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Installation

Installation Basics

The Smart Thruster is completely self contained.  It has its own batteries, motors and wireless control electronics.  Other than needing recharging, it doesn't need much from the boat it is being mounted to.  This makes installation relatively easy.

 

The Smart Thruster housing includes a special mounting feature that runs the length of the shaft.  We refer to this feature as the Track Guide.  It allows the Smart Thruster to slide easily along a standard Schaefer 3/4" T-track.  It is mainly a matter of mounting this standard track to your boat.  This is accomplished by first mounting the T-track to a section of 1" stainless tubing.  This tubing can then be mounted to the hull using readily available marine fittings.  DockStar offers a number of installation kits that include the T-track, the stainless tube, and the fittings typically required to mount the stainless tubing to your boat in a variety of configurations.

View our video of the installation of a Smart Thruster onto the swim step of a trawler as an example of one mounting scheme,

The pictures below show a sampling of the types of installations for both bow and stern configurations.  For more detailed information about mounting the Smart Thruster to your bow or stern, please see the "Bow Installation Guide" and the "Stern Installation Guide" on our manuals page of this website.

Example Bow Installations                

The picture to the right (below if you are viewing on a mobile device) shows the Smart Thruster mounted to the bow of a trawler in the deployed position.  The starboard motor is visible in the water.  The Smart Thruster shaft is at the bottom of the T-track and is engaged with the track stop that is part of the T-track assembly.  The T-Track is attached to a section of 1" stainless rail.  The rail is attached using a pivoting deck hinge a few inches above the water line and using a standard Bimini deck hinge on the bottom of the bow sprit.

 

This installation uses the DockStar "Longer Bow Installation Kit".

The picture to the right (below if you are viewing on a mobile device) shows the Smart Thruster mounted to the bow of a sailboat in the retracted position.  The bottom of the stainless rail is mounted using a pivoting deck hinge while the top of the stainless rail is mounted to the port side of the anchor roller using a standard deck hinge.

A block is attached to the thruster motor with a dyneema sling.  The lanyard is run through this block.  One end of the lanyard is secured to the starboard pulpit while the other end is run through a block on the pulpit and then run aft through a series of stanchion blocks to the cockpit where the owner can raise and lower the Smart Thruster by pulling in or paying out the lanyard.  This installation uses the DockStar "Shorter Bow Installation Kit".

Example Stern Installations                

The picture to the left (below if you are viewing on a mobile device) shows a stern Smart Thruster installation.  As is often the case, the stern is a crowded place with the tender, the barbecue, and a cooler.  Fortunately, the compact size of the Smart Thruster allows it to slant under the tender.  It is not necessary for the Smart Thruster to be mounted on the boat's centerline.

 

This thruster is shown in the deployed position down against the track stop.  The attachment of the thruster to the T-track  and the attachment of the T-track to the stainless railing is the same as for the bow installation, although the section of railing is much short for stern installations.  The bottom of the railing is mounted to the rear edge of the swim step using a swivel deck hinge.  The top of the rail is secured using a Bimini top slide attached to a deck hinge.  This leaves the top of the rail available for a hook to hold the Smart Thruster's lanyard up when retracted.  In this example the boater is able to simply pull straight up on the lanyard and secure it to the hook at the top of the rail.

These two pictures show another stern installation on "DeJaVu" where the thruster is deployed underneath the tender. This installation uses the DockStar "Angled Stern Mount Installation Kit".

The Smart Thruster is mounted directly to SandPiper's hull in this stern installation.  The bottom swivel hinge and upper standard hinge are both through-bolted to the stern making for an easy and secure mount.

The lanyard is run through the supplied block secured to the thruster motors.  The lanyard port end (not visible) is secured to a pad eye on the transom while the starboard end is secured to a cleat.  This end is pulled in or paid out to lower the thruster up and down the T-track.

The Smart Thruster is also mounted directly to the hull of trawler "Maxine".  A slat in the swim step was removed to allow room for the Smart Thruster to slide through.  This makes for a clean and easy installation.

The lanyard is run in a similar fashion as in the sailboat above.

These two preceding examples both use the DockStar "Stern Hull-Mount Installation Kit" so the only task is to bolt the two supplied hinges to the hull.

In this stern installation a single stanchion was mounted to the aft edge of the swim step and the T-track assembly was mounted to the stanchion.  This uses the DockStar "Stanchion Mount Installation Kit" so the only task required is to install the thruster is to bolt the stanchion base to the swim step.

The cleats mounted to the T-track assembly are used to secure the lanyard in both the retracted position and the deployed position.

This last installation example uses the DockStar "Handrail Mount Installation Kit".  Here, the top of the T-track assembly is attached to the horizontal rail of the handrail with the supplied hinged top-slide and the bottom of the T-track assembly is attached to the aft edge of the swim step with the supplied swivel hinge.  As a result, this installation only requires installing two screws to mount the T-track assembly (assuming the handrail was already there).

This installation has the added advantage of having a hand rail for safer and easier entry and exit from the tender.  If your boat does not already have such a handrail, one can be easily mounted to your swim step by you or your local boat yard.

Contact us at info@dockstarthrusters.com to discuss how the Smart Thruster can be installed on your boat.