Frequently Asked Questions

Can electronic controls be installed on my older boat?

In nearly all applications, yes. A complete review of your propulsion system is recommended so that the correct ZF Controls system can be matched to your vessel.

For mechanical engines and gears, do I require an additional ‘actuator’ with the system’s processor unit?

No. ZF’s Microcommand and Clearcommand control systems use a combined processor/actuator unit. Not only mechanical engine and gear, but also mechanical engine with electric gear, and electronic engine with mechanical gear.

What is the power requirement for electronic controls?

All ZF control systems use either 12 or 24 VDC supplied power. For applications using electronic shift, the input voltage to the processor must be equivalent to the voltage required by the shift solenoid. The maximum power requirement while driving a servo for mechanical actuation is 160 Watts.

I have an older Mathers system on my twin screw boat. Can I replace just one of the processors with a new ZF processor?

Yes, but there are limitations. Microcommand is the only system that can be used with processors of different vintage. You will lose functionality such as Synchronization and One Lever Mode. Typically we recommend replacing both at the same time.

How do I find service and parts support for my ZF or Mathers pneumatic controls and shaft brakes?

Northway Products now handles all sales and support for pneumatic controls and shaft brakes. You can go to, or contact them at or 425-493-1127.

If this FAQ section did not answer your question, please contact us.