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Old 08-21-2018, 02:49 PM   #21
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The glass work is the easy part.
I've seen some good YouToob tutorials...
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Old 08-23-2018, 08:58 AM   #22
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I think I'm not wanting to be taking Fiberglass-101 on a job like this...

I understand the concept, but have no experience or skill...

-Chris
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:56 AM   #23
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The best choice is those that you can get service and parts for anywhere you cruise. I have a Vetus that is close to 30 years old, and except for a cracked oil reservoir hose, has been flawless.
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Old 08-24-2018, 07:28 AM   #24
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Using the "largest for the tunnel" theory, a quick market survey suggests Side-Power SE100, Vetus BOW95, or Max-Power CT125 are likely candidates. The latter seems surprisingly less expensive than the Side-Power or Vetus. Reason?

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Old 08-24-2018, 09:08 AM   #25
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My take on thrusters is plan to dock like you don't have them and use them sparingly. This way you minimize battery capacity problems. Especially if you have twin engines. Use those engines and save the thruster until you really need the added sideways bump.

With a single engine or in more challenging docking conditions it'd be different. If you'd be fighting against a lot of tide, current or winds on a regular basis then larger battery capacity, 24v or going hydraulic, is definitely worth considering. But for around here on the Chesapeake conditions are usually mild enough to not have to get into extremes.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:08 AM   #26
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My take on thrusters is plan to dock like you don't have them and use them sparingly. This way you minimize battery capacity problems. Especially if you have twin engines. Use those engines and save the thruster until you really need the added sideways bump.

With a single engine or in more challenging docking conditions it'd be different. If you'd be fighting against a lot of tide, current or winds on a regular basis then larger battery capacity, 24v or going hydraulic, is definitely worth considering. But for around here on the Chesapeake conditions are usually mild enough to not have to get into extremes.

Yeah... but I'm not really debating whether I need a thruster or whether they're useful... or in what conditions. I've got enough experience with twins and a single to not really be bothered about all that...

At this point, it's just a question of "If I want a thruster, which do I get?" I've eliminated AC- or hydraulic-powered units as probably being more complex than I would want to fool with. Likely more expensive, too, but that's just a guess.

Then it also comes close to a question of a "Is 12V sufficient or is 24V (in a 12V boat) enough better to warrant the extra cost?"

Either way, I think I'll maybe need (or want) a new charger, maybe dedicated only to the thruster bank, and in that scenario... especially if a new charger could likely be co-located with the thruster bank and the thruster bank is colocated with the thruster... the difference between 12V and 24V may be a wash, cost-wise. I'm kind of debating this part with myself, as we speak.

We currently have an older 40-amp 12V charger dedicated to our port dual-purpose bank, and a 70-amp 12V inverter/charger dedicated to our starboard dual purpose bank.

Neither of those chargers is large enough to meet the two battery makers' recommendations for ideal minimum charging current... although they're "OK enough" at least for now. If the older 40-amp charger goes south, I'd likely replace it with a 60-amp unit, which may mean new wiring and still wouldn't meet recommendations for ideal minimum charging level for that bank.

Anyway, that kind of stuff is what's going through my mind just now...

High Wire makes an excellent point about being able to get service, in various places.

Which makes me ask if service possibilities on Side-Power, Vetus, or Max-Power units is roughly equal, or if one/some are much better than another?

-Chris
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:47 AM   #27
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I added a 15 amp Promariner battery charger just for the stern thruster. It works well even though the battery only get charged when we are plugged into the dock or running the genset. I have an Optima battery for it. When I put in a bow thruster I will go with a 24 volt thruster. I plan on using 2 Optimas in series and install a separate 24 volt Promariner charger for that bank. As to which thruster is best, I only have experience with Side Power. I suspect most people only have experience with one brand and therefore won’t be able to say which one is best.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:23 AM   #28
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At this point, it's just a question of "If I want a thruster, which do I get?" I've eliminated AC- or hydraulic-powered units as probably being more complex than I would want to fool with. Likely more expensive, too, but that's just a guess.

Then it also comes close to a question of a "Is 12V sufficient or is 24V (in a 12V boat) enough better to warrant the extra cost?"
My FIL had a thruster installed in his KK42 decades ago when it was new, and rarely ever used it. I asked why not once, and he said that it mainly made a lot of noise and drew the battery down, so he didn't bother. I have no idea if it was 12 or 24V. But the take-away for me was, if you're going to spend the money to buy and have a yard install one (they charged him for all the core drills they wore out getting through that thick hull), make it big enough to actually be useful, even though it costs more than one just big enough to make noise and draw the battery down. Otherwise, you're just wasting your money.
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:58 PM   #29
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Regarding chargers, my choice was a simple dual bank 12 volt 6 amp battery charger that is fed off either the pure sine wave inverter, generator or shore power. My thruster is two 12 volt optima batteries in series. If you do the math on how many amps they draw, for how many seconds you're going to be able to use it, and then convert that to amps per hour, you will realize you use very little killowatts. Whats deceptive is the size of the batteries to be able to deliver the required amps for less than a minute.

This is the charger I have.

https://www.batterystuff.com/battery...arger-rs2.html

Ted
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Old 08-27-2018, 01:14 PM   #30
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just contracted for thrusters for my boat

Went with Docking by Control out of Florida. Came recommended by my yard manager. So far been great to work with - answered ALOT of questions and made me feel comfortable. They also recommend biggest / baddest thruster you can fit, incremental cost for up-sized thrusters is small when comparing total job costs. I am having the new proportional control RIM-DRIVE Vetus thrusters with 48V battery banks / chargers and dual controls. Boat is a 60,000 lb, Tollycraft 53 with significant windage. Install is scheduled for first week in OCT. Total price not including bottom paint and other work happening at same time is ~$35,000 all in. Florida Bow thrusters bit was nearly $10,000 more for same thing except single battery bank / charger. Will post on how it all worked out!
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:14 PM   #31
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When I did my thruster I contemplated a separate battery, couldn't make it make sense. Found it lighter and cheaper to buy battery cable rather than an extra battery, charger, box etc. Also figured that you're only using the thruster while the engine is running so your alternator would quickly add back the amps used.
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:33 PM   #32
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in my case there are some additional constraints.

In my boat there is a water tight bulkhead separating bow section from rest of boat. Similarly there is water tight bulkhead separating Lazarette from engine room (with a dog down door). So separate batteries mean not having to pierce the bulkhead any more than they already are. Install details would normally be boat design / construction dependent, just easier (safer maybe?) to have totally split systems.
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:45 PM   #33
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SE 100 vote

I installed a SE 100, 24v on its own charger on my Sabreline 36. I have not regretted it. It has plenty of thrust to move the boat in all conditions. I would not go bigger. When I hit the joystick, the boat moves responsively. I am afraid a more powerful thruster would risk knocking the Admiral off her feet.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:01 PM   #34
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great product choice

Good choice for you and one of quietest ON/OFF options with their new prop design. ~200lbs thrust is probably a correctly sized option for your boat. Either you're really smart or got some good advice. My comment about thruster ratings was geared toward the fact there are "standard" tube sizes with various thruster ratings that fit those tube sizes. Cost / hassle is driven by tube diameter rather than actual thruster rating chosen. So higher thrust carries a modest cost penalty. In my case the big girl is HEAVY and with a nearly full keel she doesn't exactly turn on dime just using the engines. I opted for full proportional control also so I can 'dial in' what I need without the machine gun sound coming from a big honking thruster prop. Also I will be able to hold gently against a lock wall with no drama from lock fill turbulence. Always interesting to hear other peoples experiences with their choice of solution. Thanks!
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:00 PM   #35
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I am on the hard getting a Sidepower SE130 installed at the moment in my 50 foot timber cruiser not an easy job but I think it will be worth it. the SE100 is recommended for my boat but I went with the extra power of the SE130 I'm using one of the existing battery banks as the cable run will be short and to keep costs down.
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:50 PM   #36
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My boat is much smaller but some sort of sideways thrust would be mighty helpful for tight docking with its single screw. Any comments on stern thrusters, which must be much simpler and cheaper to install than bow thrusters?
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:06 PM   #37
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I put a stern thruster in my boat. Took me and a friend about 2 days to install it. Simple. Works great. I will eventually put a bow thruster in but I really don’t have room for an internal tube.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:13 PM   #38
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Bowthruster on my Apollo 32 / boatsaver...

I had found it challenging to manouveur my Perkins dieseled 32 ft. Apollo in the narrow confines of my marina slips. With its 19" prop and prop walk it set off at 4 knots at idle when put in gear.


I installed a 3.5 HP Lewmar, running big cables from the house battery pack. As the engine is usually running at the time of use the drain isn't a worry. I did the fibreglass work and finish, with a hired marine electrician overseeing the wiring and spec'ing cable current and controls.


Cost for everything was $3,600 against the boatyard quote of $10,000! The boat can spin a circle in its own length, but most use is short blips. Eliminates the problem of handling the single-screw boat at low speed or against an off-bow wind countering the rudder at drift speed. Game changer!
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:35 PM   #39
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We recently installed bow and stern thrusters by DockStar Smart Thrusters (dockstarthrusters.com). They are wireless, radio controlled and powered by rechargeable batteries. We installed ourselves in a few hours, right in our slip. They are as easy to deploy as putting out fenders! They are easy to remove for recharging or storage.

These make our single screw, heavy CHB trawler manageable even in a crosswind, we are very impressed with the Dockstar Smart Thrusters!
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:41 PM   #40
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We replaced a failed Max Power bow thruster with a Side-Power SEP 170/250 TC. The proportional power feature exceeded my expectations. Because we mostly use a small fraction of the total power (e.g., 10-20 percent) for close quarters maneuvering, power consumption is greatly reduced and heat build-up is practically non-existent. It has the power (345 pounds of thrust) to move heaven and earth but most of the time it is so quiet that observers don’t even hear it. Such a great upgrade, worth the premium. Link to thruster: https://side-power.com/produkt/19057...-thruster-24v/
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