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Old 13-02-2012, 05:51   #61
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

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Good point regarding sailing onto a reef in the old days. I think in a windless situation you would still be able to electric motor as long as your charge held out, then you could just hang out until you recharge.

Keep in mind I havnt pulled the old diesel or replaced it with electric yet. Still trying to decide and that's what makes these forums very valuable to learn from and toss around ideas. Thank you.

With an electric I can seal off two thru hulls.

I would like to hear more stories about using a diesel for extended amount of time. Running a diesel is only good as long as you have fuel. How long can you cruise until you run out of fuel? Someone posted about 400 miles. That's still a far cry from a major passage.

Also concerned about running during foul weather etc.
I am probably at the same stage as you - I would love to go electric (and I ain't no enviromentalist )....at the moment just researching (on and off!) and mulling over what my actual needs are / will likely be.

My present (vague!) plan is to retain the diesel fuel tanks (they are saddle tanks - port and starboard, and were replaced by a PO just before I bought ) and some ability to reinstall a Diesel engine (not blanking off the thru hulls and not binning every last bit of kit that comes out of the boat - and possibly the engine!)......a re-conversion to Diesel would not be cheap or easy - but doable (by self or a future owner, albeit current plans are never to sell - but am well aware that plans and circumstances do change, and not always by choice ).

The plan is also to have a Generator onboard (standalone) - whether diesel or petrol, both as a boost for extended EP range (as and when needed, for me that is the major concern) and also to power some in port onboard conveniances or toys .

Am also thinking that in 5 years time both the battery and motor technology will have moved on a fair bit (thanks to the Electric Motor vehicles - especially those from the major car manufacturers)..........so would initially be looking to install a package that could be upgraded piecemeal, as and when there be worthwhile advantages (to me / for my boat use).

My take (I stand to be corrected!) is that the Controller (and monitoring) technology and off the shelf products are already good enough, and that standalone generators (Petrol or Diesel) are the same. Solar / Wind power I take as being broadly as good as it will be getting - and in a temperate climate would always involve a long recharge period. But being able to recharge within a week (10 days?) / keep pace with consumption under sail may well prove to be acceptable for 75% of the time....but the key to that likely as much to do with what electric stuff is onboard / the degree being used.

and with upgrades on the horizon would (hopefully!) allow me to install cheaper initially rather than going for current (lol!) cutting edge technology (especially on the batteries)......and in the meantime for me to understand from hands on use how EP works for me (I don't care whether EP works for anyone else!) so I can later judge what is important to me. I figure no point in spending squllions on having a range of 150 miles or travelling at 30 knots if all I ever actually do is a max of 30 miles at 6 knots (for me that is a round trip to France!)....and on average mostly under 1 hour / 5 miles (to clear a harbour / anchorage).

For me the big factor is how much voyaging under sail I would be doing (both able to and want to).....and on that the jury is still out. If the answer turns out that most of my long distance voyaging does involve extended use of a motor (EP or Diesel) - I probably will go over to the darkside, and buy a Motorboat .....something big enough to carry a sailing dink .

Anyway, time will tell how EP progresses - for both me and everyone else .
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Old 13-02-2012, 06:20   #62
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Re: Electrical propulsion vesus Diesel propulsion

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Yes, that is what I meant. The specs I gave were typical for a 4000 watt 48 volt input inverter. I plan on a fully electric galley and electric hot water so that size inverter is needed.
Magnum MS-4448PAE 48 VDC 4400-watt 48VDC to 120/240VAC sinewave Inverter
I really don't have a need for that much power for my house needs. But, you did give me an idea though. Perhaps carry a small hot plate to use if the propane should ever run out unexpectedly. I could use the Honda and a hot plate to continue cooking. I've already thought that a microwave and toaster oven might be useful on board too. Though space vs. use is a consideration for me. I find gasoline is usually easier to find than propane when cruising too.
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Old 13-02-2012, 06:34   #63
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

And that is sooooo right ......
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Old 13-02-2012, 09:21   #64
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

no one mentions the advantages of electric over diesel. at least if anyone did, sorry but I missed or my reading comprehension is lacking (which I ain't gonna deny)
NO diesel - remove two through hulls, remove the fuel tank, hoses, etc. No more daily checking oil, fuel level, racor filters, water coolant, belts, no more switching from one battery to another or at least turning off the engine dedicated battery.
Electric Motor - some models/designs use a belt but that has to be replaced every 5000 hours (according to manufacturer). When underway under sail with the motor off, the spinning prop provides a trickle charge to the batteries. With wind generators and panels, you can charge the batteries provided most if not all of the daylight hours are under sail only. With a full charge, the motor can run up to 5-6 hours.
There are several brands/designs and the cost is comparable to a diesel engine and the batteries "may" end up being slightly more than the cost of the fuel tank, hoses, seacocks, through hull fittings, etc.
The real savings in not having to buy fuel, filters, belts, thermostats, impellers, oil, etc.
Does anyone actually own a small to medium size boat that uses an electric motor in lieu of an INBOARD diesel engine?
I would like to read/hear his opinion.
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Old 13-02-2012, 09:37   #65
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

This is a 42' cat with electric drives.
1992 Fioleau FIOLLEAU - CRUISING CAT Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Please read the whole page and I respectfully ask Barnakiel and Deckofficer to comment on this.
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Old 13-02-2012, 09:42   #66
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Disadvantages of electric drive without a diesel generator.
You run out of battery power with no wind and the current is pushing you onto a reef, land etc.
Your batteries die and you lose everything in the refer, can't run your pressure water etc.
You can recharge your batteries by freewheeling the prop but the drag costs precious speed.
If having an electric drive was the answer there would be a ton of people that would have them but there isn't. I do think it's great that people are researching it as that is the only way to make progress towards a workable and affordable system.
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Old 13-02-2012, 10:02   #67
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

hunter is now making a boat model that exclusively uses an electric motor. I suspect there are other manufacturers that either are offering electric powered vessels or at least considering the idea.
With diesel costing a small fortune with expectations that the price will increase, it only seems natural that electric powered boats will soon be commonplace.
I may be making a big mistake but if I buy a boat that needs total refitting, I am putting in an electric motor and a compost toilet. My thinking is, if you can cut out some through hulls, that is a good thing.
As for being pushed onto land or a reef and finding myself without charged batteries, well, isn't the same possibility possible with diesel and out of diesel or a engine not running because of one of the many, many things that can cause the engine to shut down? Clogged fuel lines, sediment in the filters, impeller problems, belt problems, etc.
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Old 13-02-2012, 10:05   #68
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

So it seems that most of the issue has to do with the boat running into a reef and/or land.

I am going to take some of the well thought advice here and read some of the books out in the market. I am still interested in hearing stories about actual incidents when your diesel prevented a major catastrophe. How long did you have to run it? As much as it's possible to run out of battery it seems to me the likelihood of running out of fuel is an equally great possibility. If I was doing a major passage and ran out of fuel halfway across the Atlantic I am out of luck, however with an electric system I have recharge capabilities, whether they be by wind, solar, regen or generator. I think that would be another plus for electric. Last time I checked there were no Fuel stops in the middle of an ocean. For those out there sailing regularly how many times have you been threatened with low fuel or had to conserve when you would rather be motoring?

I believe A small generator in any electric motoring system is essential until the battery technology catches up.
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Old 13-02-2012, 10:06   #69
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

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Disadvantages of electric drive without a diesel generator.
As I said before, my plan is to have Generator onboard - for exactly the reasons you say.....but IMO the answer is as much about both use and the mindset of the Owner / Skipper as it is about the technology limitations.

Quote:
You run out of battery power with no wind and the current is pushing you onto a reef, land etc. An answer to that is to allow for that possibility in your navigation. In practice that may involve a more conservative route - at the cost of more time at sea.Another is to make sure not been running the aircon for the whole week, prior to arriving in a strange port . A couple of hours of hull speed should get a vessel out of dodge in most scenarios, even if not in the direction wanted .

I appreciate that not a cost that everyone would be willing to pay - but that very different from a "cannot deal with" scenario.

Your batteries die and you lose everything in the refer, can't run your pressure water etc. My reefer (Freezer) won't be a walkin sized, so not a complete disaster. Pressure water? Manual pump backup (or only!).

You can recharge your batteries by freewheeling the prop but the drag costs precious speed. If the impact on speed is an issue - then don't do it. See first comments about spending longer on passage .

If having an electric drive was the answer there would be a ton of people that would have them but there isn't. I do think it's great that people are researching it as that is the only way to make progress towards a workable and affordable system. I doubt if we are very much apart in that viewpoint but like for anything else "new", attitudes can take longer to change than the technology.....but, yes, I too would like EP to be cheaper, faster and longer than it is.........but I suspect it is presently good enough for me to try (with an onboard generator as backup)....the fact that it may not be enough for you (others) is irrelevent to me.

....but on that, the test will be when I "put money where mouth is" . Maybe next year? (my new years resolution was to start finishing stuff off before starting new things - I have a longggggg "to do list", and not just boat related ).
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Old 13-02-2012, 11:01   #70
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Re: Electrical propulsion vesus Diesel propulsion

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I just had to comment on this picture of what I assume is you and your Dad. If anyone looks closely they can see your Dad is not looking at the bike. Keep this one deckofficer, it's a picture worth a thousand words.
Tellie,

I WISH I was still that young. Your right it is my dad and nephew. My nephew was one of just 5 friends/family that tried to ride the scooter. Even after a good pre-flight about "all torque available at 0 rpm", if the scooter was a bull in the rodeo, it would have a perfect record. All just fell on their butt, but my doubles tennis partner dislocated his shoulder so I stopped allowing folks to ride it.
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Old 13-02-2012, 12:24   #71
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

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I've been doing a lot of research into converting to electric propulsion. Being new to the sailing community I think I have a rather different perspective as I have never had to deal with the diesel issue.

A lot of my knowledge and research comes from reading these forums and researching both methods of propulsion.

In my situation I am looking for reliability, ease of maintenance and cost. My current engine will either need to be rebuilt or replaced. I contacted yanmar and got a quote of 15,000 for a new engine. That did not include installation and removal of the old. Most of the companies selling pre assembled electric units run approx 12k not including installation and batteries. Being the type of person to learn things for myself I have priced the motor, controller, etc for about 5k. Which seems about right as most companies will sell their products at 100% markup.

I also calculated weight. By removing the old diesel, fuel tank, and fuel and replacing with batteries the weight issue will just about be a wash.

I am not a diesel mechanic nor do I want to be. Just reading these forums I have learned that everyone spends a lot of time with upkeep and maintenance of their diesels. I also don't particularly care to be smelling diesel while cruising not do I like the fact that I have 100 gallons of explosive diesel fuel sitting underneath me. Also cost. Why spend up to $5 a gallon in diesel when I can charge my bank for free off of solar, wind and regen.

Now I may take Bianca's advice an have. A small generator as a backup but I am also keeping in mind that this is a sailboat and I plan on sailing not motoring.

In these arguments I always here that electric is not the way to go for long term cruising. I say why not, people have been doing it for hundreds of years without motors. What I would like to know from cruisers is how much they actually use their diesel for motoring. Let's take out running the diesel for charging the batteries, and let's take out running the diesel merely to motor in and out of port. When truly cruising when and why would you really need to use your diesel for momentum?
We’ve been enjoying electric propulsion for two years.


Total cost: $4,200 for all components, including 6 batteries (system is my own design, construction and installation, including removal of diesel).


2000 W Generator: cost (not included in the $4,200) was close to what I sold the old diesel for. Never used, as the battery bank has been sufficient for our sailing so far.


Additional items: a DC-to-DC converter (that I still have to install, if I ever find a need for it) and spares (extra solenoid, fuses, etc.) were $200+ (included in the $4,200).


Weight: I was replacing a heavy Volvo MD2B. With the 6 batteries and the generator I estimate the boat is between 50# and 100# lighter.


Space: now part of the engine room serves as a large storage area, as well as the compartment where the fuel tank was located.


Overall (personal) experience: as the add goes, "Priceless. There are some things money can't buy."



Alberto
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Old 13-02-2012, 12:57   #72
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

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So it seems that most of the issue has to do with the boat running into a reef and/or land.

I am going to take some of the well thought advice here and read some of the books out in the market. I am still interested in hearing stories about actual incidents when your diesel prevented a major catastrophe. How long did you have to run it? As much as it's possible to run out of battery it seems to me the likelihood of running out of fuel is an equally great possibility.
It might be, if there were a battery that could power your boat for five days. Endurance is the key here. FWIW, I have heard of boats riding out hurricane conditions by motoring constantly between GPS waypoints - many hours. Extreme but having power to burn can be a lifesaver in extreme weather.

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I believe A small generator in any electric motoring system is essential until the battery technology catches up.
I believe this as well. So I would not block the thru-hulls, abandon the diesel tank, and stop buying oil and filters. I would just be buying them for the genset. One of these days soon I'll be looking at that hard.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:23   #73
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

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This is a 42' cat with electric drives.
1992 Fioleau FIOLLEAU - CRUISING CAT Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Please read the whole page and I respectfully ask Barnakiel and Deckofficer to comment on this.
Alberto has said it all. I hope folks weren't thinking I was advocating hybrid diesel-electric drive for all, as it is still not a turn key solution for a user with minimal electrical experience. Alberto, myself, and some others on the forum have worked with electric motors, controllers, sizing battery banks, etc, for sailing and other applications and we feel comfortable in our knowledge for applying to cruising use.

I have followed the saga of Harmony and listened to the owner's audio description of his system. To me it was a classic case of "this is what I'd like to do, can I employ talent from others to make it happen"? Three systems later he has something that works for him, but more than likely dropped a load of coin doing so. Bob (Sandcrab), you and I have chatted a lot, so you know where my head is at. Harmony is a 25,000+ lb boat, with an owner that wanted hybrid drive, but he himself wasn't well versed in the systems to achieve his goal and depended on others. I bet he is better educated now, and his new found education probably deleted his bank account a tad bit.

My reasons are different for hybrid drive and will not be used on a 25,000 lb boat, but 8500. First, I used to work on oil exploration drill ships/rigs and because of that have a huge disdain for the oil industry. When I left that industry I started designing, building, and racing electric vehicles. I have no problem using a diesel to generate electricity because that engine can burn many different fuels that are renewable. Second, I enjoy an electric galley with induction stove top cooking, minimal energy usage and doesn't heat up the cabin. Third, just not a fan of either gasoline or propane usage or storage, even the dinghy will be electric.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:25   #74
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

Alberto must be nuts, with the reefs and all.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:33   #75
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Re: Electrical Propulsion vs Diesel Propulsion

There is here a Babylonic mess between Diesel-electric and pure electric. The two are not comparable.
With Diesel-electric you have the freedom to put your engine powerpack wherever you wish. You may install a batterybank in way of buffer. And with Diesel-electric your range is same as to a Diesel engine.
The advantage is for the bigger boats, specifically catamarans can install a dual drive, powered by a single genset.

Pure electric is as far as your batterybank will last. In most cases not far and therefore impractical for open sea cruising.
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