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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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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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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It is illegal to sail in many harbours in major centres including Victoria B.C. which is worse really, as it's actually an International Airport with a different set of rules and 150 to 180 landings and takeoffs daily in the summer. So unless you're in a smaller locale you do need an engine of some type.
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am definitely not going engineless. i don't think the dinghy would work too well for getting me in and out of the slip. :)

i tried to search for both electric motor and electric propulsion but it just comes up with electrical problems for the most part. I will try google search on sailnet and see if I get some better results.

I joined the yahoo group and searched through that and found some good info. I am starting to get a decent handle on it and to sum up. If you want to DIY then you need a machine shop to fabricate the mounts and what not. Either that or you have one the outfits measure and make the parts for you. It is not an off the shelf thing. I guess that is sort of to be expected given the variety of motor mounts.
 

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Electric propulsion is still in its infancy - think Wright brothers and flying - everything is experimental at this stage.
Brian
 

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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.
He already "has one", and I'm simply suggesting he do through research and possibly avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. For example; You may have heard the argument about people who have scrapped perfectly good cars and bought a Prius in the name of ecology. Apparently, the Prius requires much more energy to be built than it will ever save, when compared to having driven the other car for it's full life cycle. I consider myself an environmentalist, but that just doesn't make sense, financially or ecologically! Back to boats.....they were also invented before electric power so I guess that argument goes to the old "why have a motor at all?" question. I have certainly pondered it more than once:rolleyes: I think almost every sailor on this forum would rather be sailing than motoring, but they have now invented these things called marina's. My neighbors seem to appreciate it when I keep my 5 ton boat under control, so a motor helps keep things civilized. Wait....I see the solution! I say - Eliminate All Marinas! Everybody goes on the hook! I'll contact my congressman immediately:p
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He already "has one", and I'm simply suggesting he do through research and possibly avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Quite true. I plan on nursing this engine along as much as I can. But I had concerns about it when I bought and it has not done anything to put those concerns to rest.

The reasons I like the idea of electric:
1) no warm up so instant on if something happens suddenly.
2) easier to understand. No heres the throttle heres the shifter and you have to throttle back to shift.
3) No teeth rattling deck vibrating diesel to get on the nerves.
4) Less maintenance. No oil to change/check, valves to adjust, lines to bleed. Adding a genny sort of tosses this one out.
5) having a generator to add motoring ability also allows for running other electronics. This is not terribly relevant atm as we are in a slip but the future is open.

The downsides:
1) very reduced motoring range.
2) early adopter syndrome makes maintenance/parts hard.
3) likely affects the resale of the boat.

I don't really consider the ecological impact as a decision factor. I don't have enough money to be able to make feel good decisions atm. If the price and functionality is close I may consider it.

Most of the motors/battery banks I have seen ended up being close to the same size/weight as a diesel and fuel tank. My tank is small so ymmv. Unless the tech changes I don't think space/weight savings are reasonable to expect.

I have yet to find a diesel generator that would be small enough to cram someplace and I don't like the idea of gas on the boat. But everything is a tradeoff. If it was free the government would tax it.
 

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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.
Currently, batteries are the biggest stumbling block for Electric Cars. According to Johan de Nysschen (Audi NA President) -- the Chevy Volt is a 'Car for Idiots'

U won't get much positive feedback from this forum . . .
True, similar threads on SailNet are full of preconceived ideas about electric power.

. . Since boats were sailed before the combustion engine was invented why do people insist U have one? . . .
"From the age of the Dinosaurs, [boats] have run on Gasoline." - Talking Heads, (Nothing But) Flowers

2) early adopter syndrome makes maintenance/parts hard [to procure].
This is not always the case. One of the 48 volt systems uses almost all "off the shelf" components. (there are two 3/8" plates and trim that is custom) All these components can be purchased over the internet from multiple vendors and weighing at most 20 pounds.

Maintenance is almost nil, if you can operate a grease gun, change a belt and check your batteries you're all set.
 

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Well, after you convert that Bahama so quickly and cheaply with off-the-shelf parts that really can be bought today, you take it out and put a thousand miles under the keel, and include a couple of 36-hour pushes against storm weather (follow the general ocean racing rules regarding engine power and capacity for storm use like the ORC) or just buck a 6-knot current for an hour or two then see if you can still motor home twenty more miles or so.

And when you've proven that the rest of us are all prejudiced conventionalists who don't understand wh electric is superior, you just come back and post the happy results you've had.

ROFLMAO, that day ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

The bottom line is, diesel-electric locomotives and cruiserlines and warships are all just peachy-keen. Electric dinks and launches are peachy-keen.

Conventional recreational sailboats in the 28-45 foot range? Mr. Tesla never got around to solving that one. The folks who have tried to market solutions, are mainly off the market again. That ought to tell you something about the engineering realities versus the dream. And dreams make lousy engines, unless you're a true Zen Master.
 

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IMHP most of this happens becasue people have and issue keeping a type of motor running which was worn-out or poorly installed or had poor care ?


SO what makes you think you will be able to deal with the issues on this type of motor any better

I deal with propane and electric forklifts with the newest state of the art one having a 48 volt battery system BUT running AC drive motors

The electric units have more issues than the propane and tend to cost more to repair
 

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Well, after you convert that Bahama so quickly and cheaply with off-the-shelf parts that really can be bought today, you take it out and put a thousand miles under the keel, and include a couple of 36-hour pushes against storm weather (follow the general ocean racing rules regarding engine power and capacity for storm use like the ORC) or just buck a 6-knot current for an hour or two then see if you can still motor home twenty more miles or so.
I stand corrected: I missed that part in the OP where he said he wanted to be able to motor for eight hours at five knots. (WL = 24'7")

ISAF OFFSHORE SPECIAL REGULATIONS - Extract for Race Category 0 Monohulls
3.28.3 A propulsion engine required by Special Regulations shall:-
a) provide a minimum speed in knots of (1.8 x square root of LWL in metres) or (square root of LWL in feet)

b) have a minimum amount of fuel which may be specified in the
Notice of Race but if not, shall be sufficient to be able to meet
charging requirements for the duration of the race and to motor at
the above minimum speed for at least 8 hours​
 
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