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Old 04 March 2009, 13:39   #1
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Top mount or side mount throttle control, which is best

Might sound a stupid question, i have had a rib with side mount controls for years and have just bought a new one with top mount controls. What are the supposed advantages of each? I have been told the top mount has no trigger/clutch as it were so it is easy to wear the gearbox, is this true?
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Old 04 March 2009, 14:31   #2
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Depends how rough you are.
I like the throttles on the Atlantics mounted next to your hip if your sat down.
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Old 04 March 2009, 16:16   #3
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Top or side - the actual placing doesn't matter as much as the ergonomics. Where is it easiest to hold and to operate? I'm with Chewy, the placement beside the seat is great ... but that doesn't really answer your question, does it?

If you can't drive your boat with one hand always controlling the engine, the control needs to move. If it's placed so you can use it, it doesn't matter whether it's top or side mounted - it's fine where it is.

I wouldn't worry too much about the neutral lock. Provided you pause in neutral and don't crash through the gears from forward to astern (which people still seem to manage even with a lock), you'll be fine
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Old 04 March 2009, 16:48   #4
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It probably doesn't matter provided you can arrange a bit of a grip on its base. If you're in rough stuff and needing to work the throttle constantly, you'll not have good control by simply holding onto the top of the handle. If you can arrange for the side of your hand to be rested, or even better, for a couple of your fingers to grip a rest at the throttle and then work the lever with your thumb and forefingers you'll have smooth and fine control. This also braces you better rather than just hanging on with your steering hand. It has been a topic of discussion here a few times - worth doing a search.

I'm firmly of the opinion that a central lock is a very good idea. My boat has electronic controls and no central lock. I've lost count of the number of times it's been bumped or accidentally caught on a sleeve. I've made its action tight but it only takes you to reach quickly for something above the throttle and its caught and you're shooting off. Nothing bad has happened to me yet but it certainly wakes one up!
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Old 04 March 2009, 20:08   #5
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I'll agree with the ergonomics of the console and the fact that you need to keep you hand on the throttle in the rough, but I'd like to add two things.

First is that a neutral lock is a great Idea. My kids are always moving past the console where the throttle is and I know of at least two occasions when the lever has been knocked into.

The second is that a throttle must be silky smooth in operation. I have driven a few boats with stiff throttle contols and it wasn't a pleasant experience. Evinrude and Mercury ones of old spring to mind. Might I suggest that you look at the Teleflex range of throttles, there will be something there for all.
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Old 05 March 2009, 03:49   #6
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Please can one of the RYA SI' confirm this , but I thought boats used for RYA courses had to have a neutral lock.
I like them but have found with my yam control box (which does not have one) mounted centrally its not as big an issue as those side mounted where it get caught more often.
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Old 05 March 2009, 06:02   #7
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afaik it's not a requirement to have a neutral lock on boats being used for training, and I know of a couple locally that don't. However those boats that have top mounted throttles with no neutral lock have them centrally mounted on the console which reduces the chance of them being knocked. (their larger training boats with double width consoles)

I prefer to have a neutral lock, but whichever boat i'm teaching on I always teach that you never walk past the throttle to goto the front of the boat, you always go on the opposite side to reduce the chance of it being knocked.
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Old 05 March 2009, 06:14   #8
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The RYA Guidance Notes for centre inspections only state that 'throttle and gear change mechanisms must be positive and reliable'. It makes no mention of having to have a neutral interlock.

As a centre inspector I have however recommended to some centres when carrying out their inspections that they consider fitting a control box with a neutral interlock but this has mainly been on small ribs which are used mainly for safety boat work, and so have people moving around the boat a lot, and have been fitted with an aftermarket control box which doesn't have one fitted. At the very least I'd like to see a notice on there saying it doesn't have neutral lock if the boat is used by many different people who might not be familiar with the controls.

For Powerboat Level 2 etc courses I see no problem with using top mount controls with no interlock as these are becoming more and more common with boats getting bigger and bigger. The only thing being that it needs to have a positive feel as you come into neutral and the instructor needs to make it very clear to the studentís right from the beginning that the controls can be knocked in and out of gear if youíre not careful. I have often got students to switch the engine off as they are swapping driver etc just so that they don't knock it by accident and also get them to stop the engine by pulling the kill cord and then passing the whole kill cord to the next person just so they get in the habit of putting the kill cord on before taking control of the boat rather than just stepping in front of the wheel and setting off.
Personally I don't have a problem with top mount controls on boats used mainly for Powerboat 2 courses etc but if its used as a safety boat or for safety boat courses where people are concentrating more on moving around the boat to recover people or boats from the water and are less likely to be aware of the engine controls then I'd prefer a side mount control with interlock. Also boats used as safety boats are generally smaller and so don't have a console big enough for top mount controls.

I have previously tried to buy top mount controls with neutral interlocks and the only one I could find was a single lever (single engine) one made by Teleflex. It seems that nobody makes one for twin engines. I spoke to Yamaha UK and they said something about there not being enough space inside the control box and the lever itself to fit a neutral lock inside and not make the control box to big and cumbersome. Somebody did mention to me however after that that Yamaha make a twin lever control with interlocks that is available elsewhere in the world however Iím not sure how true this is.

From a personal point of view Iíd go with what has been said previously that I have no real preference for either as long as you can reach the lever in order to be in full control at all times. Iíve driven lots of ribs with side mount controls and when sat in the seat correctly you can barely move the controls into gear never mind open the throttle as its to far away in which case either the seat needs moving forward or a top mount control would be better as it would be nearer
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Old 05 March 2009, 07:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamster View Post
...... Iíve driven lots of ribs with side mount controls and when sat in the seat correctly you can barely move the controls into gear never mind open the throttle as its to far away in which case either the seat needs moving forward or a top mount control would be better as it would be nearer
I agree and there is plenty of scope for boat manufacturers to improve their designing skills in this regard with a consequent improvement in the boat driving experience.
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Old 05 March 2009, 13:57   #10
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thanks

Thanks to all who have commented. As many of you have pointed out the console centre top mounted control takes the throttle out of the way of people passing the console area and is evidently an upgrade to the seemingly more common standard side mount you typically get when buying an outboard engine on a rib. I'm not sure what model the throttle contril is that is on the boat i get next week, so unsure whether there is much of a neutral lock or notch as it were. Soon find out!! Sure i'll get used to it and using my left hand to throttle on.
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