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.