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Old 30-01-2008, 10:17   #1
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Deisel vs Solomon

Planning on starting my catamaran within a year. Looking at power. I was leaning towards the Solomon system as they have 100,000 hr life of the motors. Never have to repower. I emailed them about the effects of a lightning strike as I expect to have at least one during the boats life. They replied that it was like any other electrical device on the boat and would probably be damaged.

I know that if I had diesel engines, and I was in the middle of a crossing, I could get at least one of the diesels running. If I had all electric, I would be helpless.

It will be a sailing cat so I would also have sails, unless I lost a shroud or something like that. I want to make sure it is as trouble free as possible. Any thoughts on this?

Ron
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Old 30-01-2008, 11:01   #2
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It appears to me your leaning to the Solomon system, but need support to make sure it's a good decision.

I have to state the following.
Soloman states a 100,000hr life span for their electric motors. What life span do they quote for the generator?
If you go basic simple diesel a 10,000hr life span is not unheard of. There are untold quantities of 15+ year old diesels out there running just fine with normal maintainance. Will you be able to get a motor controller on any island?
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Old 30-01-2008, 11:48   #3
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I have two diesel engines. Last summer I took a lightning hit while motoring in a squall. The engines never missed a beat despite every electric /electronic device wired into the boats system getting blown to hell.

Sometimes you just have to keep it simple.
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Old 30-01-2008, 12:02   #4
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Ron, I thought Solomon had gotten out of the formal marine market? And last time I'd heard, their warranty--which is what is really meaningful--was much shorter than the time it would take a typical cruiser to put 100,000 hours on his "engines". Bear in mind many diesels only have 5-10,000 hours on them in 15-20 years of service, the 100,000 hour rating means nothing unless you are going into the ferryboat business.
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Old 30-01-2008, 12:10   #5
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I have not made up my mind yet. I am actually leaning towards diesel due to the simplicity, repairability under way, and availability of parts around the world. It is a proven design. If I want with Solomon and even had a spare motor ($$$$), What about all the electronics that it would take to get it up and running. Not a doable bandaid option in the middle of the ocean. That is a very big negative in my boat.

ron
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Old 30-01-2008, 12:10   #6
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check with David Tether

The fellow who started Solomon is now operating in a new company. You might want to talk to him - see E motion Hybrids Home
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Old 30-01-2008, 12:13   #7
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Rick,

That is exactly what I am talking about. If I get hit, I will still be able to get a diesel running, not so with all electric.

Ron
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Old 30-01-2008, 12:15   #8
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I was also looking at the price of fuel. It will only continue to climb. But I could purchase a lot of fuel for what I would save with diesel engines.

Warranty is not an issue. Everything will be out of warranty long before the hours are on the equipment. The 100,000 hrs is the life, not the warranty.

Ron
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Old 31-01-2008, 04:53   #9
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As long as a diesel generator carries a minimum of at least 40% load most of the time, and is properly maintained, it should have a very long life expectancy (‘tho nowhere near as long as an electric motor).
With good normal maintenance (oil & filter changes, proper fuel filtration), I’d expect between 10,000 up to 20,000 running hours, from a high quality diesel generator.
I’d expect to do a "top overhaul" (remove cylinder head, de-carbonize, grind valves & seats) at about 10,000 running hours.
At the same time, I’d probably:
a] Service the fuel injectors & injection pump.
b] Overhaul the fresh water pump (if it is leaking).
c] Inspect & repair as necessary the sea water pump.
d] Clean the heat exchanger.
e] Inspect the wet exhaust elbow.
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Old 31-01-2008, 11:49   #10
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As I have said before to these hybrid systems. Everytime you convert one form of energy to another, you have a loss. Electric motors certainly have there advanatages, just as each and every form of propulsion device does. But the simple fact with electric is, it still takes the same amount of energy to move the boat through the water. That energy has to come from somewhere and from that somewhere to the electric drive there is a conversion and therefore a loss. Add to that the fact that the "somewhere" now has to be slightly bigger than the simple diesel to cover the loss and that those "somewhere's" often take up more room, simply in a different part of the boat, and add in the usually larger expense and complexity of the system, you are left with a Diesel installation as being quite simple and cheap and cheaper to run in the end.
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Old 31-01-2008, 13:46   #11
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Besides the wt of batteries, there is the cost of replacement. Yes, I know there are batteries on all cats, but the hybrid has many more batteries. Much more battery cost. I do not know how long to expect a set of batteries ot last on a hybrid.

Like I said before, I would be able to get a diesel running if I suffered a lighting strike, but a hybrid would be dead in the water, power wise.

Ron
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