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Old 17-01-2021, 09:45   #166
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Hi
I am pretty much in the same boat with you. Just got my Cat 27 and right in the decision using an electric or rebuild the engine or come up with a hybrid idea. Could you please share your system details, how much it cost you and how I can follow your steps. If you dont mind. My email is alpgulden@gmail.com. thanks for you help in advance.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:46   #167
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

It would be better if all the details were posted here and everybody could learn.
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Old 22-01-2021, 00:17   #168
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Originally Posted by alpgulden View Post
Hi
I am pretty much in the same boat with you. Just got my Cat 27 and right in the decision using an electric or rebuild the engine or come up with a hybrid idea. Could you please share your system details, how much it cost you and how I can follow your steps. If you dont mind. My email is alpgulden@gmail.com. thanks for you help in advance.
After selling the Atomic for $400 I realized a total cash outlay of about $2300, including batteries. I don't own the boat anymore. I sold it a couple months ago to a young lady who wanted it for a floating apartment. The batteries were showing their age finally, and I was about to have to get 8 new GC-2s from Sams Club. I was in the (stalled) process of replacing the old bronze prop shaft with a nice SS one but it was oversize and didn't turn as freely as I wanted in the cutless bearing. So I was planning on running the motor with the shaft coupled, and hand sanding it down to fit. Never got around to that. I was going back and forth between the different gearboxes and direct drive, looking for the sweet spot, and I had reached a point in my life and schedule where I didn't have time to keep tinkering. Then I bought Brute Force, a Bruce Roberts 44, with a running diesel. I wasn't living aboard, married again so living on the hard in Mrs Monster's house in Gentilly. So I got rid of Mr Wiggles, and wife sold Bon Secour so now we are down to one boat. It's like 26 tons I guess, and not really a candidate for the sort of EP system I like to do, and the Westerbeast still runs okay anyway. So I am out of the EP thing for now.

We are looking at buying a camp on Irish Bayou but the water at the dock is too shallow for Brute Force. Thinking about building sort of a cross between a dhow and a sampan, for fishing in the shallow bayous and flats around there, and it will be diesel/electric hybrid if I go through with it.

Anyway all the particulars of Mr Wiggles' EP system are in the thread. Motenergy motor, Kelly sine wave controller, 48v x 220ah bank, GC2 golf cart batteries, shore power charging, no onboard genset, no solar. Charger was I don't remember the brand but got it at Worst Marine, a 4 bank charger, isolated outputs. Each output was connected across two of the 6v batteries for 12v x 4 = 48v. I experimented with using a Ryobi 2kw portable gasoline generator in the cockpit for emergency get-home power, feeding the batteries through a Variac and a rectifier from a welding machine, manually adjusting the voltage while watching charging and propulsion current. Required constant attention and adjustment, of course, but it worked fine. Not for the faint of heart or those not used to constructing or operating this sort of thing.

The propulsion system itself ran pretty good, meeting my expectations. The batteries lasted 7 years and are still hobbling along, or would be if they were being maintained. I would have got another two years, maybe three, out of them if I was taking care of them properly toward the end.

I don't have any power/speed/range figures on hand. But if you only need power for ins and outs, and mostly do day sails, with 8 golf cart batteries you will do fine with just shore power charging. If you want to motor around at 5kts all day you will be greatly disappointed even with twice as big a bank. Don't go into this with unrealistic expectations. You will enjoy the quiet operation. You will love the added maneuverability. No more bumping in and out of gear to approach a slip slowly. You can motor at just a few RPM if you like. Instand torque. Instant on, no warmup, no starting regimen, just flip a switch and turn a knob and its rooom-a-zoom-ZOOOOOOM. No exhaust. No fuel smell, no spilled fuel, no paying for fuel.

EP has a lot of things going against it for a cruising boat, though it has been done. But for day sailing, it is STUPID to feed and pamper an ungrateful diesel or worse, an Atomic 4 or outboard, when you could have simple, clean, quiet electric.

Your costs will probably be higher than mine. I am pretty good at finding cheap stuff and making it work as good as expensive stuff. I spent a lot of time researching this and I am no stranger to electrical or electronic stuff, and I understand how motors and controllers work. You will need to spend at least a couple of years studying and researching before you whip ot the credit card and start buying components. If you go with a full system already engineered for your size boat, you will pay twice as much but everything will work right out of the box if you put it all together correctly. Or you can have it all installed, and add a couple thou more. Or go with fancier batteries and add a LOT more. Up to you.

Anyway like I said, I am not the electric boat guy any more. Until maybe later...
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Old 15-06-2021, 02:14   #169
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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....
Solar would need to be to scale to provide a substantial amount of power , seeing a system where "connected" solar panels are rolled on a drum roll this could be fitted around the boom area to be deployed on halyard
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Old 07-03-2022, 12:21   #170
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Just following the tread to see how it goes.
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Old 07-03-2022, 23:09   #171
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

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Just following the tread to see how it goes.
It went. I sold it last year. The 7 year old GC-2 golf cart batteries held up fairly well even though for much of that time I would be at sea and had nobody I could really bother to check the batteries and maintain them. I think I got my money's worth out of the whole setup and learned quite a bit, too. My current boat has a reasonably healthy diesel engine, and not currently a candidate for EP. I will be installing a 7.5kw used Onan diesel genset soon, and it it possible but not likely that if the Westerbeast 4-107 main engine ever craps the bed, I MIGHT go diesel/electric but more likely if the Westerbeast can't be rebuilt, I will just drop in another one, or else a 4-108. They go pretty cheap on the used market. My current boat is more of a cruiser than a day sailer or marina hopper, so straight shore power charged battery driven electric isn't so practical. For one thing it is a gawdawful heavy boat to push around with batteries, and it would require a really big bank. I am not hankering to hang enough solar panels on Brute Force to really do a lot of good. Boats this size really don't do well on 48v either and so I would probably be looking at about a 400v system, and a motor and controller salvaged from an electric car.

In the smaller boat, the 48v system I cobbled together worked nicely, and I really appreciated the advantages of EP and learned to live with the disadvantages pretty well. 48v shore power charged EP works great for a boat under about 33' that doesn't rely on the prop very much. My in/out is pretty short, and really I just didn't do any real voyaging in the smaller boat. I could cross Lake Pontchartrain on electric-only if I kept it slow. I used the EP a lot when I would take the boat out fishing for trout along the causeway. Toward the end, the batteries were really showing their age, and I had bought the big boat and didn't need two boats. The buyer just wanted a floating condo and didn't mind that the batteries were not what they once were.

I had plans to build a canopy over the entire boat for mounting solar panels, to have a pure solar powered boat, but I never got around to it. Too many other projects on my plate.

Bottom line is a bank of GC-2 batts from Sams Club, a Motenergy motor, and a Kelly sine wave controller, made an excellent replacement for the Atomic 4 in my circumstances, and in the same situation, I would do it again, except I would probably go with a second bank to double the range, and I would go with belt drive rather than an enclosed gearbox for reduction. Total cost was around $2300 after selling the still running gasoline engine for $400. Everything has gone up since then, but diesel engines have, too, and diesel fuel.
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Old 13-05-2022, 19:55   #172
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Re: It Begins: Converting Cal 2-27 to Electric Propulsion!

Not certain where to post this, but here's a start:

https://youtu.be/MgJpMuRx_Jk

Anatomy of a Marine Turbo Diesel Engine

Diesel engine guru Ron Doerr takes us on a short tour of a marine diesel engine looking at its components and sharing some highlights on maintenance.

These are Detroit 692 TA turbo-aftercooled units, around 500 horsepower.

Ron is the principal of Diesels Plus in Florida and is an old school master mechanic. He knows diesels inside and out and is determinedly relentless at making them behave.

Ron has just finished up around a month of engine renewal including adding a host of new hoses, etc.

We’re indebted to Ron for his expertise.
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