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Old 23-07-2014, 10:11   #1
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It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Started dismantling the old atomic 4 plant this morning. Removed the external Racor, the electric fuel pump, and after hacksawing off the welded fittings, the fuel tank. After this thunderstorm passes I will remove the caeburetor, alternator, and starter. Tomorrow, motor mounts and shaft coupling. Next day, remove the engine. So, I am committed, now.

Details, for those interested
Motor: Motenergy ME0201014201 5kw BLDC
Controller: Kelly KBL48301
Battery: Eight 6v golf cart batts, 210ah/48v
Charger: ? Came with the controller kit.
Reduction: nah.
Prop: existing 3 blade folder about 13" X 8

Depending on how well the 4201 motor performs in direct drive, I might switch to belt reduction drive. I will also be looking at a different prop soon.
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Old 23-07-2014, 19:56   #2
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

To just let you know that I know nothing about electric drives other than seeing them in action and installed. Doesn't a folding prop negate the appeal of generating power?

kind regards,
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Old 23-07-2014, 20:14   #3
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

This sounds interesting. I have been an electric vehicle fan for many years- do not have a boat as of yet but briefly wondered if it would be possible to go electric and use solar???? Going to follow this thread with baited breath....
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Old 23-07-2014, 23:21   #4
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
To just let you know that I know nothing about electric drives other than seeing them in action and installed. Doesn't a folding prop negate the appeal of generating power?

kind regards,
It takes a pretty fast boat to really get a lot of battery charge through prop regeneration. For my little boat, which does a little over 6kt on a good day, not having regeneration capability is maybe not a major loss. No, with a folding prop you can't have regeneration but you don't get all that much, anyway, even with a fixed prop. But a prop change is definitely on the table in the future.
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Old 23-07-2014, 23:31   #5
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

This is gonna be cool - Hope you document with plenty of pics!

How much engineering planning have you done - I know nothing so I will ask the stupid question.

5kw is about 6.7hp - does that equate apples to apples to a carbon engine? And is that enough HP to drive the boat?
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Old 23-07-2014, 23:37   #6
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

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This sounds interesting. I have been an electric vehicle fan for many years- do not have a boat as of yet but briefly wondered if it would be possible to go electric and use solar???? Going to follow this thread with baited breath....
Of course. Just don't think that a 100w panel is going to keep you going while running the drive motor. Even a kw is only a bit over 20a at 48v, and that's a lot of solar cells. And remember that you are only going to get rated output from solar panels for maybe 4 hours or a bit more, in a sunny day. Supplementing with a wind turbine can help, if it is a pretty big one. A standby gas or diesel generator is good insurance against dead batts.

Generally, an electric drive on a sailboat is used sparingly. For a day sail, where the motor is only ran for a few minutes going out and returning, charging from shore power alone is sufficient.
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Old 24-07-2014, 04:41   #7
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

At 48 volts, it looks like you will get approx 10.4nm of torque and 3.8kw. Good luck keep us updated
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Old 24-07-2014, 09:27   #8
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
This is gonna be cool - Hope you document with plenty of pics!

How much engineering planning have you done - I know nothing so I will ask the stupid question.

5kw is about 6.7hp - does that equate apples to apples to a carbon engine? And is that enough HP to drive the boat?
Yeh that's plenty of power. A 6hp 4 stroke outboard can get me up to hull speed, and my target cruise speed is 3kt. Some margin is needed of course with headwinds or chop, and I admit that under moderately adverse conditions, this is marginal. Severely adverse conditions will be answered by anchor rather than propellor. Mostly the prop will be used as before... for maneuvering in a harbor or other confined areas or where precisely controlled maneuvering is needed. I never motor just to be going somewhere. That's what sails are for. No wind is a good time to just nap or fish.

I have been reading and studying and planning for a couple of years now, but this will be my first conversion. I am in no way an expert, but I am confident I can pull this off. Originally I was looking at a ME0907 motor, or possibly the more powerful ME0913. The '4201 turns slower, and is cheaper than the 0907, and I thought maybe I could go direct drive with it, so I switched. Motor was $375, cheap enough that I decided to get a spare. Both motors together still cost less than a 0913. Somewhat reluctantly I picked the Kelly controller after hearing how much easier it is to program than the superior and much more expensive Sevcon Gen4 controllers, and hearing from the designer of a home brew controller design I considered building that he was having problems with blown MOSFETs. I considered various battery types. Weight is not really an issue, just cost per kwh. Best bang per buck I found to be golf cart batts from Sams Club at $86/ea. With taxes and core charge I'm still only gonna be in at around $900 for a fairly respectable bank that should give me a decent range.

The real challenge will come next year, when I add solar and wind generation, and some sort of watermaker, to enable off grid living for those times when due to circumstances like major hurricanes, there IS no grid to be on in the first place. In the weeks following Katrina, I often thought how nice it would be to have cold beer in a running fridge, and maybe air conditioning, running hot water, etc.

If you want more general info on electric propulsion, Google for the yahoo Electric Boat forum.
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Old 24-07-2014, 13:21   #9
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

My friend converted his Aries to electric and after about 6 months of attempted cruising to Tahiti he sold the boat. It was a beauty and sold quickly to someone who wanted the electric propulsion but one of the reasons for the sale was that with electric you can't motor for extended periods of time especially when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing or the wind is contrary. Cruising requires lots more motoring than one would expect unless you have all the time the Pardey's had.

In your case you'll not be doing a lot of no wind cruising so it'll be fun to see how you like it.
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Old 24-07-2014, 13:45   #10
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

Growley,

I will be interested to hear more about this. And as a local I am going to beg for a visit when it's installed
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Old 24-07-2014, 17:39   #11
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

Unusually for these types of things, I believe he has realistic expectations, it will work as long as he has basic mechanical skills.
An issue in my opinion of electric propulsion is most of us have trouble generating or collecting enough power to keep up with basic systems, so where does this huge excess needed for propulsion come from? He has this figured out, charging from shore power
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Old 24-07-2014, 21:03   #12
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

Have you read mbianka's blog?
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: HAPPY AT THE HELM!
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Old 24-07-2014, 22:38   #13
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

After our earlier talks Growly, I'm excited to see you put your plan into action. Having a second electric 2-27 on this forum excites me.
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Old 25-07-2014, 06:45   #14
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
My friend converted his Aries to electric and after about 6 months of attempted cruising to Tahiti he sold the boat. It was a beauty and sold quickly to someone who wanted the electric propulsion but one of the reasons for the sale was that with electric you can't motor for extended periods of time especially when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing or the wind is contrary. Cruising requires lots more motoring than one would expect unless you have all the time the Pardey's had.

In your case you'll not be doing a lot of no wind cruising so it'll be fun to see how you like it.
I never used the Atomic for cruising, so I suppose I will be just fine not using the electric for cruising, as well. For a lot of folks, pure electric would be impractical. Extended motoring would require a generator rated for well over the cruising power requirements, due to the iffy nature of wind and solar generation. Electric propulsion isn't the wave of the future, just a niche that some of us might find comfortable.
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Old 25-07-2014, 06:52   #15
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Re: It begins: converting Cal 2-27 to electric propulsion!

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Growley,

I will be interested to hear more about this. And as a local I am going to beg for a visit when it's installed
I'll let you know, Greg. U at Orleans Marina?

Starting on shaft coupling and motor mounts today. Hopefully the A4 will be loose and ready to pull out of its nest by tomorrow. Depending on my beer and whiskey intake, the temperature, and my attitude.
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