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Old 02-01-2011, 17:31   #1
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Are Electric Outboards Any Good ?

I need to get a new outboard this season for my 10 foot roundtail infatable.
I had a Seagull featherweight for many years it was perfect for my needs with electronic ignition and recoil start, unfortunately I got flipped in the dingy and I was too slow in getting the outboard cleaned up and it corroded to death, since then I have had 2 small 2hp 2 strokes a Suzuki and a Mariner, both these have suffered from immersion in salt water, the mariner twice, however it died because it failed to pump water.
I am now thinking of an electric outboard.
Are they waterproof enough to withstand immersion, I know a semisealed battery will be OK for a short immersion.
Are they suitable for marine use (in salt water not a lake).
What kind of thrust do they provide compared to a 2hp 2 stroke. I'm based in Devon in the South of the UK and in Dartmouth with the spring tide it is really difficult to get across against the full flow of the tide without an outboard, although in these circumstances I wouldn't object to rowing a bit to help out the outboard.
Any feedback from people who have actually used one of these long term would be great.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:42   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacique
I need to get a new outboard this season for my 10 foot roundtail infatable.
I had a Seagull featherweight for many years it was perfect for my needs with electronic ignition and recoil start, unfortunately I got flipped in the dingy and I was too slow in getting the outboard cleaned up and it corroded to death, since then I have had 2 small 2hp 2 strokes a Suzuki and a Mariner, both these have suffered from immersion in salt water, the mariner twice, however it died because it failed to pump water.
I am now thinking of an electric outboard.
Are they waterproof enough to withstand immersion, I know a semisealed battery will be OK for a short immersion.
Are they suitable for marine use (in salt water not a lake).
What kind of thrust do they provide compared to a 2hp 2 stroke. I'm based in Devon in the South of the UK and in Dartmouth with the spring tide it is really difficult to get across against the full flow of the tide without an outboard, although in these circumstances I wouldn't object to rowing a bit to help out the outboard.
Any feedback from people who have actually used one of these long term would be great.
Hi mate an inventor in oz just created a bolt on propeller with protective cover for snags that clips to your garden whipper snipper ! As u know they come in many sizes the bigger ones will push u at 7 knots ! Try gumtree .com.au usually ad there perfect to store mate cost about $180 oz currency includes custom mounts for motor to tender too james wilson sydney
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Old 12-01-2011, 13:45   #3
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Thanks, Didn't know what a whipper snipper was we call them strimmers in the UK. Not really what I had in mind but worth a look, do you have any details web address etc?
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Old 12-01-2011, 14:18   #4
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Originally Posted by Cacique View Post
I need to get a new outboard this season for my 10 foot roundtail infatable.
I had a Seagull featherweight for many years it was perfect for my needs with electronic ignition and recoil start, unfortunately I got flipped in the dingy and I was too slow in getting the outboard cleaned up and it corroded to death, since then I have had 2 small 2hp 2 strokes a Suzuki and a Mariner, both these have suffered from immersion in salt water, the mariner twice, however it died because it failed to pump water.
I am now thinking of an electric outboard.
Are they waterproof enough to withstand immersion, I know a semisealed battery will be OK for a short immersion.
Are they suitable for marine use (in salt water not a lake).
What kind of thrust do they provide compared to a 2hp 2 stroke. I'm based in Devon in the South of the UK and in Dartmouth with the spring tide it is really difficult to get across against the full flow of the tide without an outboard, although in these circumstances I wouldn't object to rowing a bit to help out the outboard.
Any feedback from people who have actually used one of these long term would be great.
Try to get a copy of the most recent issue of Practical Sailor. They reviewed electric outboards. I don't have the magazine here, but I didn't come away impressed with power, speed or range. If you can't find someone with the magazine, you may be able to get a copy of just the review from: Practical Sailor.
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Old 12-01-2011, 15:30   #5
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Torqeedo claims the traveler series has thrust equivalent to 1.5 or 3 HP gas engines dependng on the model you choose. They also claim that the units can be completely immersed for at least 1 hour without damage. Since you seem to have a history of immersion problems with your engines maybe this is a solution for you.
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:20   #6
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I had a torqeedo travel 801 but sold it. Nice piece of German engineering, but the battery life is just too short. They're toys.

I have a Hondo 2hp now. Weighs 30 lbs, starts on the first or 2nd pull, goes forever on a tank of gas. Oh, and it cost considerably less than the Torqeedo.
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:26   #7
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My biggest issue with these outboards is mostly the cost. You can buy two of the traditional OBs for the price of one electric. Until the price becomes more in line with gas OBs I think they will never be attractive to the average cruiser. Chuck
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:43   #8
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Second Waterwayguy's comments and add to that the problem of the battery(s). They are cheap but exceedingly heavy and do not have a long run time before they need re-charging. Lugging a 50lb battery in and out of the dinghy and then recharging it overnight in a house on land is not a big deal. Doing that on a cruising boat and it is a big deal.
- - It appears that electric outboards are great for daysailors on small boats that are trailer or docked in a marina and only need outboard power for 30 minutes or an hour at most before they are back in the slip and on the way home.
- - You can Google the various outboard electrics and quickly see that they are available in quite large equivalent HP versions. But the batteries to run them are large and extensive and expensive. Not to mention the recharging equipment.
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Old 12-01-2011, 20:32   #9
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There is quite a bit of discussion on this subject and you could try "Electric Outboard" or Electric Motor" in the search engine after my signature below.
We've used Minn Kota outboards on some of our club boats and they seem to be pretty good if you get the saltwater version. We have solar panels aboard each boat and only use the outboards for getting on and off the moorings. They work well for our 19 monohull and the 23 foot catamaran when the wind dies.
kind regards,
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Old 12-01-2011, 20:44   #10
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The only real downside to electric outboards is that batteries do not have the same energy density (stored energy per amount of weight) as gasoline. Also, a typical tank of gas you can lift can store more energy than a battery you could lift.

The upside of course is no gas fumes.
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Old 13-01-2011, 08:25   #11
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We use a Minn Kota trolling motor on our dinghy, and i have been satisfied with the results. Our use is primarily puttering around the marina- call it an hour a day. We have a portable 20 watt solar panel which is the dinghy's sole charging source, and it keeps the battery topped up adequately most of the time. However, we also have a spare battery stowed onboard Whiskeyjack, which is kept topped up for those times when use exceeds charging capacity (ie. the kids decide to go touring). A fully charged battery is good for about 4 hours of runtime at half throttle before it is depleted to 50%.
We bought our electric trolling motor initially to use on our hard dinghy, "Chirp" replacing our Eska 3 hp OB. We did this for a couple of reasons:
1. "Chirp" was tender, to the point that is was difficult-to-impossible to board from the dock, so we figured a little battery ballast wouldn't hurt.
2. Ergonomics- the 2 stroke Eska had a looooong starting pull, really too uncomfortably long for the length and beam of Chirp.
3. No neutral- Once you got the damn thing started, you better make sure you were pointed in the right direction, right NOW.
4. SWMBO got stranded in the fairway with a persnickety finicky non-starting motor once too often. Oh sure, when it happens to me, it's funny...
5. Old trolling motors are dirt cheap compared to old gas OBs. New trolling motors are dirt cheap compared to new OBs. We have less than $400 invested in our motor, solar panel, two batteries and fancy battery monitoring battery box.


So far, it's worked for us. Mind you, it is being used on a small dinghy for short runs in a sheltered harbour. Your needs will likely vary.
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Old 13-01-2011, 09:04   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cacique View Post
"too slow in getting the outboard cleaned up and it corroded to death, since then I have had 2 small 2hp 2 strokes a Suzuki and a Mariner, both these have suffered from immersion in salt water, the mariner twice, however it died because it failed to pump water.
Surely the problem is your outboards being emmersed. Since electric trolling motors aren't popular in this country, so limited second hand ones and expensive new, I suggest another second hand Seagull from e bay would be the cheap option and run for many more years with an annual service.

Pete
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Old 17-01-2011, 15:46   #13
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Thanks for all your input,
I've decided to see if I can get another electronic ignition featherweight Seagull between now and April (From Ebay or somewhere similar), if one doesen't come up I'll go for a new 2.5 hp fourstroke.
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Old 17-01-2011, 16:16   #14
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OMG, a Seagull!

Please don't use your Seagull OB within 3 miles of so of anywhere anyone else is anchored! Makes for a bad neighbor with no audio fence in sight!
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Old 14-05-2011, 16:58   #15
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Re: Are Electric Outboards Any Good ?

I have a Torqeedo 801 traveler. I bought 2 battery packs for it. I thought it would be good on my Portland Pudgy. It has enough pushing power, but runs out of power within about 1 to 2 nautical miles depending on the speed. I also found after 1 season that it was unreliable and the connections really do not like salt water. It is hard to maintain the batteries and the storage of them as recommended was not good on them. Not something I would repeat buying. I am giving it to a friend to play with on the lake. I would rather row than mess with them. I bought a 2HP 4 cycle Honda to replace it.
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