Join Date: Mar 2008
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Re-e-power can be a lesson for those wanting to do something like this.
I first saw the system partly installed in a homebuilt cat. The builder was very smart but not too comfortable with electrical issues. The ease with which such a system could be installed had been grossly over stated for someone with his background.
When I looked at the system I knew I could get it working pretty much as designed, but then I actually worked in a department that did prototyping and manufacturing of limited or one off systems. There was no way the average builder was going to put together that system without major time and money and even then I doubt they would get the performance or relaiblity they expected.
I recommended pulling out everything, ebay all of it and buying outboards. Eventually that happened but it took a while for the dream to die.
Here are some of the warning flags when I first looked at re-e-power.
Small business run by an Engineer.
This should ALWAYS be a huge warning to everyone other than Engineers. If you do not understand why, run do not walk from such companies. I’m not knocking Engineers but it is very rare indeed for a person to have the skill sets needed to develop such products and also have the skill sets needed to operate a business, interface with customer problems, handle the little annoying and endless details of getting and keeping such systems running, and handle all the ordering, shipping, money, taxes and other key issues of running a custom electrical drive business. These guys prototype, that’s what they like to do and do best. If they have a team then it can work. That way they can hand off some of that crap to someone like me.
Only prototypes used for display or example.
When I saw that no Re-E-Power system had been run for more than a few hours I knew this was not a kit. A proper kit has many installed examples, many commissioning reports, lots of data, and there should be one example of it being installed in your boat model. If you are the first person to install the “kit” in your boat then you need to be the type of person who can do it without a kit.
Lack of data on parts.
There was almost no data on the parts, no posted manuals, no information on how the system worked what the objectives were, in short a complete lack of key information needed to design and install the system.
If you are considering installing these types of “kits” you do not need the “kit”. You will be far ahead of the game to sit down design your own system, source your own parts and install it yourself. If that is too much then such a "kit" is not for you.
If Re-E-Power was properly run they would have had many more successful installations before advertising, and then taken on only a few customers until they had the bugs worked out.
One last thing.
Never buy the person. Everybody I talked to about this company, were sold on the “guy”. He was such a nice guy, such a smart guy. The guy is not going to push your boat through a swell. Sure that is how people buy everything yet it is a really bad way to buy a prototype kit.
In this case I easily sourced all the parts cheaper (of course he had no volume yet had to mark up) and got lots of needed data at the same time.
I hope everyone gets their money back and future people considering such systems learn from Re-E-Power.
Have faith that the oceans are going to rise and flood the world, that plague and pestilence brought on by Climate Change is going to punish us for not believing. Please do as they say it is our only hope. :P