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Old 19-11-2011, 13:10   #211
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I use a Torqueedo Traveler 1003 with an extra battery on my 12 ft RIB, it is my introduction to electric population. I can get 5-6kn ploughing along at 3kn per battery. I normally needed 2-3kns at most, but would go fishing outside an anchorage with both batteries aboard and never had a problem. I charge them off a 24 volt 235watt panel I have (I have 2 175 12volt panels also), it takes all day for one to fully charge, but as I very seldom have killed both batteries and normally use 1-2kn of travel from anchorage to shore I have taken my 5hp 4 stroke Honda off the boat which I am comfortable doing.
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Old 22-11-2011, 13:18   #212
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Re: AC not being practical given my electrical generating and storage capacity -

It all depends on how much you use the unit, and when. Right now, its approaching the winter solstice I'm at 34deg north lattitude, and my array is shaded by a giant pepper tree, the masts of ajacent boats, and my own rigging for most of the day, and its been partly cloudy, with the sun not rising much above 30 degrees.

Even under these really poor conditions, the array is putting between 40 and 50 ah into the bank each day, and as long as I mind the inverter, the bank stays 100% full - it is in fact hitting 14.2v as I write this.

Note that I have not yet rigged the wind / tow gen

As I descend the ladder to the tropics, everything gets better - The sun is closer to the azimuth, and remains up longer. I will not be in a crowded marina, I plan to anchor out pretty much constantly, and if I choose a marina, I then have shorepower. In most tropical locations the wind can be counted on to blow much harder and more reliably than in my current sheltered temperate location.

The wind and dc fans will be my primary cooling method - I'm not planning to run the AC 24/7 - just to use it to cool the cabin's daily heat soak prior to bedtime.

Its not the instantaneous draw of the unit you should use to calculate its overall load, its duty cycle that matters, and the unit I'm considering is about the size of a microwave, and has two thermostatically controlled cooling settings.

The interior volume of a Flicka 20 is huge for a 20 footer, but still quite small compared to even a typical 24 foot boat. My decks are light tan (I experimented with the color until I found a mix that didnt get hot under direct summer sun) and I shade the foredeck with sail bags and cushions and the aft decks with an awning while at anchor.

So, if the AC doesnt work out big deal? I'm playing and experimenting with "luxury green minimal cruising" - having such a "small" boat enables me to spend a small fortune on luxuries instead of things like rigging and sails that would cost 4 or 5 times as much on a 40 footer.

are there compromises?

YOU BET.

but I've been living aboard and SAILING her at least weekly for the past couple of years, and I'm comfortable with the trade-offs. She's a safe boat at sea, surprizingly fast (6 to 7 knots reaching with the right sails, properly trimmed, a deft touch on the tiller, 15 knots of breeze, and a quatering sea - and I have video proof of her surfing along under a clumsy ST2000 tillerpilot at 6 knots - for a couple of hours)

Its a bit tight below for two, but perfect for one, and on passage, someone is in the cockpit at all times.

And after doing a few calculations I determined that 3 LIMA battery packs rotated and charged in parallel and dynamically while motoring will give her an essentially unlimited range through dead calms at 3 knots. In any breeze other than force 0 she moves along quite nicely - making 4 knots overground reaching in 3 knots apparent with her 140 genny poled out - to leward - and drawing perfectly - and again, I've got photographic proof of this via my wind instruments and GPS.

...and a huge new assymetrical spinnaker should be arriving any day now for light air broad reaching and running.

It's taken me two years and litterally 1000s of miles of sailing her and experimenting to figure out how to keep her moving well in pretty much any condition or sea state short of force 10 or over force 0, both upwind (Santa Monica bay is ALL a lee shore, and you must beat for several hours, periodically alternating boards, to earn an hour or so of running or broad reaching.

My single 85watt panel and 100ah battery served me reasonably well for over 1 month of anchoring out around the bay and all over the (rolly, exposed, steep to, deep water, roadstead) anchorages of Catalina last summer - with a thick marine layer of low stratus hobbling the array for most of my time on the hook.

(I burned oil lamps at night, and steered by hand 1/2 the time on passages to conserve power. My nav lights are Hella LEDs, and a BEBE is on order for the tricolor. I use a portable white LED nav light or an oil lamp hung from the backstay at anchor. Steering by hand is mandatory anyway if you want to check helm balance or extract maximum speed in light air anyway - I consider the autopilots (I have two - an X-5 (overkill) and the ST2000 ( also overkill) luxuries, and can rig sheet to tiller steering if need be - I've experimented with it, and it works reasonably well on a Flicka on anything besides a reach in big beam seas.

She runs dead downwind perfectly with her helm lashed and the correct sails up and properly trimmed, and when it really gets ugly, she's happy as a clam running before it with the main dowsed, helm lashed and her 80% jib sheeted flat amidships to keep her weathercocked downwind and to dampen any rolling or attempts at rounding up or down while surfing.

As a bonus, if I properly balance her sails, the autopiliot doesnt have to work much - once in a while I even forget to switch it it on, (helm is effectively locked amidships) and she sails herself quite well until I realize she's luffing up a bit too much, upwind, or wandering around the rhumb line 10 or 15 degrees downwind, and check the pilot....Oops!

:-)

So now, its time to head for warmer waters and sunnier skies with her and see how she does....
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Old 22-11-2011, 13:49   #213
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post
It all depends on how much you use the unit, and when. Right now, its approaching the winter solstice I'm at 34deg north lattitude, and my array is shaded by a giant pepper tree, the masts of ajacent boats, and my own rigging for most of the day, and its been partly cloudy, with the sun not rising much above 30 degrees.

Even under these really poor conditions, the array is putting between 40 and 50 ah into the bank each day, and as long as I mind the inverter, the bank stays 100% full - it is in fact hitting 14.2v as I write this.

Note that I have not yet rigged the wind / tow gen

.
An average of 45 Ahrs a day from an 85W solar panel under shady conditions in late November at 34N ?
How are you measuring this ?
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Old 23-11-2011, 12:10   #214
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Re: Electric Propulsion

My old array was 85 watts - it would put in 60 or so AH midsummer, if I aimed it at the sun all day - but if it was overcast....I might get 15 or 20 into the battery. I measured its output with a rather sophisticated electrical meter designed for use by model airplane hobiest that cost about $50 and is wired inline. it calculates watt hours, amp hours, maximum amperage, minimum voltage, maximum voltage, etc....

My current array consists of 2 55 watt polycrystaline panels in addition to the 85 watt panel, for a nominal 195 watt array. In real conditions these panels are underated, and it puts out a bit over 200 watts, though of course there are voltage drops and subsequent losses, as well as charging inefficiences - though the AGMs minimize this.

On the backend of the system I have a Blue Sea's systems VSM and all loads and charging are routed through its shunt, giving me a dynamic picture of my real time energy useage vs state of charge and remaining amp-hours in my bank. I'm starting to think the VSM has an algorythm that accounts for the "perkuet effect" as well, because the rate of amperage draw has a non linear relationship to the AHs debited from my bank.

Its a sophisticated system, and it took me months to design and install it. For what its worth, I used to be an Architect - with a degree and a liscense and years of professional experience and everything, so I sorta know what I'm doing...

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Old 23-11-2011, 13:56   #215
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Re: Electric Propulsion

So the statment
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogan View Post
putting between 40 and 50 ah into the bank each day,
.
was with 195w of solar not with
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My single 85watt panel
That makes a lot more sense. Thanks for clarifying.

People do use this information to help plan their boat equipment, and they need to have realistic expectations.
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Old 23-11-2011, 14:29   #216
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Good thread, everyone. I have watched over the last thirty years as electric propulsion became more affordable. I had to laugh outright as one poster said that cruising without fossil fuel backup was impossible at this time, since I have never had an engine [of any kind] in any of my cruising boats. At 71, building my 35' schooner Javelin [it grew and morphed], I feel I just might need some assistance now and again, so I am setting the boat up to take electric power, when I can afford it and need it. I learn a lot about the subject matter every time I read a thread like this one. Thanks to you all.
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Old 23-11-2011, 16:12   #217
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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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.
I wouldn't put so much faith in globe changing potential of Lithium-Van-Phos batteries.

The car they used for the demo was an Audi A2 which was built of aluminum to reduce weight and stretch milage. The 1.2L diesel production model was getting 75mpg to begin with.

In terms of the industrial level of renewable energy storage in a chemical battery, that won't ever happen, the amount of material required to build the batteries would easily outstrip supplies. Even if the supplies were available the economics would never favor it. The existing technology of pumped hydro is way more mature and is a lot cheaper. It's only problem is that it doesn't scale well, you can't start with a small facility and add onto it, you start with a moderate to very large facility and adding on is difficult unless accounted for during initial construction.


That said, LiVPo has the potential to be a step up from the current Li-ion technology, possibly a very big step up in terms of price and energy density which I am very hopeful for.
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Old 24-11-2011, 05:47   #218
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Michael,
It was probably me who said that Cruising without fossil fuel backup wasn't possible and you are quite right, it is possible. But your a minimalist I'm sure. My wife is a Maximalist. People have been cruising without fossil fuels since the beginning of time so there is no reason why it can't still be done. That was a fupa on my end. As my dock mates say the "Floating Condo" can eat up some power and at this time I don't have solar panels so to keep the peace I need the genset. I also believe the auxiliary power (electric in my case) should have a backup to generate the power needed when or if I get into trouble so it's a piece of mind thing. However I do feel that I'm much more attuned to the conditions around me then someone who would just turn on the iron sail and get out of trouble. I try and stay out of trouble in the first place. All in all I'm happy with my setup.

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Old 28-11-2011, 01:55   #219
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Michael,
All in all I'm happy with my setup.
And there it is. FTR I'm pretty happy with my electric setup as well, and just showed it to a guy a couple of days ago. He was already trying to figure out how to stuff one in his big tri as he walked back up the finger...

I took a lot of heat for wanting to convert to electric, still do from some quarters. My wife was *very* sceptical. But after a while with the electric boat, she's an electric evangelist just like me. We went and looked at a bigger boat, and upon opening the engine access, the first question she asked was, "What would it take to convert this to electric?" Now it's a consideration we give to any prospective boat we look at.

JRM

-- now if I could just beat physics and get the regen numbers I see bandied about in the advertising slicks...
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Old 28-11-2011, 18:18   #220
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I found a story on the internet - which may even be true

Bottom Line - Drivers still want electric cars, Nissan says

Nissan Leaf - Electric Car. Sold 8,000 in the US over the last year - presently building a factory (in the US) for the batteries with a capacity to make 150,000 vehicles a year! Appreciate that not the same as will do, but nonetheless........

What caught my eye was the range issue:-

"It turns out that owners drive about 35 miles a day, the same distance as most surveys of American drivers report as the average distance for U.S. drivers. But drivers often overestimate their own daily mileage, and this makes them wary of a car that has a cold-weather driving range of as little as 65 miles".

Obviously the optimum range is somewhat higher. and the "Normal" range somewhere in between. I think the point (that folk need less than you think) does translate to sailing boats - albeit not for everyone, same as a Hummer

I dunno whether the Nissan system or batteries would be boat freindly but IMO if any (major) car company spends time and money on making electric vehicles the technology can only get better
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Old 28-11-2011, 18:29   #221
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Re: Electric Propulsion

You get me an electric car with a range of 100 miles and under $20-22K, and I'm sold. And the first manufacturer to do that will change the market.

Right now, the cheapies cost as much or more than a luxury sedan. They'll never break the market trend like that.
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Old 29-11-2011, 01:37   #222
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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You get me an electric car with a range of 100 miles and under $20-22K, and I'm sold. And the first manufacturer to do that will change the market.

Right now, the cheapies cost as much or more than a luxury sedan. They'll never break the market trend like that.
Price is largely a question of volume. Bit of a chicken and egg thing.........

But I think someone like Nissan is taking the right approach, not over producing initially and learning from the car owners how they use the vehicle in practice / what is important to them, so they can apply the right (existing) technology......also gives them time to build up a basic re-charging network and to address the fear of "I've run out of electric".

In time I figure they will be able to move out of that part of the market - as the market becomes commercially attractive to others (from the volume of electric cars on the road, from all manufacturers).

My guess is that the Generation 2 Nissan Leaf will be a lot better. and cheaper..........but will still never be appropriate for everyone, the answer for that is quite simple - don't buy one
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Old 29-11-2011, 04:05   #223
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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You get me an electric car with a range of 100 miles and under $20-22K, and I'm sold. And the first manufacturer to do that will change the market.

Right now, the cheapies cost as much or more than a luxury sedan. They'll never break the market trend like that.
The closest that cames to the most range is the Tesla Sedan. Unfortunately they cost twice as much as what you mentioned.

Give it time. Just like any new tech, it'll cost a lot in the beginning then prices will come down eventually (hopefully).
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:05   #224
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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The closest that cames to the most range is the Tesla Sedan. Unfortunately they cost twice as much as what you mentioned.

Give it time. Just like any new tech, it'll cost a lot in the beginning then prices will come down eventually (hopefully).

Having driven a Tesla roadster, I'd order one if I could afford one.

That said, I was looking forward to Ford's Focus electric debut due this fall. Not quite here yet. But the price is. $34k, according to their email. For the smallest Focus? No way!
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:59   #225
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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That said, I was looking forward to Ford's Focus electric debut due this fall. Not quite here yet. But the price is. $34k, according to their email. For the smallest Focus? No way!
Bassman:

I'm with you on your reasoning. As much as I love my electric propulsion system on my boat, with only 16,000 miles on my 2007 gas car. I could easily find an electric car that would fit my needs. But, not at the crazy prices the auto industry is pricing even the basic models at. I wonder if it's because as I have found out with my boats electric propulsion system. That there will be a hell of a lot less maintanance on the electric cars and that mean less $$$ for parts and the dealers who service them. Let alone the oil companies.
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