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View Poll Results: How happy are you with your Electric or Propane outboard?
Happy with Electric outboard 10 55.56%
satisfied with Electric outboard 3 16.67%
unhappy with Electric outboard 1 5.56%
Happy with propane outboard 2 11.11%
Satisfied with propane outboard 2 11.11%
unhappy with propane outboard 0 0%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 28-07-2016, 17:08   #1
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propane or electric outboard survey

If you have a propane outboard, how happy with it are you? how often do you use it?

If you have an electric outboard, how happy with it are you? How often do you use it? What is the longest distance traveled in a day using the motor?
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Old 28-07-2016, 17:28   #2
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Electric outboard ... basically a trolling motor, possibly with the battery mounted at the top instead of remotely.

Decent for relatively low speed or short distance.

The main issue is weight of battery required per unit of energy storage. Gasoline, diesel, propane all store energy conveniently at high density (kwh/lb)

1 Gallon of Propane = 27 kwh
1 gallon of propane (pressurized liquid) weighs 4.2 lb
Appx 6.43 kwh / lb

85 amp-hr (typical) deep cycle marine 12 v battery = appx 65 lbs
12v * 85 amp-hr = 1020 amp-hr or ... just barely more than ONE kwh in 65 lbs.

And thus you can see the basic problem behind any electric vehicle....

*********************

I have used a 24 v trolling motor to get a boat that ran out of gas to the ramp... 3 miles... 4 hours.
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Old 28-07-2016, 21:56   #3
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Me and a friend actually discussed this very subject recently as I was interested in getting either kind for my dinghy to avoid hauling gas on board. This friend is a maintenance manager at a large urban sailing club and they have a few dozens of each in their fleet. He's not happy with either type. His basic complaint with propane outboards, other than the high cost of propane per miles/minutes of use, is that they constantly require some sort of maintenance and tinkering and are very finicky. With trolling motors he says the issues are capacity, thrust and battery life - making for a very limited range - basically go a few hundred yards ashore and no real capacity for gunkholing or exploring the way one would do in a gas powered dinghy. He was also going to chuck the gas out but says he'll keep his 4 stroke 5hp Yamaha for a while until there are improvements to either propane or electric motors.
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Old 28-07-2016, 22:26   #4
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

I have a 5HP Lehr propane and am very happy with it. I don't use it much but when I do it starts on the second pull. There is a relief valve that takes a paper clip to depress and it bleeds the air out of the line. I drilled a hole in the side of the housing so I can get to it without taking off the cover. Once you have relieved the air in the line you don't need to do it again unless you depressurize the lines,or load a new can.

My maximum is three to four miles and about 45 minutes of just tooling around. I bet between 45 minutes and an hour per can. I use the 1 lb cans and store them in a 4" PVC pipe with a cap on one end and a clean out plug on the other end. I carry 2 that hold 4 cans each. One fits in the dinghy sideways against the transom and I have plenty of spare fuel. It pushes my Avon 260 at 4 knots at about half throttle. I don't plane with my wife and I in the dinghy. We aren't into speed with the dinghy and enjoy a slow dry ride.

My only objection is it is a little hard to put a new 1 lb tank in, but mild criticism compared to the problems I had in the last years with my 4 stroke 4 HP Yamaha. It was a great engine when I bought it in 2004, but once ethanol was added to gas, it was a constant headache. The carb jets are so small in those gas engines and the gas so unstable ( even without ethanol) that the clogged in as little as 3 weeks. It's not the engine it's the gas that is the problem.

I bought my Lehr while cruising in Florida in January of 2014 due to frustration with the gas. Couldn't be happier. I gave some consideration to the Torquedo but it was more expensive and I figured it would be discharged at the time I actually wanted to use it. I have a generator and run it full time when not at the dock, so electrical power for charging was not my issue. I suspect the Lehr is improved over my model since it has been 2-1/2 years since I bought it and they have had time to tweak them.


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Old 28-07-2016, 23:09   #5
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Actually, any 4-stroke gasoline engine could be converted to propane if you can get a propane carb kit.

The difference in maintenance should mainly be in the carb.

Propane doesn't have the issue of old gas turning into varnish in the carb....

To avoid the alcohol in gasoline... go to the airport and get 100 low lead.
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Old 28-07-2016, 23:34   #6
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

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Originally Posted by TurninTurtle View Post
.....
To avoid the alcohol in gasoline... go to the airport and get 100 low lead.
So anybody could walk into a FBO with a gas can in hand and get a few gallons of 100LL? If so, we should all do it.

My neighbor has a 3.5hp mercury (gas) - now runs trufuel in it because of all the trouble he had with gas. trufuel runs around $6 a quart.

I have a 2.5 Lehr propane. Great little motor when it runs. When it blew the diaphragm out of the 'carb' - it needed a new $160 'carb'. But it now runs flawlessly again. No fuel problems. I don't bother bleeding with a paperclip, I just max out the throttle and give it 3-4 pulls. After it starts the first time, it'll start the first pull every time until the propane is gone.

I like the idea of propane. Wish the Lehr was a bit better built.
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Old 28-07-2016, 23:56   #7
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

First let me say I'm a Lehr dealer.
I personally own two Lehr propane fueled engines and I love them. I got tired of cleaning the carb on my little 2 hp Suzuki every time I wanted to use it so I bought a 2.5 Lehr. It can sit for months and start on the second pull.

I built a little plywood skiff and put a Lehr 15 with electric start and an internal battery under the cover. Sweet engine!

I don't know how far I've gone with either of them but I've done several all day adventures with both of them.

I also have an electric trolling motor that I have used on both a canoe and a board like boat for shallow water fishing. I did one several hour trip in the canoe but I had a really big battery. Other times I take two smaller batteries. When the first dies, I know it's time to head home. I would have voted happy with both if that was an option.
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Old 29-07-2016, 09:16   #8
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Friend of mine went last year with his MacGregor 65 equipped with a RIB sporting an Electric OB Toquenado or something like that from Houston to Trinidad where he dry docked the boat for the Hurricane season. He came back stopping at Fort Lauderdale where he flipped boats to a Cat 43 and a RIB with a 25 hp Yamaha. When I asked him about the Electric OB he said it was worthless in the Carib try to go into the wind.
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Old 29-07-2016, 09:26   #9
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Re: If you have a propane outboard, how happy with it are you? how often do you use it?

I have a 5 hp Lehr propane outboard and am generally happy with it. I use it in the motor well of a 4200 pound displacement sailboat. Getting the 16.4 bottles into or out of the top of the motor takes both hands and can be a little tricky. The motor is also noisy like a gas powered motor. You don't get gas fumes, but you do get the propane smell. The motor gets used once or twice a month whenever I go sailing. It's only used when necessary for maneuvering around a dock or getting back to the dock on time when there's a head wind or no wind. For long distances I can stock up on the small bottles or connect to a large propane tank.

Re: If you have an electric outboard, how happy with it are you? How often do you use it? What is the longest distance traveled in a day using the motor?

Also, I have a Torqeedo 1003L on a 2000 pound displacement boat, which is mainly used for day sailing. I'm very happy with it. It worked well as at backup motor for my 4000 pound sailboat, for light duty situations, but limited when the wind picked up over 20 knots. With the lighter boat, I've traveled several miles in a day at low speed and still have battery life left. A lot depends on the weather/current conditions and how fast you go. It has a display panel giving details on how battery life percentage, speed, and GPS range projection. It's quiet, light weight, and requires virtually no maintenance other than charging the battery.

The survey buttons only allowed one selection, so I only did the one for the electric motor, since I'm happiest with that one. It's nice not having smelly, spill-able, highly flammable gasoline on the boat.
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Old 29-07-2016, 09:36   #10
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

I have a Torqeedo 1003 that I use for my WM 310 RIB. It gives me a top speed of ~5 kts, but I usually cruise at 3-4 kts to extend the range. My longest trip so far is ~10 nm. I recently sailed single-handed in the Bahamas for a few weeks and it worked well for getting ashore and to snorkeling areas. It suits my needs because:
* It is very light (3 parts with a total weight of 30 lbs.) compared to my previous 8HP 4-stroke gas outboard (85 lbs.). I can mount/dismount it while my dinghy is bouncing around in a chop or swell.
* The battery retained almost all of its charge after being in a hot boat for two months.
* I do not have to buy and store gasoline. I use my boat's diesel engine and my solar panels to charge the battery.
* When I go ashore in a crowded harbor, I do not have to worry about it being stolen. I sometimes carry the control handle (weight ~1 lb.), without which the Torqeedo would be useless to a thief. Once when I was away from my dinghy for a long time, I took the entire motor: it fits in a canvas bag with wheels that is designed to carry golf clubs, so it rolls along as I walk.

* Major disadvantage: recharging the battery is slow and takes overnight. A second battery is expensive.
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Old 29-07-2016, 09:59   #11
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

25hp Yamaha 2 Stroke Enduro (Still available in Nassau and the rest of the third world)

Just not feeling green yet
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Old 29-07-2016, 10:04   #12
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbodine88 View Post
If you have a propane outboard, how happy with it are you? how often do you use it?

If you have an electric outboard, how happy with it are you? How often do you use it? What is the longest distance traveled in a day using the motor?
Love My Torqeedo 1003 best small tender motor I had over 30 years of tendering to various yachts I have owned.

Pushes my 9ft Walker bay (with floats) in to twenty 20 knots of wind and chop. I don't know if it would push a bubble boat into 20 knots though.

I plug it into my solar panels at the davits so is mostly full battery, easy to start, push on button twist handle, can be stowed below, moved in the cabin of the car, breaks down into smaller pieces.

It is a weird thing to get use to though I must say, my brain is set that the tiller is of to port, not in the centre and don't like the way that the tiller attaches.
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Old 29-07-2016, 10:16   #13
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

Mount a trolling motor and row at the same time if you have a long distance to go. Like power assist in a bicycle.


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Old 29-07-2016, 10:21   #14
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

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Originally Posted by TurninTurtle View Post
Electric outboard ... basically a trolling motor, possibly with the battery mounted at the top instead of remotely.

Decent for relatively low speed or short distance.

The main issue is weight of battery required per unit of energy storage. Gasoline, diesel, propane all store energy conveniently at high density (kwh/lb)

1 Gallon of Propane = 27 kwh
1 gallon of propane (pressurized liquid) weighs 4.2 lb
Appx 6.43 kwh / lb

85 amp-hr (typical) deep cycle marine 12 v battery = appx 65 lbs
12v * 85 amp-hr = 1020 amp-hr or ... just barely more than ONE kwh in 65 lbs.

And thus you can see the basic problem behind any electric vehicle....

*********************

I have used a 24 v trolling motor to get a boat that ran out of gas to the ramp... 3 miles... 4 hours.
The demo the Aussie Torpedo dealer done was over 15 miles in open ocean, Pittwater to Sydney Harbour going slow though.

They are high torque and large prop I can do 5 miles easily at half throttle which is the same pace I go with my 3 1/2 hp Tohatsu.
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Old 29-07-2016, 10:33   #15
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Re: propane or electric outboard survey

I have a Torqeedo 1003....going on 2 years (previously had a noisy 3hp weedwacker motor which was quite reliable)
Luv the Torqeedo!
+s... low weight, low noise, good range feedback on display, no maintenance issues, no fuel on board (sailboat is also electric)... great for long slow cruises around the bay...or short fast trips

-s...initial cost, recharge time

Also have a 15hp Lehr for my zodiac runabout...going on 1 year
Luv it too!

+s...long range, no maintenance issues, relatively cheap

-s...weight, explosive fuel (although low risk in zodiac).
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