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My 505 DD2 autopilot upgrade

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ohthetrees View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 December 2020 at 04:28
As many know from that big Jefa Autopilot failure thread, the DD1 seems to be a trouble point for many. My autopilot failed while in the care of a delivery crew New Caledonia --> Hawaii. In Hawaii, I rebuilt the autopilot (gear teeth had sheared off), and moved the draglink to the proper outer tiller hole (Hanse assembled many improperly). It did fine on my passage Hawaii --> Seattle, but I did baby it a bit (reduced sail if boat speeds exceeded 8kn, even more with bigger following seas). 4000nm after my rebuild it failed again passaging Seattle --> Southern California in following seas. 

I've decided to upgrade to a DD2. While Jefa recommends the DD1 for boats up to 45', so in this case I blame Hanse for under-speccing, rather than Jefa, who mades good stuff, in my opinion. The DD2 is for boats up to 55' according to Jefa, and is what Hanse should have installed originally.

Unfortunately, the DD2 is not a drop-in replacement. The DD2 is too tall to fit in the same space as the DD1, and it doesn't appear even water resistant. Therefore it must be installed upside down under the deck, directly below where the old one was installed using a special tiller arm made by Jefa for this purpose.  

In this thread I will record my experience getting the DD2 to work.




Edited by ohthetrees - 27 December 2020 at 08:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ohthetrees Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2020 at 07:49
I must say, it's been a pleasure (so far) working with Jefa, wonderful technical support. They have answered many technical questions before I committed to the purchase, and the person I'm talking to, Klaus, is clearly an expert. I appreciate that they have gone to the trouble of engineering this 505 specific solution, they didn't have to do that, and will probably only sell 2 or 3 units because of it. I do think that they shouldn't have allowed Hanse to use the DD1. They, reading the subtext, blame Hanse, and Hanse is primarily responsible for what they put on the boat. But I don't think Jefa should have engineered this solution, made build cards for Hanse, and sold them a bunch of DD1 if they didn't think it was up to the task. All these breakages make Jefa look bad too, which is a shame, because they seem to make really good kit. And now there are many 505 customers with broken autopilots, and in my case, going to great expense and trouble to remedy the situation.

Several days ago I received the kit. This cost me roughly 3900 euro, shipped to southern CA. This includes the DD2, a large aluminum backing plate, a special conical tiller arm which fits the taper of the rudder, a new longer draglink, and a few other bits of hardware. 

It's all beautiful stuff. I did have a list of questions for Jefa upon inspecting the gear, which I've reproduced below. I'll update if I get a reply. 

1) There is some damage to the top of the reduction gearbox output shaft. I donít anticipate that this will be a problem, but I thought Iíd bring it to your attention. My only concern is that it might indicate that the gearbox experienced an impact before it got to me. The box was not damaged, so it may have happened before it was shipped.

2) Iím concerned that there might be a missing part. The reduction gearbox input shaft has keyways cut for two keys. There are two complimentary keyways in the drive unit output. However, there seems to be only one key in the shaft. Is one missing? Iíve attached pictures.

3) Page 4 of the included drive unit instructions warns that I may have to configure my autopilot unit to output the correct clutch voltage, but it does not specify what that voltage is.

4) Why is the mounting plate so oversize compared to the reduction gearbox? Is it to spread the load? Does the mounting plate need to be secured to the deck other than the 8 through-bolts supplied? 

5) For this application, is it crucial I stop the rudder at 36ļ as indicated on page 4 of the drive unit instructions? My rudder currently has stops at 41ļ and works fine with the existing DD1, and does not cam over the DD1 draglink. 





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kipwrite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kipwrite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2020 at 15:47
Thanks for posting on this topic. 

Iím hoping this solution works. Iíd love to upgrade my DD1.
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ohthetrees View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ohthetrees Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2020 at 06:19
The new DD2 is supposed to mount upside down to the bottom of the deck. Unfortunately, in my case the underside of the deck is a lumpy mess, very uneven, encapsulating the aluminum reinforcing plates for the DD1 autopilot. I decided it had to go as it would cause the DD2 to hang too low, and without a flat even base, so I spent a terrible day on my back in the locker cutting, grinding and sanding. 

The existing reinforcing plates seemed to be added as an afterthought, and were very roughly encapsulated. I'm not sure if other 505 owners have the same. I cut away the bottom skin, and pried out one of two reinforcing plates. I decided the second reinforcing plate (don't know why there are two) could stay. What was left was the full thickness deck, seemingly cored with resin, minus the bottom skin, with the aft of two aluminum plates still embedded. Then I used thickened epoxy to fair things out, and added a few layers of glass to create a new, flatter bottom skin. It isn't perfectly flat and fair, but it is a lot better than before. Terrible job. Despite the bunny suit, and still have some of that terrible fiberglass itch. Hopefully I'm over the most difficult part of the job. Below are pics of the removal process, tomorrow I'll try to take pics of the new glasswork. 





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tobo2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2020 at 17:27
Ups, terrible job! So you are one of the three owners that ordered a DD2 according to Jefa. We own a 508 and are thinking of exchanging the DD1. I wonder if this grinding-sanding-fiberglasing work would also be neccessary on the 508. (see thread https://myhanse.com/jeffa-autopilot-failure_topic10801.html ) After having finished your work it will be interesting to see if this AP works better in rough conditions. I totally agree with "othetrees" mentioning the reputation of Jefa in question. Why the hell did Hanse repeat this mistake with the 508, I really don't understand.


Edited by tobo2 - 28 December 2020 at 17:35
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ohthetrees View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ohthetrees Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2020 at 22:33
Fiberglass work. Not easy on bottom of a horizontal surface. The underside of the deck is still lumpy, but far more fair and flat than it was previously. I think it is good enough to move forward when it cures.



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kipwrite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote kipwrite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2020 at 23:00
Nice job. That spot makes me claustrophobic.  

Edited by kipwrite - 29 December 2020 at 01:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ohthetrees Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2021 at 04:42
The reinforcing plate supplied by Jefa did not quite fit in the space where the old DD1 lived. It was maybe 40mm too long in the fwd/aft direction. I presume the 505 that it was originally made for was a little different in this area. I don't have a jigsaw on board yet, so I used a hacksaw and an oscillating saw to cut about 60mm of that aft edge of the plate. It wasn't a hard job, but it took me about an hour of cutting because I didn't have the proper tools. Such is the cruising life. That's San Diego in the background where we are doing last preparations before we head to Mexico in a few days.

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Installation finished! Except for preparing the underside of the deck, it was a straight forward installation, mostly. The bolts they supplied were a bit too long, particularly the unthreaded nuts. In some cases I cut the bolt shorter, some I used different bolts, and some I spaced with washers. I wonder if they knew about the lumpy thickness of the underside of the deck, and expected it to be bolted on regardless?Or maybe they expected it to be filled/faired, but not any material to be removed. Even though it was a lot of hard work, I don't regret doing it. I have a nice solid flat base for the autopilot, and by removing material I made the mechanical push/pull angle better.

Another detail was relocating the rudder sensor. I intended to mount it under the deck, but when I started chasing the cable routing, I discovered it goes through the most inaccessible part of the boat I've found so far, and I decided it would be much easier to leave the sensor near the original location. I tapped some holes in the aluminum plate so I could screw the sensor directly to the plate. Then I swapped the mount points on top and bottom of the sensor arm on both the old tiller arm and the sensor arm. This yielded a satisfactory angle vertical angle, and is a neat enough install.  

If you look at their drawing of the installation, the alignment of the DD2 unit and the tiller arm is not quite perfect, but instead pushes at a bit of a vertical angle. This is apparently fine, and their "kit" came with an extra tall pin for the output arm, which prevents the drag link arm from interfering with the output arm at extreme ranges of motion. However, while this this taller pin solves the interference problem, it makes the vertical offset to the push/pull angle even worse. One question I have after this install, is why they didn't supply a taller tiller arm pin instead. This would have made the vertical offset better, and would have solved the interference problem at the same time. 

I've done a dockside test of the autopilot, and will take it out for a sea trial tomorrow. I'm feeling hopeful that this process was worth the trouble and expense. It is certainly much bigger and stouter than the DD1.

I'll update this thread if anything else comes up.
 





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kipwrite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kipwrite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2021 at 00:04
Looks great. 

Agree that the vertical angle looks a bit weird. I wonder if the rubber bushings on both ends of the tiller arm will wear more rapidly than they would otherwise. Iíve replaced mine a few times since 2016, and the alignment is near perfect. 

Itís also interesting that the post is not on the outer most hole of the autopilot arm. 

Do let us know how this installation works out after your sea trial. 
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