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Old 10-08-2013, 07:13 AM   #21
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usually thrusters that are overheating are because of...

1. You are in environmental conditions nearing the worst case scenario for the boat or crew or both.

2. The thruster is too small for the situation you are asking it to perform in.

3. The wiring might not be up to the thrusters requirements and dropping too much voltage.

4. Inefficient use of the thruster...(a little harder to determine).

Something that might be a quick fix...check to see if the wiring gets hot or the voltage with a meter...if hot/low voltage....install a battery right near the thruster...
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:13 AM   #22
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I took them on an NCL cruise ship in Hawaii. I was onboard to deliver some crew training, otherwise I avoid cruise ships as they carry plagues of all sorts.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:54 AM   #23
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usually thrusters that are overheating are because of...
...very high power output from a small motor with no cooling. That is why they are placarded against using for more than a couple of minutes and why the better ones have a protective circuit that shuts them down after 2 or 3 minutes continuous use.

Commutator and brush rigging failure is nearly certain if they are overheated by normal operation beyond the manufacturer's time limitation. Overheating is a "feature" of those units and is not normally a fault caused by other issues.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:34 AM   #24
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...very high power output from a small motor with no cooling. That is why they are placarded against using for more than a couple of minutes and why the better ones have a protective circuit that shuts them down after 2 or 3 minutes continuous use.

Commutator and brush rigging failure is nearly certain if they are overheated by normal operation beyond the manufacturer's time limitation. Overheating is a "feature" of those units and is not normally a fault caused by other issues.
On the many Sea Rays I ran...many did trip the CB on the main panel....undersized wiring? or the unit becoming hot needing more amps? or the protective circuit built into the motor itself? Not familiar enough whether the unit itself would cause the demand more amps.

The fix in many cases for after manufacture installed thrusters that kept popping CBs was a closer battery.... so I was always thinking wiring on the units.....
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:27 AM   #25
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Because little boats typically use a DC series wound starter motor that produces a great deal of power from a small package with no provision for cooling. .
That's true for most DC thrusters but not all. WESMAR'S DC Pro series solves those problems but is really expensive.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:15 PM   #26
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Had a note from my sister, who lives up in North Carolina, and she said that they had a heck of a time docking their trawler over the weekend because there were high winds and the thrusters overheated while trying to maneuver the boat toward the dock (they have a Mainship 40) so that they were kind of stuck. They finally got it docked by throwing lines to people on the dock who helped bring it in.

My boat has twins, but I have always thought that a single-engine with thrusters would do just as well in docking situations. But perhaps not! Is this overheating of the thrusters a common problem? Or is there perhaps just something wrong with his?

John

There are thrusters, and then there are thrusters. A small 12v unit could easily be overheated if used beyond it's rated duty cycle... where a larger 12v or a 24v unit may have a longer duty cycle... and then you've seen about the hydraulic units. I've heard some of the thrusters that are factory installed are usually selected by price point...

And then there's the way it's used. Leaning on it through a slalom course is different from a few minor tweaks once the helmsman has brought the boat 95% home. IOW, one doesn't exactly "maneuver the boat toward the dock" with the thruster; that's usually main engine work (without having seen the particular situation they faced).

Given a combination of good hardware and good technique, I'd take a single with thruster over a twin... because it's probably less expensive to run, easier and cheaper to maintain

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Old 10-08-2013, 01:51 PM   #27
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Here is one of the auxiliary helm control stations of a modern cruise ship (one each at the starboard and port ends of the bridge) used when docking. The throttles/controls for the two main propulsion engines are at the bottom. Which handle(s) control forward thruster power? The one next to the meters?

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Old 10-08-2013, 06:00 PM   #28
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The one next to the meters?
Yes, the old fashioned looking one with the round knob and white pointer showing "0".

The lower units with the azimuth ring are azipod controls, power ahead and astern with the lever and azimuth by rotating the whole assembly. The single lever in the center just above and between them is a "jog steering" lever with rotates both pods the same direction and azimuth. That would be used while steering in open water while the separate controls provide near infinite thrust vectoring.

The same type of control is used for jet drives and many of the most recently built yachts.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:30 AM   #29
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usually thrusters that are overheating are because of..


.Someone read Da Book and is using the TIME limits the unit mfg suggests?
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:53 AM   #30
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I have a single and a Vetus 12 volt stern thruster. Manual indicates I can get 2 minutes of use per hour. I have never overheated it to the point of shut down. Two minutes is a lot of thruster use.

I can dock the boat without it but use it regularly. It is just another tool albeit a very useful one.

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Old 10-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #31
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usually thrusters that are overheating are because of..


.Someone read Da Book and is using the TIME limits the unit mfg suggests?
That is a good point, FF. Just like my manual on my engines say you can run at WOT for 1 hour out of every 8. It doesn't mean I am gonna jack up the throttle every eighth hour just because the manual says I can....
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:09 AM   #32
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I have a single and a Vetus 12 volt stern thruster. Manual indicates I can get 2 minutes of use per hour.
Good point! My thruster (SidePower) manual states continuous operation should not exceed 3 minutes. Do you realize just how long that is? In 7 years of using my thruster, I have never had it quit due to excessive heat. Heavy usage for me is 15 seconds!
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #33
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I was reading an owner's manual for a MAN 1200 HP V-12 diesel and the manufacturer suggested this was a good engine to use for a bow thruster. Yes there would not be a concern for overheating an electric bow thruster if you had room for one of these....
Most of us might remember reading an owners manual for a car or truck. It is usually suggested that if the engine does not start right away if you are doing extended cranking, to let the starter cool off before trying again.
Most thruster motors are simply starter motors for big diesels. Some thrusters have a fan built in to help dissipate heat but most do not so a light touch with short bursts will help to make sure it will not overheat when you need it.
I love this bow thruster below, I think this picture came from some one on this forum in the past.
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #34
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Fighting that same concern, with a electric bow thruster, even using it in short burst, I have on two occasions tripped by circuit breaker. having twins and pretty big wheels we don't use it often, but it is nice to have it for insurance. If I was paying the ticket for a new one I too would go Hydraulic but like most things it came with the boat, so I was thrilled.

I've checked the connections and they are all clean, the breaker is correctly sized according the manufactures specs, so not sure what we are doing wrong. We try to use in it only in short burst less then 5 sec, but usually by the 3rd burst, you can count on resetting the breaker....which is of course down three sets of stairs by the thruster.

Suggestions ?
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:35 PM   #35
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Fighting that same concern, with a electric bow thruster, even using it in short burst, I have on two occasions tripped by circuit breaker. having twins and pretty big wheels we don't use it often, but it is nice to have it for insurance. If I was paying the ticket for a new one I too would go Hydraulic but like most things it came with the boat, so I was thrilled.

I've checked the connections and they are all clean, the breaker is correctly sized according the manufactures specs, so not sure what we are doing wrong. We try to use in it only in short burst less then 5 sec, but usually by the 3rd burst, you can count on resetting the breaker....which is of course down three sets of stairs by the thruster.

Suggestions ?
I'm thinking that while the breaker is sized correctly as per manual, the wiring between the breaker and thruster may be to small a gauge which is causing them to heat up which is leading to breaker trip...next time you use the thruster feel the wires to see if they feel inordinately hot...
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:44 PM   #36
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Hi Tom Isee you have a stern thruster, WOW we are considering installing one. Where does the hydraulic come from? Is there a PTO off of the Transmission?
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:06 PM   #37
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I'm thinking the while the breaker is sized correctly as per manual, the wiring between the breaker and thruster may be to small a gauge which is causing them to heat up which is leading to breaker trip...next time you use the thruster feel the wires to see if they feel inordinately hot...
If the thruster is a starter motor for a diesel, the cable size should be considerably large especially if the run from it and the battery is a long distance. Possibly even using welding cable.

Nothing will kill an electric motor like voltage and amp loss.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #38
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Tom B , can you contact me about the stern thruster we ahve basically the same boat im a 35 SENATOR
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:03 PM   #39
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the cable size should be considerably large especially if the run from it and the battery is a long distance.
Nothing will kill an electric motor like voltage and amp loss.
My dock mates thruster was doing the same thing. He solved it by installing a dedicated 4D flooded battery within a couple of feet of the thruster and eliminating the 12' battery cable run. His biggest issue was venting the battery gases. Problem solved.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:36 PM   #40
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Because little boats typically use a DC series wound starter motor that produces a great deal of power from a small package with no provision for cooling.

Your cruise ship has 3 bow thrusters, they are variable speed AC powered and are air/water cooled and are rated for continuous operation. They cost more than your bow thruster.

Note the two gray pipes attached to the header on the right side of the photo. The motor housing contains fans that circulate cooling air across the fins of that water cooled heat exchanger.
Thanks RickB for the info & photos. I'd always assumed - based on what is often touted as the best solution for recreational boats - that the large ship thrusters would have been hydraulic.
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