||Feedback ratio mechanism
||differential pulley + lever
||3.5:1 to 10:1
||differential pulley + lever
||3.5:1 to 10:1
||fuse, 1 amp with socket
||Socket, PCB edge connector. .156
spacing single readout 6 position solder lugs. Cinch 50-6A-20
||Potientiometer, 100k ohms, 2
watt, linear, .25 shaft.
||Incandescent lamp, 12 volts, 8
||Silicon diode, 1 amp or larger,
50 volts PIV or larger. 1N4001
||Light emitting diode
|No function whatever.
||No power in the Tillermaster or
1. Check the fuse. Use a 1.5 amp slow blow. If you reversed polarity the fuse should blow. * Really, really use the correct fuse in spite of what I seem to do. If you don't have a 1.5 amp slow-blow, use a 1 amp, 1.5 amp or 2 amp fast-blow fuse in that order of preference. Only go up in size if the smaller ones do not hold. Let's be realistic about what happens on the water. You do not always have the right fuse. If you use too large a fuse the circuit board or some component on it will blow in the event of an overload condition. You may also go for years with the wrong fuse installed.
2. See "Power problem" 20 below.
3. Circuit board damage. Did you reverse polarity with too large a fuse? Check for vaporized traces on the board. * When the power connector gets worn it is possible to momentarily reverse the plug if you are not careful.
4. If the LED connection at the compass reads around two volts and the photosensor connection reads zero or a few millivolts, the photosensor may be shorted. Never seen this, but the 11-84 curcuit board cuts power to the motor if the photocell is shorted. So it must have happened once.
5. For reference on the power cord "white" is positive and "black" is negative. Yes, this is the reverse of land electrical wiring colors.
|Motor runs continuously in the
is the default response of
the electronics if there is no signal from the photosensor. Thus
it's not much help troubleshooting. The circuit board is probably not
the problem. If you have blown a trace off the board the motor will not
11. With the TM right-side-up, rotate the compass knob slowly. Give it 5 seconds to settle down first. At some point the motor should reverse. Where the motor stops you are "on course."
12. Is the sensitivity set too low? Test with knob fully counterclockwise.
13. Is the LED or (red wire) connection to the compass open?
a. The tip (red wire) on the compass socket should measure roughly 2.6 volts with respect to the case. If so, the LED is good.
b. If the tip on the compass reads 8 volts or above, the LED is drawing no current although the board is supplying voltage. If you measure this on the compass itself, then the LED circuit within the compass has failed. I have seen one compass where the tip contact is broken inside the compass capsule. If broken, it may come out, see photo above.
14. Photosensor or green wire failed? You can only check this if the LED is drawing enough current and the compass is roughly 90 degrees low (clockwise looking from the top.) You can turn the unit over to measure.
a. If the photosensor connection reads 8 volts or higher the photosensor may be open.
b. If the photosensor connection reads 0.0 volts, the photosensor may be shorted.
15. Are the connections at the board socket good? Gold plated, they should be. Is a wire broken off the connector?
|Motor runs continuously in the
||Never seen this. Motor
connections could be reversed or the circuit board could be damaged.
|Jackshaft wobbles as it moves.
||Jackscrew and/or jackshaft is
bent. Leaning on the tillermaster while the jackshaft is
extended will bend the jackshaft and the jackscrew. Because the
thrust bridge is attached to the case in one axis only, and the motor
is connected to the jackscrew with a rubber coupling, TM will tolerate
|Tillermaster cuts out
||Probably a power problem.
21. Poor connections in the boat wiring. This cannot be emphasized too much. Just like it says in the original manual from TM. It's almost always this or the connector the TM plugs into.
22. Corrosion and/or poor mechanical contact in the power connector. The connector will last longer squirted with WD-40. Yes, right on the pins. I used to think dielectric grease was good here but it's not. Unless you have very positive pressure between the metal mating parts in a connector, 12 volts and low current will not punch through the dielectric film and spark enough to make a good contact.
I have seen several different connectors on Tillermasters. The following discussion is about the connector with split pins.a. If the connector gets wet while powered up, the positive contact on both the plug and socket will turn green and dissolve. Wiggle the plug while mated. If this changes the situation you have a worn connector. * This connector is still available at marine chandleries.
b. The pins on the connector are split. This may not be immediately apparent on a worn connector. Gently splitting the pin further apart with a sharp knife may help it make contact until you replace it.
c. I've extended the power cord (with a waterproof splice) and connected the TM to a terminal block inside the cabin. This may not be your idea of a boatlike thing to do, but it is absolutely reliable. It works. Electrical tape is never waterproof, BTW. Use double layer heat shrink if you are going to splice wires.
23. Wires attached to the plug or socket could be loose. Each wire is secured to it's contact with very small screws.
24. I suggest you leave the power socket without power when not actually using the TM. If it gets wet you may be able to dry it off with WD-40 before the positive contact dissolves. The connector is polarized. Negative contact is the larger one.
|Tillermaster steers in a circle
with the rudder hard over.
||Do you have a starboard model on
the port side or vice versa? See the Instructions. Actually, this
presumes the Tillermaster works otherwise, just pushes the rudder the
wrong way. Almost all TMs were starboard models.
|Tillermaster course gradually
shifts in one direction.
||Slippage between the cord and
31. Compass knob tight against the case, rubbing against the top of the case. If this has been a problem for a while, the underside of the white plastic degree scale will be scored where it rubs against the case. 1/8 inch clearance at the closest point is about right.
32. Lubricant on the cord and on the compass case. Degrease with alcohol.
33. Tension spring stretched out. Sping may not completely collapse when disconnected from the cord. Replace.
34. Compass capsule shaft binding in plastic bushing as it passes through the case. Lubricate, clean if necessary. It's a steel pin in a plastic bushing.
|Motor reverses quickly without
shutting off. Chatter. Fuse may blow fairly soon after this
||Slip-ring connections at compass
corroded. * Photocell connection opens and closes rapidly
reversing the motor. Chatter should blow the fuse. Circuit
is not designed to power the motor continuously reversing rapidly.
|Tillermaster steers pronounced S
||Compass feedback is too
high. Read "how it works" above. Slight S course in calm
water is normal.
|Tillermaster takes a long time
to return to course.
||Compass feedback may be too low.
|TM seems to be working very hard.
|| 41. Jackscrew needs
grease? "High pressure" grease is recommended. See
42. Attachment point on tiller too far back? I suspect the Tillermaster should use at least half of it's 10 inch stroke including modest course changes.
43. Strong seaway or following sea? A compass pilot cannot anticipate the sea like you can and pre-emptively move the rudder. A compass pilot must detect a heading error and then try to correct it. In a heavy sea it's always playing catch-up. If you don't like wiggle in your course, steer yourself.
44. Negative compass feedback should be high enough to steer a slight S course in calm water if it is going to do it's best in a seaway.
45. Sensitivity set too high? In heavy seas the pilot will have an easier job if it can ignore repetitive yawing.
46. Sails unbalanced? Lee helm? It's easier to steer with a reasonable amount of weather helm. Reef or drop your main if you have too much weather helm.
47. If the motor really slows down under load and blows fuses your batteries may be discharged. Motor current will rise as voltage drops and as load increases. If voltage is fine the gearbox may be worn. I have heard of people getting the motors rebuilt, but parts are not readily available. The TM is small and inexpensive these days. Find another one, carry a spare.
|Tillermaster is "lazy" or
||According to the Instructions,
the voltage on your boat may be too high or too low. 10.5 to 14
volts is the TM specification.
I have also seen compasses that are not very sensitive. A good one has a deadband of a few degrees.
|TM gets submerged.
||If you still have the TM you may
have used a lanyard as the Instructions suggest. Unplug at
once. Open the case and flush with fresh water. Unplug the
board and make sure the board and socket get rinsed off. Spraying
with WD-40, "WD" as in "water displacing," will probably help.
Unless the motor, fuseholder or switch gets wet inside I would expect
the TM will survive. The TM is rugged enough to live through
salt-water immersion. Not much will survive salt water for very
long if you
leave the power connected. All the metal at positive potential
will rapidly dissolve.
51. Getting doused is not the same as getting submerged. The TM is not immune to water if it's right-side-up and above the surface, but it's pretty good. Don't try to seal the case. The water has to get out somehow. Water will come in of conditions are bad enough, nothing you can do about that. There are no points of entry for water above the baseplate. If you lost a screw or a boot, replace it.
52. I have seen saltwater problems in the following places:
Knob setscrew threads. Back them out and grease them.
Compass mounting shaft. The compass will freeze in the bearing. Take off the knob and put a dab of grease or drop of oil on the shaft.
The shaft for the compound pully. If water kreeps in along the screw threads, the aluminum putty will corrode and bind on the steel shaft. Again, a bit of grease on the screw threads when fitting the pulley.
|Electrical connector or socket
no longer make reliable mechanical (hence electrical) connection.
||See 22. Dielectric grease
is never the problem here. It is a solution. * Belay that, it can be a problem depending
on the connector.
|Swapped with known good board
and know you have a bad board.
||I suggest you build a board test
set if you are going to try fixing it yourself. Or call me. I have
accepted my fate regarding Tiller Masters.
|Jackshaft stops moving at the
end of it's travel. Motor keeps running.
||It's built that way. The
ends of the jackscrew have no threads. Don't let it
sit there clacking forever. If the TM used limit switches to stop
at the ends of travel it would be much less reliable and water
61. If this happens while the pilot is steering you may not be operating in the center of the screw. If it happens on both sides you may be too far forward on the tiller.
62. If this happens when you are changing courses you may be expecting too much or the feedback is too low. *