New Product: The T500 Thruster!

Originally published at: https://bluerobotics.com/new-product-the-t500-thruster/

We have a new product to thrust upon the world: the T500 Thruster! It will be available through pre-orders, starting on Thursday, May 26th, at 9am Pacific Time, with a limited quantity of 300 units available for pre-order!

The T500 Thruster is a high-power, ruggedized underwater thruster with over three times the thrust of the T200 Thruster. It generates 16.1 kgf (35.5 lb) of thrust at an operating voltage of 24V, consuming just over 1 kW of power. The T500 Thruster is designed for ROVs, USVs, AUVs, and even human-carrying vehicles like kayaks or standup paddleboards.

The T500 Thruster represents the next generation in our thruster design. It has a lot of similarities to the T200 Thruster, but with improvements to make it more powerful and robust. To achieve that, it has a larger 140mm (5.5″) outside diameter and has a powerful new motor built in. It is made from impact resistant glass-filled polycarbonate that’s tougher than the regular polycarbonate used in the T200. The magnet rotor design is improved with a metal abrasion shield that protects the magnets from damage due to sand or debris in the thruster and it has a new internal overlapping design that minimizes the ability of sand and particulate to enter the thruster.

The T500 Thruster compared to the T200 Thruster. It has 3 times the thrust!

It achieves maximum performance at 24V, but it also works well at 16V, the operating voltage of our lithium-ion battery and the BlueROV2. At 16V, it generates nearly 70% more thrust than the T200 Thruster, but at much greater efficiency and similar power consumption. That means you can directly replace T200s in your application and get a 70% performance boost without any additional power consumption!

The T500 Thruster has four M4 mounting holes that make it easy to install as well as a pre-installed WetLink Penetrator (WLP) to seal the cable. Note that the penetrator has an M14 thread size, so it requires larger holes than we have on our enclosure end caps. We’ll have several new end caps available in the future to support this size and assist with T500 designs.

In addition to the T500 Thruster, we also have a new speed controller that is well-suited for use with the T500. The Basic ESC 500 operates between 7-26V (2s-4s) and is optimized for use in spaces with poor cooling, like inside an ROV enclosure or USV hull. The ESC comes with everything needed to use it with the T500 Thruster.

Pre-orders for both the T500 Thruster and Basic ESC 500 will open on Thursday, May 26th, at 9am PT. We have a limited quantity of 300 units available for pre-order. Shipments of those units are expected to start in July 2022, followed by regular availability of the thruster in our store later this summer.

Pre-Order Form - Opening May 26th at 9am Pacific Time

We’ve been looking forward to sharing this news for a long time and we hope you’ll find some amazing applications for the T500 Thruster. That’s all for today – thanks for reading!

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Okay the T500 looks great. Kudos to developers. BUT…it won’t fit a BlueROV! Is there a T200+ in the works?

Hi @egarriso, welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

This is true… perhaps it’s intended for something else? :wink:

Product improvements are always something we’re working on, and we do have some plans for making the T200 even better.

What would you want from a “T200+”? :slight_smile:

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I would very much like a T200+ that can stay submerged in salt water for 6-12 months with very low risk of failing due to rust/corrosion (it might already be possible today if you are lucky with the coatings etc. and no rubbing?).

I know it is a fringe case, but hope we will see more and more of long term submerged/resident drones (ROV/AUV) and it would be great if BR parts can be used in this context.

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The T200 could benefit from the T500 impeller design.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Can T500 be used above the rated voltage?

6 posts were split to a new topic: VESC Field Oriented Controller for T500

Hello guys,

for the T500, the depth rating is said to be 300m. Any chance it can work in 500m? Isn’t it the same potted design as the T200?

Cheers,
E.

Hi @etienne,

I’m not certain what the reasoning was here, so I’ve asked about it and will get back to you :slight_smile:

Following up, initial validation samples had some issues with delamination around the cable at large depths. We’re working on a process to mitigate that, but that hasn’t yet been fully validated, or implemented on the manufacturing line.

We wouldn’t recommend using T500s that have been produced with the existing process beyond 300m depth without using a water-blocked connector (to ensure no water ingress to the enclosure via the cable), and testing prior to deployment.

Hi Eliot,

I do a bracket that houses the ESC which is oil filled. One side is a cobalt connector the other is wetlink going to the thruster. In this condition the Thruster cable is balanced. As long as the Potting on the thruster coil and contacts are good. Shouldn’t be an issue.
What do you think?

Cheers,
E.

To me that at least seems reasonable in theory. That said, I don’t have experience with oil-filled enclosures, so don’t know how resistant oil is to allowing in bubbles of water in a rigid enclosure, and whether that’s dependent on the temperature, pressure, and type of oil involved.

I see the ESC’s have Electrolytic capacitors. Are these essential?

The Basic ESC 500s use COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) PCBs, so we can’t really say, because we don’t have the detailed reasoning behind the design that would enable us to suggest whether a non-hollow capacitor alternative could be suitable.

UPDATE:

Has anyone had experience using these thrusters in very cold water? We have a few USV systems we use on water filled mining pits. We currently have 24 V thrusters from a different vendor (purchased before the T500 was available) and they are experiencing some quality problems. They will not provide replacement parts if needed so we need to purchase an entirely new thruster if any problems arise. This adds up quickly $$$. We use the USV’s during inclement weather, for example this week they were deployed on the pit with air temps at -15 C in the morning water temp around 3 C. The pit is very deep (>250 m) so it takes a long time for the surface to freeze. During use the thrusters remain in the water the entire time, and when the mission is complete we bring the boats back to the shop to thaw and dry off before deploying again later in the day or the following day. I am interested in swapping one of the boats with a pair of the T500 to test in these unique conditions…The water in the pit also has a pH of <3 and is laden with metals (exposed Al or Fe gets plated with Cu when in the water for 10 min) and when the pit water dries it leaves a layer of gypsum. I have used T200’s on a different smaller USV’s in this water with no long lasting ill effects, but this work was performed in summer, not in these cold conditions. Here is one of the USVs on shore after a deployment.

Hi @FairweatherIT,

Those conditions seem wild! :smiley:

The T500 has been tested down to 2℃, and we don’t expect particular issues in colder water unless there’s exposure to air that allows it to freeze. The cooler temperatures may even help the efficiency.

We’re less sure on the effects of the high metal content or the acidity, as they aren’t things we’ve tested. If combination of plating on the metal abrasion shield and gypsum buildup on both the abrasion shield and stator is significant, they could end up rubbing together which would reduce thrust output and increase the temperature. On the acidity front,

If you choose to go ahead with the testing I’d recommend regularly checking that the propellers are still able to be smoothly spun by hand, and ideally also have regular insulation/hipot tests to check for leakage current both into the water and between motor phases that would indicate a breakdown of the insulation. You could also disassemble the thruster(s) to directly check for material buildup inside (the extent could be measured with callipers, if you measure the clean diameters and lengths before initial submersion).

If possible it’s likely a good idea to rinse off the thrusters (and ideally run them a bit) in fresh water after they come out of the pit, to reduce the material buildup and contact with corrosives.