Automated Boat Windshields Using Linear Actuators

There are many things on a boat which could have automation added to them – inside the boat, chairs, and tables could be the start, but only the start…. You could also change the position of the TV, hide cabinets when they are not in use, hide shelves, or open windows and vents to allow some air into the circulate. You could even automate your own bed, letting people who are using it change it until it is comfortable for themselves.

There are just as many opportunities for automation on the outside of a boat as there are on the inside, starting with the outside seating which can normally be found on the deck – automation could be used to change their position to allow for easier sunbathing, for example. It is important to remember, however, that everything on board a boat is durable and efficient, so while automation is possible, it should be done with care to make sure that it maintains the same level of safety as everything else on the boat.

Boat automation projects normally involve certain actuators – IP 65 and IP 66 grade, for the most part – to ensure as much resistance to water and moisture as possible. Within this restriction, however, the actuators are as varied as it is possible to make them. Most of the actuators can come in various sizes, and since they are electrical, they are quiet and easy to operate, which is useful for not ruining the ambience on a relaxing trip. The boat windshields are suitable for all boat types and come with customisable control systems and mounting hardware for the more usual types of projects, and complete custom items for custom projects.

Automated equipment can find a wide variety of uses around boats, from small to large areas. Boat automation is something which has grown hugely in recent years, with everything from the engine hatch to the boat windshield being automated. Boat owners should take full advantage of the new automation industry to automate from their windows to their masts, because time spent on the water should be as enjoyable as possible.

While the functions that can be automated outside the boat are naturally limited by the current level of technology, and our ability to waterproof the equipment involved, inside a boat has no such barrier. As many things as you like can be automated, including shelves and tables, to add as much luxury as possible to the boat.

Many of the separate bits and pieces on a boat would be enhanced by the application of automation, and using linear actuators as a way of automating certain boat functions is an easy and sustainable way of doing so. On the bridge, not only could actuators be used for the expansion and retraction of maps, but also as a way of creating powered automated boat windshields which could be opened without the need to physically do so yourself. The outside of the boat could use actuators in the form of doors and retractable ladders. Not only does automation help with making your surroundings more luxurious, it can also make it easier to repair and replace various items.

Boat Actuators for Automated Boat Windshields

Linear actuators use the IP ratings list, so any marine project which uses them – particularly those on the outside of a boat – should make use of actuators which have a high IP rating in the second number (particularly above the number six, since that is the number above which jets of water can hit the equipment without it being damaged). While there are many different types of actuators in use today, there are three which are generally used for automation in boats:

PA-04 Linear Actuators

Stroke sizes 2-40”
Force 100-400 lbs
Voltage 12 VDC
Speed 2.80”/s (100 lbs), 0.98″/s (400 lbs)
IP 66

These are good for hatches and doors, automated platforms, and all types of indoor automation. You can see from the IP rating that it can withstand up to being sprayed with a jet of water, so it would be perfect for many automation jobs within a boat.

PA-17 Heavy Duty Actuators

Stroke sizes 1-24”
Speed 0.66″/s (850 lbs) and 0.33″/s (2000 lbs)
IP 65
Voltage 12 VDC
Force 850 lbs and 2000 lbs

These heavy duty actuators cannot withstand quite so much contact with water, but the heavy duty nature means that they are perfect for hard work away from the water line, such as masts and sealed doors.

PA-14 Mini Linear Actuator

Stroke sizes 1-40”
Force 35 lbs, 50 lbs and 150 lbs
Voltage 12 VDC
IP 65
Speed 0.59”/s (150 lbs), 1.18″/s (50 lbs) and 2.00”/s (35 lbs)

The mini linear actuator is perfect for small hatches and windows, which makes it perfect for anybody who wants to update the windshields on a boat, as it is light and yet does the job perfectly.

Instalment Process

To install automated boat windshields with linear actuators, you will need several things: a windshield, at least two actuators, or one actuator with an H-channel and a micro-controller, some mounting brackets, and a control system.

automated boat windshields

The reason for having either two linear actuators or one which has an H-channel installed is because presumably, you will want your windshield to both open and close – since many actuators are not designed to move both ways, you can either install two separate actuators to act as the boat windshield opener and closer, or you can install an H-channel in one that will enable it to move in both directions. The installation of some form of limit switch is important, since you do not want your actuator to go beyond the point the windshield can handle. Also, make sure that your actuator’s IP rating is higher than 5 in the second number.

Make sure to use the appropriate mounting bracket for your actuator. Though they are all light-weight and durable, there are different kinds for the different kinds of actuators out there, so make sure you choose the right one!

boat windshields

Attach the actuator to the mounting brackets, and then mount the windshield on the brackets. Check that all the windows and windshields can open and close correctly before doing the final installation.

Connect the control system to the actuator. This should have already been programmed and checked, but make a final check before you head out, to make sure that everything works as it should.

Comments are closed.