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Old 06-08-2014, 12:45   #61
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Time for an update.

Engine cavity is scrubbed clean. All the hoses and practically all of the old wiring is out. Vise grips clamped onto the shift so it doesn't slide out and leave me a 1 inch hole in my boat. Still waiting on the gearbox, but it did finally ship yesterday. Joined Sams Club today and bought my batteries, which were in stock. Poor Lucille, my faithful old Ford Ranger, is a little nose high with the weight. Almost home. Just stopped to get my Powerball ticket and post this.

Not a bad price for a 48v 230ah bank. Hopefully none of them are bad, but I can always return any that are. I think I will hook them up to the charger so I got something to weld with when I'm ready to build my mount.
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Old 06-08-2014, 16:11   #62
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

I've had four of those batteries for three years. No problems yet. Just be sure to secure them really well and in a way that makes it easy to check the water level in the batteries.


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Old 17-08-2014, 02:31   #63
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Update.

The only logical place for the batteries turned out to be the aft end of the salon. I built a bed of 2x6 and 5/8" plywood to conform to the curved cabin sole and distribute the weight. Still have to make a cover to keep dust and water off.

I picked up some 2/0 copper wire at home depot, and some nice copper terminals, the setscrew reusable type. Home Depot was $4.39 for a pack of 2. I looked at mcmaster and they were $6 something for just one.

That 2/0 wire is really hard to bend and cut, but it should give me really low loss. I got enough for the battery interconnections as well as the DC run to the controller and the power to the motor.

So far, the batts are in place and connected to the 48v charger, and are taking their first charge. I finally got the reduction gear, and I ordered the steel I need for the mount. I also needed a short piece of shaft. Unfortunately the motor and the gearbox have 7/8" shafts and the prop shaft is 1". Ordered a cast bronze bearing to use as a bushing to adapt the gearbox output shaft to 1".

Today I have to make some repairs to my truck, which was in a collision yesterday, but maybe I will have time to hook up the controller and just spin the motor with no load and verify the hookup and that everything functions. My steel should be in this coming week and the hard part begins, building and aligning the mount for the motor and gearbox. Hopefully within 2 weeks I will be ready for a couple days of testing.
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Old 17-08-2014, 11:53   #64
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

If you need me to snap a few photos of our setup for you I can do that sometime this week. Let me know.
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Old 17-08-2014, 13:09   #65
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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If you need me to snap a few photos of our setup for you I can do that sometime this week. Let me know.
Hey, yeah that would be cool since we have the same boat. But not it it's any trouble.
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Old 17-08-2014, 16:44   #66
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

there is a hunter 28.5 for sale on tampa bay craigslist. price $9500. the owner has removed the diesel and substituted what appears to be a fairly simple electric propulsion setup. claims it can run at hull speed.

1985 Hunter 28.5 Sailboat, Electric Inboard Motor, 6'2" Headroom!
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Old 17-08-2014, 16:45   #67
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Hey, yeah that would be cool since we have the same boat. But not it it's any trouble.
I'll be out to the boat again sometime this week so I'll take the photos them. I will also include photos of where we have the batteries positioned, etc.
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Old 18-08-2014, 19:28   #68
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Update.

Well, I connected all the wirey bits and turned the darn thing on. It runs great in reverse. In forward it makes a lot of clacky roary noise, only goes up to maybe 400rpm, and overheats in less than a minute. I'll triple check my wiring tomorrow. Right now I need a drink.

Darn.
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Old 19-08-2014, 11:00   #69
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

UPDATE

Kelly surprised me with their quick responses. Seems that I did have my hall sensors in the wrong order. The naming conventions and labeling of motor wires and controller hookup diagrams were different. Because the motor ran fine in reverse, I thought the sensors were connected properly. Now it runs fine in forward and reverse. Today I will solder the control connections that right now are made with alligator jumpers, and see if everything still works as advertised. I'm hoping my steel is here in the next couple of days so I can mount the motor and gearbox. Prop hasn't turned in so long it is probably turning into a reef ecosystem.

Anyway, anybody else who goes this route, remember there are about 36 different ways to connect the motor leads, and only two will work. If it doesn't run both forward and reverse smoothly without generating heat with no load, then either contact the controller manufacturer for precise wiring instructions for your motor, or keep trying until you get it right. If it is right, it will not get hot to the touch, bench running with no load coupled to it. If it heats up in just a minute or two or the cables get warm, in either or both directions, it probably isn't connected correctly. If it makes any noise besides just a normal hum, it ain't right.

The motor is NOT silent. But it isn't loud, either. The cooling fan on my battery charger is about as loud as the motor. I think if I was using a sine wave controller it would be even quieter.
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Old 21-08-2014, 17:54   #70
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

OBSERVATIONS

A 48v bank is DANGEROUS. Don't let metal stuff fall across the terminals, especially the end terminals. A coat hanger burns through instantly. A wrench or a screwdriver would instantly weld itself and catastrophically short the batts. Remember, this is enough juice to arc weld with. Cover your batteries even if they are only temporarily hooked up.

4" X 1/4" angle iron takes a long time to cut with a hacksaw.

Motenergy BLDC motors and the reduction gears made for them have a 7/8" output shaft with 3/16" keyway. Most small sailboat prop shafts are 1" with a 1/4" keyway. See pic how I made it work. I cut a keyway through a 7/8 I.D., 1" O.D. bronze sleeve bearing so I could use it as a bushing, and one half of a 1/4" key I ground a 3/16" step into, so it fits the shaft keyway but has no slop in the coupling or the prop shaft keyways.

00 cable is hard to handle. For bench testing and just plain fiddling and tweaking, 6ga is a lot more flexible and will still carry enough current for no load testing and tinkering. I will put the heavy cables on after I get the motor and controller permanently mounted.

I hooked a laptop to the controller and changed a few things. Motor runs even better now, even less noise. Fellow Linux users, you will need a windoze pc to configure the controller processor if you aren't happy with the factory settings.

Lots of fabrication work to do tomorrow. Hopefully I will have it rolling in 3 or 4 days.
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Old 21-08-2014, 19:40   #71
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Here's an electric drive already installed. I guess this should be under nautical oddities.

18' Sailboat Electric Inboard Engine
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Old 22-08-2014, 01:40   #72
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Here's an electric drive already installed. I guess this should be under nautical oddities.

18' Sailboat Electric Inboard Engine
Cute Lil boat!
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Old 24-08-2014, 14:13   #73
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Here are a few photos. Those taken in the mechanical space focusing on the batteries came out poorly IMO. I'll retake those this week so you can get a better idea of the placement. Let this be a lesson as to why an iPad is never a great choice for photography...

While I'm putting in the solar system it should be a bit easier to get better photos.....one hopes.....

Battery placement is a bit difficult to determine from the photos. Two run above the shaft, with the other two to either side of the drive.
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Old 25-08-2014, 19:45   #74
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Thanks for the pics, Foggy.

I am about 2/3 done with the motor mount. As usual I am sort of overbuilding. 4x3x1/4 angle iron for rails and strongbacks, all stainless hardware either 1/4-20 or 3/8-16 bolts. It's tricky to get everything lined up and keep it so. Nevertheless I should have propulsion available by this time tomorrow, and meters etc hooked up by the next day.

The easy way to do this is to make the motor face plate first. Start with an 8" wide by 10" or 12" tall piece of finished .125" (1/8") thick steel. Lay out a precise centerline, top to bottom. Figure out how high up the centerline of the shaft will be, as close as possible. From your centerline lay out a circle with a radius of 2-15/16". Your four 3/8" bolt hole centers will be located exactly on this circle. From the center, lay out 2 lines that intersect at a right angle at the center point. They should radiate outward at 45, 135, 225, and 315 degrees. In other words, 45 degrees from horizontal or vertical. Where the lines intersect the bolt circle, make a dimple with a center punch for drilling. There. Bolt holes are marked. Now double check everything. Drill your 3/8" bolt holes. Next make another circle concentric to the first one with a radius of 2-17/64". Drill a 3/8 hole anywhere on that circle and cut the circle out with your jigsaw. Any Motenergy motor and most other motors of 10kw or smaller should exactly fit onto the plate. This is the NEMA 56C standard. More importantly, most small enclosed reduction gears have an end housing that complies with this standard. From this point it is all about making the rails and braces, and maybe slotting bolt holes to allow small adjustments, tightening everything down, and done.

Using big angle iron makes the structure more rigid, so it bends less with the weight and torque of the motor. That's why I didn't go with aluminum, which is so much easier to cut and drill, and doesn't rust.

Cal 2-27s and many similar boats originally equipped with Atomic 4 or Universal diesel engines have around 8" gap between engine bed stringers. Stringers have a down angle close to the shaft down angle but not exact, so you can't count on mounting the plate at 90 degrees to the rails. You can use the old bolt holes, or drill new ones.

Okay got more work to do. But first a pic. In the foreground is the controller (not connected to motor or bank), contactor, and fuse. I still need to add a diagonal brace to adjust and maintain rake angle on the motor plate, cut off the excess inch or so off the top of the plate, and drill bolt holes in the rails. I might add a cross piece to partially support the motor and help deaden vibration.
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Old 27-08-2014, 15:07   #75
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Just now, I actually propelled the boat forward and aft with the motor. So I have cause to celebrate. The mount is just sitting on the engine bed stringers. Still have to do final alignment, drill holes into the fiberglass, bolt it down, and secure the controller to the mount, then replace the #4 or whatever wires with 2/0. Tomorrow I will hook up meters and temp sensor and call it FULLY FUNCTIONAL.

Then, I still need to take it all back apart, paint all the steel, and put it all back together. And if I have to slot any bolt holes to provide for more adjustment, there's another day. But at least now I can go to the pump out station without sculling with my rudder, or towing with a dinghy.

I was surprised how much noise it makes, but with the drop boards and hatch closed, it is nearly inaudible in the cockpit.

Pics, maybe video, tomorrow, I guess. And my complete bill of materials will be forthcoming. And I no longer need the drill press so I can sell it, and I didn't use the welding stuff, so that is more cost reduction. I estimate I am around $2500 all in, including batteries. Selling the Atomic for a higher price would have brought the cost down even more, but I was glad to have an immediate buyer willing to pick it up himself, so I didn't mind only getting $300 for it. Meanwhile, the cheapest used diesel I could find that would be suitable was $2800. And it would have cost me just as many man hours, and I would have needed a fuel tank, etc, so probably $4000 to re power with a used diesel, and I would be right back where I was, burning dinosaur juice and hoping I never had a spill or a fire, and that the engine would always start when I needed it. I think I did the right thing with my $2000 boat.

With a nicer and bigger boat I probably would have gone hybrid diesel/electric with a new Beta diesel and maybe a Lynch motor, mechanically coupled in series with a clutch between diesel and motor so I could either use electric, or use diesel to push the boat and also charge the batteries through the electric motor. That way you get the advantages of the electric, but the range of the diesel when it is needed. My little boat doesn't rate all that, and doesn't have room for it either.

I estimated my max range at 50% discharge, without generator or solar assist, to be about 85 miles. If you need more motoring range than that with a similar boat, you need internal combustion. Anybody else would do well to consider electric. Sorry for the evangelizing but I am really chuffed to have finally actually spun the prop for a few minutes.
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