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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-02-2009
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Electric drive

I am looking for info on electric drives for sailboats. I have found some projects via google but details are a bit thin. Does anyone have any good links or info?

I don't really want to go the 144v route because that much voltage scares the jeebers out of me with that kind of current.

I have found lots of places that sell the motor,controller kits but then its kind of left up to you to get it geared and mounted.
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Old 09-02-2009
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the real problem with them is the size of the battery bank to run them. but i think a system with a smaller bank, basicly enough for 1 hour of running with a large diesel genny to provide power for longer motoring times would make sense. it does not gain much besides the weight of the bank. you would still have a large bank for general use and a genny for 110v stuff like AC
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Old 09-02-2009
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Did you already look at these ? They are both 36-48 volts, the second one attaches to existing driveshaft, supposedly while you are still in the water.
RE-E-POWER- Components
www.solidnav.com/faqs.htm
And this one does installs in California
http://www.abovethewaterline.net/
Good Luck.
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Old 09-02-2009
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This site was recommended to me recently, however I have not looked though it yet, so can not vouch for its contents yet.

Electric Yacht - Electric Yachts: Battery powered sailboat auxiliary motors that are CLEAN . GREEN . QUIET
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Old 09-02-2009
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Sunny, do you want to go sailing? Or become an experimenter?

There really are no "production" or "consumer market" electric drives for sailboats anywhere near you size range now. There are a couple of companies hawking goods, a couple with a couple of dozen sales or installations in various stages of use, but frankly?

Any money you put into electric propulsion will be thrown out, unless you spend enough time and money to build something so personal it keeps you happy forever and you never need to sell the boat and try to recoup that investment.

Too many physical problems, inlcuding battery technology, to be practical on small craft right now. Unless you're powering a dock launch and plan to hook it up to recharge from shore power every night.
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I do like to experiment and play with things. I am really only in the info gathering stages at the moment. My diesel has started to put out more smoke and shake a lot. I am hoping I can nurse it along for another year or two but I don't really know.

It does not make a lot of sense to put a 10k diesel into a 9k boat. Right now an hour of motor time would work ok and I have shore power to charge it. In the future that may not be sufficient. But I at least need to look into my options so when the diesel does belch out its last gasp of black smoke I am not scrambling to find a new power plant.

I have even considered hanging an outboard off the back. It would look silly but i would have the whole engine compartment to store beer.
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Old 09-02-2009
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I was looking at a 28 Islander that had an electric drive... it was the prototype the guys selling the boat were the engineers behind it. I searched this forum and some others and decided to pass. Until new battery technology comes along it's just not worth it. You either end up with too many batteries, or only 1hr or so of power. I'm too lazy to search for it, but basically the amount of energy in 10 gallons of gas or diesel is the equivalent of like 10 tons of battery (I know that's an exaggeration, but it's a significant amount). I want my motor available if the wind dies, or in an emergency situation, and there's just no comparison.

I'd go with the outboard.
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Old 09-02-2009
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I'd fix the diesel or look for a rebuilt one to swap out at a reasonable price. I don't think electric is a good choice (yet) as others have said in earlier posts. Even if it is viable, while it would be great for someone who only daysails and plugs in at night, longer trips with anchoring out would a problem. An outboard is also a lousy idea for a 30' sailboat in my opinion - if it's rough out the prop will be out of the water half the time.
Brian
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Old 09-02-2009
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I assume you searched this forum for electric motors before posting, but if not, do so. I recently posted a question about a dock mate of mine who went electric. I think it can be tricky. Have you had a mechanic look at your diesel? They are pretty hard to kill! I'm as "green" as the next guy, but replacing a diesel with a bank of batteries for an auxiliary motor, may not be so "green" if it can be avoided.
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U won't get much positive feedback from this forum, go to Yahoo groups Electric boat for people that are into the concept. If all U want it 4 is leaving & entering the dock it is viable. Look at a 48 volt system like the one Mars Electric sells. Since boats were sailed before the combustion engine was invented why do people insist U have one? There is a lot of horsepower in your sails.
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