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  #111  
Old 02-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klem View Post
I have to agree with Sailingdog about electric being harder to diagnose. Like him, I am an engineer and I have a lot of experience in working on electric drive systems. With a diesel, most diagnosis is done by sight (looking at exhaust), sound, and smell. On an electric, the most common part to fail is the controller which has a couple of complex circuit boards which are extremely hard to diagnose without a wiring diagram, a calculator and lots of patience. If you carried a second controller that you could swap in, it might not be hard but controllers really are not field serviceable.
Really? Of course you have a second controller, just as you have a second injector or ECU and just like a failed injector you can bypass the controller if needed.

Of course it starts at design, if you want a complex system that gives you the most power then yes it can be tricky to bypass but the same is true for a modern diesel. If you cannot troubleshoot a motor controller you will not be able to troubleshoot an ECU. Apples and apples please.
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  #112  
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The funny part of this is the crowd that says a diesel is more complex than an electric setup,noisy,more maintenance but they will have one to charge the batteries.People are mixing up electric motors and battery powered electric motors.Trains,large ships and such are apples to oranges in this discussion,it just adds to confuse the issue of running a battery powered electric motor.I have a 550 pound 40 hp electric motor in my shop to convert my single phase incoming power to run 3 phase equipment.I`m all for electric motors when the power source is practical,my power comes 50 miles away and the smokestack isn`t in my yard.Anyone here like to use a battery powered stick welder and see the amount of battery that is required to run a 180 amp bead or throw a quart of diesel in the engine powered welder and see what that will do.I don`t even need to calculate anything,someone with a minimal amount of practical working experience already knows the scoop.
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  #113  
Old 02-06-2010
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I'd point out that the ICE, especially a small boat diesel, is actually a very primitive and simple beastie. Almost all of the technology in it is "caveman" technology and while mechanically somewhat complex, it is actually very easy to maintain, troubleshoot and repair, using a relatively simple tool kit.

The electronic components of an electric drive system are going to be more complicated, since you'll need some sort of motor controller to handle the throttle function on all but the most basic system. These electronics are far more prone to failure in the wet, salt-laden environment than is a marine diesel engine without electronic fuel injection. Such a marine diesel engine, with a snorkel or elevated air intake, can actually run while partially submersed... which is not the case with the electric drive system components as a rule.

Troubleshooting complex electronics aboard a small, wet, sailboat is going to be far more difficult than troubleshooting a diesel in the same conditions. Troubleshooting the complex electronics of the motor controller and any regenerative charging system is going to be beyond that of most sailors I know—where troubleshooting a diesel is not. Also, the spares for a diesel system are far less likely to become damaged prior to them being required, since they are generally far more rugged than the backup electronics needed for repairing a motor controller would be.

This doesn't even begin to address the issues about run-time capacity and the inability of an all-electric system with no diesel genset to recharge the system properly so that the batteries don't die from neglect. It is very easy to deeply discharge batteries using an electric drive setup, and much more difficult to keep the batteries properly charged if you are to avoid using and having a diesel genset aboard. If you're not going to avoid having and using a diesel genset, why add all the complexity of the electric drive system to the boat—since operating and maintaining the diesel genset requires all the skills of running an inboard diesel.

Again, the requirements for a cruising boat and a daysailer are very different. I am addressing the viability of electric drive systems on a cruising boat specifically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Architeuthis View Post
.

Not you, you but you people who think Electric drive are complex. Recall your motor class, what did you need to get the darn thing turning, almost nothing. People talk about complex control systems but recall the one you built, how many moving parts did it have? You can count them on one hand. You can make a control for a basic system with little more than a few light bulbs and in a pinch you do not need even that.

How many moving parts in a basic ICE? You see my point.
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  #114  
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As already mentioned cruising boats do not need engines to begin with as they are so rarely in harbor. Motorsailors are a different breed and that is what most of us have and use but first:

You are still comparing the "simple" diesel to some complex AC Electric drive. When you do that you can get it to appear that the electric drive is less reliable (not true) but even that is due to people knowing ICE and not E=IR.

The "simple" diesel is a very complex machine, with hundreds of moving parts.

A simple electric drive has less than a dozen moving parts, if we include the commutator.

When it comes to complex the diesel is going to lose every comparison to an electric motor because almost all of them have an electric motor to start. When you think about it the diesel is no more reliable than an electric motor because it depends on one to start it's even more complex process.

I would also take issue with the idea that troubleshooting an AC drive controller is too difficult for the average sailor. Actually no I don't if that average sailor is not able to troubleshoot a diesel system, then it is too much but if they can do that they can certianly deal with an AC controller.

The reason for that is they simiply unplug it and plug in the spare.

I also wonder why you think these systems have to be so fragile. I suspect that is due to the ICE not I=IR issue I referred to. If you were more familiar with these devices you would know that they are much more rugged than any diesel engine.

It takes little effort, yes some but not much, from the design stage, to make the system waterproof and rugged. Flood the engine room of a diesel and it will take more than just draining the water to get the engine to run. A properly designed and installed electric drive system could just continue to run while under water, even saltwater if one wishes.

The reason they don't is in part that is not needed, people are not familiar enough with the systems and the ones doing it now are always picking the cheapest solution and taking way too many short cuts.

As you and I have pointed out, such systems often die of neglect, which IMO is a design flaw. A really good system needs little mtce and if totally ignored would protect the batteries from damage.

Since people are putting it on the table I guess I'll point out that I have troubleshot complex electronic and computer circuits in conditions that make the engine bay of my boat look warm dry and comfy. In at least one case it was a drive controller for a motor, mind you a bit bigger than our sailboats could use but still actual experience.

In another case our in house designed and built control board had to be installed in very wet conditions in a water control structure. Being 100ft under water the concrete was constantly wet and water rained continuously from the ceiling. If the pumps shut off the shaft would flood and it had been flooded before. The electronics showed up in a normal metal box, a quick WTF resulted in a really nice fix. Waterproof fittings were installed on a pelican type case and the board installed in the case on springs for shock protection (they were already in the case so why not).

Was it really waterproof? An on site test had the case under water for a day and not a drop got by the connectors or seals. We can make these systems rugged enough to drop to the bottom of the ocean or sit on the surface of the moon, something a diesel cannot claim.

As to why someone would want a diesel electric drive? For the same reason these are the most common drives on most large boats. They supply lots of electrical power for onboard systems, and are the most fuel efficient when a variable speed drive system is needed.

And they are as reliable as you want, or rather are willing to pay. I don't have one on my boat because they are expensive to set up and as this thread shows lowers the value of the boat because people do not understand them.
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  #115  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dman View Post
The funny part of this is the crowd that says a diesel is more complex than an electric setup,noisy,more maintenance but they will have one to charge the batteries.People are mixing up electric motors and battery powered electric motors.Trains,large ships and such are apples to oranges in this discussion,it just adds to confuse the issue of running a battery powered electric motor.....
There are multiple issues in this thread but it shouldn't be confusing.

The pure electric drive system would work very well for a cruising or passagemaking boat. There is easily enough room in your average passagemaker for enough batteries to get you in and out of even large harbors, I think that has been shown in this thread. For larger harbors they would go old school and get a tow in and out.

These pure electric systems can be very simple and very cheap which is why they were the first drive systems for cars. I'd recommend the exact same controller too. Very cheap, rugged, and easy to fix.

Those wanting to motorsail as it appears you do, and I certianly want that, cannot use the pure electric system, hence the diesel electric drive issue.

Those wanting to split the difference can do so with enough batteries, solar panels, water generators, wind generators and so on.

Of course the cheapest system is an ICE drive and maybe a gas generator to charge the batteries at anchor so that is my choice.

I know my Dad would have none of this discussion. He thinks that real sailboats do not have engines. LOL
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  #116  
Old 02-07-2010
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In the nicest way your writing a popular science article of the future on what could be and ignoring the electric products on the market problems with cost and lack of success.


There is a full line of Torqeedo outboards

Battery supply:
The Cruise 2.0 R requires a abttery voltage of 24 V, the Cruise 4.0 R requires 48 V. We recommend a battery supply of batteries with at least 180 Ah capacitiy each. Lead-based batteries are not resistant to high current, i.e. the capacities indicated on the casing are not available when the batteries are to be fully discharged in a short time (e.g. 1 or 2 hours). For this reason, you should allow for sufficient reserves. Alternatively, the Cruise 2.0 R can also be run with at least one lithium-manganese battery from the Torqeedo Power series. The Cruise 4.0 R can be run with two batteries from the Torqeedo Power series
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  #117  
Old 02-08-2010
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We are not cruising yet... But hopefully very soon. Some real numbers on a pretty simple system: a 60VDC electric outboard from Ray Electric rated at 5HP (electric) pushes a 35' Ericson (13000#) at 3kn in a protected calm harbor at 20amps. increasing speed to 4kn increases load to 35-40amps. Hull speed (6.5kn) 'can' be reached (did twice in testing ) at 120amps. Storage system is 10 Trojan L16HC 6VDC 415AH batteries. The batteries are amidships in the bilge adding 1000# to the ballast. These are real world figures. Theoretically, the range is 10 hours to 50% DOD at 3kn: 30 miles. I have never run even close to that far. The longest motor was back from the yard to the slip after having the mast pulled for refit, about 6 miles. I think the batteries didn't even realize they had been used! The beauty of this setup for cruising is the ability to switch the bank to a 12VDC house bank of over 2000AH! Keeps the beer cold while waiting for the sun to hit the solar panels. (while configured for 60V, two smaller 12V batteries power house and lighting needs) Right now, the panels are two BP 85W through a Blue Sky MPPT controller. Before leaving for a circumnavigation, we will add one more panel and an Aquagen tow-behind generator (4A @ 5kn 24 hours/day while sailing).
For all the naysayers: I understand this setup will not power me off a lee shore, cross the doldrums, outrun a storm, etc. What it will allow is easier in/out of crowded harbors, slips, and anchorages.
This type of drive system is not for the mass public (yet!). But even with todays battery technology it is possible given a few tradeoffs.
The cost: probably about the same as a replacement of the old A4 with a new Universal diesel.
Who'd a thunk a discussion on electric drive could get as contentious as asking what anchor to use??
Cool, just figured out who & where you are; I'm on the gangway next to you, come on over & check it out!
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  #118  
Old 02-08-2010
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braidmike,

Thanks for those numbers. As would be expected, your range is significantly better at much lower speeds. The system that I spec'ed earlier in this thread was for someone who wanted the same speed performance as a diesel and did not want to go as slow as you are willing to. I would be interested to hear how well you can keep up with your demand on your batteries. A quick estimation gets me to 100 full sun hours on your solar array to go from no charge to full charge (I am ignoring the towed generator and house loads). Around here, even in the summer you are lucky to average 6 sun hours a day but in the tropics, you might well be able to get 10-12 (guessing) on the best days. It will be interesting to hear whether you can keep your draw on your batteries low enough for this to keep up.

I think the most important part of your post is that you understand the weaknesses of your system and know what its role is. You clearly are not looking for a system that can run at full power for many hours in rough conditions, you have other ways of dealing with that. I think that a lot of the debate in this thread is with regards to what the system should be capable of doing and since you are not looking for a system for storm conditions or prolonged calms, you seem to have a well designed one for your use.

Good luck and thanks for the real world numbers.
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  #119  
Old 04-02-2010
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help with electric motors

I am very interested in installing a electric motor in my S2 9.2C, however I sail on the west coast of Florida and from all I have read the electric motor would not be a good ideal for anything but as lake. I could use all the help you have to offer.
Thanks
Henry
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  #120  
Old 04-02-2010
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The electric option works if you have shorepower at your dock for recharging and don't power excessively. For longer trips away from shorepower charging it isn't so successful.
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