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Old 22-04-2016, 08:24   #136
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Update:

Changed the prop. Before, it didn't matter whether I used the 5kw motor or my 12kw motor. Didn't matter whether I used the 300a controller or the 500a controller. I could only get a current draw of about 67 amps out of the 48v bank. I decided it was time for a bottom job, and a neighbor generously donated two 14x10 props. One was pretty beat up and I had it cut down 1/4" and dressed up nicely for $75 at a local prop shop. The more presentable, I swapped in for the old folding prop, and dressed up the edges myself with a file, then knocked the barnies off and wirewheeled it. So not only do I have a nice big prop but I also have a spare. Leaving the yard and returning to my slip, I pulled a wake for probably the first time ever. Hull speed, definitely. I did not have an ammeter hooked up. The little prop simply was not enough of a load for the available power, and the current/speed figures with the small prop were kinda underwhelming, too. The bigger prop gives the motor something to work with. Hooked up a 100a ammeter, twisted the throttle, and the meter pegged instantly. YOW! Got crazy torque now, with the 5kw motor. Havent tried the 12kw motor yet as changing motors is a PITA and I still have not done a proper speed trial with the small motor yet. Didn't have a tachometer. My $11 tach stopped working for some reason so I put in a new one. Maybe it is because I had connected the hall effect sensor backwards. Reverse polarity can do stuff like that. Stupid hall effect sensor. Sheesh.

Anyway, it's all about the PROP. PROP. PROP. Electric wannabes, remember that word. PROP. If you have a folding prop and you want to use it with electric propulsion, that will do for getting you in and out the slip, but if you might do some serious motoring, get a big fat fixed 3-blade. Choose your reduction gear to suit prop and motor. For my setup my ideal ratio is probably about 2.5:1 but the enclosed gearbox I decided to use is only available in whole number ratios so I would have to go with 3:1 or stick with 2:1 which works acceptably so far. Have not experienced overtemp or overcurrent shutdown yet.

Took the mast down, too. I sleep a lot better at night, that's for sure. Later this year I will start building the solar canopy. Need some $ for that. Had some core rot next to the companionway hatch so I had to fix that. Installed a new head and a 25 gallon poop tank. I will be removing the old head and tank, and converting that space into an office area. The new head is in the shower and I kinda like it that way, yeah. The tank is where the aft end of the port berth was, and the shower stall is where the forward part of the port berth used to be. Over the tank is where the new galley will be. The lower starboard berth will get lengthened and will be my sleeping area, and I will relegate the vee berth for storage. That way I can close off the vee berth and get more bang for the buck out of the air conditioning. The old boat will never be pretty but it will be comfortable and not TOO crowded when I am done.
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Old 23-04-2016, 06:25   #137
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Geezo GM!

I thought you went for the "big swim" er... sumthin' !

Great post and Prop/Prop/Props!
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Old 23-04-2016, 17:27   #138
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Growley! Sounds like you are really coming along. We are getting ready to change out our prop as well. It's always something, right?
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Old 24-04-2016, 07:25   #139
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Growley! Sounds like you are really coming along. We are getting ready to change out our prop as well. It's always something, right?
Sure is, Foggy. You got your prop picked out yet?
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Old 25-04-2016, 09:45   #140
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Sure is, Foggy. You got your prop picked out yet?
We haven't yet. The debate between the Admiral and I is ongoing...
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Old 25-04-2016, 10:04   #141
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

What is your total investment on the system? Where did you source everything?

I found thunderstruck has a 5kw kit that I have been debating about.

5 KW Brushless Sailboat Kit
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Old 26-04-2016, 08:55   #142
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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What is your total investment on the system? Where did you source everything?

I found thunderstruck has a 5kw kit that I have been debating about.

5 KW Brushless Sailboat Kit
I looked at various kits and what I ended up getting originally was a pair of ME0201014201 motors from I think Electricmotorsports for $375/ea free shipping. They were so cheap I thought a spare would be handy. I bought a controller kit based on the KBL48301 controller from Kelly. Reduction gear is a Belden enclosed gearbox, 2:1, dont remember who I got it from but maybe earlier in the thread I mentioned it. Prop was the original 2 blade folder. Cable I dont remember but I used 2/0 welding cable. Batteries from Sams Club, GC-2 6v golf cart batteries, 8 in series, 220ah. Total cost after selling the Atomic for $300 I think, a bit over $2k. Keeping costs down was a driving factor in the process. Better performance can be had, for more money. Compared to a Beta diesel, electric was less than 1/3 the cost, and that is not including new fuel tank, etc. I took a weight hit of maybe 200lb over the weight of a diesel and a tank full of fuel, I guess, but this boat carries the weight well. No visible difference in trim from when the Atomic was in it.

Later I toasted the finals on the controller, when some laundry change got spilled and a quarter rested unseen across two phase terminals which promptly shorted the next time I ran the motor. So I sent it to Kelly for repair (free, but I had to pay shipping to China) and also ordered a bigger controller because in the meantime I had lucked across a lightly used ME0913 motor for a price I couldn't refuse. The first controller was 300a peak, the bigger one 500a peak current. The original ME0201014201 motor is 5kw and the ME0913 is 12kw. 6.7HP vs 15.5hp, essentially.

If your boat is under 30 feet a 5kw motor works just fine with the proper controller, reduction, and prop. For more peak power the 12kw class motors work well, and at low power they do not consume any more juice than the 5kw motors, so the small motor offers no advantage except saving money on the purchase. Both motors I have are interchangable, with both controllers. I have them both set up on their own plates with contactor, fuse, etc so a quick swap is possible in the case of a burnout, which is rare unless you drop a soup can full of quarters on the terminals. I have not tried the 12kw motor since re-prop but I will get around to it one of these days. The fact is, I don't need the extra power on my 27 foot boat but I am curious if I can take someone waterskiing or not haha. For over 30 foot, I would go with the 12kw motor, which would be good for boats up to maybe 40 feet, that have modest power requirements. You won't be powering a 40 foot boat against a 4kt current and a headwind with this motor, no. Keep in mind, extreme conditions require extreme power so consider your needs carefully.

There is a yahoo group for electric boats, btw.

What boat are you repowering? How mechanically/electrically adept are you?

A complete kit has some advantages, of course. That one is reasonably priced but the phase wires are too small, in my eye. Look like 2ga wire. Go bigger. 1/0 or 2/0. Same size for hooking your batteries. The Sevcon controllers are very good, but you need special equipment for reconfiguring them. They are set up perfectly for that motor, no doubt, but you might want to change things a bit at some point in the future. The Kelly controllers require only a windows computer which I didn't have, being a linux guy, but I got good neighbors.

The kit has no reduction gear, and you need one. Not just for the speed reduction but also because you cant transfer an axial load directly to the motor. It has no thrust bearing and the motor would self destruct rather quickly. The motor is designed to rotate stuff, not push stuff. A thrust bearing is needed to transfer the push of the prop to the hull. If you are handy, you can make up a mount and belt drive with thrust bearing from parts available at McMaster-Carr or some other supplier, but you wont save much money, no. Ready built belt reduction gears are available, and enclosed gearboxes, too. The motor is C mount, and the gearbox i have is Cmount on both the input and output ends, so I could bolt the gearbox directly to the mounting plate on my homebrewed mount, and bolt the motor directly to the gearbox. Typical reduction ratio is 2:1 for these motors with most common props and hulls. 3:1 is often used, or something in between, if you build your own. You can roughly calculate the ideal reduction ratio but I won't get into that. See the yahoo group for the technostuff. If you just cna't be bothered, go with a 2:1 setup. Why reduction? Because the motor can't cool itself when running slow under a heavy load. The ideal speed for full power is found by multiplying system voltage by a rpm/volt constant that is in the motor specs and this is around 3200RPM for full power for most motors of this type, which ideally is the amount of power needed to achieve your full desired speed. so you want the ratio that will deliver that boat speed with that prop at that RPM. You can sort of go with the figures you have for your old diesel rpm/speed, if you are keeping the same prop. But add a bigger prop and you want a higher ratio. Bigger prop is more efficient as a general rule but of course it is potentially more drag when sailing.
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Old 16-10-2016, 11:13   #143
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

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Originally Posted by misfits View Post
I've had my eye on that electricmotorsorts reduction drive instead of the belt & pulley system. I'd be interested in knowing how this works out for you. Someone that just finished up an EP install was complaining about the hum from the drive when the prop was free wheeling while sailing with the belt reduction system.

Thanks,
Bob
I thought it was time to revisit this thread. Yes, the enclosed gearbox worked out great. I highly recommend it. The only disadvantage is that you can't easily change the reduction ratio, like you can with belt drive. And it is only available in whole number reduction ratios. I installed the 2:1 box initially but this winter I will be doing some tests with a 3:1. Also I ended up buying a used ME0913 motor. Seemed a little quieter but with the 300A (peak) controller, I did not get any more power with the 12kw motor compared to the 5kw ME0201014201 motor. I have upgraded the controller and I will test it again this winter. I am on a ship right now and don't know exactly when I will be going home.
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Old 16-10-2016, 13:19   #144
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Update:

I had the "stick shift throttle" firmware flashed to the controller a while back. Now both speed and fwd/rev are controlled by a single 10k potentiometer. I mounted it on the tip of my tiller, and it is way convenient there. Twist it one way for FWD, twist it the other way for REV, twist farther for faster, return it to center position for stop. I really like it, and I didn't have to Rube Goldberg some electronical whatsit out of an Arduino board to do it, either.

I got tired of having to jiggle wires when stuff doesn't work as it should, so I replaced the multipin connector between motor and controller with a heavy duty terminal strip, and another one for throttle, on/off switch, etc. I was having problems with the hall effect sensor circuits making intermittent contact, resulting in the motor stuttering badly. No more problems with that. Lesson in that, kiddies. Use solid connections, not those gang connectors that attempt to line up 20 sets of contacts to complete essential circuits.

The Sams Club golf cart batteries show no signs of deterioration so far, after over 2 years of use. I have equalized them once, using my homemade "supercharger", made from a large variac, a rectifier from a junked welding machine, ammeter and voltmeter. Use of a manual charger requires some knowledge of battery charging, and lots of attention, but it does a great equalization. I did them one at a time. Went through 3 gallons of distilled water before it was all said and done. My "normal" charger is a 4 bank smart charger from West Marine, each pair of charge wires charging two of the 6v batteries. I like the indicator lights. From my vee berth I can see the red and green bar graph lights and know that my batts are charging properly, or that they have reached full charge. Not individually, but at least in pairs.

I took out the old head and tank, and built a small desk there. I will be installing my SSB rig there, as well as printer and other doodads. My new head in my shower stall can handle the load, I think. For a while I probably had the world's only Cal 2-27 with a shower stall and two heads. Reminds me... gotta put in a water heater this winter.

When I get home again I will be starting on my solar canopy, and also installing a second bank of golf cart batteries. I wish Sams Club had L16's because I really like the L16 form factor and I would definitely like higher capacity than what I have, without paying 3x the money. These Sams Club batteries were really cheap, and I am a poor working stiff with lots of bills so cheap is important to me.

For about a year, I had no truck or car, and I got around on an electric bike I put together. Well, the bike ran on 48v lithium batteries, each pack (I ended up with three of them!) 20ah. After tiring of the bike and accepting a car that was given to me for free (well, I had to get it running but no biggie for me in my guise as Mr Goodwrench) I still had those ebike battery packs and so I performed the obvious experiment, and ran my boat on one. At 5a I motored almost 6 miles before having to change to another pack just before the harbor entrance when it just quit on me. Cool, or what? I could see a couple of ebike batteries and a homebrew electric outboard as auxillary propulsion for a day sailer, yeah. Light, compact, portable, and enough range for most guys to get in and out of the marina okay. No prop dragging in the water while sailing. And wow, no kidding about the sudden voltage drop at the end of a lithium battery's discharge cycle! I was watching the voltage on the ebike battery and it barely was going down, and then it just tanked all of the sudden when I wasn't watching the meter. It recharged in the normal 6hrs or so with the little Chinese charger that came with it.

There are some nice combination meters available now for e-vehicles displaying voltage, current, watts, and watt/hrs used, all on one LCD, and they are pretty cheap on fleabay. I got one and temporarily mounted it in a piece of aluminum plate along with a new and more reliable tachometer. I still haven't decided where I will permanently mount my instruments. Depends on how readable they are from the cockpit with the new solar canopy in place.

I will be doing some more testing, with a 3:1 gearbox compared to the 2:1, and the ME0913 12kw motor compared to the ME0201014201 5kw motor, for power/speed curve and also for noise. I seem to recall that the ME0913 was just a little quieter than the '4201, and I suspect it is because the rotor, being pulled and pushed symmetrically between two stators, is not stressed as much. The smaller motor has only one stator. I never gave the motor noise a thought, because it was a lot quieter than the old Atomic, but a lot of folks find it objectionable for some reason so I want to get some accurate sound measurements in the next round of testing. Kelly is now making a sine wave controller, so I will probably give in and whip out the credit card for one sometime in the foreseeable future. The sine wave controller supposedly makes the motor run a lot quieter. Again, I don't think it is noisy at all. And oddly enough, it is quieter at full power than running slow or at my "slow cruise" speed. I think it is due to reduced dwell time of the magnets in the coil fields. Anyway the sound level is something I will be investigating soon. If I CAN get this thing to run nearly dead silent, it will be pretty far out.

I am now considering shopping for an under $2000 twin inboard cabin cruiser for conversion. There have been a few around in the 3 figure range with engines pretty far gone, but I have been busy with Mr Wiggles. I am thinking an elderly ChrisCraft or something similar would make a nice inland electrocruising boat with the pair of 5kw motors I have, and the pair of square wave controllers. I really could use a little more living space. I have to step out onto the finger pier just to change my mind, my boat is so cramped. With all my gunsmithing, razor making, electrical/mechanical fiddling, cooking, crapping, computer twiddling, there is hardly any room for entertaining any boat bunnies.

I am still sold on electric drive, and still on track for having energy independence on my boat for when the next Katrina hits. I would encourage any sailboat owner in need of a repower to consider whether it might not be just the thing.
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Old 17-10-2016, 05:29   #145
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Great work Growley, thanks for the update. I would love to fit a little auxiliary electric motor one day, in parallel to the diesel engine. Perfect for getting out of my berth and into a bit of wind without cranking up the diesel.

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Old 19-10-2016, 01:48   #146
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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I am now considering shopping for an under $2000 twin inboard cabin cruiser for conversion. There have been a few around in the 3 figure range with engines pretty far gone, but I have been busy with Mr Wiggles. I am thinking an elderly ChrisCraft or something similar would make a nice inland electrocruising boat with the pair of 5kw motors I have, and the pair of square wave controllers. I really could use a little more living space. I have to step out onto the finger pier just to change my mind, my boat is so cramped. With all my gunsmithing, razor making, electrical/mechanical fiddling, cooking, crapping, computer twiddling, there is hardly any room for entertaining any boat bunnies.
I've got a 28' Chris Craft Commander up on blocks free for the taking. There are no motors or shafts. A big trailer would be required to move it. The boat has been sitting up for 15 years or so; you can imagine the shape it's in, but the price, I guess, is right...
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Old 20-10-2016, 12:12   #147
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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I've got a 28' Chris Craft Commander up on blocks free for the taking. There are no motors or shafts. A big trailer would be required to move it. The boat has been sitting up for 15 years or so; you can imagine the shape it's in, but the price, I guess, is right...
Wow I will have to take a look at it when I get home! Do you remember what size the old shafts were? I am stuck on this ship for the next few months... gotta do that "gainful employment" thingie, you know. I will PM you when I get home, whenever that may be.
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