In 1989, Breathwit Marine Contractors installed Thrustmaster’s wireless propulsion remote control system on a towboat. The controls allowed the towboat pushing the barge tr ain to control an azimuth thruster on a bow boat.
The bow boat at the very front of a large barge train, which is traditionally unmanned, now gains pinpoint precision propulsion through river bends and turns thanks to the remote control system.
Only when the bow boat was used as a fleet boat, switching barges through the locks one-by-one and when assembling a barge train or taking it apart at the loading docks was the towboat single-handedly manned on the bridge with the wireless controls switched off.
In 1992, Thrustmaster supplied a swing-up azimuth stern thruster to Matson Navigation in Hawaii for their ocean going barge the “Waialeale,” a special ro-ro barge, to carry containers, trailers, autos and heavy equipment. The Waialeale was equipped with a wireless propulsion remote control system in the tug towing the barge between the Hawaiian islands. Fast forward to today and you’ll find the Waialeale continues to efficiently employ the same reliable control system without issue during its operations.
A drop-in style bridge control panel is provided for recommended installation in the bridge of the vessel. The control system is electric over hydraulic based on 24 VDC supply. The panel provides all operating interfacing for normal functions of the control system.
The local control panel is installed inside the hydraulic power unit for each thruster and provides for thruster steering, raising and lowering operations, alarm annunciation, and digital display of operating parameters.
Wireless communication can be achieved between Local and Remote control panels using a wireless transceiver, which is a 2.4GHz wireless data link, without the need for interconnecting wires.
The wireless module transmits and receives all CAN messages present on the CAN-BUS just as if they were connected with wires, providing dependable control and fast performance.
The wireless module has several exclusive features for fast and easy communication between the panels. These include:
Fast response time - messages are transmitted and received in less than 20 milliseconds
Wide operating voltage range of 12-48VDC
Communicates over long ranges, 1,500 ft to 2,500 ft ( 460 m to 762 m).
Reduces field service and maintenance costs.
Bright LED lights for diagnostics and system status
Rated NEMA 4 (IP67), sealed to withstand harsh environments
Reliable in crowded RF bands with Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS)technology