Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 44 Old 01-15-2013 Thread Starter
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Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

Has anyone seen this done?

Its cheap, 12 volts, and draws about 40 amps. so if run wired to a diode then the house bank and powered up I speculate it could possibly pump out 10 amps. Total guess.

Might need a bigger prop, or one with a shallower angle, but I don't see why this couldn't work and if I'm right why more cheap sailors like myself haven't done it. It's even cheaper than solar if it works!

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post #2 of 44 Old 01-15-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

You might be thinking something like this? I see a lot of drag for a small sailboat...

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post #3 of 44 Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

I have no idea whether it would be practical, but I would guess your estimate of 10 amps is exceedingly optimistic...

I use a towed generator from Hamilton Ferris, a fantastic piece of gear. I'm always surprised more cruisers on passage don't use water generators, though they do inhibit your ability to fish...

However, as effective as they are, mine generally puts out roughly 1 amp per knot of boat speed, perhaps a bit more above 5-6 knots... I probably see spurts close to 10 amps periodically, but getting that sort of performance consistently out of a cobbled-together arrangement with a trolling motor seems unlikely to me...
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post #4 of 44 Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

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Originally Posted by guitarguy56 View Post
You might be thinking something like this? I see a lot of drag for a small sailboat...

Tow Generator at its Best - YouTube
Damn, that vid should be titled "Tow Generator at its WORST", that is one nasty looking set-up... The prop should not be breaking the surface like that, and whatever line they're using is totally unsuitable, becoming kinked and whipping around like that...
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

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Damn, that vid should be titled "Tow Generator at its WORST", that is one nasty looking set-up... The prop should not be breaking the surface like that, and whatever line they're using is totally unsuitable, becoming kinked and whipping around like that...
I guess the point would be not to tow it with a line, but rather to mount it directly off the transom using its existing shaft as a solid mount.
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

I know a local person that runs the class 40 dragon and there top shelf land/sea or whatever water generator does NOT become efficient until there above 8 knots at which point the output is massive

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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

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I know a local person that runs the class 40 dragon and there top shelf land/sea or whatever water generator does NOT become efficient until there above 8 knots at which point the output is massive
No doubt you're thinking of the hydrogenerators from Watt & Sea...

VERY pricey, the cruising version is still over $5K, if memory serves... "Call for Quote" is rarely an encouraging sign... (grin)

Watt and Sea Cruising Hydrogenerator

Bernard Stamm recently was forced to retire from the Vendee Globe, due to the damage/failure of his water generators... Every boat in the race is using them, that's how dependent these guys (and girls) have become upon them...
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

The problem is that using a motor as a generator is that the voltage output is dependent on RPM so below a certain RPM you will not get any charge. Which is why motor charging systems use an alternator, which provide a more consistent voltage.

And you would definitely need a bigger prop or at least a hi-thrust version.

A better system would be a prop driving an alternator but would be much more DIY.

A quick google will show you that it is not really feasible.
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

What is the drag these produce on speed? I have often looked at these and wanted more informatuion on them.

Jon could you expand on your experiences with the Ferris one, I have seen them.

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post #10 of 44 Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Hacking a trolling motor into a towed type generator

Get a used electric troller and try it. I think the Watt and Sea ones start at $3200 or thereabouts.

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