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EZ Drive stern thruster -problems with throttle control


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I bought the EZ Drive stern Thruster on a TMC group buy in Feb 2020.  It included a throttle control, with a toggle switch on the arm of the control to run the stern thruster.  Got it installed with the assistance of a friend of mine, who is a Malibu mechanic, and was happy with the performance.  I upgraded the alternator and the batteries and had no problems, until... The toggle switch on the throttle control would stick in the down position, and not return automatically to the neutral position unless I pushed up on the toggle.  I contacted EZ Drive, and after some discussion, they agreed to send me a new throttle control as long as I paid for the new one, and would refund my money when they received the old one and determined it was a warranty issue.  I had both my marine mechanic and another experienced boater try the throttle with the same results I had.  Of course, when the throttle got back to EZ Drive in Florida, they could not replicate the problem.  Maybe the warmer temperature in Florida than Canada made a difference in the toggle binding?  EZ Drive eventually agreed to provide the replacement throttle under warranty, at no cost to me other than shipping and the broker's fees for the replacement control to get imported into Canada.  Since the boat was in storage for the winter, we didn't install the new throttle and the boat sat in storage all winter without a throttle. 

Skip to today, and the mechanic installed the warranty throttle.  When he tested it, the boat would not go into reverse.  He was concerned the transmission had problems, so to troubleshoot the problem, he replaced the EZ Drive throttle with a new Malibu/Axis factory throttle (not an EZ Drive one) and reverse worked fine.

 

Has anyone else had problems with the throttle control from EZ Drive, either with the toggle sticking like on my first control, or with the control not working to go into reverse like the second one?  It's Friday afternoon at 5:30 in Florida, so I'll contact EZ Drive on Monday, but just very frustrated with the experience...  

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I'm interested to hear what folks have to say about the reverse and the throttle lever.  I've never removed it.  I have a comment on the rocker switch though.  That switch and ones like it have never really looked to me like something environmentally sealed.  Even just dust and pollen and sweat can get in there and make it sticky.  Even a membrane sealed switch can get gummed up mechanically.  If you've ever had a console controller for your xbox or whatever start sticking it can often be traced back to environmental contamination (i.e. stick fingered kids in this case) just binding it up.  Out of curiosity, before you sent the first throttle lever back did you disassemble and flush with isopropyl alcohol or anything to clean it?  

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5 hours ago, Alberta said:

I bought the EZ Drive stern Thruster on a TMC group buy in Feb 2020.  It included a throttle control, with a toggle switch on the arm of the control to run the stern thruster.  Got it installed with the assistance of a friend of mine, who is a Malibu mechanic, and was happy with the performance.  I upgraded the alternator and the batteries and had no problems, until... The toggle switch on the throttle control would stick in the down position, and not return automatically to the neutral position unless I pushed up on the toggle.  I contacted EZ Drive, and after some discussion, they agreed to send me a new throttle control as long as I paid for the new one, and would refund my money when they received the old one and determined it was a warranty issue.  I had both my marine mechanic and another experienced boater try the throttle with the same results I had.  Of course, when the throttle got back to EZ Drive in Florida, they could not replicate the problem.  Maybe the warmer temperature in Florida than Canada made a difference in the toggle binding?  EZ Drive eventually agreed to provide the replacement throttle under warranty, at no cost to me other than shipping and the broker's fees for the replacement control to get imported into Canada.  Since the boat was in storage for the winter, we didn't install the new throttle and the boat sat in storage all winter without a throttle. 

Skip to today, and the mechanic installed the warranty throttle.  When he tested it, the boat would not go into reverse.  He was concerned the transmission had problems, so to troubleshoot the problem, he replaced the EZ Drive throttle with a new Malibu/Axis factory throttle (not an EZ Drive one) and reverse worked fine.

 

Has anyone else had problems with the throttle control from EZ Drive, either with the toggle sticking like on my first control, or with the control not working to go into reverse like the second one?  It's Friday afternoon at 5:30 in Florida, so I'll contact EZ Drive on Monday, but just very frustrated with the experience...  

The throttle is made by Livorsi and it is the same unit Malibu (and Nautique) uses (Malibu's just looks a little different.)  The throttle needs to have the right firmware for your motor/setup (Livorsi programs them.) For the shifting issue you might have a tranny issue. What year is your boat?  There might be a shift solenoid that is having issues on your tranny or is simply disconnected.  (or the throttle your Malibu shop grabbed was defective/broken)

As far as the thruster switch is concerned... it is a very simple on/off/on 12v switch. The switch is not wired into the rest of the throttle unit nor does it take power from it, it is completely independent, so there is nothing about that switch that would interfere with the engine/tranny control of the motor.  The switch has a constant 12v feed to it and when you toggle it completes the loop (for right or left) back to the iBox for the thruster, and then the ibox turns the motor the associated direction using power from the power mains. If anyone has an issue with the Sturn Turn switch... it is probably easy to source an identical (or better) switch to swap it out, just needs to be the right size.

It is possible you have a bad ibox for your thruster.  The toggle switch might be working fine and killing the 12v signal when you return the switch to "off"... but the iBox (the brain for the Thruster) might be malfunctioning and not listening to that and acting on that signal. Any chance your iBox got wet?  You can easily test if the issue is the ibox or the toggle switch, just pull the throttle unit and unplug the toggle switch wire connector, then short the middle wire to one of the other two wires (this would simulate pushing the toggle button up or down.)  If you unshort/open the connection and the thruster keep running... then you know it is the ibox and not the switch.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Slurpee said:

I'm interested to hear what folks have to say about the reverse and the throttle lever.  I've never removed it.  I have a comment on the rocker switch though.  That switch and ones like it have never really looked to me like something environmentally sealed.  Even just dust and pollen and sweat can get in there and make it sticky.  Even a membrane sealed switch can get gummed up mechanically.  If you've ever had a console controller for your xbox or whatever start sticking it can often be traced back to environmental contamination (i.e. stick fingered kids in this case) just binding it up.  Out of curiosity, before you sent the first throttle lever back did you disassemble and flush with isopropyl alcohol or anything to clean it?  

Agree.  I know someone who left their boat out in a rain storm and the water got in the switch and completed the connection... therefor running the thruster :-O.  The default wiring setup is to use power from the iBox to feed the 12v switch on the throttle, but if you do that the thruster switch is always live if the batteries are turned on.  You can grab a switched 12v line and use it instead of the 12v feed from the ibox. That will give you a thruster that will only work with the ignition on.

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1 hour ago, gregtay said:

I know someone who left their boat out in a rain storm and the water got in the switch and completed the connection...

Hmmm....  water and electronics,

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3 hours ago, gregtay said:

I know someone who left their boat out in a rain storm and the water got in the switch and completed the connection... therefor running the thruster :-O.  

If you are referring to me, yes that happened. We got soaked, like 2 inches of rain in under 45 minutes, while we were out. Once i figured out the thruster was running, i blew hard into the switch, and it was fine after that. No issues since.

I installed the ez drive with the throttle switch, and have not had an issue so far, but i did keep the original throttle in case i needed a backup. I did pull power for the switch from an ignition switched source so it only works when the boat is on.

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On 5/7/2021 at 3:32 PM, Slurpee said:

I'm interested to hear what folks have to say about the reverse and the throttle lever.  I've never removed it.  I have a comment on the rocker switch though.  That switch and ones like it have never really looked to me like something environmentally sealed.  Even just dust and pollen and sweat can get in there and make it sticky.  Even a membrane sealed switch can get gummed up mechanically.  If you've ever had a console controller for your xbox or whatever start sticking it can often be traced back to environmental contamination (i.e. stick fingered kids in this case) just binding it up.  Out of curiosity, before you sent the first throttle lever back did you disassemble and flush with isopropyl alcohol or anything to clean it?  

No, I didn't pull it apart and try to fix the binding on the toggle switch.  In retrospect, that might have been a better solution than sending it back to EZ Drive. 

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On 5/7/2021 at 8:45 PM, gregtay said:

The throttle is made by Livorsi and it is the same unit Malibu (and Nautique) uses (Malibu's just looks a little different.)  The throttle needs to have the right firmware for your motor/setup (Livorsi programs them.) For the shifting issue you might have a tranny issue. What year is your boat?  There might be a shift solenoid that is having issues on your tranny or is simply disconnected.  (or the throttle your Malibu shop grabbed was defective/broken)

As far as the thruster switch is concerned... it is a very simple on/off/on 12v switch. The switch is not wired into the rest of the throttle unit nor does it take power from it, it is completely independent, so there is nothing about that switch that would interfere with the engine/tranny control of the motor.  The switch has a constant 12v feed to it and when you toggle it completes the loop (for right or left) back to the iBox for the thruster, and then the ibox turns the motor the associated direction using power from the power mains. If anyone has an issue with the Sturn Turn switch... it is probably easy to source an identical (or better) switch to swap it out, just needs to be the right size.

It is possible you have a bad ibox for your thruster.  The toggle switch might be working fine and killing the 12v signal when you return the switch to "off"... but the iBox (the brain for the Thruster) might be malfunctioning and not listening to that and acting on that signal. Any chance your iBox got wet?  You can easily test if the issue is the ibox or the toggle switch, just pull the throttle unit and unplug the toggle switch wire connector, then short the middle wire to one of the other two wires (this would simulate pushing the toggle button up or down.)  If you unshort/open the connection and the thruster keep running... then you know it is the ibox and not the switch.

 

 

 

Boat is an Axis T23 2019, put into service in 2020.  We ran a switched power lead for the thruster when we installed it, so the thruster  will only work when the ignition is on.    Ibox is fine, reverse works fine on a throttle the dealer had around and used to troubleshoot the fact there was no reverse with the replacement throttle, so transmission is fine.  I wasn't aware the throttles need to be programmed, but I expect the programming for the Axis is the same as the Malibu.  The original Axis throttle that I removed for the EZ Drive throttle install is out at our cabin in British Columbia, and we are in Alberta, and travel is not permitted from Alberta to to BC  due to COVID, so I can't install that one ight now.    

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