Monday, 9 April 2012

Remote Controls

In my March Madness post a little while ago, I showed the beginnings of taking apart and rebuilding the engine remote. In that post I got as far as taking the remote off the boat. If you followed that at all, you are likely wondering why I let things sit after that. Truth is I am waiting for parts to come in from some warehouse in Florida.

Back then though I promised to pick up where I left off and give a look at what went wrong with the remote. To that end, here we go.

Most of the workings of the remote are hidden in the quarter-berth, with only the handle and the cables exposed outside the boat. The portion of remote inside the boat looks like this:

As you can see at the back of that pic, the cables that connect the remote to the throttle and shifter exit at the back of the fixed unit to push and pull at the controls on the outboard.

Looking closely, you can see that one of the cables has frayed badly, in fact the casing for the cable has failed completely. That cable is the shift cable, which I imagine was stressed when a stray nut was preventing the engine from shifting into reverse earlier in the season. Replacement cables are now on their way from Florida as mentioned above.

I took another photo of the cables to give a feel for the failure.

Of course it held together until we were coming down the fairway a little hot and I really needed reverse badly. I didn't get reverse, but with the right swear words, and a little help from dock neighbours, we managed to get the boat parked without any damage.

In order to remove the cables from the shifter, you have to open the shifter up, which is easy enough since only 3 bolts hold it together.

Inside, the shift mechanism is on one half of the clam shell casing, and the throttle is on the other. Everything is very dry, so I plan on lubing all the moving parts with a good synthetic grease that has been floating around since my mountain biking days.

So the first side of the gizmo is the throttle mechanism.

The way the throttle remote works is that the handle rotates a centre pin which has a cam attached to it. The cam moves a slider up and down a groove to give limits to the movement. This defines full throttle in forward and reverse. The cam also slides against an arm which extends to apply pressure to the cable. The cable then opens and closes the throttle at the engine.

The other side of the remote is the shift mechanism.

Based on the same centre pin, which attaches to the handle in the cockpit via a bunch of splines on the hub, the shifter is about equal in its simplicity. The small spring on the right of the photo presses a plastic slider into detents that define forward, neutral, and reverse. the bright silver button at the bottom of the photo is the cable attachment. When the lever is rotated, the cam moves between gears, the detents engage, and the cable is pushed or pulled to shift gears at the engine.

Now that we've seen inside the shifter, we'll have to wait for the new cables to arrive and see if it all works once it gets reassembled in the boat. According to the folks in Florida, that should be any time now.

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