Boat with a bow thruster on the hard in a full service marina

Let’s Talk Bow Thruster Maintenance

Thrusters generally take little maintenance to keep them running smoothly. However, there are times maintenance is necessary and can prevent big problems later on.

First of all, remember electric thruster motors have a large amount of current running through them. It’s imperative for the connections to be tight and the compartment the motor is mounted in to be clean and free of debris as well as things that can catch on fire.

One major problem is lack of battery capacity when your batteries aren’t strong enough to run your thruster correctly. This can cause damage as your thruster doesn’t have the power it needs to crank on, much less push your boat. Several problems arise due to low voltage, most damage will be seen under the solenoid, or a cylindrical coil of wire which acts as a magnet when carrying electric current, which is responsible for powering the motor on and off as well as moving you boat port (left) or starboard (right). Solenoids won’t operate at all or will start to click very similarly to a dead car battery. What you are hearing is plunger like mechanisms inside the motor trying to close but not having enough force behind them to do so. This clicking noise is causing damage and if allowed to continue, can cause them to weld themselves closed. If this happens, the motor may be completely inoperable or even be stuck in the “on” position.

Keep in mind you shouldn’t have more than a 10% voltage drop while operating your thruster.

Looking for a Maintenance Free Thruster? Check out our blog on Vetus’ Bow Pro Thruster Systems here.

If you have questions on a thruster system you currently have please call or text us at (321) 890-4511 or send us a message here and one of our experts will get back to you shortly.

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