While we were in the Amazon Delta last month our ST7002 autopilot quit working. The unit made a loud grating noise - it sounded like spinning gears which were not fully engaged. The fly in the ointment is that the unit started out life as an Autohelm 7000. We have replaced the control head, but the computer and the type 2 long linear drive unit are the original Autohelm components. We think that the unit was manufactured around 1991 - this is based on the motor label which indicates DATE 2/90.
I dismounted and opened up the linear drive unit. The inside of the linear drive unit had a large amount of black dust - it appeared to be brush carbon, but could have come from the black plastic gears. The drive belt (300 3M 12 469D) had some wear, but it appeared to be in serviceable condition. I disassembled and inspected the components. I connected a source of 12VDC to the motor - it ran fast and smooth. The resistance between the leads of the motor is .6 ohms (measured with a Fluke Model 23 Series II digital multimeterI). I connected the 12VDC source to the clutch coil and it had a strong magnetic field. The resistance of the clutch coil is 27.3 ohms. The clutch coil seems free to slide axially on its mounting pin. Both the small motor drive gear, and the large belt driven gear on the drive shaft seem to be serviceable. When I pull the tiller arm in and out, the planetary gear unit rotates freely. However, there is quite a radial wobble in the 4 planetary gears, which allows the clutch top / planetary gear housing to have a radial wobble.
I removed the circlip on the shaft end and pulled the steel clutch plate / plastic drive gear assembly. Both the shaft bushing and the plastic ring gear teeth on the clutch appear to be serviceable. I removed the roll pin securing the brass planetary gear base to the output shaft. The wobble in the planetary gears is as a result of excessive wear of the small drive gear which engages the 4 pinion gears. The planetary gears do not seem to be excessively worn.
I called the Raymarine Technical Department and spoke with Mark - he was quite helpful. He told me that the problem was that parts are not available for units built before 1989. The motor-side of the baseplate has a three box label with the following numbers: (upper two boxes) 2029 and 12V, (the lower box) 400004. There is a label on the FRACMO motor (serial 3666/366) with "DATE 2/90" - which indicates that if the motor was manufactured in February 1990, then this unit was built sometime after that date. Attached are 10 photos for ID purposes.
Mark told me to set up an account on this forum and post the information I had so that the folks in England can try to establish the date of manufacture for this unit. Then we can order the correct replacement parts. It is my understanding that there is a bronze gear replacement kit to upgrade the plastic gears. I would like to not only replace the broken components, but anything else you think we need to do. We are headed for the Panama Canal, and it is a long way across the South Pacific. I started out my career in the US Navy as an electronics technician, so with some guidance and the needed repair parts, we ought to be able to repair the unit.
S/V Tiger Lilly
Spanish Waters, Curacao