We have the Watt&Sea 600 Cruiser latest version which includes the locking cleat.
Overall we found some poor engineering for the price, It's not that you can just pain-pay and forget about it, it IS still lots of work!! that is if you take care of it - But it generates a ton of power and looks pretty - From talking to others seems better than the Duogen (where the wind generator
is purely cosmetic
We would buy another one despite the problems - great for passages, OK for cruising.
* The generator cannot be left permanently down in the water generating (although most people that I have talked to don't know this!) - Watt&Sea stipulate it must be lifted when the batteries are full = when the generator produces a rumbling noise
from the prop free-wheeling or the bearings will be damaged.
The problem with this is ....When charge controller senses 14.4? volts on the batteries - the alternator
immediately turns off and does not generate at a float voltage/power for any significant period of time. Sooo (for our 400 ah lead-acid) batteries only get the surface charge back and are not being deeply recharged UNLESS you run solar
at the same time.
The manual says it should Float but it doesn't for us perhaps our battery
bank is too small?
* As everyone mentions, the mechanism for setting the the wing/alternator down is totally insufficient for the job at any speed more than 4 knots - and due to the problem with Float charging
- mentioned above you WILL need to lift
and lower the generator on a frequent basis on a long passage
something like 5 + times a day. Unfortunately the bracket used to lift
and lower is difficult to engineer
a sufficient solution around - I tried several different approaches and now have an OK solution - but it's still far from ideal - it would be simple for Watt&Sea to make a slightly longer bracket to incorporate a pulley system in the bottom to pull the wing down. The significant changes that would be needed to make the bracket work void the Warranty.
*?Saragosa? sea weed means that you have to clear the wing occasionally - the prop seems to clear itself more often than the wing..
*Dynamic range of the propellers - This problem is truly idiotic and lazy from Watt&Sea, I suspect they are using the same controller for the cruising version as the racing
The range of input voltage for the charge controller is VERY limited at 3 phases of 0-40 VAC - I guess with the original racing
version the prop automatically changes pitch
to put the voltage within the range of the charge controller - but with the cruising version and a fixed prop as your boat changes speed massively say each time it surfs down a wave or just through ordinary sailing, it puts the voltage outside the range of the controller and then back in again often depending on wind
and sea conditions - It should have been a simple and logical decision to increase the input voltage range of the charge controller for the cruising version - and would have meant less prop changes from 240mm to 280m. When the above happens the generator produces the rumbling noise
from free-wheeling - which is indistinguishable from the "Batteries are full" noise and the charge controller cycles the output on and off.
*You won't see 33 amps unless your boat can do close to 10 Knots and in wind speeds approaching 15-20 Knots - the dynamic range of the low speed 280mm prop is too limited to run in more than 7 knots boat speed, and the output power increases exponentially with speed..So we mostly get 10-18 Amps in normal cruising speeds - 6-8 Knots, and those last 2 knots of boat speed between say 8-10 knots produce by far the most power 18-33 amps.
*Solar input voltage range is also very limited at 0-50 VDC which means heavy solar cables
in parallel, not series - which is OK I guess.
* The charge controller does NOT combine the power generated from the Hydro generator and solar array - and selects the Hydro generator in preference to solar if it's turning: That one was a surprise - So.. we were sailing slowly but there was a lot of sun - and I checked the output from the charge controller - almost nothing - Huh?!! the solar should be cranking out the power - I discovered that I got nothing from the solar unless there was nothing coming out of the hydro generator...So if you want solar power you need to lift the hydro out of the water...Hmm.
* Replacement parts
are crazy expensive - 240 Euro for a new propeller!!! - 1K Euro for a poorly engineered charge controller?
* We had several problems with ours( Watt&Sea has good tech support - we talked to them directly) - The oil seals
had failed after just 6 weeks of solid use.The charge controller is reporting an "Overheating" or "Missing phase" error but I have extensively tested the unit and neither is true - Watt&Sea have told me just to ignore these errors - it's still under warranty and they will replace if it becomes a hard failure - Hmm not too happy with that.
* The Power plugs (Souriau UTL series) on the Charge controller that you need to use - are completely useless (but look pretty - see a thread here? W&S have a "Design patent" not a "Technical patent" ) It is almost impossible to seat the pins correctly to make sufficient contact - and might require a custom crimping tool(my crimping tool didn't work correctly) - Despite the data sheet specification I would doubt they can pass enough current
- perhaps in a Lab .. but in the real world they are dreaming.
*There is a lot of dynamic load + force generated from the wing - The bracket and mounting must be very strong - we needed to get a custom stainless bracket made and also had to reinforce the inside of the boat to guarantee no epics from the bracket being torn off the transom - it took several weeks of work to get this right.
*When not doing longish passages the Hydro-generator doesn't get used much..- so a typical island hopping cruiser might not benefit so much from the high output unless you have Lithium batteries that can charge at 20C
*More power than you can use - we had 2 fridges + Freezer
, TV=movies, SW radio
winches going all the time on our transatlantic crossing and we still had to find ways to burn power not to have to lift the generator out of the water so often( a real pain -) we didn't have the solar up, Might be a good idea to have a dummy load like a water heater.
*The charge controller includes a Solar charge controller, without that we would not have purchased the Watt&Sea.
*Strongly constructed wing..and props seem to be able to take abuse before failing - we .