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S&S Swan General - Neco autopilot
18 April 2016 - 15:43
#1
Join Date: 16 April 2010
Posts: 2

Neco autopilot

Hello

 

I have a BG hydra 3000 autopilot cpu and necodrive but I havent got around to find out whether these two brands can communicate with each other.

BG dates from 2007 and Neco presumably from 1976. I understand that Neco was the preferred choice by Nautor at the time of the manufacture.

Could anybody offer any advice whether it is worth trying or should I just get a new drive.

Thanks in advance.

 

Sakari Sorri ( Zorro III/ swan 41 )

18 April 2016 - 21:44
#2
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 440

Hi,

I am not familiar with the Hydra 3000 but I know very well the Neco.  If your autopilot processor is able to drive solenoids you can interface it to the Neco Drive Unit rather easily.  I wrote a note that explains how to do it and I will be glad to send it to you.

Daniel 411/004

19 April 2016 - 07:27
#3
Join Date: 16 April 2010
Posts: 2

Hi,

I am not familiar with the Hydra 3000 but I know very well the Neco.  If your autopilot processor is able to drive solenoids you can interface it to the Neco Drive Unit rather easily.  I wrote a note that explains how to do it and I will be glad to send it to you.

Daniel 411/004

Dear Daniel

 

I would appreciate your note very much. It is not that I would not mind getting a new drive but Neco - at least on the outside looks very sturdy - as the boat itself ! Which you already knew !

 

BR Sakari

19 April 2016 - 09:08
#4
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 440

I sent the note to the address I found in the member list.

Indeed the Neco Drive is very sturdy and reliable and it is worth keeping as a rudder actuator for our boats.  For what I am concerned I think that also the old outdated Neco Control Unit provides all what is required to steer a sailboat!  ...but this is a very personal idea!

Daniel, 411/004

29 April 2016 - 00:49
#5
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 72

For what it is worth I am adding my two cents worth on this subject: I have had a PJ 40 since 1991 and singlehand all the time. The autopilot is essential for me. In that, I have a lttle in common with the BOAC boats. They are very secretive about their pilots but I have found out that fast rudder response is essential: not more than eight seconds hard over to hard over. I had an Autohelm 4000 control unit driving a homebuilt actuator. Now I have a B&G Network control unit and the B&G fluxgate compass. BOAC boats use a gyro compass because of the latitudes they sail. I found the fluxgate sufficient, but have not been North of Prince Rupert, CA. My actuator uses a hydraulic ram pushing/pulling on a tiller arm fastened to the rudder shaft, seperate from the Nautor quadrant. There was enough square left on the shaft to clamp the tiller arm. There is a gear pump driven by a toothed belt driven by a DC motor that is rated at five amps. There is a valve actuated by a push/pull cable from the cockpit that permits the oil to flow freely between the two ports of the hydraulic ram when I hand-steer. I have to close that valve when the autopilot is steering. On a normal installation, such a valve is a solenoid using about one ampere all the time. Because of my manual operation, I save power. The DC motor came from Grainger, the pump from a local manufacturer of pilots, the hydraulic cylinder from a hydraulic stuff supplier. I use the pilot all the time. It steers much better than a person. I had a failure of the B&G control head 15 years ago because it is in the cockpit and exposed to weather. B&G repaired it by installing a new board and said: "10 years service is pretty good for marine use". I subsequently bought a spare control head and have used the repaired one for the last 15 years. In the Winter I take the control head home where it is warm.  I never want to sail without my pilot again.  In very high winds I have to reduce sail and balance the boat, especially down-wind. When steering becomes hard the electric motor does not have enough torque to move the rudder and the pilot beeps. On one occasion I tried to hand steer because I was almost in port and did not want to reduce sail just yet. It was surprisingly hard to turn the wheel and the boat really wanted to round up; it told me very strongly to take down some sail.

29 April 2016 - 09:46
#6
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 440

Hi Peter,

Your long comment makes perfectly sense. If you need a very strong and fast autopilot actuator the best choice is to have a ram acting directly onto the rudder quadrant. Mechanical linear actuators are ok but hydraulic rams are even better.  Such a configuration has the additional feature to perform as a back-up in case the manual rudder system based on cables fails.

I do not think that it is possible to compare the old Neco autopilot to modern systems: based on advanced technical issues the former loses on all aspects.  I would never dare comparing James Bond Aston Martin to a modern Ferrari; notwithstanding there are people who still cherish their Aston Martin and like to travel with it - whenever wise modern vehicle regulations allow it!  :-)

Daniel, 411/004

 

01 May 2016 - 01:58
#7
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 72

No ! Stop & Think! A new Ferrari is just an expensive car; anyone with money can buy one. But James Bond's Aston has pedigree and lot's of gadgets, it can fly too and imagine how good you would look driving it. My old 280SL came with an assurance that it was a "sure chick magnet". It was for a while, but you know that warranties expire. Now they just smile at me and say: that car is older than me. I charge "a cup of coffee" for a ride now. The Ferrari rides hard and you can just watch the gas gage move down as you drive. If you want to keep the RPM up where they should be, you can't get out of second gear around here. It is noisy too. You want an elegant old car with pedigree and drive slowly so that people can see you. It is similar with our old S&S sailboats. Those who know, appreciate the beauty, the quality of built and those who take them to sea appreciate the seaworthyness. Just money can not buy one; it takes dedication and commitment to own one. It takes a willingness to work on them. The reward comes when someone asks: What kind of boat is that? It is beautiful! I always answer: it's a sailboat.  

01 May 2016 - 12:00
#8
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 440

Hi Peter,

I am afraid I miss the point of contention because I believe we basically think the same way!  What I was meaning is only that I love my Neco although I acknowledge its limits and, at the same time, I encourage and help whoever thinks like me.  At the same time I fully comprehend who makes a different choice because, no doubts about it, it is very reasonable and, for several aspects, more efficient.

And, by the way: your 280SL is a beautiful car indeed, it does match well a S&S Swan!

Daniel, 411/004

 

26 May 2016 - 17:24
#9
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

 Look like we the older guys like big boys toys and appreciate quality and something classic more than brash and flash.  

19 November 2016 - 20:12
#10
Join Date: 27 August 2014
Posts: 12

Daniel ... could you please send me the "note" about connecting the Neco Motor to a modern pilot?   I'd like to do the same.   I'ver heard good things about the Neco drive motors!

Larry

 

26 October 2017 - 21:41
#11
Join Date: 27 August 2014
Posts: 12

Daniel, could you send me your note about connecting to the Neco pilot?   I'd very much like to use my Neco motor with a Simrad course computer.   My email is lwhillman@gmail.com   Thank You!

 

27 October 2017 - 09:17
#12
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 440

Daniel, could you send me your note about connecting to the Neco pilot?   I'd very much like to use my Neco motor with a Simrad course computer.   My email is lwhillman@gmail.com   Thank You!

 

Done!

Daniel, Luna Menguante 411/004

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