectively a stern thruster. As as you say, good for tight gaps in a marina.
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DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 18 May 2020 14:52 #116046

This is an interesting thread, our boat has a double acting ram pushing and pulling on a Vetus 'tiller arm' and as Balliol says, this arrangement does not allow for rudder movements much over a certain max. as things start to foul. Ours is satisfactory but it could be better. There is a theoretical max to shove the rudder over after which it ceases to work properly but sometimes when trying to poke the boat into a tight gap in a marina I reckon a few more degrees might save a bit of embarrassment. If our present system ever fails then I reckon a rotary thingy is the way to go.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 18 May 2020 09:14 #116042

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Balliol Fowden wrote: Yes, I am a pretty sure that a torque motor is the way to go. You should be able to fit a Fennerflex or similar flexible coupling onto the existing shaft once modified with a key way, then the motor. You have the basics of the bracketry and a couple of bearings on the shaft already. Your engineer may have to think a little bit about thrust from the bevel gear.

At the wheel you may be able to leave the existing ships wheel, jack shaft, bearings and chain sprocket in place and mount the pump lower down where the bottom sprocket is.

Don’t forget that the forces on that rudder can be pretty massive. Over engineer or spec generously. Presumably the rudder uses the cavitation plates as “stops”. I would want to check that the rudder cannot lift and strain the bevel gear and shaft.

I can’t help with any contacts in Scotland, supply or fit, but I have a local supplier in Coventry who should know what is needed. From memory the pump and motor should only cost a few hundred pounds: nothing special needed. Give me a call if you need any further help.

Balliol.


Hello Balliol,
All points noted. This is great...
We might get our friend engineer to contact you at some stage if there are difficulties.
How can we get your number?
I would welcome your Coventry contact if you don't mind... and we'll give that to the Engineer.

Thanks a lot Balliol. Your advice and experiance is much appreciated...

Kisrtsy

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 18 May 2020 09:05 #116041

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Paul Hayes wrote: Hi Kirsty

Perhaps think out of the "marine" box.

"Rotary Actuator", as you describe it, would actually be a hydraulic motor, very common in the building plant and heavy equipment / fork truck industry to drive things.

What you need is a hydraulic motor (which are reversible) driving the original shaft stub (if I see the photos correctly). This may need some type of drive unit, chain and sprocket gears etc. All depending on size and speed of motor.

Speed of motor depends on how much oil it requires to turn one revolution, divided by the amount of oil delivered by the pump, then the number of revolutions required to move the rudder through full swing in a time that you decided on.

Pump, can be main engine mounted (driven) oil to either direction via a valve, probably operated by a joystick.

Or a reversible 12 or 24 volt electric pump, again joy stick mounted.

It would be possible for a wheel driven helm pump to be used if you want a manual, rather than a powered system.

There's lots of hydraulic supply companies out there who will help with the calculations.

A good plant engineer would be more than capable in sorting a system out.

Paul Hayes

Hello Paul,
Thanks a lot for your input on the matter...
It's great to see so many Engineering minds assisting us!
All comments noted.
Regards.
Kirsty.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 18 May 2020 08:59 #116040

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Derek and Janice Wallace wrote: Are you at Auchinstarry ?

Derek

Hello Derek,
Yes, we are based in Auchinstarry...
Do you know the place?

Regards.
Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one.. 18 May 2020 08:49 #116039

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Yes, I am a pretty sure that a torque motor is the way to go. You should be able to fit a Fennerflex or similar flexible coupling onto the existing shaft once modified with a key way, then the motor. You have the basics of the bracketry and a couple of bearings on the shaft already. Your engineer may have to think a little bit about thrust from the bevel gear.

At the wheel you may be able to leave the existing ships wheel, jack shaft, bearings and chain sprocket in place and mount the pump lower down where the bottom sprocket is.

Don’t forget that the forces on that rudder can be pretty massive. Over engineer or spec generously. Presumably the rudder uses the cavitation plates as “stops”. I would want to check that the rudder cannot lift and strain the bevel gear and shaft.

I can’t help with any contacts in Scotland, supply or fit, but I have a local supplier in Coventry who should know what is needed. From memory the pump and motor should only cost a few hundred pounds: nothing special needed. Give me a call if you need any further help.

Balliol.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 23:40 #116038

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Are you at Auchinstarry ?

Derek

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 23:20 #116037

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Balliol Fowden wrote: Kirsty,

When I tried to post earlier I was raising questions such as whether a variant of the existing system could be fitted, but I will leave those options until I see some photos and discuss if appropriate. I was also suggesting that you steer clear of yachty systems, but I see somebody else has the same view!

The important point was that your previous system was in my opinion ideal since the pinion and quadrant at the rudder stock gave you a really good arc of movement on the rudder, which most proprietary marine systems will not give you. A good arc of movement is very valuable in heavy inland vessels where close quarters manoeuvering happens all the time The existing shaft and pinion through the sternpost to a quadrant on the rudder stock is an excellent means of unobtrusively operating the rudder (subject to confirming a few design points) and from the look of it you will get an arc of almost 90 degrees either side of dead ahead, which is excellent. It would be very difficult to obtain anything like that arc of movement on a tjalk stern vessel In the normal way using a hydraulic ram or actuator without a rather ugly and vulnerable external linkage. Shame about the shaft through the cabin though!

Personally I dislike hydraulics for steering because of the lack of feel and feedback, but it may be your only viable way, subject to seeing more photos to see what other options might present.

You can I think apply hydraulics to the existing shaft by using a low speed hydraulic torque motor. These are readily available industrially, used for things like horse walkers, fairground carousels, crane slew mechanisms etc. I have used them frequently for anchor windlasses.

There is an alternative more Heath Robinson way of converting linear actuation by hydraulic ram to rotary motion using sprockets and chains, but I will try and describe that only if photos suggest you can’t fit the low speed Torquemotor, which I think would be your best bet.

To fit the motor you will need some simple bracketry and a coupling. You will need an additional support bearing on the front of the shaft and a key way will need to be cut in the shaft. The torque motor and coupling will need a space equivalent to about a shoe box. A suitably rated pump can be mated directly to the wheel (it should shoe-horn in nicely between the shelves, if you forgive the pun!), and you will need a small reservoir plus of course good hoses. There would be no need for any power assistance if you don’t want it. The whole thing can be set up to give the best number of turns to the wheel by selecting the correct pump ratios, and I see you have the ideal wheel.

You will need a reasonably competent general engineer but the components can be sourced industrially at sensible cost. I can probably give you a name.

Where is the boat?

Balliol.

I can imagine that you were upset if you lost your last post and went into so much details in wrting it!!:ohmy:
Thanks for your thorough response!

You have there described the setup that we think would work best indeed; Hydraulics with Steering Pump and hydraulic motor. Both carefully selected to achieve the best possible ratio between Wheel rotation and torque.
If you reckon that a power pack isn't necessary then that is brilliant!
We are based on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland and we have a Friend who is a marine Engineer and he said that he would be looking at changing the steering for a new setup.
Still, let us know if you have a contact for another marine Engineer "just in case" if you know of one in the area.
We will be sending to our friend engineer all the good comments from this Forum for him to work out the best set up.

...Please find attached some extra pictures to visualise a little better the setup...

Thanks again for you invaluable responses!!!
Kisrty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 22:52 #116036

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Derek and Janice Wallace wrote: You could stay mechanical. A drum or sprockets on the wheel shaft and one on the pinion shaft connected by cables/chains (bike style but bigger) run where possible. Down along under the floor and back up maybe ?
Teflon covered cables run quite nicely inside metal hydraulic tubes. Severe changes in direction require simple wheels.
If your really heading the hysraulic direction then look at track drives or slew motors from a mini digger. You'd need a power pack to drive it.
The other possibility is a rack and pinion setup from a truck mounted (Hiab style) crane.
Derek

Hi Derek,
Thank you for your input as your comments are as well very useful...
We don't really want to go towars cables and pulleys primarily for a space issue and the hydraulic option feels more attractive (easier set up...in theory!) and hoping for a less straining and smoother response from the wheel if it is a direct connection between the steering pump and the rudder actuator but please let us know if that is a wrong assumption.
Yes, the power pack woud sadly be to be considered in case of a rack and pinion set up... (power consumption to be considered then) but it's a viable option.
Thanks a lot...
Kisrty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 22:37 #116035

Hi Kirsty

Perhaps think out of the "marine" box.

"Rotary Actuator", as you describe it, would actually be a hydraulic motor, very common in the building plant and heavy equipment / fork truck industry to drive things.

What you need is a hydraulic motor (which are reversible) driving the original shaft stub (if I see the photos correctly). This may need some type of drive unit, chain and sprocket gears etc. All depending on size and speed of motor.

Speed of motor depends on how much oil it requires to turn one revolution, divided by the amount of oil delivered by the pump, then the number of revolutions required to move the rudder through full swing in a time that you decided on.

Pump, can be main engine mounted (driven) oil to either direction via a valve, probably operated by a joystick.

Or a reversible 12 or 24 volt electric pump, again joy stick mounted.

It would be possible for a wheel driven helm pump to be used if you want a manual, rather than a powered system.

There's lots of hydraulic supply companies out there who will help with the calculations.

A good plant engineer would be more than capable in sorting a system out.

Paul Hayes

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 22:01 #116033

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Richard Cooper wrote: You might find that you get more info. from non marine sources. If you google rotary actuators there are lots of companies that supply them for all sorts of factory and plant use. If you are really stuck for something to do in these lockdown days look up swash plate pumps on You Tube and marvel at the graphics! these are the type commonly used as steering pumps fixed to the wheel, As for the rudder end of the set up I expect a hydraulic engineering company could suggest some sort of solution.

Hi richard,
Thanks for your comments.
As for the pump I think that it is indeed pretty straight forward and standard part. we'll contact a hydraulic Engineering company as you suggest to see if there is an off the shelf actuator that could suit our needs (it would basically be a reversed pump ).
Regards.
Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 20:47 #116030

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Kirsty,

When I tried to post earlier I was raising questions such as whether a variant of the existing system could be fitted, but I will leave those options until I see some photos and discuss if appropriate. I was also suggesting that you steer clear of yachty systems, but I see somebody else has the same view!

The important point was that your previous system was in my opinion ideal since the pinion and quadrant at the rudder stock gave you a really good arc of movement on the rudder, which most proprietary marine systems will not give you. A good arc of movement is very valuable in heavy inland vessels where close quarters manoeuvering happens all the time The existing shaft and pinion through the sternpost to a quadrant on the rudder stock is an excellent means of unobtrusively operating the rudder (subject to confirming a few design points) and from the look of it you will get an arc of almost 90 degrees either side of dead ahead, which is excellent. It would be very difficult to obtain anything like that arc of movement on a tjalk stern vessel In the normal way using a hydraulic ram or actuator without a rather ugly and vulnerable external linkage. Shame about the shaft through the cabin though!

Personally I dislike hydraulics for steering because of the lack of feel and feedback, but it may be your only viable way, subject to seeing more photos to see what other options might present.

You can I think apply hydraulics to the existing shaft by using a low speed hydraulic torque motor. These are readily available industrially, used for things like horse walkers, fairground carousels, crane slew mechanisms etc. I have used them frequently for anchor windlasses.

There is an alternative more Heath Robinson way of converting linear actuation by hydraulic ram to rotary motion using sprockets and chains, but I will try and describe that only if photos suggest you can’t fit the low speed Torquemotor, which I think would be your best bet.

To fit the motor you will need some simple bracketry and a coupling. You will need an additional support bearing on the front of the shaft and a key way will need to be cut in the shaft. The torque motor and coupling will need a space equivalent to about a shoe box. A suitably rated pump can be mated directly to the wheel (it should shoe-horn in nicely between the shelves, if you forgive the pun!), and you will need a small reservoir plus of course good hoses. There would be no need for any power assistance if you don’t want it. The whole thing can be set up to give the best number of turns to the wheel by selecting the correct pump ratios, and I see you have the ideal wheel.

You will need a reasonably competent general engineer but the components can be sourced industrially at sensible cost. I can probably give you a name.

Where is the boat?

Balliol.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 20:23 #116029

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You could stay mechanical. A drum or sprockets on the wheel shaft and one on the pinion shaft connected by cables/chains (bike style but bigger) run where possible. Down along under the floor and back up maybe ?
Teflon covered cables run quite nicely inside metal hydraulic tubes. Severe changes in direction require simple wheels.
If your really heading the hysraulic direction then look at track drives or slew motors from a mini digger. You'd need a power pack to drive it.
The other possibility is a rack and pinion setup from a truck mounted (Hiab style) crane.
Derek

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 17:40 #116026

You might find that you get more info. from non marine sources. If you google rotary actuators there are lots of companies that supply them for all sorts of factory and plant use. If you are really stuck for something to do in these lockdown days look up swash plate pumps on You Tube and marvel at the graphics! these are the type commonly used as steering pumps fixed to the wheel, As for the rudder end of the set up I expect a hydraulic engineering company could suggest some sort of solution.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 17:03 #116024

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Olivier Zolli wrote: Lecomble & Schmitt in France is a very knowledgeable hydraulic steering systems specialist: www.ls-france.com/en/

Thanks a lot Olivier,
I went onto the website and it is quite good indeed.
I start to realise that we are not going to find the type of actuator that we were hoping for as all the ones presented on this website are as well of the linear type (no hydraulic rotary actuators as we hoped...).
We might contact them to check out what they say.
Regards.
Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 16:41 #116022

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Colin Stone wrote: Balliol will no doubt come up with some good stuff but for a start I would forget about Vetus and go for proper heavy duty commercial kit.
I used a Wills Ridley steering pump and their 70 - 0 - 70 rudder cylinder and the ship yard put in the steel hydraulic piping to connect the two. Powered options are available.
I did chicken out and made my own 1m diameter wheel.
www.willsridley.com/

Thanks a lot Colin,
same as Balliol, your quick response is much appreciated...

I just had a quick look and I found the steering pumps but I only found linear actuators (Rams...).
By rudder cylinder, do you mean a rotary actuator (which would be ideal) or a straight Ram that would connect outside between the hull and the rudder shaft itself to control it? (less ideal)
We are hoping to find a type of actuator that could somehow be discreet and connect directly onto the original rudder gear inside the boat just before it penetrates the hull.
Do you know what is the standard set up on other Dutch Barges?
You commented about going yourself for the larger wheel on your boat. Is that because if you don't have an intermediate pump and the feedback resistance that you get in the wheel is high??

Sorry for our many questions...and thanks in advance!
Kirsty.

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 15:55 #116021

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Hello Balliol,
Thanks a million for replying that fast!
I will soon take some more pictures and I will post them for you to view.
Regards.
Kirsty

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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 13:29 #116017

Lecomble & Schmitt in France is a very knowledgeable hydraulic steering systems specialist: www.ls-france.com/en/
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kirsty Hamilton

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Barge register : Lumacona
Facebook page : LumaconaSagar

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 12:59 #116015

Balliol will no doubt come up with some good stuff but for a start I would forget about Vetus and go for proper heavy duty commercial kit.
I used a Wills Ridley steering pump and their 70 - 0 - 70 rudder cylinder and the ship yard put in the steel hydraulic piping to connect the two. Powered options are available.
I did chicken out and made my own 1m diameter wheel.
www.willsridley.com/
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Colin Stone
Barge Register KEI
www.luxe-motor-kei.co.uk
DBA - The Barge Association
DBA - De Binnenvaartvereniging
DBA - L’Association des Péniches de Plaisance

Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 12:28 #116013

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Kirsty,

I just typed a response on my ipad (since computer down) but this bxxxxy forum lost it when my internet connection dropped out. Whilst I scrape myself off the ceiling can you post some more photos. General, relationship of wheelhouse to engine room etc. and I will then try again.

Balliol.
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Converting an old traditional steering system to an hydraulic one... 17 May 2020 11:24 #116012

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Hello,
Our boat was originaly fitted with a steering system that was made of mechanical linkages between the steering wheel and the rudder.
The whole set up was recently removed to free the aft cabin in our boat (as a transmission shaft was passing right through that cabin which we converted into a bedroom for our daughter...).

We are now looking at retrofitting an hydraulic steering system to replace that old voluminous mechanical setup and we are looking for any advice on the subject.
We found on the DBA forum the reference of Vetus steering pump (HTP30R) but there seems to be complaints about this equipment and difficulties with dealing with vetus.
I read through some topics that an hydraulic pump can sometimes be found connected to the engine but I was hoping that there could be a simple way to link directly an hydraulic helm steering pump to a rotary actuator that would be driving the rudder (without a booster pump in the middle...).
I attach a couple of pictures showing the rudder gearing configuration (and the view from the inside of the boat were the old steering shaft was cut...

I hope that my definition is clear enough!? (I can send more pictures if needs be...)
Thanks for any info/ help...

Kisrty
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