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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 02-17-2010
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Ultrasonic Hull Protections

My friendly boat guy has started recommending products like Hull Guard (HullGuard: Ultrasonic Algae & Barnacle Protection) as an environmentally sound way of keeping the hull clean of marine life.

It will likely cost more than 3 seasons worth of paint, but the promise is that it doesn't have any of the poisonous leaching of regular bottom paint, and keeps the bottom clean.

Any thoughts on it; has anyone used it?
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Old 02-17-2010
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IMHO, it's snake oil, much like the Algae-X device... lots of claims, but no real substantive data to back up their claims.
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Old 02-17-2010
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Ask your friendly boat guy if he will guarantee, in writing, to clean your hull once a month every month for the next five years, FREE, if that ultrasonic gizmo doesn't work.

I'll bet he won't, because if they worked as claimed--they'd have spread like wildfire by now.
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Old 02-18-2010
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A member of my sailing club has had a similar product installed for the past several years and claims that not only has it kept her boat clean of slim and barnacles, it has kept the pilings next to her boat similarly free. She has not painted her boat's bottom in many years. She got this device from a man who was developing it in Florida. airly recently, I saw a similar device made in England. The diference between these devices seem to be that my fellow club member's is aalog and the newer device is digital. I don't understand why it works but it does seem to work. The biggest problem with this new device appears to be not how it functions but how it has been brought to market. It doesn't look like it has been capitalized enough to make some extensive tests and promotions. I sent an e-mail to the company offering to test it in my boat here in the States but unfortunately never got a response. :-( There are too many other worthy projects on my boat for me to spend quite so many boat bucks on that item.
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Old 02-18-2010
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And, the large shipping companies would all be using them... do you know how much money a large shipping company would save if it didn't have to haul its boats out to re-paint the bottoms on a regular basis???

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Ask your friendly boat guy if he will guarantee, in writing, to clean your hull once a month every month for the next five years, FREE, if that ultrasonic gizmo doesn't work.

I'll bet he won't, because if they worked as claimed--they'd have spread like wildfire by now.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 02-25-2010
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Ultrasonic energy can be used to control algae, the problem is the application of the ultrasound at sufficient power to a wide variety of hull compositions and water conditions.

The original researchers used 120 watts of ultrasonic power at 28 kHz and killed blue-green algae in test tubes. This is a long, long, way from killing algae around a 40 foot hull in the soup of western lake Erie on a hot day.

The propagation of the ultrasound is greatly affected by the material, thickness, and temperature of the hull. The temperature and suspended air in the water has a big effect.

The tuning (to the most efficient frequency) is critical. The cited company says their device "auto-tunes", but I'm not sure how that works - it sounds like magic to me.

If ultrasound were a sure-fire way of killing algae, nobody would ever see marine growth on the face of their depth sounder transducer - that is propagating ultrasound 100 feet or more at 50 kHz - pretty powerful - so why does algae grow right on the face (at least it does on mine). I know the sounder isn't on all the time, but in the initial research the powerful ultrasonic energy killed the algae, collapsed the algae's vacuuols, and caused to algae to detach and settle.

Oh, and about the toxic nature of bottom paint; unless it is ablative, the heavy metal doesn't enter the water.

Oh, and when you kill algae, which is what this system does (it doesn't just scare them away) the algae release iodine in significant quantities into the water. I think Iodine is toxic.

It sounds like these are expensive! If you want to make your own cheap version to try, go buy a medical cell disrupter on ebay: I got one for $150 that runs at 20kHz and 200W from 120VAC. Glue the transducer to the bottom and see what happens.

Anyhow, it's a good idea, but the practical application is the challenge.

Best Regards,

e

.::.
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Old 02-25-2010
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Hi guys,i am going to install ultrasonic antifouling on my IP350 in april when she is lifted for maintenance.I will be sure to let you know the result.Remember-True Knowledge is the product of direct experience.(Mao Tse Tung).
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Wow, it's so interesting to see a Mao quote. My favorite is "Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy." Mao was probably busy exterminating millions of his own countrymen and never heard the antithesis of your quote, "you don't have to be a chicken to know about eggs".

Best Regards,

e

.::.
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Old 02-25-2010
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I wish I had a dollar for every thread I'd read about ultrasonic anti fouling. It's always, "I know someone who's neighbor had a friend who's brother's boss used it and it worked great!" Funny how there's never any first-hand anecdotes.
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Old 02-26-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
And, the large shipping companies would all be using them... do you know how much money a large shipping company would save if it didn't have to haul its boats out to re-paint the bottoms on a regular basis???
As a pro-seamen to be, i must say that 'large' shipping companies paint their ships also as a first layer of defense for corrosion (together wit zincs and ICCP).

Yes indeed they would save a lot of money.

From a scientifical POV i don't doubt that a certain frequency (ultrasonic) can stop biofouling in the water.

It isn't widespread because most sailors dont wish to spend a lot of money on unproven techniques (and there right).
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