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Old 15-12-2011, 08:57   #286
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Re: Electric Propulsion

At the risk of a bit of thread drift.........have been mulling over the Generator end of an Electric installation, especially the Hybrid bolt on approach Seagoing Hybrids - Hybrid Electric Marine Propulsion either on my existing engine (36hp) or a new Beta - whether that be same size or smaller (HP and physically) for primary use (hopefully!) as a Generator.

My thinking is that whilst having a Generator on an installed diesel engine may have some performance advantage (?) over a standalone generator, it also keeps all the downsides / maintanence requirements of having a diesel engine, except will now mainly be used simply for topping up batteries (either at Anchor/ my mooring (no power) or on the go to extend range)...and diesels like to be used. It's also a space thing - could probably shoehorn both engines (etc) in, but not my ideal choice.

But having a Generator onboard sounds attractive and not just to ensure the Electric engine has power - but also for the domestics, not planning on running aircon 24/7 but would be useful now and again for power tools / laundery? / or simply hot showers etc

Therefore I am now leaning back towards no Diesel engine, an Electric install and a standalone Generator, whether initially a cheapy petrol or (later?) a few K on a Diesel version.

Petrol - cheapy - £300 - 2.43KW's

Diesel - £1600 - 3.41KW's

Diesel and shiny - £2700 - 5.43KW's

My thinking is that if the Electric doesn't work well enough for me / my boat / my use the existing (or a new?) Diesel can be dropped back in (I like having a Plan B )......and I have a generator that can still be used onboard / elsewhere (the bits of the Electric Install into storage for another boat - or on E-bay).

......part of my consideration is that I don't want to be "the noisy f#cker with a generator " in an anchorage.......I am guessing that a standalone generator could be installed and run in the engine bay, given that a (larger) Diesel engine did so happily, whilst not being unsocially loud.........but I don't know that for a fact

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 15-12-2011, 09:10   #287
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Re: Electric Propulsion

Ok David,
Time to come over.
electricboats : Electric Boats

I'm partial to straight electric motor and separate Genset but my needs are different on a bigger boat. The site above deals more with your size boat and there are a number of smart people including Mike from above who would know more about this multi thing you mention.

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Lagoon 410 SE
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Old 15-12-2011, 09:43   #288
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by Hyprdrv View Post
Ok David,
Time to come over.
electricboats : Electric Boats

I'm partial to straight electric motor and separate Genset but my needs are different on a bigger boat. The site above deals more with your size boat and there are a number of smart people including Mike from above who would know more about this multi thing you mention.

Steve in Solomons MD
Lagoon 410 SE
Thats my Xmas reading sorted

A nice Database as well
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Old 16-12-2011, 15:41   #289
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Re: Electric Propulsion

I gotta say, so far, so good:

1kw outboard, 1.5kwh of Lima batteries divided into 3 packs, and realtime energy monitoring mean I have an infinite range, as long as energy out is less than or equal too energy into my system.

A 200 watt solar array and a 100watt tow gen / windmill recharge things when the wind blows or the sun shines.

50watts will move my boat at 1.5 knots in a dead calm, so yea, its a perpetual motion machine - in anything over 1 knot, I sail.

Park the boat for a day or three, and she automatically recharges her batteries, and then keeps them floating at thier optimal voltages, and the large battery bank provides lots of energy reserve for conviences like refrigeration and a watermaker at anchor.

of course my boat is small - larger boats will require disproportionally larger motors and battery banks.

I'm also in no hurry to get anywhere when I sail, and I sail (as opposed to motoring) as much as possible.

For me, so far, the electric outboard has been a godsend. Time will tell if it proves reliable and cost effective long term, but hey, for $1000 or so I can repower with another gasoline outboard if it doesnt ultimately work out.
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Old 16-12-2011, 16:07   #290
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post

Thoughts anyone?
I meet a lot of boats and generators are one of the least reliable systems installed. As well as the generator you have all the electric motors and associated control systems.
There is a lot to said for the KISS principal, particularly with a vital propulsion system.
Good luck with whatever you decide to install.
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Old 17-12-2011, 03:20   #291
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I meet a lot of boats and generators are one of the least reliable systems installed. As well as the generator you have all the electric motors and associated control systems.
There is a lot to said for the KISS principal, particularly with a vital propulsion system.
Good luck with whatever you decide to install.
Yeah, a Generator was never going to be part of my plans mainly as the boat aimed at KISS - just that for my (first) foray into electric propulsion it seems to be the route that gives me most comfort. At least today .

Would be nice if I rarely needed it in practice, so if went pop replacement not a priority (unless I get addicted on the Domestic side )......but that will be a time thing.

Hard to make judgements on Electrickery when I struggle to wire a plug .
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Old 17-12-2011, 04:42   #292
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Yeah, a Generator was never going to be part of my plans mainly as the boat aimed at KISS - just that for my (first) foray into electric propulsion it seems to be the route that gives me most comfort. At least today .

Would be nice if I rarely needed it in practice, so if went pop replacement not a priority (unless I get addicted on the Domestic side )......but that will be a time thing.

Hard to make judgements on Electrickery when I struggle to wire a plug .
David:

When I converted to EP my plan B was to install an inboard generator too. But, I found out the Honda 2000 generator takes care of all of my needs for my EP system and then some. I'm thinking I could also operate a toaster or microwave too if I wanted without the need for an amp sucking inverter. But, that's what's nice about EP is it's ability to be modified and changed rather easily. The good thing about the in board generator that you are thinking about is that you can install it in a location that makes maintenance easy and accesible. There were some parts of my diesel engine that were a real PITA to get to. With an EP system you can install things like a generator in a location where it is easy for you. Not because it has to be installed in line with the prop shaft.
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Old 17-12-2011, 07:05   #293
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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David:

When I converted to EP my plan B was to install an inboard generator too. But, I found out the Honda 2000 generator takes care of all of my needs for my EP system and then some. I'm thinking I could also operate a toaster or microwave too if I wanted without the need for an amp sucking inverter. But, that's what's nice about EP is it's ability to be modified and changed rather easily. The good thing about the in board generator that you are thinking about is that you can install it in a location that makes maintenance easy and accesible. There were some parts of my diesel engine that were a real PITA to get to. With an EP system you can install things like a generator in a location where it is easy for you. Not because it has to be installed in line with the prop shaft.
Unless I am forced to do otherwise, I would be going for a generator that could be removed and then put in the back of a truck for standalone use elsewhere or if I want better access to the Electric Drive etc.......Even if a PITA to lift out.

Obviously smaller is cheaper Will probably first see how I get on with an El Cheapo petrol Generator (both on charging and engine use hours) - before deciding whether to splash out on a more powerful Diesel version........or reverting back to a diesel engine .

A toaster would be nice
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Old 17-12-2011, 09:18   #294
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
David:

When I converted to EP my plan B was to install an inboard generator too. But, I found out the Honda 2000 generator takes care of all of my needs for my EP system and then some.
Do use the Honda when you're sailing? If so how have you set it up? I love the gen for when I'm at anchor but at this point keep it stowed, get it out and plugin to the shore power when I want to use it. I have wondered about setting it up so it is ready to use if I were passage making when it was required.
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Old 17-12-2011, 13:58   #295
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Re: Electric Propulsion

early on in my conversion plans, I researched gasoline gensets, and came to the conclusion that Yamaha makes the most functional ones.

However, after spending several nights at Ismus cove morred next a Honda 2000 genset, I had second thoughts:

They are LOUD compared to the near silence of a nice anchorage - I could hear my nieghbor's buzzing away all morning, and it was annoying - something I seek to escape when I cast off.

I dumped the gasoline outboard for the same reason - "noise vibration and harshness" as automotive engineers call it. I absolutely hated it, and the Diesel powered boats I've been on were worse, becuase of the smell of thier fuel and exhaust, which I find absolutely nauseating.

So I installed a larger solar array, (silent and still) and purchased a wind/tow gen (nearly silent, nearly still) and figure I'll just need to slow down a bit when the wind dies.

In return, I get the near silence of my electric outboard, and zero vibration and harshness.

My limited generation capacity means I have to pay close attention to my electrical systems maintence and state of charge.

All modern boats have electrical systems these days, so the argument that they add complexity is moot:

Its already there, powering such "neccesities" as autopilots, chartplotters, windlasses, bow thrusters, bilge pumps, refrigeration, navigation lights, and radar - so it behooves you to understand how it works, and to make it as redundant and robust as possible.

I decided to completely rewire my boat becuase of the electric motor upgrade, and I'm glad I did:

1) The old wire was un-tinned and not run through gromets or conduit. Its insulation had chaffed through in several places creating a fire hazard, and it was undersized. The terminals were poorly crimped, and some it was corroded.

Had I not decided to go electric, it would no doubt have let me down at some point.

2) If you install the electric propulsion system yourself, you will be forced to understand the intracacies of boat electrical systems, which are complex.

Start now - it took me about three months of reading to get a handle on all of the issues surrounding a properly designed system. I highly recommend Nigel Caulder's "Boat owner's Mechanical and Electrical Guide".

I'm a retired Architect, and worked as a professional mechanic in my youth, and raced automobiles for several years, doing all of my own engineering and "wrenching" on those cars. I have read litterally hundreds of technical books in my life.

Caulder's is the best I've ever come accross. Its written in plain english, and he provides clear photographs and charts explaining what he writes about. I recomend getting his book even if you dont plan on going electric.

At any rate, generators seem to defeat the purpose of going electric to me.

Here's another thought:

Why not do what NASA does with thier solar arrays on your boat:

Close-up view of folded solar array. (Large image) -- Ookaboo!

I have a plan for a 300 watt system like the one above that will cost $1500, stow in a large duffle bag on deck and is capable of being hoisted up the mast or scattered around the boat to catch optimal sun angles.

you could even float it on a dinghy at anchor, or tow it in calm weather behind you.

This is an area that cries out for innovative thinking and experimentation, something most sailors seem loathe to embrace...

Keels and batteries are both lead you know....
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Old 17-12-2011, 14:41   #296
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Capacity of solar arrays has a linear relation to the surface area of the array. On sailboats, thereis a second power source with this same relation and that is the sails.

Technology has arrived to increase efficiency of sails enormously by also making them a solar array. Now *that* is optimal use of surface area! A potential 3rd is as a heat source.

Basically it's just a matter of patience and wait for practical implementation of the technology. I believe they are concentrating on developing a film that can be used on windows of buildings first... but we might be able to slap that onto our sails...

P.s. for bigger boats I still think one or two good diesel gensets are hard to beat in combination with electric propulsion. We have a 140hp diesel but when motor sailing in light conditions, we might only require 10hp from it, which can be done much more efficiently by electric motor(s).

ciao!
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Old 17-12-2011, 15:40   #297
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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I have a plan for a 300 watt system like the one above that will cost $1500, stow in a large duffle bag on deck and is capable of being hoisted up the mast or scattered around the boat to catch optimal sun angles.

you could even float it on a dinghy at anchor, or tow it in calm weather behind you.

This is an area that cries out for innovative thinking and experimentation, something most sailors seem loathe to embrace...

Solar panels are great. The problem on a boat is there is just not enough shade free areas to mount them. Most cruising yachts struggle to fit enough solar power to cover their domestic needs. The extra demands of electric propulsion require solar collection that is an order of magnitude higher for even minimal electric drive..
Any system has to withstand reasonable wind strengths. Even a modest 100w solar panel requires some serious mounting hardware to withstand the sort of winds that are commonly experienced at anchor.
I think the lifespan at anchor for any solar panels hoisted up the mast is likely to be short.
Mounting tempory panels on dingy I think is more feasible, but there is a risk of flipping the dingy that will require dismounting if anything other than moderate winds is expected .
What happens when the wind shifts and picks up in the night ?
Every time you want to go sailing this will need to be disconnected and stored.
It is a lot of effort and risk, for a small amount of propulsion.
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Old 17-12-2011, 16:05   #298
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Unless I am forced to do otherwise, I would be going for a generator that could be removed and then put in the back of a truck for standalone use elsewhere or if I want better access to the Electric Drive etc.......Even if a PITA to lift out.

Obviously smaller is cheaper Will probably first see how I get on with an El Cheapo petrol Generator (both on charging and engine use hours) - before deciding whether to splash out on a more powerful Diesel version........or reverting back to a diesel engine .

A toaster would be nice
David:

That sounds like a good plan. It worked for me. I figured I could buy five new Honda 2000's for the price of one in board installed diesel generator. With the reliabilty my Honda 2000 has been operating at I may only live long enough to buy one or two replacement Honda's anyway. Though the reality is I only use about 900 watts of the Honda's 1600 for charging or motor sailing. It's actually operating in eco mode and not really being driven that hard hard most times. Once the bank has been charged up it usually sits around because my solar and wind generator keep things charged up after that.
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Old 17-12-2011, 16:32   #299
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Capacity of solar arrays has a linear relation to the surface area of the array. On sailboats, thereis a second power source with this same relation and that is the sails.

Technology has arrived to increase efficiency of sails enormously by also making them a solar array. Now *that* is optimal use of surface area! A potential 3rd is as a heat source.

Basically it's just a matter of patience and wait for practical implementation of the technology. I believe they are concentrating on developing a film that can be used on windows of buildings first... but we might be able to slap that onto our sails...

P.s. for bigger boats I still think one or two good diesel gensets are hard to beat in combination with electric propulsion. We have a 140hp diesel but when motor sailing in light conditions, we might only require 10hp from it, which can be done much more efficiently by electric motor(s).

ciao!
Nick.
There's quite an array of flexible solar panels now. Just look at the array of products this one company offers: Solar Products for OEMs, Military & Consumers | PowerFilmSolar.com.

No sails yet! Still, I do think something like that will come, the whole surface of the boat will be solar, perhaps a nano-paint? It may not come in time for me or anything I'm sailing but then you never know.
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Old 17-12-2011, 16:55   #300
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Re: Electric Propulsion

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Do use the Honda when you're sailing? If so how have you set it up? I love the gen for when I'm at anchor but at this point keep it stowed, get it out and plugin to the shore power when I want to use it. I have wondered about setting it up so it is ready to use if I were passage making when it was required.
Hummingway:

I really don't need to use the generator all that much when sailing. The Honda 2000 sits rather nicely on port aft stern quarter and I just plug it in to where it's needed. Though I am building a platform so that I can put on the boats swim ladder securely when underway too. If the wind dies I'll motor along under battery for a few hours until the battery bank has dropped to 80% capacity and then fire up the Honda if the wind has not picked up by then. If it looks like I'll be motoring for a real long time I'll move the generator up forward away from the cockpit with the exhaust blowing off to the side. You can hardly hear it from the cockpit there. There's a photo of it in this mode if you scroll down a few photos in this post:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: AN ELECTRIC SAILBOAT CRUISE TO NEW YORK: PART TWO
Don't have to do that often but, did it for ten hours one windless day this past season. When the wind picks up I usually keep the generator running to charge the battery bank back up. So when I get to the anchorage I have minimal if any run time when I drop the anchor. Usually my solar and wind generator handle things from there.
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