Actuator-powered Boat Hatches: Features and Benefits

Having a yacht or boat brings certain maintenance chores into your life. You need to keep it serviceable, which includes maintenance of the engine and other locomotive details.

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Surely, such chores would be much easier if the engine hatch must not be made quite heavy. However,  enormous hatchways are still the main obstacle to enjoying the boat maintenance routines. Just a thought about lifting this piece of metal brings unpleasant feelings.

Fortunately, you can solve this problem once and for all with the hatch lifting automation. Let’s find out how to build a motorized lifting system and discover which electric boat engine hatch lift actuator is best suited for this job.

How Does It Work

The system is rather simple: you install a linear actuator – electric or hydraulic hatch lift – to automate the lifting process. Progressive Automations has a broad range of devices to address the lifting issues of any hatchway: from the smallest to extra-large ones (the latter case may assume the usage of two actuators).

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Quality actuators can perform this task in approximately 15-20 seconds. Quite a reasonable time, considering that you won’t lift a single pound with your hands.

Reasons to Upgrade Boat Hatch

When buying a sea vessel, one expects a certain level of comfort in living accommodations. However, more often than not, the situation is completely opposite with service compartments such as engine room. Lack of automation is often one of the major causes that make servicing a typical yacht personally an arduous task.
Here are the main reasons to install the boat engine hatch actuators:

  • – Hatch manipulation effort reduction. With a marine hatch actuator, you put zero effort to open and close it whenever you want;
  • – Vessel customization. The boat is often a personal thing for its owner. Customizing it is a tremendous improvement for the riding experience;
  • – Lifting system upgrade. Let’s face it: default hatch lifting systems are not always convenient and robust. It means modernization of your vessel is also a safety measure;
  • – Comfort boost. After all, it’s much more pleasant to check the engine oil and storage batteries under the hatchway that opens automatically.

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As you can see, implementing marine automation addresses both convenience and safety issues. That being said, let’s start planning your motorized hatchway lifting project.

What You Need to Start

First things first, there are two principal aspects of high-quality and cost-effective automation project: technical factors and budget. Let’s review these points in detail.

Technical Aspects: What to Look For?

Every boat hatch linear actuator has the following characteristics and parameters:

  • – Stroke size. This feature defines how far the actuator can extend its rod. Exceedingly important, especially if your hatch is on the massive side;
  • – Large and heavy parts require a powerful boat hatch linear actuator to cope with the task;
  • – Extension speed. Some devices extend rapidly while some employ smoother motion. It depends primarily on the starting effort of the actuator. Extension speed is more of a preference than a need, to be honest.
  • – Protection standard. Some actuators are marked with the International Protection Marking, meaning their durability and safety measures are verified.

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This is it. There aren’t any complex data you need to keep in mind, so estimating the technical requirements for a project is accessible to a broad audience.

Project Budget: What Is the Golden Mean?

There is always an issue of balance between the quality and affordability, and boat hatch actuators are not an exception. Let’s figure out how to find a middle ground on this one.
The point is, electric boat hatch lift isn’t an expensive device. That said, there is no need to skimp on its cost to save the money. In fact, you may have to spend more on replacing the faulty one, if you buy the cheap gear.

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After all, the vessel is not a regular everyday purchase. It is about your joyful experience, not an extra hundred bucks.

PA Actuators Suitable to Use in Such Project

Progressive Automations has everything you need to build a reliable and affordable boat hatch lift actuator system. Let’s discover the most suitable solutions for your project.

PA-04 Linear Actuators: Flexible and Powerful

This actuator model line can boast high quality and strength. It is also known for its flexibility. Here are the most significant reasons you would want to use PA-04 in your automation project:

  • – Stroke size of 2-40″. These devices fit the hatch lifting task perfectly;
  • – Force of 100-400 lbs. Powerful enough, PA-04 allows you to motorize a wide range of hatchways;
  • – A speed of 0.98″/s for 400 lbs and 2.80″/s for 100 lbs. Decent extension speed is always a pleasant feature;
  • – IP66 standard. The PA-04 linear actuator is extremely durable. Conformity to the IP66 safety standard implies the warranty of long-time flawless performance;
  • – 12V DC voltage. It is a middle way of the actuator power, and it suits most boat power networks.

PA-04 is an excellent choice to motorize the hatch operation. These actuators are ideal not only for hatch automation, but also for the interior motorized doors, and even raisable platform projects.

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PA-04 devices deliver quality and power at the affordable price. Flexible and well-designed, these easily cope with various marine vehicle automation tasks. What is more crucial, it’s the only actuator model that has an IP66 safety rating, which makes it literally impermeable to severe jets of dust and water.

PA-14 Mini Linear Actuators: Lightweight and Ergonomic

These appliances are the best option for small automation projects. Tiny and super affordable, PA-14 mini actuators bring a refined touch to your boat control system. Here are their outstanding features worth mentioning:

  • – Stroke size of 1-40”. Similar to PA-04, this range is quite enough for performing all the task you might want it to;
  • – Force of 35, 50 or 150 lbs. Ideal for small and medium-sized hatches, PA-14 delivers enough force to cover a broad range of marine automation projects;
  • – A speed of 2.00”/s (35 lbs), 1.18″/s (50 lbs) or 0.59”/s (150 lbs). It’s a decent extension speed for the force this lightweight actuator provides;
  • – A voltage of 12V DC. Just like PA-04, these devices are multipurpose and well-balanced.

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Perfect for the hatch, interior door, and window automation, the PA-14 will serve you well for a long time.

Custom Units: Build Your Own Actuator

Progressive Automations understands the problem of unique requirements in every single case. That’s why it’s possible to order an actuator with specific characteristics. Configurable features include but are not limited to the following:

– Wire length;

– Voltage;

– Hall effect sensor or potentiometer;

– Stroke size;

– Connectors;

– Force;

– Device dimensions.

Anyway, there is no such thing as an actuator-based project with which Progressive Automations cannot help you.

How to Build and Install the Boat Hatch Lift

Fortunately, every PA actuator comes with an exhaustive mounting and installation manual. For instance, you can easily mount the PA-14 mini using Progressive Automations BRK-14 brackets, which are designed to enable a 180-degree rotation for this model.
At the same time, if you strive for a sturdier option or need additional room along the actuator ends, you can use BRK-03 brackets as the alternative.
You can also enhance your actuator performance by adding water protection to your device with AC-05 Rubber Boot.
PA-04 actuators, in turn, require BRK-02 or T-shaped BRK-01 Brackets to mount them reliably.

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The Bottom Line

Planning and assembling a motorized automated boat trapdoor is though complex but manageable task for every boat owner. It will significantly reduce your maintenance efforts and simply refine your vessel.
Remember to plan your automation project ahead of time and choose the robust actuators to ensure the stable reliable performance.

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