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Old 01-20-2011, 09:28 AM   #1
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Side Power Problem

*I am wondering if anyone has had this exact problem with their thruster. The tech at Imtra is baffled.
*
It will run for a longer time to starboard than to port.
*
Last weekend I took the family to lunch in the boat. I needed to turn the boat 180 degrees to port*for the*tie up. The thruster got us almost around and then quit. The light on the control was out. I pushed the two buttons to light it up again and it did. I attempted to continue to port but it went "whump" and turned the light off again. Once again I turned it on and tried to go to starboard. Worked great. Tried port again and "whump".
*
After lunch I needed to go to port to leave the face dock and it worked. I assume that maybe*it got hot*at our arrival*and shut itself down.
*
Here is the mystery:
*
Once before the thruster stopped and the control panel light would not come immediately back on. Everything was dead. After a cooling off period the control panel came back to life and the thruster worked until it got hot and died again. The problem turned out to be a loose negative battery cable. Once it was tightened the thruster worked great.
*
This time the whole system is not shutting down killing the control panel until the thermal coupler resets itself.* Now only the port thrust is gone until it rests a while. Starboard thrust and the control still works.
*
It is mysteries such as this that make boating interesting.
*
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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RE: Side Power Problem

How about maybe a different set of contacts that connect for each direction. One set is corroded more than the other and requires more voltage. After a certain amount of time the battery doesn't have enough oomph to go thru the corroded set, but can go thru the cleaner set.

Depending on your brand of thruster you can take the relay apart and clean the contacts with a point file.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:43 AM   #3
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RE: Side Power Problem

Duel prop thruster?* Something fouling one prop?...........Arctic Traveller
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:23 AM   #4
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RE: Side Power Problem

Quote:
Arctic Traveller wrote:Duel prop thruster?* Something fouling one prop?...........Arctic Traveller
I was going to ask that.

*
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:08 PM   #5
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Side Power Problem

Just had a bottom job. Plus after it cools off it runs fine just not for long. Maybe 6-8 short bursts to get off a face dock. It will run the other way until the cows arrive back at the barn.

It is dual prop.

-- Edited by Doc on Thursday 20th of January 2011 02:08:38 PM
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:13 PM   #6
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RE: Side Power Problem

Quote:
Doc wrote:It will run the other way until the cows arrive back at the barn.
Check the oil for metal. It might be a thrust bearing gone south.

*
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:53 PM   #7
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RE: Side Power Problem

ANd just because you just had a bottom job, don't rule out one of the props being fouled. In fact, if this showed up right after it was in the yard, that may be exactly the cause. In the airplane business, I am most concerned about a plane fresh out of maintenance than I am with one that has been running just fine. Anyway, just a thought. Or...instead of doing a 90 degree turn, you can do a 270 degree turn!!!.........also known as the "chicken jibe"...sailing lingo for tacking and turning 270 degrees(bow through the wind) instead of jibing(stern through the wind).
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:26 AM   #8
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RE: Side Power Problem

In the airplane business, I am most concerned about a plane fresh out of maintenance than I am with one that has been running just fine.

PAR .

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Paint And Return

Always the joke at VRF 31 , a ferry squadron.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #9
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RE: Side Power Problem

"It might be a thrust bearing gone south"

That could do it for sure. You might be able to check for axial play without taking it apart.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #10
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RE: Side Power Problem

Where is the thrust bearing located?

Out of water check or in water?
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:02 PM   #11
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RE: Side Power Problem

Out of water unfortunately. There will be a drain plug on the bottom of the housing, probably in line with the drive "leg." Run the unit immediately before pulling the plug and catch the oil in a clean container so you can check it for metal dust or filings. If there is any it will probably look like gold dust.

The thrust bearing(s) will be located on the propeller shaft on either side of the input shaft. I don't have a Sidepower drawing so can't be more specific. If this is a worm drive unit it will have a thrust bearing on the input shaft as well and it could be that one as the worm generates considerable thrust as well.

Someone else mentioned check the end play and that is good advice. Push hard on the prop on one side while turning it and see if it turns freely and smoothly. Repeat from the other side. If it turns smoothly both ways while pushing on the prop and there is no metal in the oil you may be back to looking at the electrical control module.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:05 AM   #12
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RE: Side Power Problem

From what I understand if it is a single propeller it takes more energy to turn it in one direction then the other. Also I believe dc electric starter motors are wound for more torque in one direction usually clockwise looking at the shaft then in other direction. This means it would draw more current in one direction than other. ????
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:39 AM   #13
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RE: Side Power Problem

A previous post stated it was a dual prop unit.

Modern thrusters don't use "starter motors" and since they are bi-directional the brush rigging is set at the neutral point, that is the location where full load speed is equal in both directions.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:08 AM   #14
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RE: Side Power and electrical Problem

ELECTRICAL FAILURE.

99.99% of the time electrical failure is due to *terminal corrosion and bad contact .


Poor/ loose ground *on engine block
terminals
loose screws on "U" *and "Eye" terminals
switches
Undersized wire
Weak batteries
circuit over load
crimp joints
Contacts.
Loose wires at *terminals
Fractured wire *at terminals
Fracture wire concealed with in insulation
Faulty device. which includes switches and circuit breakers


Remember Electricity can KILL.


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Old 01-25-2011, 02:42 PM   #15
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RE: Side Power Problem

Had a talk with tech at Imtra yesterday. He is leaning stongly toward brushes.

Now if I can find someone in SW Florida that knows Sidepower, I'll get them checked.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:35 PM   #16
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RE: Side Power Problem

Had sort of the same problem with our Sidepower stern thruster (almost ashamed to admit the boat has one, but it came with it) and it was the brushes. Replaced them and the springs and it puts out more than the bow thruster now.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:21 AM   #17
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Side Power Problem

After a conversation with the owner of US Thusters in Pompano Beach, FL I have decided that the joystick controller is bad. Imtra had recommended that I contact him to see if he ever traveled to SW Florida. He said that he does not. But then he talked me through how to test a couple of things. I first ran it with the joystick and it stopped in both directions after a minute each way. So, running both directons a limited time made him suspect the joystick control.

He had me jump the wires before the controller and it ran without interuption in both directions until the battery gave out. Plenty long enough to do several 180's.

I have found a used one for $50.00 with a 30 day guarantee. A new one is just over $200.00.

What would you do?

-- Edited by Doc on Saturday 29th of January 2011 01:39:19 PM
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:59 PM   #18
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RE: Side Power Problem

Doc, Given the value of your boat, I would buy the new one and keep my fingers crossed that it fixes the problem.* JohnP
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