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Old 12-05-2021, 03:27 PM   #1
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Sidepower SP55si brush replacement

It is time to replace the brushes in my BT, and I am looking for anybody with experience doing this or an illustrated parts breakdown. User manual and manufacturer website useless, but I will call them during businass hours. As it stands, I can see the brushes but have not figured out to properly remove the interference. I am not going to guess and screw this unit up.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:24 AM   #2
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Check YouTube, there's videos.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:57 AM   #3
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Check YouTube, there's videos.
Thanks, but I forgot to mention that I spent a good while there in various search strings never finding enough information on the SP55. I did have a quickly answered call an hour ago with IMTRA the Side Power parent company, and the plain-English speaking rep there asked for some info and photos which I just sent to him. Hopefully, I will hear back soon. Their wedsite document search would not even return a find for the owner's manual, much less any diagrams or maintenance docs. Stay tuned...
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:36 AM   #4
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You can get it repaired by an old time auto electrics shop. I had my discontinued windlass motor repaired by a shop in Annapolis a dozen years ago. They adapted some brushes they had on hand to work. Hope they are still in business.

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Old 12-06-2021, 02:52 PM   #5
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Rich,
When (trying to plan ahead), I contacted Imtra regarding brushes for my 18 year old unit, I was informed that brushes were no longer avaiable, and I would have to replace the motor section of the unit (the in hull part could be retained), and they offered a "discount". I never did have to change the brushes before I sold the boat, but before buying a new motor, I would have tried the auto electric shop approach.
Mine was an SP75 model. I have PDF docs for cleaning and replacing brushes, parts, and troubleshooting. Send me a PM with your email address if interested and I will send them along.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:05 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for the good ideas. I have taken a number of windlass motors and starters to the local alternator repair shop, and this is certainly an option. The IMTRA tech who responded to the phone right away and spoke better English than I told me it is very rare for the brushes in these very robust motors to wear down. He compared their short periods of operations to the many hours generally much smaller alternator brushes operate. After looking at some photos he requested, his opinion was that carbon build-up was causing the rapid slow down of the motor. His opinion was that once cleaned up the motor would run another 10-15 years unless a brush was cracked. He even went out back and pulled a couple of 8-inch long metric screws from an old motor and sent them to me after I told him the Philips head slots stripped out of one while I was trying to pull the cap with brush holder assembly.

Another tech there separately responded to the email I sent Saturday via their website telling me that yes, the motor style I have (there are three) is no longer made and that brushes are no longer available. In his opinion, taking it to a shop for somebody to attemp to place some brushes in there would be a crap shoot due to the unknow durameter number of the new brushes. I discussed al this with the first tech on a second phone call.

In the end, the brushes looked ok; the motor is cleaned and reassembled; and I await the long screws to finish it off before I give it a whirl. If it fails, I have the option of the alternator shop or the 33% off new motor. The admiral has voted for a new motor......

Oh, and for Lepke, thanks for the youtube idea. That was my first effort, but an hour of looking did not give me what i needed.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:42 PM   #7
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Rich
Thanks for the post... I have noticed a lot of carbon dust around my thrusters... especially my stern and thinking it may be time to replace.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:55 PM   #8
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Rich
Thanks for the post... I have noticed a lot of carbon dust around my thrusters... especially my stern and thinking it may be time to replace.
The tech I spoke with and the eyeball evidence I got today suggests that despite the scary amount of dust, there is a lot of brush meat left and cleaning with your favorite cleaner can do wonders for lagging performance. I will report soon how my cleaning worked out - need another motor assembly screw to arrive here first...
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:05 PM   #9
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Dc motor brushes are pretty much a commodity, there isn't any magic sauce in them. You can almost always find something that will work, they are easy to sand down to the section required.
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:45 PM   #10
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Brushes need to fit snug but not hang up in the holder. Any larger brush can be sanded down to fit properly. I clean the commutator with a white scotch bright . I do it by cutting a small piece and placing it between to popsicles sticks with a rubber band. Then find an opening next to the brush and tap the switch . It will clean right up . If it’s burnt then it will need removed and machining .
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:59 PM   #11
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There are actual commutator cleaning sticks. About the same size as the brushes, you put them in and push on them a little as you pin the commutator. They kinda work, but if you have the end cap of the motor off you can do a much better job getting directly at it with Sotchbrite or something like 240g. Just need to make sure you leave the segment divisions clean.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
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There are actual commutator cleaning sticks. About the same size as the brushes, you put them in and push on them a little as you pin the commutator. They kinda work, but if you have the end cap of the motor off you can do a much better job getting directly at it with Sotchbrite or something like 240g. Just need to make sure you leave the segment divisions clean.
Like this... Nothin' beats getting that cap off. Toothpicks held the brush springs back for initial reassembly. Lots of brush left and cleaned of all the carbon. Hope it spins up well when I test it soon. If not, I will quit screwing with it and probably buy the new motor on offer cuz' I am way too old and tired and impatient to be messing with old junk. I already bought a brand new genny for the boat; so this is chump change. Need to be on the water instead of in the bilge.
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:02 PM   #13
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Be careful which electronics cleaner you use on these types of jobs. Some of the more aggressive ones will eat plastic like crazy, the can should say 'safe for most plastics' if you are going to use it anywhere that there is plastic. The traditional electric motor cleaners often destroy and craze plastic on contact.
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:39 PM   #14
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Be careful which electronics cleaner you use on these types of jobs. Some of the more aggressive ones will eat plastic like crazy, the can should say 'safe for most plastics' if you are going to use it anywhere that there is plastic. The traditional electric motor cleaners often destroy and craze plastic on contact.
Thanks, Steve. I use the CRC brand and have great success. Another caution we learned after some deaths in the Navy, is to ensure good ventilation. I was down in a hole using this stuff and had a fan blowing on me as well as an open hatch above. I pretty much quickly emptied the can and immediately got out of there anyway.
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Old 12-10-2021, 11:01 PM   #15
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Good news! Got the unit buttoned back up today, put the boat in the water with just enough weight on the cradle to hold it, started the engine, and leaned on the bow thruster joystick for a couple of good long periods, and it ran like a champ throwing the boat back and forth on its cradle. I think I may do a bit of preventive carbon cleanup every year from now on.
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Old 12-11-2021, 07:43 AM   #16
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From the looks of that armature , you are leaning heavy on that thruster. The cables are overheating from either too much load or lose nuts. Either way you should remove and clean up all high amp connections. Limit youíre use to a short pulse . Give it time to stop before reversing.
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Old 12-11-2021, 08:03 AM   #17
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From the looks of that armature , you are leaning heavy on that thruster. The cables are overheating from either too much load or lose nuts. Either way you should remove and clean up all high amp connections. Limit youíre use to a short pulse . Give it time to stop before reversing.
I agree that the i6-year old unit's commutator is a bit worn, but I am the third owner and have always been sparing in my use. The previous owner admitted he the boat was way above his skill level - so, let's blame hin. All connections are clean and tight with any insulation discoloration due to the large amount of carbon dust before cleaning. For now it runs like a scalded dog, and with my careful use will do so for another ten to fifteen years according to the IMTRA tech to examined a number of photos I sent him. I am not 100% positive that all four brushes were making good contact before cleaning, but they surely are now.
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Old 12-11-2021, 08:16 AM   #18
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Good job. We repair about 20 thrusters a year. The actual units are all very robust. Poor connections causing excessive heat is #1 problem. This can be solved by annual inspection. #2 is long ON periods . Also making excessive heat. The other is load. In calm conditions you may move the boat sideways 1’/sec. if your boat is being pushed by wind or current at 1mph , the load is multiplied. Like driving up hill. The solution is to rethink your docking attack and pulsing the thruster instead of a steady on power.
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Old 12-11-2021, 12:20 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Arc;1059449]Good job. We repair about 20 thrusters a year. The actual units are all very robust. Poor connections causing excessive heat is #1 problem. This can be solved by annual inspection. #2 is long ON periods . Also making excessive heat. The other is load. In calm conditions you may move the boat sideways 1’/sec. if your boat is being pushed by wind or current at 1mph , the load is multiplied. Like driving up hill. The solution is to rethink your docking attack and pulsing the thruster instead of a steady on power.[/QUOTE


Absolutely good advice; let's violently agree! My goal is to use NO BT entering my lift, but if necessary, several 1-second bursts is about all I will need. If there is room during other maneuvers to turn the boat with the engine, no BT is used to hurry the turn. The prop tunnel negates most of any useful prop walk on this boat; so, you have to give it a lot of room in confined areas, or you have to use the BT some. Fortunately for this particular BT, 99.9% of boat maneuvering is straight in and out of the lift.
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Old 12-13-2021, 02:45 PM   #20
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https://www.ipyoa.com/media/kunena/a...torbrushes.pdf

This might help
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