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Old 19-03-2016, 10:23   #61
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stella Polaris View Post
Thank you. That's interesting to hear. Do you have the 300w or the 600w unit?You say that you generate enough if you sail above 7 knots ... How about if you your speed is somewhere between 5-6 knots?
How many amps do you normally get depending on speed?

- Andreas
Hi there,

the 600 I believe, though had it 4 years now and am a bit hazy. I don't have a very sophisticated battery monitor, so I can only note positive or negative amps net. It is usually positive after 7.5 knots whatever is running, so plenty.

I would suggest that with my present system… 5.5 knots ain't gonna get you too much power. They do like their speed, these systems.
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Old 19-03-2016, 10:36   #62
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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Originally Posted by sailabroad View Post
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.

(1) Cons

* 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 version?

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 and panels 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? are they on drugs?

* 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


#Pros'

*More power than you can use - we had 2 fridges + Freezer, TV=movies, SW radio, electric 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.

*Looks nice

*Strongly constructed wing..and props seem to be able to take abuse before failing - we .
I didn't mean to minimise your careful and detailed post, by the way. From some of the details (such as the plugs: I just cut my cable to unship the thing…) I think that several of these issues have arisen subsequent to my installation, which was pretty early for W&S cruising, back at the beginning of 2012. I have just checked their website, and various things have changed, including their controller.
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Old 19-03-2016, 10:54   #63
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

I would love to hear other peoples experiences - I searched everywhere before buying and couldn't find anything except marketing and this post .. I tried to be as accurate as possible...

Sorry one correction - We OCCASIONALLY get the 2 Red flash errors which means "Overheated" or "one Phase disconnected" - It was tested by Watt&Sea and extensively by me We still get tons of power so are ignoring the error unless it becomes a hard fault.

I have the charge controller in a place where I can see it so I often keep any eye out to see what it is generating - and for any errors now.

Hi Muckle Flugga, when you say "It has never hit the stops" do you mean that you don't get the "Batteries Full" or "Prop Overspeed" - rumbling noise?

Can you say how many A/H you have? are your bats lead? Thanks

The cost was a big consideration for us - so having one more thing that I don't need to buy = a solar controller was a reason for us to purchase - is there any reason other than redundancy for not using the W&Sea solar controller? - it is definitely MPPT and works well, I'm getting 18 amps as I type now!! If it dies I'll use either the Honda or the engine or the Hydro.
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Old 19-03-2016, 11:25   #64
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

One one other small error the charge controller is actually around 2K Euro - I'll withdraw my other comment - perhaps a bit harsh.
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Old 18-04-2016, 18:50   #65
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Just used mine for 2,000 nm. Lost one prop. Generally very nice to not have to use the engine to charge while on passage.

No problem with overcharge and having to pull out. Could have been installed a little lower but still preformed OK.


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Old 22-05-2017, 18:19   #66
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

This is my latest effort to realibly install watt and seas hydro

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Old 22-05-2017, 18:23   #67
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

So I used the polypropylene bracket that they sell but abandoned their method of keeping it secured and am using a sprung pin instead. Not sure how I managed to send two of each photo.
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Old 22-05-2017, 18:25   #68
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Also used a different pin for locking in the down position, theirs didn't seem to have a means of assuring that it didn't fall out. I plan on wiring it as well for good measure.
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Old 22-05-2017, 18:43   #69
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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So I used the polypropylene bracket that they sell but abandoned their method of keeping it secured and am using a sprung pin instead. Not sure how I managed to send two of each photo.
I've had many photos duplicated and don't know why but as you can see within minutes the duplicate disappears .
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Old 19-09-2017, 18:34   #70
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

3 years on our Watt&Sea generator is still going well.

A few more comments for anyone interested in buying one

(1) Battery cell equalisation: Our watt&sea charge controller does a battery cell equalisation once a month to 15volts, it does this without any warning or needing any manual confirmation, so if you have gel batteries or dc-dc converters this might be a bit worrying. Luckly our battery monitor alarms at anything above 14.4v which gives me time to flick the circuit breaker and disconnect the solar to stop this equalisation. Normally when doing equalisation it would be a good idea to disconnect any sensitive equipment that might suffer from the high voltage.

(2) There is a unidentifiable buzzing noise that comes from the charge controller, watt&sea are aware of this issue but have told me it's not a problem.

(3) My 600 watt generator has worn the holes to ovals in the white plastic mounting parts where the gudgins bolts go through, still seems ok strength wise but a little rickety.

(4) Counter-intuitively when the water temperature is high the prop doesn't seem to grip the shaft so well at one point leading me to thinking the prop was worn out and need replacement, but now the sea is cooler the prop is griping the shaft better again.
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Old 20-09-2017, 09:26   #71
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Thanks for the update. W&S is on our list, but a bunch of other items come first.

Cheers,
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Old 20-09-2017, 17:43   #72
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Sounds like it needs some engineering improvements.
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Old 28-09-2017, 19:30   #73
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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Originally Posted by sailabroad View Post
3 years on our Watt&Sea generator is still going well.

A few more comments for anyone interested in buying one

(1) Battery cell equalisation: Our watt&sea charge controller does a battery cell equalisation once a month to 15volts, it does this without any warning or needing any manual confirmation, so if you have gel batteries or dc-dc converters this might be a bit worrying. Luckly our battery monitor alarms at anything above 14.4v which gives me time to flick the circuit breaker and disconnect the solar to stop this equalisation. Normally when doing equalisation it would be a good idea to disconnect any sensitive equipment that might suffer from the high voltage.

(2) There is a unidentifiable buzzing noise that comes from the charge controller, watt&sea are aware of this issue but have told me it's not a problem.

(3) My 600 watt generator has worn the holes to ovals in the white plastic mounting parts where the gudgins bolts go through, still seems ok strength wise but a little rickety.

(4) Counter-intuitively when the water temperature is high the prop doesn't seem to grip the shaft so well at one point leading me to thinking the prop was worn out and need replacement, but now the sea is cooler the prop is griping the shaft better again.


The unidentifiable buzzing sound may be the noise they make when the batteries are fully charged, unless of course, you may be referring to something else.

One of my hydros have worn the holes to ovals and one has not, so go figure that one..... I went and bought a spare 'swiveling'??? unit in anticipation that it will fail at some point
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Old 19-10-2017, 03:41   #74
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

Hi All,

Very interesting reading...

I am just in the final stages of purchasing a Pogo 40 to do some basic
livaboard cruising around the Med/Carib for the next little while-
Yes a very different boat to most but I like the KISS philosophy and speed!

Currently still working on my power estimate / budget... but
she is a very simple boat, with low power needs and Id like to keep it that way.
The only major upgrades potentially fitted would be a Katadyn watermaker...

My question would be is it worth the 3000€ asked to keep the older
gen 500w W&S fitted (removed during negotiations) or spend the amount on
a flexi / movable solar set up (Not fitting davits or arches)?

Whats the best bang for buck?
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Old 19-10-2017, 05:08   #75
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Re: Watt & Sea Hydrogenerators

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Hi All,

Very interesting reading...

I am just in the final stages of purchasing a Pogo 40 to do some basic
livaboard cruising around the Med/Carib for the next little while-
Yes a very different boat to most but I like the KISS philosophy and speed!

Currently still working on my power estimate / budget... but
she is a very simple boat, with low power needs and Id like to keep it that way.
The only major upgrades potentially fitted would be a Katadyn watermaker...

My question would be is it worth the 3000€ asked to keep the older
gen 500w W&S fitted (removed during negotiations) or spend the amount on
a flexi / movable solar set up (Not fitting davits or arches)?

Whats the best bang for buck?


Well the watt and sea gives you power when you are sailing (and at night) and the solar gives it when.......

I guess you've got to look at how you are going to operate your boat. Are you sailing to marinas or are you going on the hook etc. I've seen a few pogo 40's with the watt and sea, it's a very suitable boat too have one due to its speed. It will generate a lot of power. If you're batteries are modest and I presume they are on a pogo then it really is a sailing asset rather than any other situation as storage is a problem. Maybe try and negotiate it down a bit or a lot. They do wear after all. Really if you want it ALL then you need both. KISS only works when things really are simple
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