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Old 08-16-2019, 09:29 AM   #4
positize's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rogue Valley
Posts: 4,286
Default Re: using the itroll remote throttle system

I installed itroll on two different boats. Both had Honda outboards. The design on the Honda will not quite run from lowest trolling speed to full throttle: you get about 2/3 full speed. So the Honda-specific servo design is not quite perfect.

Unfortunately, they use a plain ethernet RJ45 connector to attach the control head. Each end of that connector has corroded over and over. Unusable at this point. I emailed the designer about the terrible connector choice (really - an indoor computer connector on a device subject to salt???) but received no comment about any alternatives. He was very nice about replacing the connector but I got tired of going through this each year.

It has a major design flaw in my mind. If the control head gets disconnected for any reason (such as the bad connector), the servo motor stays in whatever position it is already in. This means that your motor is stuck at a particular throttle position - which is guaranteed not to be the idle position. So your motor ends up racing along with no way to slow it down (because the servo has sped it up) - don't dare put it in neutral! Or, god help you if you restart it in neutral - major over-rev.

The non-returning servo can be real weird when you start your motor in the morning. If you happened to shut off your motor the night before without setting the itroll to minimum, and you have not yet connected the control head the next morning, when you start your motor the next morning, it will be at the prior night's throttle position. So your motor ends up way over-revving the next morning if you have not yet connected the control box. This really confused me the first time it happened until I figured out the scenario.

Mine lasted about a year and a half until all the corrosion issues made it unusable. Basically it is a hobby project in my mind: it needs to be redesigned so it has electronics on the servo end that detect a lack of communication and return the servo to zero throttle in that case. Having no electronics on the servo end is a major design flaw IMHO. I would expect this thing is eventually guaranteed to blow up someone's motor, or ruin the lower unit (due to shifting at high speed).

I'm a marine electrical engineer. Whenever we install any electronics on a classed vessel, we are required to perform a Failure Mode Effects Analysis to analyze how devices fail, how the system will react in case of failure. Obviously nothing like that was done for the itroll - which is quite typical for aftermarket equipment that is not designed for commercial applications. It is a neat hobby project but I won't use it any more on my boat. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer...
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