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Old 07-06-2022, 08:22 PM   #1
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Proportional control thrusters? Dock hold?

Does anyone really use the hold feature of proportional thrusters?

Or even the proportional part?

I have non proportional and it seems like cycling on/off is equally useful, but I don’t know.

Maybe it allows one to upsize but not use all that power under most conditions.

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-06-2022, 08:30 PM   #2
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I use the hold feature at most dockings.Once the boat is in position i hit the hold button then i can get of the boat and tie it up. Also i like the ability to just use a little thrust which makes no noise and just gently positions the boat. I do have 170 thrusters that i believe are a little oversized. I also have the remote control so i can turn them off once at dock without needing to return to the boat.
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Old 07-07-2022, 10:34 PM   #3
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Thanks.

Anyone else?
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:39 AM   #4
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I have no experience, but other than holding against a dock, I don't know why they would be much more useful than on/off thrusters. Rather than a 2 second burst, would you rather use a 10 sec burst at 20% power? I don't see the advantage. If I was buying a new boat or new thrusters, I would want them. But unless I really needed the dock-holding feature, I would replace or upgrade mine.
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:43 AM   #5
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The advantage is that they can be run fo a much longer time without overheating.
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:47 AM   #6
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The advantage is that they can be run fo a much longer time without overheating.
Good point Dave, however, even in pretty adverse conditions, I've never had to run mine longer than a several second burst. Do some people need to run thrusters for minutes at a time?
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:52 AM   #7
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If you are single handing you may need time to get off the boat and tie it up.
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:59 AM   #8
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Our thrusters are hydraulic so I don’t know if our experience is relevant to electric. I use them much more of the time at partial/proportional thrust than at max thrust. It is quieter and smoother to be gently with them, and much better when close to the dock. We can ease up to the dock and/or hold at the dock with maybe 10-20% of power. Full power pushes lots of water around and makes for jerkier movements.

In theory you can pin to the dock with partial thrust and walk off the boat, but in reality the boat will creep forward or back if you try to do that. I’ve experimented with that but don’t actually use it.
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Old 07-08-2022, 11:10 AM   #9
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I acknowledged earlier that if you want/need to hold against a dock, then they are probably good for that. I don't know that I would ever do that, so for just pushing the bow or stern into position, the on/off suffice for me.
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Old 07-08-2022, 11:17 AM   #10
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Our thrusters are not proportional but we still use them to hold the boat to the dock while handling lines. My wife does the stern line first and then walks on the dock to get the bow line which is in place and tied off at a midship cleat. I run the thrusters as needed while she does this. It works ok, I just have to tend the joysticks or the remote fob while she is doing the lines. With a proportional thrusters I could probably just set them and be done with them while she is handling the lines. Oh well…
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Old 07-08-2022, 11:23 AM   #11
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Our thrusters are not proportional but we still use them to hold the boat to the dock while handling lines. My wife does the stern line first and then walks on the dock to get the bow line which is in place and tied off at a midship cleat. I run the thrusters as needed while she does this. It works ok, I just have to tend the joysticks or the remote fob while she is doing the lines. With a proportional thrusters I could probably just set them and be done with them while she is handling the lines. Oh well…
Makes sense Dave. I also use them to help with attaching lines, like if a line is tight and I want to slacken it a little or make it easier to attach. But you're really talking about a rich man's problem: "I have to push the joystick for the thrusters on my yacht more than once when I'm docking!"
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Old 07-08-2022, 01:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy with a boat View Post
Our thrusters are hydraulic so I don’t know if our experience is relevant to electric. I use them much more of the time at partial/proportional thrust than at max thrust. It is quieter and smoother to be gently with them, and much better when close to the dock. We can ease up to the dock and/or hold at the dock with maybe 10-20% of power. Full power pushes lots of water around and makes for jerkier movements.

In theory you can pin to the dock with partial thrust and walk off the boat, but in reality the boat will creep forward or back if you try to do that. I’ve experimented with that but don’t actually use it.
This is pretty much my experience too. Proportional control becomes increasingly important when thrusters are oversized. Most of the time there's little need to use all the power, but nice to have when the current is running or wind is blowing. You could achieve similar results with pulses of thruster, but with big thrusters that can be a bit dramatic.

Thrusters operated at low power are often very quiet, so quiet that people on the dock might not even notice. Your neighbors might just think you're a better boat handler than you are!
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Old 07-11-2022, 07:21 PM   #13
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Went with SidePower proportional thrust, and a size up from what is probably needed 95% of the time. Because I can run them, bow and stern, continuously for long periods I do maneuvers in Marinas solely with thrusters handing the turns and the main engines for go. The helm is not touched until underway. Hold is used rarely, same for the remote, not because I don't love the features but because dock hands and or the mate stepping off in the moment of arrival make it redundant most times. But, when single handing, then bonus, love it.
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Old 07-11-2022, 07:33 PM   #14
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Proportional trust is standard on all the mains in the fleet. How handy is that? Darn handy on the thrusters too.
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