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Old 28-03-2012, 09:43   #16
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Bob,

Thanks for reposting that link. Exactly the one I was referring to. I thought that was you that put it out originally and had saved it somewhere but my last post was late last night and I was too lazy (tired) to try to find it.

So, what's your opinion on the huge price difference between this electric motor and the multi thousand dollar "marine" units? Sure the marine units do include some nice, prefabricated SS hardware, mounting brackets and such but I can do that for a whole lot less than a few grand. Are they really that good, is the motor you found a piece of junk that will burn out in 6 months (probably not)?

Just for another point of reference, we have a Prius hybrid which runs quite well and has plenty of power so I called Toyota to find out what a new electric motor for the Prius would cost. Less than $1000. Have to look up the rating but as I recall around 35 HP (45 kW). I know those motors are solid and expect a minimum of 200,000 miles and probably more from the car.

So have you had a chance to use one of the motors from the source you found? What do you think? Hope you hurry up and build you an electric rig so I can copy what you do and benefit from all your hard work.
That same motor is used by marine packagers for the expensive systems you mention. I have used it and Etek for EVs that I have built. I hope this isn't construed as anti-marine business, but I have wondered the same as you when all I see on their part is some ss fabbed motor mounts, and all the expensive items, motor and PWM controller are off the shelf, same as my link offered. A nicely engineered system that I have depicted on my site Integration of systems employs a rather expensive Lemco~Lynch motor as both for EP, regen, and a 5KW DC charger. An easy solution for refitting, then dumping the heavy diesel AC gen set because once you have an inverter, an AC gen set is redundant and wasteful.




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Old 28-03-2012, 10:27   #17
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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Sorry I haven't posted in a while.

My last post proved very controversial (OMG Clawing off a Lee Shore in a Gale) and I was busy preparing to sail to La Paz Mexico from Marina Del Rey California aboard my 20 foot Pacific SeaCraft Flicka "Nomad" in the dead of winter.

I figured it would be better to post about the viability of low powered eletric propulsion after the voyage had begun, and we had some miles under our keel.

We set off from Los Angeles with a 4 horsepower Torqueedo electric outboard for auxilliary propulsion, (with three battery packs) charged only with solar, wind, and water generation - and the water (tow) gen is still not operational because we haven't needed it.

I'm writing this waiting for a weather window in beautiful Bahia Santa Maria, after logging over 750 sea miles down the remote Baja Coast with my partner. We should be good to go after this gusty 20 knot wind has eased a bit - we like to be comfortable at sea.

The Torqueedo Travel 1003 outboard has performed flawlessly, and has made us better sailors - when the wind dies, we use it only to maintain bare steerage until it comes up again.

We have learned how to both set our anchor under sail, and how to sail off her - and we get a better set than we ever could with an engine.

We have only used shore power once - when at Coral Marina in Ensenada Mexico, and we have been out of LA for over 5 weeks.

In addition to our outboard, we have a watermaker supplying fresh water, a refrigerator, a windlass, a washdown pump, and a variety of other electronic equipment, all running off of solar and wind energy.

We have not taken on a drop of fuel, do not have an internal combustion generator, and while we have not had to claw off of any lee shores, we did have to claw our way into this windy anchorage and set the hook.



So to anyone who still thinks a "powerful, reliable, diesel engine" is essential for cruising, I offer our voyage as proof otherwise.

For photos, stories, and position updates, go to www.svnomad.tumblr.com

Next stop - Cabo San Lucas!

I admire the endeavor; and being new to this forum, I have not had an opportunity to to read your prior post and fully understand your reasons for taking this path.

It is not surprising that this was achievable without a combustion engine that burns fossil fuels. However, if the goal is to free oneself from the dependence on petroleum, there are questions that merit serious consideration.

1. What were the petroleum inputs involved in the production of the materials for your electric outboard motor, solar panels, wind generator, etc.?

2. Will the fossil fuel energy input that was required to make your equipment exceed the amount of energy your equipment generates in its usable life? If so, you are essentially running on fossil fuels.

If you think of this in terms of EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) factor, it might bring about additional factors that are worthy of exploring further.
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Old 28-03-2012, 10:42   #18
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

Ah, my neighbor in Sack-of-tomatoes, Hi. Valid point, but solar panels are a multi-generational investment you can pass on. Nobody knows the life of a solar panel under the protection of our atmosphere because none produced to date have "tired" out yet. Some of the very first panels were given to the University of Nebraska in the early 60's after a lot of use. While there, they employed concentrators and burned that nice blue to brown, and to this day they are still working.
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Old 28-03-2012, 10:50   #19
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

Electrics still have a way to go, but those who haven't used one cannot see the sheer convenience of being able to get as much or as little propulsion as you need with the press of a button. Quietly, and efficiently.

For those trying to save the planet, yes it takes oil to make plastic parts for the electric system, and oil to make the electricity, but operating a motor that converts energy at an efficiency in the 90's instead of the teens, makes a great deal more sense.

The size and weight difference between an ICE, and an electric is considerable, that difference alone should make a boater concerned about weight, and space take notice, (the electric in my car is little bigger than a football).

The opening post "a 4hp torqeedo is enough power for a small sailboat". Considering that motor was designed to power a dinghy, that is a significant statement.

I tip my hat to the torqueedo folks for that piece of engineering. If the price drops a little I might buy one myself.

Being able to "refuel" from solar panels while sipping sundowners for a few days at anchorage is priceless.
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Old 30-03-2012, 18:25   #20
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

[QUOTE= Being able to "refuel" from solar panels while sipping sundowners for a few days at anchorage is priceless.[/QUOTE]

And IMHO this is the botom line.
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Old 30-03-2012, 18:32   #21
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
(the electric in my car is little bigger than a football).
But when you add the weight of the batteries, it becomes comparable to an ICE.
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Old 30-03-2012, 20:39   #22
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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Originally Posted by Astral Blue View Post
But when you add the weight of the batteries, it becomes comparable to an ICE.
I wrote a big diatribe which I erased, probably for the better.

Bottom line?
Weight and cost comparable, would you rather burn old dinosaurs or sunshine?

I've never seen a Bayliner electric before which begs the question:
If your boat won't move with electric power, do you think it might not be the right kind of hull design for your enviornmental goals?
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Old 30-03-2012, 20:55   #23
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

Be sure you size your electric propulsion to go against the current in places like this.
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Old 31-03-2012, 18:52   #24
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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Electrics still have a way to go, . . .
Being able to "refuel" from solar panels while sipping sundowners for a few days at anchorage is priceless.
No offense intended, but expecting to "refuel" from solar is akin to believing you could and will remain happily married for life to that good looking girl you met in the bar last night and took home for the night.

Few if any places on or near the oceans/seas have enough sunny days to "refuel" a moderate sized sailing yacht. There are weeks when overcast skies and summer storms limit severely the amount of solar energy you can "harvest."

Small boats - a whole different story. But still electric propulsion is somewhat like "minimalist finacial budget" cruising, there are a lot of places you just cannot go unless you have access to long term "refueling/fuel" by means of an ICE generator.

Oh, and solar PV panels have a limited life. They are not multi-generational. I have seem more than a few abandoned PV "farms" in the Caribbean where the idea of PV to power some utility or other was abandoned. The primary limiting factor was the glass, frames and equipment to make the PV system. Dirt, stick and stones, salt air corrosion, etc. all eat away at the installation be it on an island or on your boat.
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Old 31-03-2012, 18:56   #25
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

Agreed, and that ICE generator should be a light, efficient, DC output. That way when you need long term motoring, you get a good bang for that dead dinosaur juice.
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Old 31-03-2012, 19:02   #26
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Quote:
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Agreed, and that ICE generator should be a light, efficient, DC output. That way when you need long term motoring, you get a good bang for that dead dinosaur juice.
Most ICE generators I've seen are not purely DC. They have DC output but at a fraction of the output of the AC signal. I would LOVE to see a unit that can deliver continuous 100+ amps at 12 volts DC. Other than driving an alternator with an ICE, I haven't seen any viable options in that realm. Any suggestions?
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Old 31-03-2012, 19:15   #27
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

If you browse through the various electric proplusion threads here and elsewhere you will find the voltage used in not 12VDC but usually much higher in the 72 to 144 VDC range, so the ICE genset becomes a very specialized piece of equipment.

IMHO, electric proplusion with existing sources of electric power, stored or produced, works great at the micro/small boat level and at the mega/large ship level. It is that middle range where most cruising boats exist that has yet to conquer the "fuel/refuel" storage/use problems anywhere near the economy of ICE propulsion. There is a good market there and no shortage of customers, problem is that practical cost-efficient system packages just don't exist - - yet . . .
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:11   #28
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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But when you add the weight of the batteries, it becomes comparable to an ICE.

If you want to pack enough batteries for three days of motorsailing, yes.

If you just want enough power to clear the dock, no.

Also batteries are comind down both in cost, and size/weight. Packing enough batteries to have a 300mile range at full throttle is not here yet, but I have a stack of agm's little bigger than a car battery that gets me out there and back. The rest I sail.

No wind, anchor and more sundowners, cloudy and rainy, more anchor, and more sundowners. Why sail if no sunshine?
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Old 01-04-2012, 16:02   #29
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

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If you want to pack enough batteries for three days of motorsailing, yes. . . . Why sail if no sunshine?
3 days, yes, that is sort of the switch over point between a weekend sailor/cruiser and a full time active cruiser. It is very common to carry a week or more worth of fuel for ocean and sea crossings. Of course if you have it you most probably won't need it, but sitting out in the middle of the ocean drifting for days on end is not fun.

A few years back the North Atlantic from St Martin to the Azores was dead calm for a month with a promise of another month of minimal if any winds. All the Europeans returning home from the Caribbean were lining their decks with diesel jerry-cans so they could motor the 19 days to the Azores. That is the extreme but waiting around for another year was not an option for them.

For day sailors and weekend folks you have the need to run the propulsion for several hours to clear harbor, especially if it is a commercial harbor and likewise when returning. If you avoid commercial harbors and have a little nimble sailboat, it is quite enjoyable to tact back and forth without having to worry about getting in some big ship's way.

So in some "small world's" currently available electric systems are fine and adequate. But for the larger world they are just not there - - yet.
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Old 01-04-2012, 16:39   #30
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Re: Electric Propulsion Update

I was referring mostly to coastal sailing, how could you anchor mid-ocean? But how many recent sailers crossed the Atlantic with no aux power at all?

In your example of a month of no wind, a couple of days charging followed by a days motoring would still work without covering the deck with jerry cans.

In any case I would not cross an ocean without several means of generating power including a diesel generator. For those iron gennies, having a backup propulsion, like an outboard, or smaller get home engine is also recommended.

Yet people crossed oceans for centuries without either.
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