A Smarter Way to Pier

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When steering a boat in tight living quarters, the skill to truly have a quick visual reference of your rudder angle is crucial. A crash could endanger the security of your passengers and of others. It may damage your boat as well as your pride. Fortunately for us, technology supplies a remedy.

A rudder angle gauge is a nautical apparatus which tracks your rudder’s flat location. Additionally it is called a rudder reference gauge, rudder locator, or a rudder position detector.

Smarter way to pier

Gravitation Driven Rudder Benchmark Gauge
These units are affordable and simple to install with no wiring or drilling needed.

On boats with hydraulic steering system, these gauges give lousy benchmark of the rudder angle as a result of variability in hydraulic fluid pressure.

The second kind of rudder gauge we reviewed controls using a mechanical arm. Mechanical arm rudder locators are the most frequent kind available on the market. Arm-driven units like come standalone or as part of auto-navigational systems.

These mechanical gauges include a dash gauge and an arm (frequently sold individually) that connects to your rudder or outboard motor. A drawback to these devices is that on some boats the rudder goes farther in one way than another, this can’t be read by the mechanical arm. Otherwise, these units are precise and reputable. They may be somewhat expensive though, ranging from $350-$2000 and usually need skilled setup.

Last but definitely not least, we reviewed cable-driven rudder angle indicators. Contrary to other gauges, these components work for both inboard and out-board motors. A firm called SmarTrac inc. now holds a patent on the system that is used within their merchandise the SmarTrac Rudder Locator.

The best way to pier

The SmarTrac rudder angle gauge has a sending component (additionally
called a potentiometer) that’s mounted close to your rudder or outboard motor. This original cable driven system permits the apparatus to assess the whole range of rudder motion.

The detector sends information through a 3-conductor cable to the dash gauge which in turn computes a reading using a built in microprocessor. The microprocessor is readily programmed to match the details of your boat. The product is powerful to be used on hydraulic steering systems since it links right to the rudder linkage. Precise, low-cost ($199), and simple to set up, this new technology could make a big splash in the nautical electronic equipment marketplace. Our Score: 10/10

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