Derrick Grover makes a remote throttle and steering control for a small outboard
Just in case the main engine fails, we keep a 2.5hp outboard motor on board that I have fitted with remote controls.
The engine’s throttle control is a lever that moves up and down with a plastic knob on the end. I replaced the knob with a nut and bolt for attaching the two cables. The cable sheaths are then anchored in place in slotted holes on a bracket bolted to the motor’s carrying handle. The top cable pulls up, opening the throttle, and the bottom cable pulls down, closing the throttle.
Suitable cable can be salvaged from bicycle or car parts, provided there is enough travel to operate the throttle and the sheath is long enough to reach from the engine to the cockpit. The design is crude enough, though, to accommodate any variation. On the cable I used I had to fit an extension piece to span the distance of the throttle travel.
The wooden cockpit throttle control is shown in the photo. One aluminium bracket accepts the sheaths and the other on the lever pulls the cables. Mine are screwed onto a wooden board that can be slid on and off a deck fitting. The lever is pivoted about the centre and positioned so that the cables are under tension. Rotating this pulls one cable while releasing the other by the same amount.
It would be possible to use only one cable, by adding a spring to the throttle control, to provide the return movement. In fact, a return spring would be a safety feature as it would reduce the revs to tickover if the helmsman fell overboard.
To provide remote steering I had to make an attachment to the tiller arm. Various methods are possible but I wanted to keep the existing tiller handle on the engine for use on the tender. The main problem is coping with the different arcs of travel of the boat’s tiller and the engine’s tiller. For a monohull with a single tiller it may be straightforward to fit a rod between tiller and engine – but my boat is a catamaran with twin rudders and tillers. I also needed to be able to tilt the engine into the trolling position for shallow water. So on the cross bar between the boat’s tillers I mounted a piece of tubing, through which the extended engine tiller slides. This accommodated the different arcs of travel, tilting and easy removal. The tubing on the cross bar also pivots on a bolt to allow it to rotate.