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Old 06-02-2007, 18:44   #16
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Photos, and Configuration Diagram

Thought you might like to see these photos - look in the attachment.
There's also a block diagram/schematic of how the OSSA Powerlite system is configured.

Tony
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File Type: pdf eLeopard Power Configuration.pdf (366.3 KB, 298 views)
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Old 06-02-2007, 19:43   #17
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Tony, Is there another 4300 with electric drives? I remember one from what I thought was a few years back.
George
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Old 07-02-2007, 22:18   #18
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Other electric 4300's...?

I think the answer's no - checking...

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Originally Posted by sailvi767
Tony, Is there another 4300 with electric drives? I remember one from what I thought was a few years back.
George
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:50   #19
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I think the answer's no - checking...
Yup, confirmed by R&C - mine is the first eLeopard built.
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Old 10-02-2007, 15:03   #20
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Tony, thought I should introduce myself to you.

I own Asanagi. Maybe to be the 2nd sail cat with OSSA system. Although there are many differences in our route to OSSA there are also many similarities.

My quest started in the late 90's with the objective of getting a live aboard boat for longterm, semi-remote cruising and having most of the comforts of a land base home without using fosile fuels.

By about 2002 I had decided the technology was not yet available to accomplish my objective at not too much above a reasonable price. However, in my search I had come across the Solomn Tech motors and thought that eventually when fuel cells or something else was ready they might could be the motors to use.

I didn't abandon the dream but decided it might be easier to try building a self sufficient non-fosile fuel house on a remote island. I therefore bought a piece of property on Bastimentos, Panama (in the Bocas del Toro area). Hired some architects, at that time working on a project for STRI, and got to work. By the middle of 2003 I decided the technology was not there for that project either. Therefore decided to go back to the boat with compromises.

By early 2003 I had decided on a sail catamaran using the Solomon Tech. motors - if there 20 hps would be ready in time. By early 2004 I had decided no "off the rack" catamaran would meet my objectives and was quickly running out of possible semi-custom builders that were interested if the Solomon Tech motors were required.

At the 2004 Miami Boat Show on my way to the Solomon Tech booth I passed the Glacier Bay booth and after an hour or so discussion decided that their gensets were what I wanted with the Solomon Tech motors. Early on I had determined, for my objectives, to use the smallest batteries possible with the Solomon Tech motors since, based on my calculations, there was no way the system would ever be able to "regenerate" enough power for the house" much less handle propulsion. So gensets, until fuel cells became feasible, would have to be the power source. Glacier Bay also mentioned they were developing motors that I might be interested in.

In April 2004 I signed the contract with Alwoplast in Valdivia, Chile to build a 47' Crowther designed sail cat using the Solomon Tech motors (if the 20 hp were available in time). The boat was scheduled to launch in September 2005 and I planned to start my passage to Panama by the beginning of November 2005.

Alwoplast joined me at the 2005 Miami Boat Show for a meeting with Solomon Tech and Glacier Bay to work out the details of the system. At that meeting Solomon Tech stated they would not have the 20 hp motors ready to meet my deadline. However, Glacier Bay said their motors would be. Therefore, based on my objectives we decided the best arrangement would be 2 28kw gensets (now known as the 25kw gensets) powering 2 35hp motors. All plans sufficient for Alwoplast to have the boat ready for the system installation were to be provided to them by April, 2005.

For many reasons there has been delay after delay. Anyway since September, 2006 I have been living on the boat in Valdivia, Chile trying to move the project along so I can get to Panama. I'm currently hoping that if the new props and motors arrive by the end of February I'll be able to start for Panama by the beginning of April.

It has been, and continues to be a long difficult project, but it has been interesting and I still look forward to seeing how well the system works. By the way, although I have been at a dock, I have only used the gensets for power and they have worked perfectly.

The system includes:
2 x 25 kw Glacier Bay gensets
2 x 35 hp Glacier Bay motors
7.5 cu ft Glacier Bay frig
9.0 cu ft Glacier Bay freezer
1 x Artic Air Glacier Bay air conditioning unit
2 x 200 amp Victor battery chargers
2 x 2.5 kw Victor inverters
240 VDC Oven
240 VDC 2 "burner" range
240 VDC tankless water heater
240 VDC 20 gal water heater (fed by the the tankless water heater)
240 VDC 30 gal per hour watermaker with UV Sterializtion unit
etc.
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:55   #21
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Hi, gosstyla, nice to meet you!

I've heard of your boat from GB -- thanks for posting the information. You have a more extensive electric implementation than mine -- I'm envious!

Sorry to hear you've had some delays, I hope you get sailing shortly.

I'd love to meet you some day and compare notes. I think you'll like the engines a lot - they're simple, light, powerful - your boat should feel pretty zippy. You'll particularly like maneuvering in marinas, etc. - the instant torque is addictive!

By the way, we're about to do some propeller testing on my boat, and I'll keep you (and the forum) posted on what we find.

Regards, Tony

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Originally Posted by gosstyla
Tony, thought I should introduce myself to you.

I own Asanagi. Maybe to be the 2nd sail cat with OSSA system. Although there are many differences in our route to OSSA there are also many similarities.
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Old 11-02-2007, 08:51   #22
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Electric Leopard: 2. Operation Experience

I've had a number of questions about what the boat is like to run, and so I thought I'd share what I've experienced so far.

(Remember, this is a charter boat so I'm only aboard for 1-2 weeks at a time, though it's growing on me!)
  • Generator: Obviously, I start the generator when I want to motor. From pushing the button on the helm panel to motor power available is around 5 seconds. The generator starts consistently and easily. I've never had a "won't start" failure.
  • Load control: The OSSA Powerlite system is all DC, and the generator is variable speed. Low load, runs slowly. More load, speeds up. The controller limits the load, so you can't overload the generator.
  • Boat speed:The boat motors quite fast - 7.5-8.2 knots in calm water (with the tender up on the davits and the bottom clean).
  • Battery charging: I run the gen in the am and the pm for 30-60 minutes to charge the 12 Volt house bank. Same basic protocol as for a conventional boat. 100A battery charger.
  • Fuel consumption: We're going to do some controlled fuel consumption measurements soon, but, meanwhile, I've not been able to get through more than about 1/2 a tank of fuel in a week, and that's using the generator quite a bit (because we've been testing the systems).
  • Propellers:The boat has on it two Bruntons 3-bladed fixed props, 16x16. We're sure that these are not the right props - they are just the standard props R&C puts on diesel-equipped boats - so it's encouraging that the boat does as well as it does. We're about to do some propeller testing after the Miami show. We expect improved fuel economy, perhaps a little more top-end performance, and even better maneuverability. More later.
  • Generator noise: VERY quiet. The generator is located in the locker in front of the mast. The noise is not intrusive, even in front cabins. If you're at the helm, you really have to be listening hard to hear the generator start. Very little vibration through the boat, even at full power. We've been debating whether to put a little red light on the helm showing when the generator is on - just to give some feedback.
  • Fuel pump noise: The more noticeable noise actually comes from the fuel pumps (2). This was a surprise. GB has worked on noise-isolating these pumps, and now it's very much improved. One pump is under starboard hull stairs, other is in the generator locker on the front port side. You can sleep without being bothered in either of the forward cabins with the generator running (my success criterion).
  • Exhaust smoke: None. The generator was designed to be low-emissions, so I wasn't expecting any.
  • Touchscreen: My boat has two touchscreens for monitoring and controlling the OSSA Powerlite system (gen, motors, etc.), one at the helm and one at the nav station. I don't think the nav station one is really necessary -- I almost never use that one, just the one at the helm.
  • User interface: The touchscreen user interface is a little "nerdy", but quite simple. They monitor a lot of things and possible warning/failure conditions, including things like gen and motor temperatures, rpm, Volts, Amps, low fuel pressure, ground fault safety warnings, etc., etc. -- pretty cool. Also, they keep a message log so you can go back and examine the history of messages.
  • Throttles: The dual helm controls are very solid and responsive. Fingertip control.
  • Throttle response: If you slam the throttles into full ahead or full astern, it takes about 2 seconds for the engines to get there (now). It used to take longer, but I asked GB to take the delay out of the software (we'd put it in because we thought it might be a problem having "instant" acceleration and people falling off the boat. This was a red herring - better to have more responsive maneuverability, which it now has).
  • Universal shore power: I like the fact that there's nothing to think about re. shore power. 110-240V, 50-60Hz - just plug it in. No switchover needed or mode switching. (The shore power is transformer-isolated and rectified onto the DC power bus).
  • Wiring: The quality of the electrical craftsmanship on the boat is high. Wires are nicely routed, tied, etc. The OSSA Powerlite wiring is actually pretty simple. R&C's wiring approach is really neat.
  • Fuel setup: Two tanks, 95 gallons total. The generator draws from the starboard tank only. There's a switch at the helm to pump fuel from the port tank to the starboard tank. Push to turn on, it cuts out automatically when starboard is full. I quite like this - keeps you more aware of what's going on. (Same as standard Leopards, I think).
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:47   #23
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Unhappy Electric Leopard: 3. Glitches

It's not all been sweetness and light - we knew we'd have bugs and teething problems, which is why the project team (Robertson & Caine, Glacier Bay and The Moorings) planned an extensive period of shakedown and test.

Here's a list of the things which have gone wrong with the boat. You'll smile at some of these things, I'm sure! The good news is that they were all pretty easy to diagnose and resolve.
  • The boat arrived in Tortola from the delivery cruise from South Africa with a small 3/8" or 1/2" hole drilled through the starboard hull. This was a manufacturing error (someone drilled a vertical ledger hole too deep). It was actually rather hidden - it came out on the underside of the chine about 2" above the waterline, so it took swimming around the boat to see it. Not a bad problem, but, in weather, small amounts of water would get squirted in from time to time. On the delivery, the crew noticed that starboard bilge pump ran "rather frequently" (which is what it was supposed to do given the hole), but in Tortola, when I took the boat out for the first time, wouldn't you know, the bilge pump float switch failed, the pump didn't operate, so, over time, the motor compartment took in about 12" of water and drowned the starboard motor, which failed. Good news: the OSSA Ground Fault Safety System operated correctly! We removed the motor, GB checked it at the factory (no water got it - they're pretty much sealed) and replaced the controller board and reinstalled. Apart from shipping delays, this was an easy procedure (the motors only weigh 70 lb I think, they're quite small, so they're easy to get in and out). The Moorings base crew plugged the hole, put a new bilge pump in - end of problem. Meanwhile, GB has built up a spares inventory now, so replacement parts would be available faster.
  • We had a problem with one of the Python drives - bearing noise? - we think because of this salt water issue. We replaced the starboard one. The ones in my boat are over-rated for the 35HP motors - we're not close to the power limit at all.
  • On the delivery, the crew reported that the generator stopped after some days of motoring. The delivery crew worked with GB to diagnose this via satphone, and eventually concluded the fuel tank did not have an air vent in it. They opened the fuel fillers and the gen started immediately. Factory oversight on non-standard boat? Fixed.
  • We had two issues with GB "teething troubles" - both with motor control circuit boards. The touchscreens reported that the motor would not come online. GB diagnosed and, each time, found that a mounting screw head was just a bit too big and shorted out an electrical trace on the motor control circuit board. This is a new product production engineering defect which has been resolved in the factory and I don't expect there'll be any more of these.
  • The latency which GB had consciously built in to the software (i.e. the delay between ramming the throttles forward and the motors catching up) was too long. It was designed in for safety reasons (to stop people falling during extreme power maneuvers), but made maneuvering in marinas a headache. I asked them to take it out, which they did. The upgraded the firmware on the boat and, hey presto, it's a dream. The delay to full power is perhaps 2 seconds now.
  • The starboard fuel tank gauge sender (a standard boat RC part) failed in Tortola, so the starboard tank always read full. The next trip I took (couple of days), since the generator doesn't use much fuel, I thought that the tank was just remaining pretty full -- I didn't realize -- so when I left the boat, it was still, I thought, "quite full". Well, the next person on the boat was a GB engineer who thought the tank was full, but ran the tank dry, so the gen stopped (!). We had some sludge in the tanks, which clogged the fuel lines, which was resolved quickly, the tank was refilled from port, and off to the races again. Silly, but, again, a failure nonetheless. Sender repaired. By the way, the fuel system is monitored by the OSSA controller. The system bleeds the lines automatically and detects low fuel pressure problems, etc. No "priming" issues.
  • The breaker on the 12V panel for the port-to-starboard fuel transfer pump was incorrect rating (RC factory error) and the fuel pump wouldn't stay running without tripping the breaker. Replaced the breaker with the correct-rated one. Problem resolved.
  • My boat has a combo 1.5KW 110V inverter/100A Victron charger in it - a really nice piece of gear, by the way. This is not located in the best place, it's under the cockpit seat (and the next boat will have it somewhere else). It's not as accessible as I'd like to see, and this locker gets baked in the sun often, so better to put this thing lower in one of the hulls. Hasn't failed or anything, just a "do better next time" opportunity.
  • The inverter also needs a remote on/off at the breaker panel. Reason: People know that using an inverter is heavy on the house batteries, so they're typically frugal. However, if you leave it ON overnight, even if you're NOT using it, it does consume power, leaving the house bank a little low in the morning (with Anchor light and some other lighting on as well). Not a real problem as the gen starts off its own battery. My feedback was that it's better to have a lighted on/off remote switch for the inverter on the breaker panel to (a) make it easy for people to turn on/off, and (b) to increase the crew's awareness that it's on and needs to be turned off when not in use. Again, an improvement opportunity.
  • The spare halliard spinlock on the mast was incorrectly assembled. Took it apart and reassembled it right. Fixed.
  • I find having davits on the boat is GREAT! I just pull the dinghy up and off we go. There's a simple block on one side (dinghy bow) and a (I forget) 2:1(?) on the other (i.e., outboard motor) side. You have to be strong to hoist the motor side up, and my feedback is to increase the block on the one side to a 4:1(?) so it's easier. I would actually like spinlocks or jam cleats too, but the cleats are fine. (Disclaimer: can't remember the terminology).
Well, I think that's the entire list. I have to say that the team has been very responsive, especially Glacier Bay, who have gone the extra mile and then some, flying people down to diagnose and resolve things -- they seem dead serious about getting this OSSA Powerlite stuff to work perfectly -- and the things we've found on my boat have already been incorporated into factory production units.

We've all learned a great deal so far, and we're not done with improvements yet (prop testing next, then fuel measurements). I did get a little frustrated on some occasions, but then I remembered we'd all agreed to an extensive shakedown period for a reason! I smile when I remember John Robertson saying to me before we started "Tony, look here, do you really know what you're getting into?"

Well, the result is worth it, John! I love your boats!

Coming to Miami? Check out the boat for yourselves. I'll be around - love to meet you!

Tony
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:56   #24
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Cool Electric Leopard: 4. Moorings Base - Maintenance

I forgot to mention on significant thing: Maintenance.

I'm not talking about the boat maintenance - there is very little needed, just an oil change on the gen every 500 hours - the touchscreen tells you when it's due.

I'm talking about the Maintenance Crew at The Moorings base in Tortola - they're great!

Someone pointed out in a previous post (was it on the Electric Main Drives forum?) that people are not used to working on electrical drive systems, though they are pretty simple.

This was something that the team (Glacier Bay, Robertson & Caine, The Moorings and I) discussed early on - if OSSA Powerlite was going to go prime time, then, not only did it have to be easy to work on, but the base personnel had to be trained up.

During the testing period, Glacier Bay involved the base staff (Leslie and the gang) at the Tortola base. They watched over their shoulders as they diagnosed and resolved things, and trained them in each aspect of the system.

My experience is that they are now competent to maintain the system, remove/install motors, mess with the generator, etc. Time will tell, but we're off to a good start, and they're good guys!

Tony
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:14   #25
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Nice write up. I'm not sold yet but sure do apreciate the folks who blaze the trail. We just repowered the old fashioned way. Maybe next time when the systems have been around a bit.

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Old 11-02-2007, 11:17   #26
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Thank you, Tony, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us. I'll look you up in Miami.

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Old 11-02-2007, 11:23   #27
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feedback

Hello Tony,
I have been following the electric systems from both Lagoon and Leopard with interest.
I am pleasantly surprised by your straightforwardness, problems are not hidden.
The fact that this catamaran is actually in charter speaks for its functionality.
Have you come across any Lagoon 420's in Tortola that are in charter?
Fair winds, FA
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:38   #28
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"By the way, we're about to do some propeller testing on my boat, and I'll keep you (and the forum) posted on what we find."

The GB guys were just here for 2 weeks one of the things discovered is Asanagi is over propped. She has 22" x 16"s. They now recommend 21" x 14"s. They are flex-o-folds and are on order. We only able to get up to about 800 rpms doing about 8.5 knots. Expect the new props will get up to the 1100 rpms and between 9.5 and 10.0 knots.

I'll certainly be interested in your findings
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Old 11-02-2007, 12:20   #29
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Frank,

I think you can also look forward to openness re Lagoon 420 once they're out there - just a question of timing. You'll start see them appearing in charter in the next 2-3 months. I'm pretty sure Martha R is the first one due in Tortola. She's due out the factory any time now. Tony has the advantage of being a little ahead of the game with respect to Lagoon.

On the other hand, there are plenty of 420s heading for the charter market (I know of 5 in BVIs and there are some heading for the Med) so I'm expecting you and everyone else will be able to obtain feedback from charterers as well as owners.

I also aplaud Tony for his openness. I think this whole space is going to evolve over the next 10 years - it's quite exciting.
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Old 12-02-2007, 14:50   #30
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I "drove" Waypoint (electric L410) in her early days in Tortola and then delivered Magic ("2nd generation" electric L410) up to the Chesapeake from BVI. The difference between the 2 was quite significant and it was good to see improvements had been made.

However - Dr West's electric Leopard - You dont mention re-generation? I thought that was the whole point of the system and indeed, I got Magic up to the East Coast on a thimbleful of fuel and had all the electricity I could handle. One thing I thought annoying was that with regeneration, you could cook the batteries if you wern't careful so you had to run something to burn off excess power. Surely a shunt regulator could have been put into the system - even simple wind generators have them. But, having said that, I found that bleeding off excess power by using the main motors made for some extremely good daily mileages: hardly purist sailing but pretty efficient in getting from A to B.

From that: I see that as a passage-maker, the electric concept is brilliant with regeneration and uses very little fuel. I dont see it quite as happy as a BVI charter boat however: there's very little sailing to re-generate with and so the generator is going to be running for quite some time to top off the batteries (I understand that they click in automatically now on low voltage which seems sensible). Further to that - diesel generators, being smaller engines, probably have a shorter life-span than, say, a 4 cylinder Yanmar (Lovely engines and they seem to thrive on "benign neglect"!). Also, although on long passages on a cat one only needs to use one engine at a time, it is nice (and, arguably safer) to have two main engines rather than just one small generator?

From a personal point of view, although I've always liked the Lagoons, I found that the electric ones made you feel as if you lived in, or near to, a Power Station, with a continuous electrical hum: probably bad sound proofing but it did make me wonder if there were any stray radiations around which might insidiously be trying to fry my brains (or other parts of me)!! Tony
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