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Old 18-06-2009, 07:48   #16
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Originally Posted by Hyprdrv View Post
... I hope this didn't stray of topic to far.
Steve in Solomons MD
Thanks for a great exposition, Steve.
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Old 18-06-2009, 08:49   #17
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Excellent post Steve. Thanks

Steve, given what you know now and your first hand experiences, if you could start from scratch again, what would you do?

Would you now choose not to buy a hybrid system? Would you choose to buy a different hybrid system? Would you wait for the technology to mature more and then consider a hybrid? Would you wait for some consolidation and standardization amongst the hybrid manufacturers?

I hope you have some time for some follow up questions. Hybrid boats are a big topic in this forum and you are one of the few people who owns a hybrid boat.

Again, thanks!
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Old 18-06-2009, 13:03   #18
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First off thanks guys.
I hope that what I stated doesn't come off as being disappointed with the system. There is a large learning curve with any new boat let alone one with a new technology such as electric drives. Add the fact that I'm learning to sail it as well, I have a full plate. With that said I've had the boat all of 8 weeks and since I still work, the weekends + a few days = to about 20 days on the boat. The first 2 days was the run from 11 miles up the IWC then roughly 80 miles over 10 hours of delight to an overnighter in a cove, winds at 10 to 15knots with 2ft seas. The next day was 30 miles in 30 knot winds gusting to 40 and 8+ choppy mess and it took around 14 hours of intensness. In the next 18 days on board the first 6 were spent on just cleaning, looking, moving stuff around, and studying the 60 to 80lbs of manuals. We try and sail at least 1 day a weekend and the other is used for fixing little things that need to be fixed. So I don't think It would be much different than anyone else's startup on a new boat. With a few different kinda problems. I'll hold off on that and try and answer David's questions first.
David, there are all kind of boat owners. Dock queen's, day sailors, weekend warriors, coasties, and then the cruisers. I'll also add a category of Renters. Dock queens are hooked to the grid so don't need a Hybrid and Renters (typically) aren't smart enough that I wouldn't even consider putting a Hybrid in a fleet yet I know several have so it would be interesting to here from them. I'm a day sailor with hopes to be a weekend warrior by the end of my first season on board. The Hybrid system is perfect for this type sailing at this time. I believe it would work also for the coasties as well as long as support was available and since a number of the boats are in the Caribbean it should be fine down there as well. Both Moorings and The Catamaran Co. have knowledgeable people on the systems, supposedly, down there. I say supposedly since I still haven't heard from a few I tried to contact with questions in that neck of the world. Now to answer your first question, Yes I would have still bought my boat with the Solomon system.
As to the types of systems out there it's interesting to see that several systems that were out there are no longer around. Yes a couple of my sub systems are gone as well but there has been improvements in equipment, like the Genset, that I see as vastly superior to what I had to start with. Fortunately most of my system biggies are already updated but as with the computer industry things are changing rapidly, some forward and some back. My Solomon's system is 144v, others went to 72, 120 and I believe a few other voltages during the last few years, and now it looks like the 144v may have been right in the first place. There isn't anything wrong with most of the main equipment I have other than what I previously posted. Would I have picked a different system? No I believe this is a damn good system and overall I don't think there's anything to beat it yet.

Would I wait for the tech to mature? I'll first tell you I wouldn't by a Hybrid Car because IMO I felt it was a means for the Auto Industry to sell another product (car) before they finally developed an EV at which time I would buy one. In the case of sailboats, there was already a free energy source, the wind. The power side was the problem. Hybrid drives on a Sailboat just makes so much sense at this point. IF you're using them IMO as I am, day sailing to coastal. Yes, boats have done Transatlantic from Europe to here but I haven't heard of any going long distances to wind for long periods of time. Maybe I just don't read enough. The main drawback to the Electric drives are the Batteries. The motors, controllers, inverters, and whatever are pretty much solid systems. The Controls, and monitoring will be improved very quickly once people start to realize there is a better way, they just haven't realized that there can be a better way. Look at it this way, I'm an old gear head, the more info and gages the better. I never liked idiot lights but the majority of people out there don't know what that gage means. It's the same with this type system. Most of us that have bought into the Hybrid boats aren't afraid to tweak with the gages to start with. Now we want it to be idiot lights. My gut feeling is we're a year or 2 away from some great batteries. My system is just about ready to drop them in. I want 5 hours of run time on straight batteries with a recharge rate at 2 hours, half the weight I have know would be a great bonus.

Standardization and Consolidation has already started. More and more subsystems are being used by the same companies just like the big boys do. They might be different flavors but any packaged deal will have a few issues within them. The big issue and what will separate the good from the bad over the next few years will be customer support and quality control. Same ol same ol. If they don't listen to us and own up to issues then they will fall to the way side. I can honestly say that Solomons Eng. has been very helpful even though I'm the 3rd owner, My systems have changed, and subsystems aren't theirs and they still talk to me. I would think that the Glacier Bay system would be a good one based on their generators. One company is offering a no battery system, don't know if I like that idea but what the heck, may be good for the racing croud and TowUS.

Another thread here "electric main drives" was very interesting to reread since it started back in 06 I believe. Many of the discussions and questions were well founded, several posters even said that this system probably wasn't for the Cruiser and if that's the case I would have thought the "Renter" would have been vetoed as well by that string. Would love to here from "Ape" since he was a major poster as well as I think a "sealord". A lot of 420 Electric Drive owners there prior to them getting their boats.... then they disapeared... hope their sailing. It would be interesting to get their opinion on their systems since it's a little different than mine. Might be able to swap parts! Or at least ideas.

I will always be available to answer questions David, I'm just hoping others will be able to help me as well with some issues and ideas. There has been some real bashers when it comes to these systems but if they look at the system overall and know the limits I think they would be happy until mini nuke plants are developed for the Cruiser market.

Steve in Solomons MD
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Old 18-06-2009, 14:19   #19
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LOGO Controller

Steve.

The Logo controller you have is probably the Siemens LOGO plc. (Programmable Logic Controller) It's probably the earlier version. See picture.

If you Google "Siemens LOGO plc" you will find a wealth of information as well as some forums on this handy little unit, as well as free software to download.

These units can be expanded with more Input/Output modules so you can add funtionality.

Hope this helps.

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Old 18-06-2009, 14:56   #20
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Diesel electris systems are not really made for a small market , think of the EV market and the really big player come into view. Maintenance cost or maintenance period will be a lot less since electric motors only have one moving part compared with a few hundred on a diesel, there is a lot to be said about both propulsion systems but less fossil fuel will win eventually. Cost is higher initially ( still ) but one of the positive side effects can well be that 10 years down the line it may be hard to sell a boat with diesel propulsion while hybrid or electric propulsion will be easy to sell and have a lot less depriciation.
The outcome might very well be that the electric driven boat costs a lot less in the long run.
A barrel of oil is now only $ 70,00 but 10 years down the line ??? 200 , 400 or maybe even more, I feel we should make every efford to conserve fossil fuels for better use like building boats , making plastic etc.

Gideon

On a well planned cruising boat, you primarily use your engines for close quarter manouvers, and to get you out of trouble.

Diesel is needed to get you safely out of trouble for any length of time, so you still need at least one powerful diesel engine on board.

Improving the drive train efficiency by very few percent for a cost increase of maybe 50% initially, and maintenance costs that are several hundred percent higher seen over a 5-6 year period(battery replacements and electronics) for minor savings in fuel costs just don't add up.

For day sailing, where you can recharge by plugging in, the math will be better for the DE system, as well as the enviromental impact.

I'm all for "green technology" but the enviromental impact of manufacturing and disposing of all that heavy metal in the batteries needs to be factored in.

The compexity of DE systems, especially the controls is also a major issue, as the cost of the required expertise, as well as the availability of qualified people, even in Europe and the US is also a problem. Scarcity= higher price and longer delivery times.

A large container ship burns 120 tons of low quality fuel per day! That is around 140000 litres or 34000 gallons. Probably 10% of what all the worlds sailboats use in a year. If they can bring down their consumption by just a few percent, it would have a much greater impact than all the worlds pleasure sailboats ever will.

Getting commercial ships to clean their exhaust fumes would also help much more. The use of catalysts on small diesels would also be better for the enviroment.

IMO there is no case for DE propulsion on cruising sailboats, regardless of the fuel price. The only way it will be viable is by legislation limiting acess to certain areas for IC driven vessels.

Just my 2 cents

Alan
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:02   #21
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Alan,
Thanks for the info on the LOGO! system. I have been to their site and downloaded several useful bits of info such as how to reset the time and date and some general info after I lost power to the box at 2am on a run to Annapolis. I ended up running on batteries with 0 wind for 3 hours (reduced speed=less amps) and making it. That was when I learned I had the LOGO! system hidden under a seat in the lounge from the previous owner the next day. If you really look at the site it's a PITA to find out anything. The owners manual is over 400 pages and I can't even find the order form for the USB/PC cable interface. To be honest, since it seems to be behaving, it's a lower priority at this point and I think I found the issue with it going south was that ground strip I previously mentioned with some loose wires around it.
The free software is mostly to program it and the drivers, until I get the cable I can't read the setup on the box to find out what's on it. If you really want to shoot yourself in the head go look at the forums and the "topics" listed. Some heavy stuff there. Nothing about a sailboat though. ) If you have ever worked in AutoCad you have some idea of the complexity of their system and it's ability to control complete manufacturing plants. I compare my use of the LOGO! controller to drawing a box in CAD.

Steve in Solomons
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:17   #22
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Hallo Steve

do you have the 4.5 or the 9 KW solomon motors on your cat ?
We are installing Lithium Ion batteries made by Mastervolt 6 x 160 amp usable units for a total weight of 270 kilo or 594 lbs and 25.4 KW usable at 150 volts nominal.
with these units you should be able to get 3 hours of running time out of your motors without having to start a generator, these units are still very expensive but the price is slowly going down.

Greetings
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Old 19-06-2009, 08:30   #23
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Gideon,
The ST-74's which are 12 HP each side at 144v. If I ran them up to 40a x 2 = 80a running around 8 knots I normaly would get around 2 hours. I had run the batteries done to 50% and then tried to start the Genset. That's when I found out that the LOGO! had gone LOCO!

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Old 19-06-2009, 08:39   #24
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Hallo Steve 12 hp is about 9 KW or these are the double solomon units
If you run your cat at around 6 knots your consumption will be around 33 amps each so you would get 2 hours of run time with the Lithium batteries , the advantage of lithium is that you can run them for a full 160 amps usable instead of the 50 amp. the size of your Northstar are probably around 120 amps each or 60 usable.
\the advantage in that case would be 2.5 times the run time.
Victron make a unit that can make your generator autostart and autostop if you want and the voltages for both are adjustable so you could run your generator until your batteries are for instance 90 % full and you would save fuel since getting the last 10 % in takes a lot of time
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Old 19-06-2009, 12:00   #25
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Originally Posted by Hyprdrv View Post
Alan,
Thanks for the info on the LOGO! system. I have been to their site and downloaded several useful bits of info such as how to reset the time and date and some general info after I lost power to the box at 2am on a run to Annapolis. I ended up running on batteries with 0 wind for 3 hours (reduced speed=less amps) and making it. That was when I learned I had the LOGO! system hidden under a seat in the lounge from the previous owner the next day. If you really look at the site it's a PITA to find out anything. The owners manual is over 400 pages and I can't even find the order form for the USB/PC cable interface. To be honest, since it seems to be behaving, it's a lower priority at this point and I think I found the issue with it going south was that ground strip I previously mentioned with some loose wires around it.
The free software is mostly to program it and the drivers, until I get the cable I can't read the setup on the box to find out what's on it. If you really want to shoot yourself in the head go look at the forums and the "topics" listed. Some heavy stuff there. Nothing about a sailboat though. ) If you have ever worked in AutoCad you have some idea of the complexity of their system and it's ability to control complete manufacturing plants. I compare my use of the LOGO! controller to drawing a box in CAD.

Steve in Solomons
Steve,just think of it as a box full of relays primarily. It can also take inputs from sensors. So if you want to control the automatic start stop of the generator, you need a simple voltage sensor to give you a signal. (analog signal) You can then program it to e.g. IF Voltage< 10.9V THEN, close output xx, that gives a signal for the generator to start. It uses basic logic funtions like, If, AND, OR etc.

If you can find someone working in automation of any kind, they will be able to help you. If you are lucky, you might have a connection diagram, and maybe a printout of the program with comments.

Good luck.

Alan
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Old 09-12-2009, 15:27   #26
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Mars 8.5kW

Great to see this thread open, I'm keen to find out as much as possible about installing an electric propulsion system on my 30ft Morgan Giles Cutter.

My gearbox is knackered and I'm looking at 1000 for replacement parts etc.

So I have started looking at the Mars 8.5kW propulsion system for $1450. Its cheap and seems powerful enough for most situations - I am in no rush to get anywhere. Regenerative power is a bonus since i will be under sail most of the time.

The question I have is - has anyone here installed one? What other costs am I likely to encounter - I know the motor runs too fast and a 2:1 gear reduction is recommended - but if i run it at 36V do i really need this?

Any related advice on the Mars 8.5kW system or similar would be appreciated.

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Old 09-12-2009, 19:27   #27
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8.5 kW translates into 11.4 horsepower. That is a 100% efficient energy conversion assuming things were prefect. You may not get that much power at the propeller since the process of transferring power is not perfect. That would be perhaps appropriate for going in and out of the slip. In any weather it would be totally insufficient for propulsion. Since Watts = Volts * Amps the voltage is of not concern at this point. While increasing voltage will decrease amps it won't change the basic idea of power. 1 kW is 1.34 horsepower and you can not change that number.
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Old 09-12-2009, 23:31   #28
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Why does the number 1.34 come up so often in nautical computations?
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Old 10-12-2009, 00:41   #29
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it is the conversion from KW to HP

greetings

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Old 10-12-2009, 03:04   #30
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Understood Pblais, I know that the boat would be underpowered for heavy weather motoring - but thats not what I'm after. Presumably in any sort of weather I will have sufficient wind - and I have spare sails as 1st backup. I am a long distance (generally fair weather) cruiser. The motor will mainly be used for anchoring and close quarter manouvers. It may be used in the calm if say within an hours motor from an anchorage.

It is said on their website that I would need 500w/ton for 70% hull speed. this equates to 3kW of power for my 6ton boat @ 4kts. Given that the max output is 8.5kW*0.9(assuming 90% eff.)=7.6kW=10hp would this seem sufficient? Consider that my Kubota 27hp motor probably only delivers 18hp realistically at the prop after negotiating the limitations of an old engine and gearbox. For cruising the 27hp engine is probably delivering around 5hp to the prop.

Has anyone here actually fitted a Mars 8.5kW or similar - I would be very keen to hear from anyone who has actually fitted one. There is an option to run at 36V - It would then be somwhat reasonable to fit 6x12V batteries to extend the range. Any thoughts on this?

Martin
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