Octopus FAQs

Constant Running Pumps

I have a commercial vessel which requires a constant running pump for steering - what's my best solution?

You will require the CRA series of pumps please contact Octopus Technical Support for your particular application. The CRA series is designed for continuous use. The Autopilot Electronics will have to be purchased separately through a Marine Electronics Distributor.

Linear Drives

My cylinder leaks around the shaft. Can I repair this?
Yes, there are seal kits with instructions available to reseal the cylinder using basic tools. Before you purchase the seal kit make sure there is no scoring of the piston rod or the bore of the cylinder. If the scoring on the piston rod is very slight then you can polish it out with crocus cloth or very fine emery cloth.
I lose steering on my sailboat during a following sea what is wrong?

Your sailboat may have a large “barn door rudder” which will be affected by the waves rushing against the rudder. Your drive unit is probably too small for your boat and you will need to upgrade to a larger drive. Please confirm your existing Autopilot Electronics are compatible with larger drive units.

Are there service parts available for the Octopus linear drives?

There are cylinder seal kits, reversing pump seal kits, rubber motor mounts, motor brush kits (2007) and older with the stamped metal end frames, 7&12″ piston rods, by-pass valve seal kits and hose assemblies. Please contact the factory for details.

I have a 40 ft sailboat that does 8-10 knots and would like to install an Autopilot, what drive do I use?

You can use a Hydraulic Linear Drive made by Octopus (Part #: OCTAF1212LAR12 or OCTAF1212LAM12). The LAR is a remote mounted pump and the LAM has the pump mounted on the cylinder. The Autopilot Electronics will have to be purchased separately through a Marine Electronics Distributor.

Type RS Sailboat Drives

I have limited space in the transom of my sail boat and I wish to install an Autopilot. What do I require?

You will require either a Type-RS Mechanical Drive Unit or, a Hydraulic Linear Actuator (depending on the size of your application). The Hydraulic actuator comes in two versions; the LAM has the pump mounted on the cylinder, which is very compact or, the LAR which has the pump mounted remotely mounted. The Autopilot Electronics will have to be purchased separately through a Marine Electronics Distributor.

Reversing Piston Pumps

What are the pipe thread sizes in the pump manifold where the hoses attach?

The thread sizes are 1/4″ NPT (national pipe thread) or 1/4″SAE 45d flare fittings.

My Octopus 1212-pump leaks fluid between the pump and the motor. What should I do?

There is a lip seal between the pump and the motor which needs to be replaced. We have special tools for replacing that seal so it is recommended that you ship the unit to us for repair. Please contact Octopus Technical Support for details.

My rudder is slow to respond. How can I correct this?

The output of the Octopus pumps is adjustable by loosening the 2 allen screws that attach the pump to the motor. There are graduations on the end frame of the motor (+ or -) so you can rotate the motor for more fluid or less fluid. The norm for an inboard cylinder is 15sec. HO-HO. This is the advantage of Octopus reversing pumps you can customize your steering system.

My boat has SeaStar steering and will not stay on course. What should I do?

Check the system for air by turning the wheel one way then the other. It should come to a solid stop,if it wants to keep slipping then there is air in the system. Try to push the cylinder by hand one way then the other, there should be 0 movement at the piston rod. The type H has a Octopus reversing pump and the bleeding procedures are in the instructions supplied with the system or, see the Manual Download section for a new copy.

Type R Mechanical Remote Drives

I have a Mechanical Drive. When I go from Auto to Manual steering, the motor or solenoid seems to be locked and I need to push the steering wheel back and forth to release the wheel. Why is this?

This is actually a built-in Safety Feature of the drive.  This feature is included in case the Autopilot is switched to manual mode by mistake creating a dangerous manoeuvre while under sail on a sailboat or violent movement of the steering wheel on a Power Boat due to propeller action or a trim issue.

The drive unit while under consistent load from the boats steering system in one direction or no movement, will maintain the clutched engaged when the Autopilot is switched to manual mode.  This helps to stop uncontrolled boat swing, violent steering wheel movement and potentially dangerous manoeuvres. 
Manual release procedure.
The wheel or tiller is required to be moved slightly to disengage the drive. A small joggle action (turning the wheel from side to side) will release the clutch and allow manual control.

IMPORTANT: Under normal use the helmsperson should always be ready to take manual control of the yacht when the Autopilot is returned to manual mode.

I have an I/O (Sterndrive) engine with power-assist steering on the engine. I want to add an Autopilot system. What do I need?

You will require an Octopus MDR drive unit, a cable as required, and an Octopus connection kit# OC15SUK12B for Mercruiser and Volvo 1994 and newer or an OC15SUK12C for 1993 and older. If you have cable steering to the power steering cylinder and it is NFB rack steering then you will need to change it to a Type-S or Type-T rotary system. The Autopilot Electronics will have to be purchased separately through a Marine Electronics Distributor.

Type S Dashboard Drives

I have a dash mounted wheel steering system in my boat and I want to install an Auto pilot, what do I need?

You will require an Octopus Type-S or Type-T system, depending on whether your steering wheel has tilt capability or not.If your present cable is a Teleflex 62 series or a 72 series we have cable adapters to adapt your cable to the Octopus drive. The Autopilot Electronics will have to be purchased separately through a Marine Electronics Distributor.

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