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Old 07-09-2010, 16:34   #1
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Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

Well, I'm the proud owner of a new Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard. I charged the battery and took it for a spin on my Walker Bay 10 rigid dinghy last night. I don't want to light the fuse on a gas vs. electric debate, and anyone who's spent more than 10 minutes searching electric motors within this forum knows that there are clear pros and cons to each.

I decided on the Torqeedo for a number of reasons, including the fact that it has a nifty GPS chip built directly into the battery housing, and so the onboard display tells you at any time how much further you have on your current charge (assuming consistent throttle). It's pretty handy, I must say.

Took my wife and son (with myself, probably 340 lbs total) out for a sunset cruise around the harbor last night for about 90 min and it easily hopped up to about four knots. Slight breeze, but no significant wave action. The torque is surprisingly powerful (thus the name Torqeedo, I suppose). We mostly cruised around at about 2.5 knots (over ground) and the readout indicated that we could do that for about 9 hours before I'd have to break out the oars.

A slight humming/whine, but other than that it was wonderfully quiet. Not quite as quiet as rowing, but a world of difference from a gas outboard.

When we were done, the unit (total weight about 35 lbs including battery) pops into three pieces - the battery, the handle/tiller, and the drive train/prop. Each piece can be easily lifted with one hand and after a quick fresh-water rinse, I stored it in pieces in the engine compartment, no problem. No oil, no fuel, no mess - pretty darn nice.

Early days, but I'll try to get some pics and/or video as I do slightly more scientific testing on range and speeds, charging times, etc.

So far, so good...
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Old 07-09-2010, 16:48   #2
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I'm really interested to hear in how this works for you long term, including the power drain to recharge it. There's a lot of recharging time from solar panels bundled up in a gallon of gasoline.
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Old 07-09-2010, 17:41   #3
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I'm really interested to hear in how this works for you long term, including the power drain to recharge it. There's a lot of recharging time from solar panels bundled up in a gallon of gasoline.
No question that there's just no comparison between energy density in diesel/gas versus battery cells. There's actually a flexible, high-efficiency solar panel accessory (about $1k, so not in the budget yet), which will apparently charge the 1003 to capacity after 10 hours (the model 803 after 8).

Here's the clever bit (if true) - on a reasonably sunny day, it'll run the motor at 1.5-2.5 kph indefinitely on a completely dead battery (or draw zero from a non-dead battery). I have no direct experience with any of these claims, though - just what I've been told.

For now, I've just been charging from the mains...
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Old 07-09-2010, 18:29   #4
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external battery

I built a LIFEPO4 battery for our 801 Torqeedo. It is 24v, 40ah and weighs 26 lbs. You could do the same, once Torqueedo introduces a connection kit for the 1003, they don't have one yet (I checked).

Cost about $500 to put together, and is 4x the capacity of the motor mounted battery.

Chris
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:32   #5
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No question that there's just no comparison between energy density in diesel/gas versus battery cells. There's actually a flexible, high-efficiency solar panel accessory (about $1k, so not in the budget yet), which will apparently charge the 1003 to capacity after 10 hours (the model 803 after 8).

Here's the clever bit (if true) - on a reasonably sunny day, it'll run the motor at 1.5-2.5 kph indefinitely on a completely dead battery (or draw zero from a non-dead battery). I have no direct experience with any of these claims, though - just what I've been told.

For now, I've just been charging from the mains...
Really interesting. Do they talk about the life expectancy of a lithium ion battery (I'm assuming that's what they're using?). In laptop land those batteries start dying the day they're born. You can do things to slow the decline but after 3-5 years or so you need to get a new battery.

?
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:49   #6
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Torqeedo uses Lithium Manganese if I recall correctly. They should last allot longer then laptop batteries. I think they have about the same life expectancy, maybe a bit less, then LIFEPO4, but are higher in energy density.


The only thing the laptop batteries have going for them in comparison is energy density, and cost (higher and lower respectively).

Chris
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:04   #7
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Since I've had electric propulsion on my 30 foot Nonsuch for almost three years now. It's only natural that I will probably convert the dingy's outboard to electric propulsion at some point. Once my Honda BP2 dies I'll look at replacing it with an electric outboard. Look forward to hearing about your experiences with your setup.
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Old 01-12-2011, 17:11   #8
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

RSMacG, I am thinking about replacing my 4-stroke 9.9hp outboard with a torqeedo 2.0 and I'm curious to seee what you think of yours now that you have about 18 months on it. Has it been reliable? Any service or maintainence issue with it? Love to hear the feedback!
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Old 01-12-2011, 17:34   #9
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

I would really like to justify the purchase of the Torqeedo, but I can buy three conventional outboards for the cost of one Torqeedo. Until the manufacturer gets real with the price, these will never be widely accepted in the boating community. Chuck
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Old 01-12-2011, 17:40   #10
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

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I would really like to justify the purchase of the Torqeedo, but I can buy three conventional outboards for the cost of one Torqeedo. Until the manufacturer gets real with the price, these will never be widely accepted in the boating community. Chuck
Well, until consumers purchase them in significant numbers they probably don't have the economies of scale that the petrol outboard companies do that helps them keep their prices low. I'm about to purchase one and pay a premium for it simply so that I don't have to carry any petrol on board.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:17   #11
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

As an alternative to the rather expensive Torqueedos, we have been cruising full-time for six years (always anchored or on a mooring) with cheap freshwater Minn Kota 30 lb thrust Endura electric trolling motors for the Walker Bay 8 dinghy. Warrantee voided because we use them in saltwater. Only cost $110 with free shipping and last about 2 years so I consider them "disposables" and just buy a new one when needed. Have used the same small 26 pound U1 31 amp hour gel cell battery for 6 years! Can go 4 miles on a charge. Had a solar panel for awhile that kept battery up all the time, no need to charge battery from the generator. Love it! Hate all "infernal" combustion engines and they feel the same about me! :-)
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Old 02-12-2011, 17:26   #12
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

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As an alternative to the rather expensive Torqueedos, we have been cruising full-time for six years (always anchored or on a mooring) with cheap freshwater Minn Kota 30 lb thrust Endura electric trolling motors for the Walker Bay 8 dinghy. Warrantee voided because we use them in saltwater. Only cost $110 with free shipping and last about 2 years so I consider them "disposables" and just buy a new one when needed. Have used the same small 26 pound U1 31 amp hour gel cell battery for 6 years! Can go 4 miles on a charge. Had a solar panel for awhile that kept battery up all the time, no need to charge battery from the generator. Love it! Hate all "infernal" combustion engines and they feel the same about me! :-)
Any comment on using those in a headwind and/or with a current pushing you? Normally I row, and I'd like to ditch our gas outboard if I can. I've always been worried that the little trolling motors just don't have enough umph to get going when conditions are lousy.

We're also using a Walker Bay 8.
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Old 02-12-2011, 19:22   #13
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

If the current is more than 2 knots or a headwind is over 25 mph the 30 pound thrust trolling motor would be struggling to overcome it. But I should not be out in those conditions in a Walker Bay 8 anyway!! And I could not do any better rowing against those conditions with out having a heart attack!! :-(
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Old 02-12-2011, 19:26   #14
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

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If the current is more than 2 knots or a headwind is over 25 mph the 30 pound thrust trolling motor would be struggling to overcome it. But I should not be out in those conditions in a Walker Bay 8 anyway!! And I could not do any better rowing against those conditions with out having a heart attack!! :-(
Curiously, what are you doing when those cases arise? I know we all try to stay out of the dinghies as much as possible when the weather is foul, but sometimes you just have to get from a to be even when the weather isn't cooperating.
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Old 03-12-2011, 15:27   #15
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Re: Electric Dinghy Outboard - Torqeedo 1003

In six years of full-time coastal cruising in FL, GA and SC we seldom encounter winds over 25 or 30 mph for any significant sustained period. In thunderstorms, of course, up to 60 mph! But I am NOT going to go out in the dinghy during a thunderstorm, I will wait for it to pass!

If there is any doubt or really high wind/waves I stay aboard on anchor watch! If ashore I would wait for the highest winds to pass before killing myself to get back to the boat. Has never been an issue. While I might get caught out offshore in bad weather I don't see being caught by surprise during a short dinghy ride.

Depends on where you are, I guess. In Florida we don't have significant currents in many places and weather is fairly predictable. During a frontal passage wind might exceed 25 mph for awhile but we know it is coming and plan accordingly. If you have a job or a dog that needs to get ashore, then a big deflatable and infernal combustion outboard would be needed and forget the electric motor. We are retired and don't have to risk our lives in a teeny tiny plastic dinghy like our Walker Bay 8 (which we love) to get ashore or home from a job. We stay aboard and wait for conditions to improve. ;-)
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