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Old 29-06-2006, 10:25   #121
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Sir Talbot,

If you research, you will find there are considerable problems with ulitlizing oil shale and ethanol. It is unclear, when fuel prices rise further, if we can even produce ethanol that returns more energy than it requires in production. Not much good for a fuel souce. Hey it's great as long as cheap fertilizer is available, which by the way requires a huge energy input to produce. Farm equipment runs on diesel as well.

Oil shale is difficult to utilize, requires extensive use of natrual gas and is an environmental disaster. It must be used, so let's see how it goes.

The best case is the free market will provide alternatives with a smooth transition. This appears unlikely at this point. The problem is here. Coal power electric vehicles can help. The DANGER, and it is real, is the time lag between crisis and infrastructure deployment. $200/barrel oil will crush the global economy overnight. It will take a decade to make any significant infrastructure change. God help us.
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Old 29-06-2006, 10:29   #122
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Probably cause you ignored the earlier text in my post about bio diesel which was followed by a somewhat tongue in cheek reference to use of vegatable oil, which is actually very similar to the biodiesel product!
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Old 29-06-2006, 10:48   #123
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How about Roger Ramjet's "Proton Pills"?
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Old 29-06-2006, 11:02   #124
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Sir Talbot,

Using anything "bio" for fuel runs into the same problems as ethanol. Unless you plan to cut down all the forrest to burn them as "biofuel" the plant stuff will need to be grown, fertilized and harvested like any other plant product. Energy to produce is about equal to energy extracted. Where does the initial energy come from in this equation? I may be full of crap, but after a few years of research it looks like we have a real big problem here and now.

I would be very interested in an eleopard 46. Solar, wind generator and sail regen, with conservation can keep my boat energy independent, like brazil. Oh, but what happens when their rich soil is depleted and in need of fertilizer?
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Old 29-06-2006, 15:16   #125
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L420 vs the Leopard 46

This is relevent because electric version will probably be offered. Note: real base price of the Leopard 46 is 479K not 459K mentioned earlier.

I collected the options data. Quick and dirty calculation of cost with about same amenities, ac, genset, electric toilets, watermaker, gennaker, lines to helm, electronics, big genset for 420, standard L46 motors...No options for electric main winch on the Leopard 46 which is standard on the L420. Freight delivered to USA:
L420 470K
L46 620K

I plan to pick the L420 up in France which brings the loaded cost to 440K.
I'm not willing to sail from S.Africa to start a cruise. Sailed delivery brings cost down to 602K

Just an estimate, but price difference FOR ME is about 160K. Gee, I like her, but not nearly 40% more cost worth of like. That's quite a few years of cruising in style. The L46 is longer, but not a bigger boat comfort wise.

I will compare them in Annapolis in Oct. but It looks pretty clear to me, even ignoring the potential benefit of the L420's electric systems, that if the L420 can sail as well as the Lagoon 410, it is easily the king of the comfort-speed-cost compromise.

Get'em while they're hot!
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Old 29-06-2006, 16:39   #126
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I would add two other things to Planet's comparisons:

1. The Leopards (40 & 43) were on our list of 'possibles' when my wife and I went seriously shopping. They were both eliminated within 5 minutes, by each of us, but for different reasons. Her reasons: Insufficient and poorly organized storage spaces for both galley and staterooms; the use of step-ups and downs in each hull (my wife tripped twice in the first minute of stepping aboard -- the salesman said, 'oh, you get used to those after a bit'; my wife's response: 'why should I have to, and how much worse will it be when the whole boat's moving around, too?'). My reasons: a cracked davit (one of their curved composite davits) -- didn't exactly elicit confidence in the strength of the davits and the QA procedures; what looked to be questionable bridgedeck clearance with lots of right angles under there. Granted, maybe these would not be issues on a 46, I don't know.

2. The Leopard 46 does look like a lot of boat -- maybe a bit too much, at least for us. 1400 sq.ft of working sail connotes high effort in sail handling. One of our unbreakable rules for ourselves is that my wife simply must be capable of single-handing the boat, without electric winch assist. That doesn't mean that the she will be able to raise the main quickly without assist, but she must be able to do it. She could do it on a 380, a 410, and a Manta 42 (granted, just barely, she's 5'4"), but she really had to grunt out those last couple of feet. I'm afraid the Leopard 46 would just be too much.

Not that the L 420 is perfect -- it isn't. While Lagoon did fix a couple of my pet peeves, they let others go unresolved. E.G., why won't they put grab bars on the transoms? This is even more important with the steep steps. How silly is this? Why no rubrail? Does everyone else always dock perfectly? I certainly don't. These seem like no-brainers to me. At least they ditched the stupid teak toerail.

RE: Efficiency and alternative propulsion. This will necessarily have to be an evolutionary process -- no production builder can put out a system for which the infrastructure does not exist or is not reasonably mature and expect to sell enough boats to make a decent profit beyond their R&D expense. Electric motors, gensets, etc. are mature and known technologies and the servicing infrastructure is there. I think this boat will be an evolutionary step forward and a gallon of diesel saved is a gallon of diesel earned (as well as a gallon of diesel pollution not emitted). At the way things are going, it won't be long where that will be equivalent to $10/day or more.

In the final analysis, I agree with Planet: if the thing sails as well as a 410, this will be a great deal.

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Old 30-06-2006, 21:37   #127
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Q&A

ID,

The propulsion bank is used to charge the house bank on the standard model. Here is some new info from Catco site much of which I had not seen before. If this whole thing works it will be quite amazing. Lots of issues answered here.

www.catamarans.com/catamaranco/lagoon/420/420_electrical.asp?bhcp=1#Q4
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Old 01-07-2006, 00:06   #128
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Interesting -- it sounds like they are saying that solar and/or wind generation will be superfluous, at least when sailing. Still sounds like they would be useful when at anchor, unless you don't mind running the genset.

Thanks for the link.

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Old 01-07-2006, 11:39   #129
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Solar and Wind

ID and 420ers,

If the engine bank is charged when you arrive at anchor, you will have two 200ah banks at 72 volt available for house use minus losses. 200 x 2 banks x 72volt/12volt x 50% DOD = 1200ah @ 12 volts add a few ah's for the house bank.

I believe your estimate was about 250 ah of non-ac daily consumption, which is higher than most. This gives 1200/250 = 4.8 days fo energy independence if your willing to go to 50% DOD which I am in this low current draw situation. This assumes the propulsion to house charger is capable.

One could argue that solar and wind aren't a necessity in this application. Sailing regeneration and topping the batteries coming into the anchorage would be quite sufficient for a few days at anchor without needing the genset.

Still, why would we want to give up the "free" 100-200 ahs that a good sized solar bank and wind generator might provide? The answer is we may be forced to.

Cost (minimal vs cost of boat, should pay for themselves over time)
Weight (150 watt panel is about 40lbs)
Complexity (May be quite an issue in this application)
Convenience (easiler than a trip to a fuel dock)
Aesthetics (I don't like the cluttered look of most cruising boats)

The problem here, besides aesthetics (to me), is the voltage and complex electrical control issues. Unless you place 6 panels in series, you will need to charge the house bank, which standard is very small. The wingen is a whole other issue. What do you do with 200 solar and wind generated ahs and a 140ah house battery bank? Wouldn't you constantly be at overcharging risk and complicate the charge protocol form the propulsion bank?

If you begin increaing the 12 volt house bank, you create even more weight issues, while further decreasing the need for solar and wind energy, as you will gain more independence comming into the anchorage from the extra ahs.

The answer I come up with, is to eliminate the wind generator unless it's 72 volts, and use 6 solar panels in series to charge the propulsion bank directly, which will then charge the house bank. You know, It may just not be worth the trouble, just like trying to integrate your own air-conditioning install into this very complicated electrical system (unless power hook-up points and integration/control are provided by the factory).

Solar and wind energy generation/utilization on the 420 is not an easy subject. Adding or changing anything on this complex system (review link in prior post to appreciate complexity) may cause more problems than it solves. Any thoughts? Am I missing something here?

The more I study this boat the less inclined I am to change, add or modify anything.
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Old 01-07-2006, 12:23   #130
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Small correction: the standard house bank is 280 (2 X 140, parallel), with option for 2 additional to increase to 560.

Charging the house bank from the propulsion bank: what does that mean in terms of overall capacity? The propulsion banks are, each, 6 12 v, 205 amp batteries in series to result in two banks of 72 volts and 205 amps. Now, does this mean that when used to charge the house bank that they convert to 6, 205 amp batts = 1230 amp (at 12 volts) each, for a total of 2460 amp/hrs at 12 volts? Sorry, I'm not an electronics engineer and I'm sure that the charging process is not 100% efficient, but even if only 75% efficient, this would still result in a 1845 amp/hrs available in the propulsion bank in addition to the 280 (or optional at 560) in the dedicated house bank.

If that's the case, and we have those sorts of resources available in the electron "fuel" tank -- then I think you're correct. Sailing regeneration and the genset are going to be much quicker in keeping the batteries charged than solar and wind, plus unless something is simpler than it seems at the moment, we could end up causing more problems than we're solving. However, the place where I could see a definite advantage is when away from the boat for several days: keeping the house bank topped off and the refrigeration working. I think your question of solar is an excellent one in this system -- to the propulsion bank or to the house bank?

I still don't understand why Lagoon is offering a 72v inverter. If they're using the propulsion bank to charge the house bank, and we get our (non Air conditioning) AC from the 12v inverter from the house bank, then why have a 72v inverter? Efficiency loss from the charger would, I imagine, not be greater than the loss from the inverter. What's the purpose?

The air conditioning I'm not so concerned about. That won't be run off the batteries, anyway. Even with every unit going full out, they won't use the full capacity of even the standard genset, thus leaving some for battery charging or other use at the same time.

I also found their comment on the gel cell issue interesting. They said that the operating characteristics were the same, the only advantage was no maintenance and no ventilation. Well, the batteries are not in living areas, anyway (propulsion bank in the aft, house bank under the cockpit, so I understand), so ventilation shouldn't be a problem. I can check water levels many times for $3600!

Good stuff, Planet. Let's see what the dealers say when they get back from their trip to the factory. Mine said that he should have more answers, shortly.

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Old 01-07-2006, 13:50   #131
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Amp-hrs everywhere

ID,

I believe your calculations represent a good approximation of the available energy resources. Just another advantage of the wonderful 420! Voltage issue: for example, you could remove a propulsion battery and use it in the 12 volt house bank for 205 amps. Energy is engergy, it is just at different storage voltage. P=IV regardless. Of course, there are some small losses in conversion.

My options list does not include a 72 volt inverter. Probably, for the same reasons you state, although, working with higher voltages is usually more efficient and less battery damaging because lower current draw. They probably had a hard time deciding which bank to run the inverter off of also.

AC-We need to find out exactly what the factory AC install consists of. It may be set up to run off the propulsion bank to 20% DOD then automatically switch to AC genset, and to automatically switch to shore AC when available. Also, these may be modified based on the five different power options of the control system. Does this explain the high costs? I not saying you are wrong, just that there may be more to the story. In any case, care will need to be exercised when adding in a high-draw component to this system. I am still trying to get my brain around a 25K AC system.

From what I have read, I agree with their assessment of gel batteries. I would go with wet cells. Now, solomon uses lifeline AGMs. If you go to their website they claim significant advatages. I would likely pay-up for these given Solomon's endorsement.

Solar panels, along with the 2000 ahs inhouse would keep you in ice for a long time. Same issue. The battery monitor/charger system may need to see real system voltage to function properly. If you connect a big solar bank that puts out greater the 12 volts (they do) to the propulsion bank, the system may fail. What we have discusses is probably why they have sort-of avoided the whole solar/wind issue. Just more problems to solve in a new system. I'll bet solar and wind will be integrated in the future.

My impression, at this point, is this system needs to be designed and tested by the engineers. When they have it working reliably, leave it alone unless they have specifically setup and tested for the addition/modification you have in mind. I love to modify things, so I've been trying to convince myself to take what's offered and leave the rest alone.

The new information on the Catco website probably came form the delears meeting.
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Old 01-07-2006, 14:02   #132
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Alternate thought:

use the standard solar/wind to 12v and then through an inverter to AC then back to a 72v DC charger.
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Old 01-07-2006, 18:14   #133
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Sir Talbot,

The issue is not finding a way to send a charge to the batteries, it's molesting the electric control system. Going through a charger does not address the main problem.

Another problem:the simplest configuration is 6 panels in series directly to the propulsion bank through a regulator. The voltage output of solar panel varies constantly based on sunlight exposure. I often see 17.5 peak voltage (15 to 17 volts). You need higher voltage to charge from one source to another, fine. Now multiple this x six = 105 volts not 72.

The big issue, to me, is that this system functions by monitoring the charge state of the battery banks, likely through voltage drops. It makes decisions on power sharing, genset starting, battery charging algorithms ect.
I believe it quite likely our electronic brain will not function as designed if we throw an "foreign" 72-100 volt charge on to the battery bank. What voltage will the control system see then and how will it interpret it?

The way the issue should/will be handled in the future, is by integrating external charge sources through the onboard energy management system.

I'm sure they will offer this at some point. For now, best to leave well enough alone. This is a far more complex problem than it initially appear. It is fun to think about.

Disclaimer-I know nothing more about this system than anyone else. I may be full of crap.
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Old 01-07-2006, 18:51   #134
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Planet --

Keep it up. These are great questions to be asking. I could see where they may have already anticipated the solar/wind issue and have configured both inputs and controller algorithms into the system; or, they haven't done so and would advise not to put them on, at least yet. It is also likely -- highly likely, in my opinion -- that the firmware of the system controllers will go through several revisions as real world experience is attained. While the folks getting low hull #'s are getting their toys sooner, I'm not unhappy being #75 -- more time for them to obtain data, revise and update.

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Old 01-07-2006, 20:14   #135
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ID-Absolutely, my boat number was in the 20's but I have delayed delivery to 9/07. I don't know what my number is now, maybe #76?
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