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Old 01-15-2015, 03:05 PM   #1
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Thruster Noise

I just had a SidePower bow thruster installed. It's winter so I've only used it a couple times. But, it makes a lot of noise; SE80/185 12v model. The noise sounds like what you might hear from a bad bearing or gears. This can't be the case with a new unit so I'm guessing cavitation. The blades appeared to have enough clearance in the tube at installation and the job was done by a very respected yard. Any advice?
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:08 PM   #2
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My SidePower makes noise too, sounds like a blender and works just fine.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:14 PM   #3
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That's how they sound.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:25 PM   #4
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We just replaced our mediocre ~5HP Wesmar bow thruster with a powerful 13HP Wesmar thruster. The difference in thrust is incredible.

To your query, the 5HP thruster was very quiet (because it wasn't doing much I guess) but the 13HP unit sounds like someone is shaking a bucket full of ball bearings. Quite jarring. But I am assured that it is normal; at least you know it's working.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:27 PM   #5
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Sorta like a Ninja blender
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:38 PM   #6
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They are all noisy, especially if they are working right. Probably flow noise, and not anything mechanical.

Useful for waking up dock neighbors when leaving early to fish!!!
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:01 PM   #7
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Thanks. I'm not happy about the noise. But, as long as nothing is wrong I'm good to go. Thanks again.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:03 PM   #8
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A 13 hp thruster is probably equivalent to a 20 hp outboard. Electric motors are either 100% or zero. How does a 20+ hp outboard sound at WOT, inside your bilge?
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:04 PM   #9
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They are noisy so people will notice and be able to accuse you of "cheating". I use mine a lot anyway.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:12 PM   #10
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Our slip is near our harbor's fuel dock, and with more and more boaters steering their boats like a car with a bow thruster as opposed to using the rudder(s), we hear a lot of thrusters being used during the day. With the exception of hydraulic units that make no discernable noise other than the swirl of water, bow thrusters-- regardless of the size of the vessel--- all sound line a coffee can full of ball bearings being rolled down an iron staircase. Seems to be the nature of the beast.

Since the entire power drivetrain of a boat doesn't make nearly as much noise, I can only assume the grinding racket of an electric bow thruster is due to its gearbox, relatively crude construction, and the vibrations being amplified by the hull.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:13 PM   #11
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Just run a blender on deck....some will think that drinking and docking is more manly than using a thruster....
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:58 PM   #12
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What do you mean some? We ALL think that's more manly!
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:52 PM   #13
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Yes, they are noisy, as was my Vetus, (a new style prop helped some) but I would have the installer or preferably someone from the factory listen to it a bit and validate the noise level is OK for the expectation of that specific model.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:57 PM   #14
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:01 PM   #15
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To the OP- I think that is the exact same thruster I installed. It has been reliable since install in I think 2007. And noisy, unless batt is getting weak.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:15 PM   #16
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New 5 blade props are available which are said to cut noise, also touch sensitive variable speed joysticks allow less than full power/noise to be applied.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:21 PM   #17
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At first I thought it was cavitation. So I was thinking of adding a variable speed control unit. Hoping that slowly starting the water moving would reduce cavitation; as opposed to fully on. Any thoughts on that route?
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Our slip is near our harbor's fuel dock, and with more and more boaters steering their boats like a car with a bow thruster as opposed to using the rudder(s), we hear a lot of thrusters being used during the day. With the exception of hydraulic units that make no discernable noise other than the swirl of water, bow thrusters-- regardless of the size of the vessel--- all sound line a coffee can full of ball bearings being rolled down an iron staircase. Seems to be the nature of the beast.

Since the entire power drivetrain of a boat doesn't make nearly as much noise, I can only assume the grinding racket of an electric bow thruster is due to its gearbox, relatively crude construction, and the vibrations being amplified by the hull.
Hydraulic thrusters make pretty much the same noise as electric thrusters. An electric motor is not very noisy in and of itself. Any more than an hydraulic one is. The noise is mostly airiation and cavitation from the blades plus some transmitted vibrations. Unless you are talking about the water jet thrusters. They are quieter. But weak in thrust.

Most thrusters are not crudely made IMO. At least the common brands aren't from what I've seen.

The ring blade units are supposed to be much quieter.

Carbon Fiber Ring Thruster Propulsion System
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:47 PM   #19
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Hydraulic thrusters make pretty much the same noise as electric thrusters.
I suppose like everything else it depends on the design, construction, and installation. A 60-70 foot salmon buy-boat has recently been assigned to the end-tie on our dock. It has a hydraulic bow thruster. When it leaves the dock, the skipper uses the thruster to pivot the boat out 90 degrees from the end-tie. The only sound discernible over the boat's main engine is the burbling of the water coming out of the thruster.

A boat that previously used this end-tie is a similar-sized charter yacht. Its three-woman crew docked this boat using fore and aft thrusters and a wireless hand-held controller. Same deal: hydraulic thrusters and the only discernible sound was the burble of the water.

On the other hand..... the 120' corporate yacht Daedalus I was associated with on a project some years back had a very large electric bow thruster. While you could certainly hear the motor up forward in the crew's quarters and in the big galley immediately aft of them, from outside the boat all one heard was the burble of the water.

So maybe it's a matter of getting what one pays for.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
I suppose like everything else it depends on the design, construction, and installation. A 60-70 foot salmon buy-boat has recently been assigned to the end-tie on our dock. It has a hydraulic bow thruster. When it leaves the dock, the skipper uses the thruster to pivot the boat out 90 degrees from the end-tie. The only sound discernible over the boat's main engine is the burbling of the water coming out of the thruster.

A boat that previously used this end-tie is a similar-sized charter yacht. Its three-woman crew docked this boat using fore and aft thrusters and a wireless hand-held controller. Same deal: hydraulic thrusters and the only discernible sound was the burble of the water.

On the other hand..... the 120' corporate yacht Daedalus I was associated with on a project some years back had a very large electric bow thruster. While you could certainly hear the motor up forward in the crew's quarters and in the big galley immediately aft of them, from outside the boat all one heard was the burble of the water.

So maybe it's a matter of getting what one pays for.
You can hear our hydraulic thrusters I suppose, but they are far quieter than similar sized boats using electric units. I doubt that off the vessel you would hear much from us other than the sound of the water, as you suggest.
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