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Author Topic:   Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 Steering and Control System
Whalrman posted 02-26-2012 12:34 PM ET (US)   Profile for Whalrman   Send Email to Whalrman  
There is a new system [from Teleflex Marine] called the Optimus 360.
WT posted 02-26-2012 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
[A link to a motion picture presentation on the Optimus 360 is given below] seastar-optimus-video/

jimh posted 02-26-2012 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Warren's link to the video led me to more information.

The OPTIMUS 360 is a complex system. Let's just look at the steering portion of it to simplify things for a moment. The first thing to jump out is the twin engine set-up without a mechanical tie bar between the engines. Each engine has its own hydraulic actuator and is steered independently of the other engine. We've seen twin engine installations before without a mechanical tie bar, but typically those rigs used a hydraulic link between the engines to keep their steering synchronized. In the OPTIMUS 360 the outboard engines can be steering in different directions by their individual hydraulic actuators.

The connection at the helm is also completely different. In traditional system the steering wheel was really a hydraulic pump that created the fluid pressure to move the engine steering actuator. Now the steering wheel is just an electrical device that accepts your input at the wheel and creates control signals. This is really fly-by-wire steering.

As we see in this diagram

the wheel steering is linked electrically or electronically to remote electrical pumps that create the fluid pressure to move the steering actuators. That is really putting your faith in electronics!

According to an article by Charles Plueddeman at teleflex-joystick-control-for-outboards-debuts-at-miami-boat-show/

the cost is about $18,000, with installation extra. That means this system cost more than most our our classic Boston Whaler boats are worth. I doubt we will see this installed on a lot of older Boston Whaler boats. However, the technology is interesting.

Peter posted 02-27-2012 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Twin powered boats are easier to dock than a single powered boat in my experience. I don't see much of a market for this product other than for the 1/2 of 1 percenters. If you can't dock a twin powered boat the way the are configured today, you should find another expensive hobby. How about flying?
jimh posted 02-27-2012 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Does the control system for the joystick take into account the propeller choice on the engines? For example, what if the engines are not counter-rotating? Does the control system allow for that?
Whalrman posted 02-27-2012 08:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalrman  Send Email to Whalrman     
Peter--[people who need fancy electronic to dock a boat should find a different hobby] was my first thought as well.
20dauntless posted 02-27-2012 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
That's an expensive control system.
jimh posted 02-28-2012 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A curious aspect of the OPTIMUS 360 system is its inability to integrate with existing engines with electronic controls. I believe that electronic controls are now available on at least three major engine brands.

Mercury has their digital throttle and shift or DTS control system, which is a mandatory option on all VERADO engines, and is a optional feature on certain Mercury OptiMax engines, and perhaps other models--Mercury has so many engines made by so many sources it is hard to track what their exact option offers at any one moment. Mercury electronics are very proprietary. Mercury does not like to play on an open field. It is not surprising that they keep their DTS system closed. Mercury keeps their SmartCraft network isolated, too.

Yamaha has recently joined the electronic throttle and shift crowd with their Command Link Plus system on certain engines. Yamaha is another closed player, although their Command Link instrumentation system seems like it is really a NMEA-2000 standard system in disguise using proprietary wiring devices in an attempt to segregate their network.

Evinrude has their ICON electronic control system. There is a curious resemblance between some of the ICON controls and the Teleflex controls, and I think there is some shared DNA between the two systems. But Teleflex does not embrace ICON for use with OPTIMUS 360.

I can understand that with a new system with an innovative feature set as the Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 means the designers would first have to limit the application to their own devices. The system is so complicated that it probably needs to be in control of the engine by its own devices. There does not seem to be any standards for electronic engine controls, so Teleflex could not built their system to meet a standard--they'd have to build their system to meet the three different systems already on the market.

The upshot of the lack of a standard for electronic engine control means that the Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 system cannot be used with any Mercury VERADO engines, cannot be used with any Yamaha Command Link Plus engines, and cannot be used with any Evinrude E-TEC engines with ICON controls. Those three sets are a good chunk of the the top-of-the-line outboard engines. It seems like the target market for the OPTIMUS 360 is going to exclude some of the boats already rigged with the more modern outboard engines.

Peter posted 03-01-2012 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
This system could be used with any of the following outboard motors:

--Suzuki up to 250 HP
--Mercury up to 150 HP (non-Verado)
--Evinrude up to 250 HP (not ICON actuator equipped)
--Honda up to 250 HP
--Yamaha up to 250 HP (not Offshore 4.2L)

There are lots of boats out there with twin mechanically controlled outboards and no bow thruster. But I don't think this is really a great replacement for a bow thruster because all the leverage is at the stern of the boat. A bow thruster will be far more responsive than this system given that the thrust is applied at the bow.

jimh posted 10-06-2012 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 Steering and Control System has been recognized by the International Boat Builiders Exhibition and Conference with a 2012 Award for Innovation in the category of OEM ELECTRONICS.
jimh posted 02-07-2013 10:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Teleflex and Evinrude are announcing that they have collaborated on a new version of the OPTIMUS 360 joystick maneuvering control system, and the Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 system will be able to integrate with Evinrude E-TEC engines that have the Evinrude ICON electronic remote throttle and shift controls. This seems like a very natural progression and integration. When the OPTIMUS 360 was announced about a year ago, it relied on using its own electro-mechanical actuators to operate the outboard engine shift and throttle controls. In this new announcement, the OPTIMUS 360 system is now able to control Evinrude E-TEC engines by interfacing with the Evinrude ICON control system.

In the new system integration, Teleflex components provide the hydraulic steering, using electro-hydraulic boost pumps to create power steering. Teleflex provides the control of the steering via the traditional helm steering wheel and by a joystick control. Engine shift and throttle are controlled by the Evinrude ICON system, under command from the Teleflex control system.

At the Miami International Boat Show, starting next week, a 32-foot center console boat from Andros Boatworks will be on display to show the new system.

The new system will be available in April 2013. It can be installed by authorized Evinrude dealers. It is anticipated the system will be used in both new boats and in re-powering older boats.

jimh posted 02-09-2013 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Teleflex OPTIMUS 360 steering and control system with integration with the Evinrude ICON electronic remote engine throttle and shift controls is nicely demonstrated in this presentation:

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