Heading Control System

The Mega-Guard Heading Control System (HCS) automatically controls vessel’s heading by controlling the rudders


Heading Control System


The Mega-Guard Heading Control System (HCS) automatically controls vessel's heading by calculating and providing a setpoint for the rudder. The Heading Control System fulfills the rules of classification societies and wheelmark. The reliable autopilot supports single rudders and twin independent rudders. 

The Heading Control System includes the following modes of operation:

  • HCS Control
  • Track Control
  • Turn by Radius or Rate Of Turn


The HCS interfaces to various NMEA compatible sensors according one of the following standards:

  • NMEA-0183 over serial line
  • NMEA over Ethernet


Sensors provide the HCS with heading, position, speed, wind and draft data. In addition NMEA input/outputs are available for ECDIS and VDR.



System lay-out and operation

The Mega-Guard HCS is built up with the following items:

  • Heading Control Panel for flush panel mounting in bridge console
  • Steering Control System for bulkhead mounting in steering room

The Heading Control Panel includes a user friendly Heading Knob, a 5”touchscreen and control mode selection pushbuttons. In addition the Heading Control Panel includes advanced software for accurate heading control. Sensor and actuator data is interfaced via the redundant Ethernet network from the Mega-Guard INS and the Steering Control System.
In non IMO applications the sensors and actuator can be directly connected to the Heading Control Panel.

The Steering Control System includes a Steering Controller and Operator Panels for steering operation mode, steering indication,  full follow up and non follow up operation. The Steering Control System is available in single and dual rudder configurations.



Heading Controller

The controller of the  Heading Control Panel is equipped with a self-learning and adaptive software algorithm for accurate course keeping. The controller dynamically adjusts and stores the control parameters taking into account vessel speed, draft and wind conditions. An extended Kalman filter is applied to filter out wave induced yaw motions. In this way rudder movements are minimized which results in less wear and tear and reduced fuel consumption. The HCS Control function can be set to either Auto Heading or Auto Course mode through touchscreen buttons. In Auto Course mode the Heading Control Panel steers against a set course over ground. This results in automatic compensation of wind and/or wave induced drift by the Heading Control Panel.

The Mega-Guard HCS can be connected to Mega-Guard INS or a separate ECDIS or ECS for automatic track steering, taking into account the set cross track error, the turn radius and rate of turn.



HCS with Position Hold

The Mega-Guard HCS can also be extended with Position Hold functionality in case all thrusters are controlled by  Mega-Guard propulsion, steering and thruster control systems. The dynamic positioning controller of the Heading Control Panel accurately calculates thrust and steering setpoints of all thrusters basedupon external induced forces of waves, wind and current and measured data from position, heading and wind sensors. User friendly heading adjustments can be made with the Heading Knob and a position transfer step can be induced by touching the arrows on the touchscreen in ahead, astern, port and/or starboard direction.









HCS Market segments

The HCS Heading Control System is applied in all type of ships. Three market segments are distinguished:

  • Commercial ships
  • Mega yachts
  • Navy ships

The Heading Control Panel is supplied in a highly esthetic metal front with integrated pushbuttons and stylish Heading Knob with push function to accept the set heading. The Steering Operator Panel has identical styling and dimensions (DIN 144x144mm). In addition, the Full Follow Up and Non Follow Up steering panels are half  size (DIN 72x144mm) and fit perfectly next to the Heading  Control Panel and the Steering Operator Panel.   









Position Hold

The Position Hold optional function is implemented with a Marine PC including dynamic positioning (DP) software. The Marine PC communicates with the Heading Control Panel via Ethernet network. The Heading Control Panel fulfills heading control functions and as soon as Position Hold mode is selected, the Marine PC with DP software takes over the control of all thrusters including the rudder to realize the Position Hold functionality.








Steering Control System



The Mega-Guard Steering Control System (SCS)  automatically controls rudder position to a given setpoint  as received from the Heading Control System or from the Full Follow Up (FFU) steering panels. The SCS supports back-up and independent operation of the rudder actuators through the Non Follow Up (NFU) Joystick panels
as well. In addition, it includes an independent rudder position indication system.

The following rudder configurations are supported:

  • single rudder with dual actuator
  • dual linked rudder with dual actuator
  • dual rudder with dual actuator
  • dual rudder with quad actuator

The following rudder actuators are supported:

  • bang bang type
  • proportional valve type




System lay-out and operation

The Mega-Guard SCS consists of the following items:

  • Steering Operator Panels for flush panel mounting in bridge console
  • Steering Indication Panels for flush panel mounting in overhead console and/or wings
  • Full Follow Up (FFU) Panels ; single or dual mounted on bridge
  • Non Follow Up (NFU) Panels ; single or dual mounted on bridge
  • Steering Controllers ; mounted in cabinet in steering room or bridge

The Steering Operator and Indication Panels and the Steering Controllers are interconnected by redundant Ethernet network for reliable operation of the rudder actuators and minimizing cabling. In addition, the Mega-Guard Heading Control System is connected to the redundant Ethernet network.

The Steering Operator Panel indicates rudder position and indication of mode of operation: HCS, FFU or NFU control. In addition, the hydraulic or electric pumps for the steering actuators can be operated from the Steering Operator Panel.    



Full Follow Up (FFU) panels

FFU panels are either in single or dual configuration and are available as follows:

  • external steering wheel
  • built-in mini steering wheel
  • joystick (proportional)

The panel includes a Take Over pushbutton with lamp  indicator.


Non Follow Up (NFU) panels

NFU panels are either in single or dual configuration and are available as follows:

  • joystick (moveable to portside and starboard side direction )
  • pushbuttons (To Port and To Starboard)

The panel includes a Take Over pushbutton with lamp indicator. Dual panels include dual Take Over pushbuttons for independent take-over of port side rudder and starboard side rudder.























Mounting & Dimensions

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Contact information

Praxis Automation Technology
Zijldijk 24A,
2352 AB Leiderdorp
The Netherlands

+31 (0)71 5255 353

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