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Old 08-11-2011, 18:01   #196
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I've been studying up a bit, as I think electric may still be what's right for me. On considering range, I tried to guestimate my max speed range, or at least how long at full throttle. I primarily consider the Carolina Sounds my goal, whether or not it becomes reality. I figure a minimum of one hour at full throttle would be good enough. With that and my boat, equivalents of 4 to 6 Hp should be adequate. Such an electric setup is possible.

Here's the thing: What I've seen says your battery charge life falls off by the cube of the % throttle. So, twice the motor speed, 1/8 the battery run time. Or, in reverse, half the speed, 8 times the run time.

That and my estimated maxes tell me that, if I can find one I like for outfitting my boat with, I'll be set.
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Old 14-11-2011, 12:04   #197
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Just a quick note to eveyone here re: Electric propulsion:

I installed a Torqueedo Travel 1003L in place of my (Hated) Suzuki DF6 gasoline outboard, and have conducted some preliminary sea trials, the results of which are promising:

My boat is a Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, that weighs between 5000 and 6000 lbs - its loaded down for extended cruising at the moment.

Power gereration is from a 200watt solar array on the taffrail, that is adjustable for best sun angle.

Storage is 4 100ah Lifeline Agms wired at 12 volts in parallel, with space for double that, plus another seperate 100 ah Agm in the bilge as backup.

The motor has a 500wh Lithium Magneese battery that can be charged from the house bank while in use.

I have ordered an Ampaire Towgen with the windgen option.

So what is the range?

Infinate to 2 to 4 miles, depending on speed.

How fast does it push 6000lbs of heavy dispacement with a fair hull and an 18 foot water line and 8 foot beam in flat water with no wind?

4.5 knots.

How fast did the outboard push it under the same conditions?

5.5 knots, when it started, lol....

at 2.5 knots the Torqueedo shows between between 20 and 30nm range on the internal battery with the charger pushing 4 amps into it from the house bank.

drop the speed to under 2 knots, and your range becomes infinate.

Bernard Moitisier's "Joshua" had a 7 hp diesel that would only move it at 2 knots.

Do the math - there are trade offs, so far, so good, and there is the intriguing possibility of using the electric outboard to add one or two knots of speed without drawing down the battery in marginal wind conditions,

even one additional knot = 24 miles per day on passage - 2= 48, and I'll never need to refuel if I get it right....

stay tuned.
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Old 14-11-2011, 13:05   #198
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I love this discussion...
My cat can Sail (move) as long as there is wind.
If my Cat is moving it Regens electricity. How many gas pumps are in the middle of the ocean?
If there are no winds and I need to move, yes I kick on the Genset. At 1g an hour I can generate 90 Amps and go until there is wind. Yup it's cheating but I can go for 60 hours in this mode.
I can move at 6 knots for 2 hours, 4 knots for 3 hours and 3 knots for 3.5 hours. All at around 50 to 60% SOC. That's with 2-10 hp motors.
Mike said it right a while back, It all depends on how your going to use your boat and I'm getting the opinion that day sailing with the sails still packed is probably the hardest on the system. Right after I got my boat I was of the opinion that long range cruising was it's weak point. After talking to my 2 sister boats that are cruising, 1 just down from Mass. and in Florida waiting for a window to the Islands (99.9% on the IWC) and the second one some where in South America, I don't hold that opinion any more. 15 to 20K of wind speed charges the batteries in a few overnighters and a genset every once in a while.
As far as getting "out of trouble" I'll run the batteries down to 0% if need be but then so would a ICE boat run out of gas in that condition. Need more Speed? get a bigger motor or in my case more batteries. My motors are set up for around 50% with the 144V system I have. I use a max of 60A to run them and they are capable of handling twice that.
As far as technology goes Lithiums are getting closer and closer as far as price goes and I'm on an 7 year plan for replacement. Don't do it if you don't feel comfortable. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.
I'm a happy boater.

Steve in Solomons MD
Lagoon 410 SE
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Old 14-11-2011, 20:58   #199
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Sounds like we've got enough input to sponsor the writing of a book...

"Electric Auxiliary Propulsion for Sail Boats".

Yes?
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Old 15-11-2011, 12:38   #200
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Re: Electric Propulsion

did some more trials last night while attempting to comission my new raymarine X-5 tiller pilot - seems the course computer cant be lying flat on the settee - the accellerometer and rate gyro are located in it, not the compass, but that is another discussion...

One of the most important features of the Torqueedo travel is the GPS chipset built into the battery pack. It calculates real-time range and speed based on remaining capacity and is sophisticated enough to deduct any charging current from the totals.

With this information, it is very easy to find an otimal speed based on conditions, promoting conservation of energy, and allowing you to the effects of wind, sail trim, and current on range.

I used it the outboard the other night to enter Marina Del Rey Harbor motorsailing, which is always a bit nerve wracking because of how the breakwater blankets the boat right at the area of maximum current and shoaling, after kicking you around in steep, sometimes breaking beam waves 100 yards off the sand.

The gas outboard?

sheesh - I always felt I had to start it 10 minutes out, in case it was having a bad day, which always seemed to be the case when the wind was over 20 knots and the seas pushing 10 feet.

(These conditions were also hell on my ST 2000 tillerpilot, hence the x-5)

The drill was as follows: Deploy 60lbs of outboard from raised position to drive position - this required hanging 1/2 of my body out over the sternrail, as my boat slewed wildly down the waves, and to do it without loosing any teeth, portions of my scalp, or fingers or going overboard - which I was only partially successfull at.

Apply the choke, and open the throttle to the choke position.

make sure the tank vent is open.

Squeeze priming bulb a few times.

Pray.

Grab starter cord, and warn crew to stay away from flying elbow.

Pray.

pull cord until you feel engine give slight resistance, then allow chord to fully retract.

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT FISHING BOAT DOING GODDAMIT???? HARD TO PORT!!!!

grab chord again, pray some more, and yank it - not too hard and not to soft, at least three times, but no more than five so you dont flood the...

WHERE THE HELL DID THAT KYAK COME FROM??? HARD TO STARBOARD!!!

Swear when it wont start or if it starts, QUICKLY disengae the choke, east the throttle, and put the son-of-a-bitch in gear, and....

DAMIT WTF ARE THOSE BOOZE CRUISERS DOING OUT HERE???

Give her 3/4 throttle, and steer for that flashing red light NO, NOT THE GREEN ONE, THE RED ONE, KEEP IT TO STARBOARD....STARBOARD!!!!

...amid the din, fumes and vibration (hopefully!) emmenating from the stern.

Wait...what's that smell?

LEAK-PROOF GAS CAN MY ASS!!! - OMG..... PUT OUT THAT...

KABOOM!!!!

The electric outboard?

1/2 the wieght, a single lever deploys it, and I simply twist the throttle, and it goes.

I'll trade 1 knot of ultimate speed for the ultimate simplicity and reliability the electric drill on a stick offers (don't laugh, I've seen one used to power a raft with a paint mixer...)

I've never been able to teach my crew, male or female how to reliably start the outboard - hell, I cant reliably start it - and if I go in the drink, that's my best chance for rescue - so its a safety issue as well.

anyway, I'll keep you all posted.
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Old 15-11-2011, 12:51   #201
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I had an outboard like that once (also on a small sailing boat). The cure was getting it serviced. Ran like new after that.

Although (per my previous posts) I am interested in going electric - in this circumstance I don't think you are making a useful comparison.........an unreliable engine vs anything that works well.

But nonetheless useful to read how little mechanical propulsion you actually need to use (rather than simply want)
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Old 15-11-2011, 15:15   #202
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Pluta View Post

First, it is necessary to define a few terms.

Force is pressure exerted against a mass. Normally expressed in pounds, kilograms, etc.
Not to nitpick a very informative post, but actually, Kilograms is a unit of mass. Newtons is the metric unit of force.
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Old 15-11-2011, 15:24   #203
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Re: Electric Propulsion

This is a great thread. Unfortunately, it seems that an electric powered cruising sailboat is more of a novelty than a real-world solution using current technology.

However, store-able electricity is on its way. I read about a vanadium phosphate battery that has unlimited recharges (for all practical purposes) that could power a vehicle for 375 miles on a six minute charge at 240 volts. Other vanadium batteries can store electricity on the megawatt level which is necessary to make wind farms feasible on a large scale. (The problem of matching energy generation to energy demand on the grid).

I wouldn't go electric just yet, but I would certainly keep my eye on the technology.
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Old 16-11-2011, 16:38   #204
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzk View Post
Not to nitpick a very informative post, but actually, Kilograms is a unit of mass. Newtons is the metric unit of force.
Heh. ...and nitpicking Newtons on a forum that uses Ampere-hour to discuss energy, instead of Joule or kilowatt-hour.
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Old 17-11-2011, 13:19   #205
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Re: Electric Propulsion

re that old outboard - I'm somewhat of a mechanic, so I bought the service manual and tore down and rebuilt the carburator.

It ran better after that, but it still had issues with hot starting, cold starting, and stalling - and this was a new (2007) engine.

There is simply no getting around it - IC engines are hellishly complex, and the systems that keep them running are closely coupled.

add in the harsh marine environment - dampness, vibration, salt, etc....

and you will have problems, sooner or later, no matter how dillegent you are - now add in the fact that marine engines are inherently low production volume, and thus dont recieve the sort of R&D that say a Honda Civic does - and even Honda Civics break down.

electric motors are mechnical / electrical systems also, and thus can malfuction or breakdown as well. The difference is they are several orders of magnitude less complex, and that simplicity makes them inherently less prone to failure, all things being equal.

I'd rather have a 4hp engine that is highly reliable and low maintence than a 6Hp one that is prone to failure, difficult to start, and fueled by a highly toxic, explose liquid that is expensive and difficult to procure in remote areas.

As a bonus, its "fuel" is also useful for running a variety of electronic convieniances I have aboard, like a small icemaker, dometic portable fridge, computer, watermaker, and of course all the usual navigation stuff and my autopilot.

I'm even going to to purchase a small cheap ($100) 5000 btu AC unit and hook it up to my inverter and see how long my 400ah bank will run it - I figure I'll have a huge surplus of power at anchor in the tropics, since I've got both the 200w solar array AND an Ampaire wind/towgen set.

If it doesnt work out, I figure I can always sell the thing to some local, and if it breaks, $100 wont kill me to replace it, and I figure I can do that 30 times before Im out what a central AC will cost me.

but here's the thing - My boat is tiny - that's what makes this possible - I generate proportionally more power for my size than a larger boat when it comes to things like propulsion, and the cooling load from my small cabin is tiny compared to something like a Catalina 32.

I'm also willing to motor a knot or two more slowly through dead calms in exchange for the peace and quiet of the Torqueedo, and I've got an enormous Asymettrical spinnaker on order for force 1 to 3 winds, and a sail inventory up to and including true storm sails capable of moving my boat upwind in anything short of a hurricane, and failing that, (redundant, and of different type) ground tackle that's oversized for that same Catalina 32, to say nothing of my 6,000lb 20 footer, and for the first year, i'll be coastal cruising in Baja, not attempting to round Cape Horn or anything stupid like that, and I've been studying both crusing guides and weather forcasts down there for several months.

So really, I think I have my bases covered - Then again, you never know - but I'm comfortable enough with my ship, the ocean, and my sailing skills at this point to cast off and give it a shot.
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Old 17-11-2011, 13:58   #206
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post
r
I'm even going to to purchase a small cheap ($100) 5000 btu AC unit and hook it up to my inverter and see how long my 400ah bank will run it - I figure I'll have a huge surplus of power at anchor in the tropics, since I've got both the 200w solar array AND an Ampaire wind/towgen set.

If it doesnt work out, I figure I can always sell the thing to some local, and if it breaks, $100 wont kill me to replace it, and I figure I can do that 30 times before Im out what a central AC will cost me.


So really, I think I have my bases covered - Then again, you never know - but I'm comfortable enough with my ship, the ocean, and my sailing skills at this point to cast off and give it a shot.

The world needs a bit more optimism. I think with future developments electric power is going to be a great option for cruising boats but...
With 200w of solar and the Ampaire you will be struggling to supply your domestic needs. If you want electric propulsion and AC you need to be thinking of energy production an order of magnitude higher.
Do an energy budget. The numbers will reveal the truth.

Cruising on a sailboat is a great life, but you need to have a realistic expectations.
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Old 17-11-2011, 14:22   #207
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Quote
I'm even going to to purchase a small cheap ($100) 5000 btu AC unit and hook it up to my inverter and see how long my 400ah bank will run it - I figure I'll have a huge surplus of power at anchor in the tropics, since I've got both the 200w solar array AND an Ampaire wind/towgen set.

Not likely with AC aircon. Will need a 2kva Honda genset & fuel.

You are kidding aren't you.
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Old 18-11-2011, 05:08   #208
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Total independence from Fossil Fuels isn't possible for cruising at this time. The numbers are just not there to store and generate everything I need to do it. However the ability to generate energy via Wind, Sun, and Waves makes the electric drive systems much more likely to attain this than any ICE system out there. Running the Genset isn't more efficient than straight ICE systems and we know that. The Genset is looked upon as a backup when underway and as a source of electrical power when heavy loads are needed when at anchor. In other words the genset is multi tasking. The electric motors are used to get someplace AND regenerate power. Multi tasking. Never enough but a lot easier than skimming oil off the water surface to try and fill the tanks. I don't have solar yet but there are panels out there that can generate 230w+ now and I can fit 4. That's a lot of power. I'm not interested in wind turbines so don't know what's there but for smaller boats it's a plus.
Then there is the battery issue. Since I bought EG I've become much more sensitive to anything having to do with batteries. Over the last 3 years the technology has started to move rapidly. Major break throughs and production ramp-ups are starting to show fruit and what use to be first in line, AGM's are being replaced with Lithiums. Even better flavors of those are being developed rapidly along with even higher tech stuff. One of the cool things about the whole Electric Systems is the ability to upgrade any part of it and how easy it is to do it. Might not be cheap (for now) but in most cases the main components are plug and play or, in the case of the motors, built to last for a very long time.
What is truly interesting is 3 years ago how many people would get on a site and bash those of us who where trying something different. We have gone from "It won't work" to at least "Their not quite there yet" in a very short period of time. It won't be long before it will be "I want one it's just so expensive" then we can move on to the mini reactors and plasma phase of development. I'm in the "It won't work" phase on those by the way. (At least for now...)

Steve in Solomons MD
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Old 18-11-2011, 21:38   #209
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Re: Electric Propulsion

From a Meadowlark that was listed on sailboatlistings.com earlier this year...
(if my station in life were a bit more stable, it would be mine now...)
with excerpts:

1978 Herreshoff Meadowlark, Solomon Technology Electric Wheel motor -(quiet, no winterizing, no odors, clean bilge, no maintenance, no impeller changes, eco friendly and cruses over 4 knots)

Manzantia Motor bank high performance charger, (2) Honda Generators model 2000 with tandem accessoriy, Auto Prop high performance folding prop

New 12 AGM group 31 Lifeline batteries 2010 (last motor bank lasted 9 years)

Certainly, this would work for me as a boat. Sure, certainly not for everyone, but for me. How many people want the ability to sail forever, yet are never gone longer than a daysail or the yearly overnighter? I know my wants, this would work.

So, for my 24' Culler sharpie, I think a Torqueedo is looking better all the time...
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Old 19-11-2011, 11:14   #210
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Re: Electric Propulsion

From another site on Batteries.

Better Batteries : Northwestern University Newscenter

Steve in Solomons MD
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