Switched to Electric

Kolibri

Member
484
574
Haleiwa, HI
I recently had the original Volvo MD7A removed from my 1981 Morris Annie and replaced with an ElectricYachts Quiet Torque 10 Electric Motor. The new motor is powered by 12 Battle Born 12V, 100 Ahr batteries wired in series / parallel to result in a 48V, 300 Ahr system. Battery charging is done via 120V shore power, motor regeneration while under sail, and soon to be added solar panels.

I kept the two previous batteries (1 house & 1 starter), Optima, 12V, 50 Ahr, AGMs. Each is charged by a dedicated 50W solar panel and Victron MPPT charge controller. These solar panels are mounted on the stern rail. The 12V system is currently isolated from the 48V system. I may add a DC-DC converter down the road, but don't see any reason to do so at this point.

I got a quote to get a new Volvo D1-20 before making my final decision. Total price for the Volvo installed was about the same total cost as going electric +/- $1000. Going electric came in at ~$22K. I did have some additional work done by the shipwright (new cabin heater, sanitation hoses, and stuff that got discovered as "needed to be fixed" as we pulled things apart).

Since people will want to know these details here weights. It's not everything, but the rest of the stuff is pretty much a wash with the exception of the old transmission we pulled out. That thing was a pig.
Total weight of the MD7A (motor, tank, fuel) = 516 lbs
Total weight of D1-20 (motor, tank, fuel) = 436 lbs
Total weight of QT10 (motor, batteries, charger) = 452 lbs

All of the work was done at the Berkeley Marine Center by Sean Shigley of Shigley Shipwrights. He's done a ton of these swaps to electric and really knows his stuff. Great guy to work with and very reasonably priced.

Here are some photos:
Old motor - loud, vibrates a lot, and smells like Mordor. Also was getting really flakey.

engine-jpg.202107



New engine compartment

motor_compartment-jpg.202108



Bus bars and 3 batteries.

bus_bars-jpg.202109



Cabin sole battery bank. These sit where the old fuel tank used to sit. The 3rd battery bank is on a shelf behind the motor & below the cockpit sole. The shelf was already there and the previous owner had installed ~150 lbs of lead ballast for some reason. Chuck Paine has no knowledge of why that was done.

sole_batts-jpg.202110



Shore power charge controller. Not show, but there is plenty of room for a solar panel boost MPPT charge controller on this surface.

batt_charger-jpg.202111



Power control panels. 48V motor on/off is the red dial at the top left. Shore power charing on/off is the breaker on the far right.

power_control-jpg.202112



House batteries, Victron MPPT charge controllers, and 15A breakers beneath the quarter berth.

house_batts-jpg.202113



Motor throttle located in the same spot as the old one. The motor display is also located in the same spot as the old one, but I just included a very low res factory photo because I forgot to shoot one. The display is actually quite good and easy to read.

throttle-jpg.202114

controller-png.202115

 

TwoLegged

Super Anarchist
5,891
2,254
Looks like a very clean and tidy installation.

But I am surprised by the location of the batteries.   What happens if you collect a lot of water in the bilge, and your batteries get submerged?

 
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Bull City

A fine fellow
7,185
2,819
North Carolina
@Kolibri That really looks nice, and almost the same weight! How would you compare the range, i.e. full fuel tank vs. fully charged battery.

On my H-Boat, the hardware (pod drive, battery, charger, throttle) was about $5300, and the install about $6400 = $11,700. No more fuel expense or oil changes.

 

Kolibri

Member
484
574
Haleiwa, HI
Looks like a very clean and tidy installation.

But I am surprised by the location of the batteries.   What happens if you collect a lot of water in the bilge, and your batteries get submerged?
Good observation. Fortunately Kolibri has a very deep bilge and the batteries are pretty tight against the cabin sole. That set of 4 batteries isn't much lower than the one in front of the motor. I also added second electric bilge pump and have the manual back up.

 

Kolibri

Member
484
574
Haleiwa, HI
@Kolibri That really looks nice, and almost the same weight! How would you compare the range, i.e. full fuel tank vs. fully charged battery.

On my H-Boat, the hardware (pod drive, battery, charger, throttle) was about $5300, and the install about $6400 = $11,700. No more fuel expense or oil changes.
No idea what the true range of 17gal of diesel is with a MD7A, but I'm sure it's much better than my electric setup...unless the MD7A starts to act up which it was doing more and more often. Sure a new Volvo would be more reliable, but it would still stink and vibrate a lot.

On the electric front, I have the engineer's estimates which I've already found to be extremely conservative. Range depends on how fast your are motoring. 2kts gets you 100nm and 4kts gets you 22nm based on his calculations. He did admit that he uses a very healthy margin of safety in those numbers and from the few tests I've done I agree. I'm estimating I could do 1.5 to 2.0 times those ranges at the given speeds. I haven't had time to play with the regen feature yet. Wind has been very light recently. I'll post info on that feature when I get time to test it out.

Yeah...I know these ranges might seem short to many, but I'm the kind of sailor who rarely uses the motor. I use it to get in and out of the marina. My daughter and I did motor sail from Berkeley to Redwood City because the winds were light and we wanted to get past the San Mateo bridge fore the tide turned. Ran the motor between 800 and 1200 rpm depending on the wind for the ~24.5nm trip. Boat speed was always between 4.6kt and 6.5kts per GPS with the boost of the incoming tide. Final battery state of charge was ~55% with no solar panel assist. Will be adding ~300W of solar soon for the 48V system.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
The installation is clean and beautiful. I'd like to see some covers on those battery interconnections on the bank in the bilge where the fuel tank used to be.

A conductive layer of dust and grit can build up down there.  It's not that it's a short circuit (fire) risk, it's more that it'll lead to corrosion and also provides a path for self-discharging. If I could get 50nm at 3-4 knots, I'd be happy. Sounds like you have about that.

The four words in the English language that make me the most angry are: "You can't do that."

  • People told me that when I drove an electrified VW Beetle to work for over 2 years. (Way before Tesla ever existed)
  • People said that when I said I'd live aboard my boat while I was getting divorced.
  • People said that when I installed a Tesla array and Powerwall at my house.
  • People said that when I said I was sailing to Maine, alone. (Dirt People, not any sailors here)

I don't know when we became the United States of "You Can't Do That" but fuck those people. It's killing us.

 

Kolibri

Member
484
574
Haleiwa, HI
A conductive layer of dust and grit can build up down there.  It's not that it's a short circuit (fire) risk, it's more that it'll lead to corrosion and also provides a path for self-discharging. If I could get 50nm at 3-4 knots, I'd be happy. Sounds like you have about that.
Good observation. They can be easily cleaned as is, but covering them is probably the best approach. Just when I thought my "to do list" was getting shorter :)

50nm at 3-4 kts is about what I'm estimating based on the ElectricYacht engineer's conservative calculations and my limited testing. I'll get a better feel over the next few months with the added twist of 330 to 340W of new solar panels. Top of the list for this weekend is detailed measurements to figure which flexible panel option I want to use. 3 x 110W or 2 x 170W.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
I'd like to hear a little more about that.
Not much to tell.

I bought a gutted, '76 VW Beetle. I had racks welded up to hold sixteen, 8v golf cart batteries. Yes, 16. Probably the heaviest Bug known to man. 6 in the frunk, 6 in the parcel area behind the back seat and 4 more creatively nestled around the 8" brushed DC electric motor. A DC-DC stepdown converter provided power for the lights, horn, signals and wipers. It was better than a dedicated 12v battery that would droop over time. This kept the headlights bright and the wipers snappy.

I used a beefy Curtis electric fork truck controller and ran the rheostat to the "go-pedal" to control the motor.  I added a 110v 15 amp Zivan onboard battery charger.  Why not 220? Because in those days, a 15 amp outlet was literally everywhere but 220v outlets were only at home.  Charging was slow but charging points were plentiful.

The Metro train parking garage had 15 amp outlets for maintenance on every level. I'd park in front of one and plug in to charge every day. Before any of you cocksuckers give me grief about "stealing electricity" I contacted the station manager who referred me to the Parking Authority who gave me permission.

8v batteries were a compromise between 6v and 12v.  6v batteries would give me a very long range but a top speed of only about 50 mph. 12v batteries would spin me up to 75 mph but I'd only have a range of about 20 miles. 8v batteries spooled me up to 65mph with a range of 40 miles in the summer and 30 miles in the depth of winter. The traction pack was 128 volts, nominal and 145 actual volts when fully charged.

Just like Tesla does, I wired up a little ceramic space heater to pre-warm the cabin and warm up the batteries during the winter. Unlike Tesla, I had no heat while in motion but my commute was only 17 miles (one way).

My home was strategically located so that little car satisfied 95% of my driving needs. Baltimore, DC, Annapolis were all in easy one-charge reach. Just like Tesla, I learned to use Google Maps to map out the routes and hills to make sure I never ran out of juice. It still had all the seats so I loaded up that car with 4 people, no problem. XM satellite radio, too.

That bitch was so heavy that I had to plan my braking evolutions like, a day in advance. I never did get around to upgrading the drum brakes to discs.

Electric_Beetle.jpg

Electric_Beetle_Charging.jpg

Electric_Beetle_Motor.jpg

 
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Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
Looking back, I'm certain that this car was dangerous. Like, "Ford Pinto" dangerous.  I built it because gasoline in Maryland was nearly $5/gallon and I was mad as hell. People said "you can't do that" which made me even angrier.  After about 9 months of driving it, my co-workers were asking me "so... maybe you can help me make one?"

CNN tried to interview me 4 times. I declined.

I owned a lot of weird shit in my younger days. I owned and restored a DeLorean and a Bradley GT II, which is a kit car based on a VW Beetle chassis. That car was absolutely dangerous by today's standards. The Bradley had a souped up Beetle engine with dual carbs. I had it up well over 100 mph one day and it still had more to give. I never did have the balls to max it out. I sold the Bradley to a guy who... guess what? Converted it to electric drive.  My kids called it "The Glittering Brown Turd."

Brad_Delorean.jpg

 

Kolibri

Member
484
574
Haleiwa, HI
In high school one of my friends moms had a DeLorean. We made a "flux capacitor" powered by a AA battery pack and mounted it in the same location as in Back to the Future. It took her a few days to notice it. When she finally did she couldn't stop laughing about it for a few weeks. We thought about adding a "Mr Fusion" after that, but never got around to it.

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,185
2,819
North Carolina
The Metro train parking garage had 15 amp outlets for maintenance on every level. I'd park in front of one and plug in to charge every day. Before any of you cocksuckers give me grief about "stealing electricity" I contacted the station manager who referred me to the Parking Authority who gave me permission.
It's the least you were entitled to since you were reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, IMO. I am really impressed with what you did.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
In high school one of my friends moms had a DeLorean. We made a "flux capacitor" powered by a AA battery pack and mounted it in the same location as in Back to the Future. It took her a few days to notice it. When she finally did she couldn't stop laughing about it for a few weeks. We thought about adding a "Mr Fusion" after that, but never got around to it.
Oh yes,  I made one. I'd install it for Halloween. 

 

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