Fitting the DC Electric motor to OCEAN STRIDER.
Decision time, our engine had a catastrophic failure and had to be replaced.
Was it electric or diesel for OCEAN STRIDER?
My thoughts were telling me, electric.
- Replace the Bukh engine with new. Cost, almost £13,000 with fitting.
- Replace with re-con engine and trust it was done correctly? Cost approximately £5,000. If it fails, I still have to remove and argue with the supplier.
- Just buy 2nd hand and hope. The parts are very expensive.
- Change the motor for different. Loads of hassle!!
- Fit electric!! Easy to fiT & cost of the kit was the same price as a new Bukh 24hp!!!
Our insurance accepted the claim. I asked would they contribute to an electric drive. It was a “YES”. Electric drive, it was!
I’d researched Fisher Panda, Lynch and various other marine electric drives.
Fisher Panda made brushless water-cooled motors, which sounded very good but were expensive. I didn’t want water cooled!
The Lynch motors were air cooled and had brushes. Lynch won the day.
I ordered all the parts: Lynch Marlin Drive, controller, hand control, batteries, coupling, shaft, batterie cable & lugs.
The drive was small and weighed about 18kg. I could lift it with 1 hand, which helped, get it on board.
I made a 316 stainless-steel bracket with adjusters, to fit straight onto the original engine beds and accept the new drive. The whole assembly was small and light, easy to fit.
Next was the control box, in the engine bay and hand control into the cock-pit.
Batteries next. It wasn’t easy fitting 8 big 200amp batteries. I made some hard board boxes, the same size as the batteries and fit all 8 into the lockers, around the mast. Perfect for stability and ballast. I made shelves at various levels, as low as possible. The batteries were in.
I connected the batteries, making 2 x 24v units and then connected the 2 x 24v units together, making a 48v DC supply.
Time to connect everything. I used 70mm tinned battery cable for all main connections. I didn’t want any problems down the road.
I switches to ON and pushed the hand control forward. Power was instant, I was in business.
I ran OCEAN STRIDER in the marina and was impressed. She was quiet, clean running, almost no vibration and lots of power.
Fitting and using energy supplies.We’re getting better at saving energy all the time.
Generating power for the drive.Wind, solar, self generation and shore power.
A 316 stainless steel frame was made, to fit 4 x 100w solar panels and a canopy.
The panels are connected to an all in one, 48v/3000w inverter/charger/solar controller. It works well.
A wind generator was needed. The Rutland 1200/48v Wind Turbine would be perfect and the next item to be fitted.
The drive itself, produces charge under sail, 5 knots and more is good. Ocean Strider will sail at 5-7 knots on a good day.
It’s taken a while to digest all the information and work out what works best for our trip. We now start sailing ASAP, using as little power as possible. The longer the trip under sail the better for re-charging the batteries.
I fitted a generator for emergency back up. Its definitely not my 1st choice but all I could afford at the time. It works well, but does get a bit uncomfortable in the cock-pit.
A water-cooled diesel generator with low voltage auto switch would make this system a lot better.
Disadvantages of a diesel engine are:
- Frequent service intervals and cost, disposing of oil and filters.
- Water cooling system, at risk of blockage.
- 12 or more services to every 1 on a DC-drive.
- Cost of fuel and could be contaminated, stalling the engine.
- More to go wrong on a diesel engine.
- Smell and environmental issues caused by diesel.
- You can’t produce fuel for a diesel engine.
Disadvantages of DC drives:
- A DC drive does not have the range of a diesel engine.