At METS in Amsterdam we were very impressed with this novelty. At the Vetus booth we found a number of very unique bow thruster systems. They are the brand new Bow Pro Booster Thrusters, a further step forward in the already evolved Bow Pro series recently launched by the Dutch giant (whose product catalog is reminiscent in height of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”).
How does it work?
First of all, it incorporates all the functions of the latter: that is, the truly “proportional” control (the propeller increases rotational speed in proportion to how far, left or right, you push the control joystick knob, as we show you in the video below: there is, of course, a button to lock in the desired power). The immediate benefits are electrical consumption proportionate to the required thrust, in fact the absorption of the maximum peak disappears with less stress on the batteries.
Thanks to an innovative industrially derived motor, the propeller produces little noise and maintenance is minimized, typical of a brushless (“brushless”: i.e., no current is sent to the rotor windings and therefore there is no need to introduce creeping electrical contacts) AC induction motor. The guarantee to run at full power at least 10 minutes (a very long time when it comes to maneuvering).
What is new is the presence of a “booster,” or a third connection that sends current to a charger inside the motor and turns the 12 V input into a 24 V output current. What does this mean in a nutshell? That any secondary 24V battery bank can also be recharged from a 12V source, such as the engine alternator. This gives you a choice of 12 or 24 V battery banks.
The integrated charger recharges the battery bank when the thruster is not in use. Installation of these innovative bowthrusters for now involves tunneling into the live-work, but Vetus is moving to bring the technology also to bowthrusters that can be installed with small holes in the hull.