AP55 and rotary drive in tug boat


The Mech1 rotary drive is a heavy duty mechanical drive unit for motor or sailing boats with mechanical steering system. It can be combined with any of our autopilots.

In the autumn of 2012 we where contacted from Alaska by an owner of a 37 foot Lord Nelson Victory tug boat. We agreed that the best choice for him was an AP55 with a Mech1 rotary drive unit. We sent him the following equipment:

  • AP55 display instrument
  • Cdrive5 control unit
  • Electronic compass ELECOM with gyro
  • Rudder feed-back unit
  • Mech1 rotary drive unit

All this was installed by the owner himself. It was done during autumn and winter 2012. We have received the following nice pictures from him describing the installation.


Below you can see the steering place. It’s behind that the Mech1 unit was installed.


Below you can see the steering hub. It’s on this units the steering wheel is connected. The upper sprocket that comes with the Mech1 will be connected to this unit.


 Here below you can see the sprocket connected to the steering hub. The owner told us this about this part of the installation:

I had to extend the steering shaft and also add an intermediate support bearing. I had a machine shop turn a completely new shaft that was about three inches longer than the original shaft. They also enlarged the hole in the TMQ sprocket hub to 1 inch diameter. The new sprocket now has three set-screws and a key and key-way. We considered welding on the three inch extension to the original shaft, but decided it would be cheaper and easier to just machine a complete longer one.


Below you can see the motor unit of the Mech1 and the two sprockets and chain. The Mech1 is installed just behind the steering wheel of the boat.


Below you can see the AP55 instrument installed besides the other instruments at the steering place.


Here below is the Cdrive5 control unit installed under the dash board. Note the two cables from compass and rudder feed-back unit and under them the connections to the drive unit. To the left, difficult to see, is the power connection.



This is another very good example of a nice installation done by the owner himself. As usual it’s the drive unit that is the part most difficult to install. In this case a machine shop helped with fitting the upper sprocket of the Mech1.

The boat is used for salmon fishing so everything had to work to satisfaction. After a sea trial this is what the owner of the boat told us:

“Your system is working flawlessly. I’m always impressed with the systems simplicity and ruggedness. The rotary drive unit is built like a brick shithouse. Thanks for all the technical help during the design/build process.”