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post #11 of 85 Old 06-01-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
Jim:
I agree that just needing 15-20 minutes to leave the dock is a no brainer for electric propulsion. But, I disagree it's not viable for trips like the ICW. I cruise the same as when I had my diesel. But, when I do need to motor for an extended period of time having Electric Propulsion offers flexibility to operate in a hybrid mode for very little cost. I've done forty mile trips when there was no wind under electric propulsion alone. A couple of hours just using the battery and then firing up my Honda 2000 generator when needed:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: ELECTRO SAILING AROUND NEW YORK: PART ONE
The quietness of the operation of EP makes long motoring much more pleasant than the diesel days for me.
That's really cool. I need to check out your blog when I have a few minutes.

Just a couple of curiosity questions:
Did you mount your Honda 2000 on deck or below deck with an exhaust outlet?

Is the output of the Honda tied to the dockside inlet wiring so it just looks like shorepower to the battery charger?

Any issues finding a charger that can deliver power while there is a heavy load on the batteries or is that a non-issue?

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post #12 of 85 Old 06-01-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Batteries aren't cheap, and if you're using lead-acid...
He's using AGM's and I think anyone going electric would go AGM as well. They seem to have the best bang for the buck right now. Lithium's are still very expensive.

These new Carbon Foam batteries from Firefly may change the equation in a significant way if they turn out to be as good as they look at first blush.


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I'd make sure your seatow membership was active just in case.
That's good advice whatever motor you're running
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post #13 of 85 Old 06-01-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
That's really cool. I need to check out your blog when I have a few minutes.

1) Just a couple of curiosity questions:
Did you mount your Honda 2000 on deck or below deck with an exhaust outlet?

2) Is the output of the Honda tied to the dockside inlet wiring so it just looks like shorepower to the battery charger?

3) Any issues finding a charger that can deliver power while there is a heavy load on the batteries or is that a non-issue?
1) I operate it on deck usually in the aft port side of the cockpit with the exhaust pointing off the stern. If it looks like I am going to be using it for a while because of no wind. I will carry it forward with the exhaust off the leeward side. At that location you can barely hear it from the cockpit. I have also designed a wooden platform that will fit over my drop down ladder where I will operate it from in the future. That is still a work in progress. Since it is only 47 pounds it is east to move about.

2) I have an heavy duty extension cord that feeds my Zivan NG-1 charger/powersupply but, I also plug into my dockside power inlet at the same time. This provides the boat with 120 volts to operate my Engel refrigerators and also powers the Pro Mariner 12 volt battery charger for the house bank. Of course I also have solar panels (12 & 48 volt) and a wind turbine (48 volt) that also add energy into the mix.

3) As long as you are respectful of the max continuous load of the Honda you will have no problems. For example my 48 volt NG-1 charger for the propulsion bank maxes out at 900 watts (it will move my 16,000 lb boat at 3 knots at that wattage). The Honda is rated at 1500 watts continuous so I have watts to spare. So I often also am also able to charge my 12 volt house bank with the another charger using the Honda. But, there was one time when I had a situation which is described here:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: LESSON LEARNED: Fear and Panic in East Hampton
I had drained the house bank a little more than usual because I raised the anchor using the windlass under battery alone. Then I attempted to charge both the EP bank and House bank simultaneously I tripped the Honda breaker. Once I figured out what was happening I just used the Honda to just charge the EP bank and the problem was solved. 99% of the time I can charge both banks simultaneously.
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Last edited by mbianka; 06-01-2015 at 09:48 PM.
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post #14 of 85 Old 06-01-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Electrics have a lot of advantages over diesels. There really are only two big disadvantages.

1) Range is expensive. Batteries aren't cheap, and if you're using lead-acid, you're going to need to make sure you have the space and weight for them. The flip side of that is that electricity IS cheap, compared to gas or diesel. Also consider that lead-acids need to be replaced every 3-7 years, depending on use. Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries (LiFePo4) have a lot of advantages over lead-acid, such as lasting 10-15 years and being much lighter, but they currently cost a lot more.

2) Charge speed. Lead-acids in particular are VERY slow to charge. LiFePo4s can be charged a lot faster on shore power, but it still takes a few hours on a standard 30A 110v cable, assuming you have a powerful enough charger.

In short, it's much harder to take a long trip under power with an electric boat. If you're just sailing the bay, it'll be fine most of the time. I'd make sure your seatow membership was active just in case.
Not if you are setup to operate in a hybrid mode when needed. Yes you do have to keep an eye your amps. But, in hybrid mode you don't have to draw any amps from the batteries and can motor until you run out of gas.

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post #15 of 85 Old 06-02-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

Mbianka, could you explain specifically what you consider hybrid mode?
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Mbianka, could you explain specifically what you consider hybrid mode?
Thanks!
Sure I've got a 30 foot sailboat and that is how I prefer to propel it. But, there are times when the wind dies or never arrives. I went through a lot of what if scenarios back in 2007 when I first started thinking about the conversion to electric. My plan A was to see if I could also use a backup generator if I needed too. But, I did not want to install another diesel engine (marine generator) below decks if I could avoid it. I had enough squeezing my 6 foot 2 inch frame through the hatches to maintain the one I removed. That's when I hit on the idea of using a lightweight Honda 2000 not only to charge the battery bank(s) but, also to power the electric motor when needing to do extended motoring. I found my plan A worked very well. I can fire up the generator and motor until I run out of fuel without drawing down the battery bank. Because I am only using a 900 watt charger/power supply I actually operate the generator in ECO mode. One gallon of fuel actually lasts about four hours. Usually I will just use battery power to get out of the harbor but, after several hours if their are no winds or they die and it looks like it will be awhile before they return I just fire up the Honda and operate in "Hybrid mode" using the power from the generator to turn the electric motor preserving (and sometimes simultaneously charging the battery bank) when underway. Of course I can still tap into the battery bank if I want to use a few more amps anytime I want also. Also it is much quieter and there is less vibration than having the diesel under the cockpit. I hope that explains how I operate my system when the winds don't cooperate.

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post #17 of 85 Old 06-03-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

When you get to that point - down to the Keys, you might be passing right by us. Hopefully we will be in the water by then. In west central Florida - Spring Hill. Will put in at Hernando Beach. Have to fix our keel first, wondered why we kept finding water in the bilge on dry land and covered. Made an exploratory surgery and found this: see pic below
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post #18 of 85 Old 06-11-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Not if you are setup to operate in a hybrid mode when needed. Yes you do have to keep an eye your amps. But, in hybrid mode you don't have to draw any amps from the batteries and can motor until you run out of gas.
This is an excellent point. When I convert my boat to electric (Hunter 29.5) I will probably go with a much bigger charger so I can use more charger amps when running a small generator.

I hope when the time comes I can afford LiFePo4 batteries, both for the much higher charging capability and far lower weight. Current pricing is around $350 per kWh-ish. With any luck, that will start dropping again soon.
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post #19 of 85 Old 06-12-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

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Originally Posted by Captain Canuck View Post
This is an excellent point. When I convert my boat to electric (Hunter 29.5) I will probably go with a much bigger charger so I can use more charger amps when running a small generator.

I hope when the time comes I can afford LiFePo4 batteries, both for the much higher charging capability and far lower weight. Current pricing is around $350 per kWh-ish. With any luck, that will start dropping again soon.
Personally, I'm still not sold on LifePo4 technology. Expensive, sensitive and delivery times for replacement would be a problem. I'm sticking with AGM's as they are meeting my needs without having to be pampered too much.

Mike
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post #20 of 85 Old 06-12-2015
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Re: Installing an electric motor

I have a 50lb thrust trolling motor mounted to my outboard bracket. Does that count? lol.
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