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Thrusters... What's wrong?

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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 May 2023 at 13:15
Hi to all,

I just replaced the batteries of my quick btr bow thruster, and the electro mechanical switch works... But the 8kW motor doesn't turn.

What's most surprising is that, at the same time, the stern thruster stopped working and exhibits the same behaviour.

The electromechanical switches commute,  but the Motors connected to the propellers don't turn anymore.


What's going on? I checked the controller at the helm, but it seems to work correctly (and,  for example, both actuators lower the doors correctly). 

Is there a voltage drop sensor on the motor load, preventing the motor to turn in presence of a mechanical issue? 

I am trying to measure the voltages at the motor directly,  but i can't see any voltage probably due to the very low electrical resistance of the coils. 

The charging monitor claims 27. 5V and 27.7V for bow and stern respectively. 

Any suggestions /ideas? Could it be that the batteries are still charging and it impacts the overall electrical system?

I tried to power everything off/on for 1 minute few times... With no effect.

Please Heeelp! It's rare to feel stuck without better ideas! 😥



Edited by Pzucchel - 16 May 2023 at 13:49
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Lyn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 14:02
If I'm understanding you correctly, it would seem like your control circuit is working since they deploy.

So, I would:
1.) Turn off the battery switch and measure voltage across the two batteries.  It should be 26v or so.  Then turn the battery switch on if all is good there.
2.) I'm sure you've checked the 300A fuse in the bow already.
3.) How about the middle LED (the bi-color)?  I see in the manual (p33):
  • Red: If you're closed (up), this should be lit red.
  • Green: If you're open (down), this should be lit green.
  • Orange: If you are stopped somewhere in between open & closed, then it will be orange.
  • Orange Flashing: If you are moving between open & closed, then it will be flashing orange.
If you think you are fully deployed but the LED isn't green, then I would imagine your switch/sensor is out of position and preventing the thruster from activating.
4.) Any flashes on the bottom LED (the red one)?

The similar behavior on the stern thruster is strange.  Is there any chance the DIP switches got changed so that the controller is confused which is which?
  • Switches 1, 3, and 4 should be off.
  • Switch 2 should be off for the bow & on for the stern.
Jon
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2017 Hanse 588 | Hull 19 | Deep draft | 150hp | 220v & 110v systems | Lithium House Bank
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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 14:40
Hi Jon,

Thanks for the reflections. I think that the control is OK because the electromechanical relay works correctly. All lights are flashing exactly as they should, and the actuator senses that the propellers are deployed... 

Yes the voltage without load of the batteries is 27.5 and 27.7V respectively. It doesn't go down when the electromagnet switches, that makes me thinking that something is wrong...


The stem thruster was working... This morning. All the winter. Admittedly, before winter I had replaced a switch in the actuator, and I may have changed the dip settings. However, I think that there are two separate canbus for stern and bow, so it doesn't matter .... But again, the  électromechanical relays both work correctly!!!! So the control units receive the instruction and execute it respectively... 


Maybe the rotor brushes have oxidised, or are not pressing against the copper, or the rotor is positioned between contacts, so that the brushes  are not delivering the current to the rotor?? 



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Lyn View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 15:00
OK, so if your switches are happy, then I agree your relay "thunking" should be fine and indicating normal.

I seem to recall you had a water incident/flooding of the bow?  Is there a chance that there was damage/corrosion either to the electromechanical relay contactor or the motor ... especially if it sat idle over the winter?

To test the contactor, I would label and then disconnect the input & output voltage wiring.  Then, I would put a continuity tester across the circuit and confirm that the circuit closes when the switch does.  Test all legs and both directions on the thruster.

So, the stern thruster now works?
Jon
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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 15:07
You remember well...the bow thruster got flooded, and I have replaced the control board, the électromechanical relay, the actuator, the batteries...

Your suggestion is good about testing the system without connection to the motor. I will disconnect the motor, and make sure that everything else does the job.

As you can see, the motor is the only component I didn't replace... But why the stern thruster stopped working?

I also suspect, among other options, a mechanical issue on the thrusters. Because I had to replace switches of the actuators, the "out" position maybe in a configuration where the homocinetic joint is not aligned, and therefore the motors can't turn smoothly. I just tried and I can't turn the bow motor by hand, either because of oxidation or because of mechanical reasons. Is it possible normally to turn the motor by hand? 

No, the stem thruster doesn't work yet... I can't understand why... 


Edited by Pzucchel - 16 May 2023 at 15:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arcadia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 15:20
Hi Piero, I’ve been following this. Very curious. If the problem was mechanical, then you would still see and hear a “clunk” as the motor tries to overcome the jam. Put a meter at the motor positive terminal (there are two, one for each direction) and at the motor negative terminal to test for voltage AT THE MOTOR when engaged. If no voltage there, then I would look at the contactor. It is funny about the stern but do the same tests there.
Leon / ARCADIA
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 15:25
Originally posted by Arcadia Arcadia wrote:

Hi Piero, I’ve been following this. Very curious. If the problem was mechanical, then you would still see and hear a “clunk” as the motor tries to overcome the jam. Put a meter at the motor positive terminal (there are two, one for each direction) and at the motor negative terminal to test for voltage AT THE MOTOR when engaged. If no voltage there, then I would look at the contactor. It is funny about the stern but do the same tests there.

Hi León! 

I have put a meter between the negative and the two positives of the motor. I don't see any voltage increase, I wonder if it's the low coil resistance. No attempt of moving whatsoever... If the coil would be blown up or open ,  I should see the 24V... 

Could it be that the electromechanical switches make the noise but not the contact? I can't believe that a winter in mallorca has such a dramatic oxidation... 


What is "funny" is that I see the same behaviour on both thrusters, the stern worked up to this morning...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2023 at 16:29
For the records,  chatpgt-4 opinion... 😳

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Why the motor of my sailboat thruster doesn't start despite the fact the electromechanical relay clicks 

ChatGPT
If the motor of your sailboat thruster doesn't start even though the electromechanical relay clicks, it indicates that the relay is receiving the electrical signal to engage but there might be a problem with the motor itself or the electrical circuitry. Here are some possible reasons for this issue:

Motor malfunction: The motor of the sailboat thruster may be faulty or damaged. It could have worn-out brushes, a burnt-out coil, or other internal issues that prevent it from running. In such cases, the motor may need to be repaired or replaced.

Electrical connection issues: Check the wiring and connections between the relay and the motor. Loose, corroded, or damaged connections can impede the flow of electricity, preventing the motor from receiving the necessary power to start. Inspect the wiring and connections for any signs of damage or poor contact.

Battery or power supply problems: Insufficient power supply can prevent the motor from starting. Ensure that the battery or power source connected to the sailboat thruster is fully charged and in good working condition. Check the voltage levels and verify that they meet the requirements of the thruster motor.

Control circuit malfunction: The control circuitry responsible for activating the motor may have a fault. This could be a faulty switch, a damaged control module, or a problem with the control wiring. Inspect the control circuit components and test them to ensure they are functioning correctly.

Overload or safety mechanisms: Some thruster systems have built-in safety mechanisms to protect the motor from damage. If the motor is overloaded or encountering a fault, these safety features might prevent it from starting. Check if there are any overload protection devices or safety switches that need to be reset or inspected.

To troubleshoot the issue, you can take the following steps:

Verify power supply: Ensure that the power source, such as the battery, is fully charged and delivering the correct voltage. Check all connections and terminals for tightness and corrosion.

Inspect wiring and connections: Examine the wiring and connections between the relay and the motor. Look for loose, damaged, or corroded wires and repair or replace them as necessary.

Test the motor: If possible, disconnect the motor from the relay and test it independently using a suitable power source. If the motor doesn't run even when directly powered, it likely requires repair or replacement.

Check control circuitry: Inspect the control switch, control module, or any other components involved in activating the motor. Test their functionality or consider consulting a professional for a more in-depth electrical diagnosis.

If you're uncertain about performing these troubleshooting steps or if the issue persists after attempting them, it is recommended to consult a qualified marine electrician or a professional familiar with sailboat thruster systems to diagnose and resolve the problem


Edited by Pzucchel - 16 May 2023 at 16:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote boomjack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2023 at 05:50
Hi Piero,
Can you hear the noise of the motor running? on both front and rear, or no noise at all?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2023 at 06:27
Originally posted by boomjack boomjack wrote:

Hi Piero,
Can you hear the noise of the motor running? on both front and rear, or no noise at all?

No noise at all. I hear the click of the relay, and absolute silence afterwards as if the motors would receive no current..
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