Wakeboard Towers on boats are nothing new, however they have always caused problems with respect to operating a boat in certain situations due to the height of these towers. They typically stand quite high and for lake country its common that they are too high to fit under small bridges. Another reason to power them is so that they can be trailered around without these height restrictions and stored in the garage with ease.
Some Towers have pivots and removable pins to be able to lower and higher them, but that's time consuming and can cause a backup of boats waiting to get under the bridge. These days for higher end boats, its becoming more and more popular for Boat manufacturers to motorize this function. Linear Actuators are the primary motion control of choice when it comes to powering a Wakeboard tower for many reasons. Firstly the can be powered by the existing boating power supply, and they also can provide a lot of force required to lift the larger towers up and down.
How are Wakeboard towers fitted with Linear Actuators?
Typically, Towers pivot at the front of the tower and then at the back they have a removable pin which needs to be removed by the operator, to lower the tower. Its typically a 2 person job because one needs to take the weight of the tower, whilst the other removes the pins on both sides. In a motorized wakeboard tower, the removable pin is replaced with a Linear Actuator. This fits inside the boat body and points upwards towards the tower where the end of the actuator shaft is connected to and then electronically raises and lowers the tower into place. The internal limit switches of the Linear Actuators are used to stop the actuator when it becomes fully retracted and fully extended. Usually a custom Stroke size is required for higher volumes but the entire system should only cost about $100-180 Per Actuators depending on the volumes.
Do you need one Actuator or two actuators for powering the boat tower?
Some boat manufacturers use just one Actuator on one side of the Tower to lift and lower it, this works very well for towers that are not too heavy or that have a very rigid hinge system on the base of the tower posts. However for larger towers two linear actuator maybe required. Of course using 2 Actuator does half the weight required to do the pushing and pulling, but it also doubles the cost.
Which Linear Actuator is best to use for power towers?
We recommend the the 36Cal Bullet style Linear Actuator that has over 220-lbs of force and is available in many stroke options and can be custom sized. This model also have built in feedback which is required if you want to sync two or more actuators together so that they run perfectly in sync. These actuators are IP66 rated and provide enough power for this application and are priced around $185. If you prefer to use just one actuator then we suggest the next power level up which is available in 3 different force models from 500-lbs to 1124-lbs of force and priced around $270.
FIRGELLI® offers a very large selection of Linear Actuators for every application. To view all our actuator click here - FIRGELLI Linear Actuators.