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Thread: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

  1. #1
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    Default Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    When last we left this saga, it was October of 2018 and I was crying the blues that my attempt at re-powering my fantail launch had been an utter failure.

    A brief recap: When first I built the boat, I powered it with the components of an old 80 lb. thrust trolling motor that had been given to me. It worked surprising well, driving the boat to 5.4 mph at full speed (hull speed is 6 mph). This motor died (or at least reverse gear did) and I had to replace it. I choose a 160 lb. thrust trolling motor and for a variety of reasons, it only drove the boat to 4.8 mph at full speed and added lots of vibration. I went with the cheaper trolling motor as opposed to regular electric motor for economic reasons. Lesson learned: You can't be cheap if you want good results. I'll sell the damned useless thing on craigslist.

    I spent the winter researching electric drives for boats. Rueben Smith of Tumblehome Boatshop, a high end wooden boat restorer in the Adirondacks, was good enough to spend a few hours with me going over the options for electric drive. He's been installing quite a few of them in old launches and sailboats that come in for restoration.
    I was only interested in quality units, not things that had old golf cart motors, pulleys and odd contractions.
    It turns out that these motors are very expensive. Bell Marine, Torqueedo, E-Tech and Elco were among those discussed.
    Not wanting to lose interior space, I went with a pod unit. That brought it down to either Torqueedo or E-Tech. I've heard iffy things about Torqueedo, one of them being a high pitched whine when running. Plus, it was about $600 more then the E-Tech. E-Tech also claimed to be much stouter, quieter and more energy efficient.
    Here's some specs on E-Tech. It's a German motor with electronics added in Poland.
    Reversible brushless DC engine
    24 volt
    1.9 kW
    1200 max rpm
    12Nm at 70A torque.
    83% efficiency
    11" bronze propeller.
    Cost without shipping: $3700
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    I ordered the motor in early May and, since there was a two month production time, I started making alterantions to the hull ffrom dimensions found on the company website.
    First was to remove the offending trolling motor and banish it to the darkest corner of my shop never to be seen or spoken of again.
    IMG_4579.jpg
    Next: Very, very carefully figure out where the new motor needs to be mounted and hack a hole in the bottom of the boat. Also cut into the skeg for the forward end of the pod.
    IMG_4581.jpg

    Build up a supporting platform to mount the motor, installing with screws and lots of epoxy and fiberglass tape inside and out.
    IMG_4593.jpg
    Last edited by Rich Jones; 07-08-2019 at 09:13 PM.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    I installed the motor this past weekend and everything fit just fine. It's held in place by 6 stainless steel bolts. I added a cavitation plate just in case it was needed. There is also an aluminum backing plate on the inside. I also added a picture of the controller which is bolted on the inside of a cockpit locker.

    IMG_4696.jpg

    IMG_4699.jpg
    Last edited by Rich Jones; 07-08-2019 at 09:10 PM.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Pictures come up as attachments that won't open.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    I took the boat for a spin today and I'm happy with the results.
    The motor drives the boat to it's 6 mph hull speed at 900 rpm and 60% power.
    I can cruise at 5 mph at 700 rpm/40% power.
    Since I spent a lot of wasted battery power testing for top speed, I can't yet report on energy used.
    Very little vibration and just a low thrumming noise while under way. That is more a result of the fantail chamber acting as a resonating drum then actual motor noise. I'll have to look into soundproofing. However, at 5 mph, it is not annoying and even less so at 4 mph which is the speed we like when cruising along the shoreline.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Carter View Post
    Pictures come up as attachments that won't open.
    They open for me but I think something has gone wonky with WBF picture attaching app. Now I can't even post pictures. Perhaps tomorrow all will be well.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    One more, showing that shiny new prop.
    IMG_4701.jpg
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Hopefully my pics are now showing.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Showing up for me now. It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of your boat over the years Rich. It looks like readily available technology has finally caught up with the vision you had back in 2015.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    If you built a metal cased sealed pod like that for a typical car starter motor, I wonder if the water cooling would keep it alive for long enough to be worth messing with. You'd probably need 2 gauge cables and a lot of golfcart batts to handle the amps though.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Plyboy a starter motor is way different, as you say you'd need a ton of batteries to keep up with the amps and I'd say they would be very inefficient especially at lower speeds. They are designed to go hard for short periods.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Glad to hear it's all working Rich!

    The old motor's poor performance was disappointing to hear about - glad this one is better. Sure hope prices start coming down, but I guess it's a chicken & egg thing.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Wow Rich - This is very exciting and cool. When we both saw the model demo’d at the show it, it showed such promise. I am glad you are pleased with the early results really how easy it was to install. A little deadening to limit the drum effect and it is done.The build looks great and the install (Other than cut of the hull) so straight forward. 6 bolts you say! Wow.

    Do you have a photo or a short video of the inside hull where the e-tech pod is mounted?

    Again quite exciting and far forward, quality built as the current technology allows.

    The E-Tech Pod 4 for a heavier boat might be the ticket. Actually a 2 month lead time could be would be enough to figure out where and how.

    i also look forward to seeing and hearing a small video clip of you and the boat passing by. That would be the hook for many here.
    A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous and liberal man. My feature suggests an excellent side kick of good index.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Here's an interior shot of the aluminum backing plate with motor cable entering the hull. The one improvement I'll suggest to the manufacturor is to add a metal tube to lead the cable into the boat. As it is now, the cable is sealed with a good sealant by the factory were it exits the motor thru the mounting plate. When installing the motor, liberal amounts of sealant are applied to the mounting plate prior to bolting the motor in place to make a watertight seal to the hull. So, the only thing keeping water from entering the motor is the sealant. A tube surrounding the wires, welded to the mounting plate and extending into the hull would solve this potential problem.
    I'll see if I can get a video of the boat this afternoon.

    IMG_4713.jpg
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Interesting thought but I wonder if that would make installation a lot more complicated? What if the tube is too short to make it through the keel timber? Or too long, and hits some obstruction above the opening? Then the installer is faced with the problem of dealing with the tube. Plus even in that case you are still relying on sealant to keep water out of the boat.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    What would work is a cable gland, Rich. It will keep water out and provide chafe protection.

    Example ( no affiliation):




    Kevin

    EDIT: Hate to say, but the low thrumming you mention may be from the cavitation plate; the sound of the blade tips passing by it. Is it easily removable to test for that?
    Last edited by Breakaway; 07-09-2019 at 05:09 PM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Hopefully my pics are now showing.
    Yes they are. Very neat installation.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Nice, Rich...

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    Default

    That's a proper looking prop. Way different from trolling motor props and model airplane props and such things you read about on the webs.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    What would work is a cable gland, Rich. It will keep water out and provide chafe protection.

    Example ( no affiliation):




    Kevin

    EDIT: Hate to say, but the low thrumming you mention may be from the cavitation plate; the sound of the blade tips passing by it. Is it easily removable to test for that?
    Interesting about what you say about the cavitation plate. No way to easily remove it. It is only aluminum, so I could easily cut it short and re-attach another piece if needed.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    I am not suggesting cutting it off. But I would consider it a, " suspect," for a thrumming noise. Probably best to explore other options prior to surgery. For instance, insulation will help in any event.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Re the cavitation plate:
    If you wanted to do a trial, it could be cut, leaving enough to act as a landing for a removable replacement, which would bolt on with a bit of overlap? Would only cost another piece of aluminum plate...
    Just a thought.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Or - for a test - epoxy a couple of of strips of wood to the plate to see if it could be a flex issue.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatsbgood View Post
    Re the cavitation plate:
    If you wanted to do a trial, it could be cut, leaving enough to act as a landing for a removable replacement, which would bolt on with a bit of overlap? Would only cost another piece of aluminum plate...
    Just a thought.
    That's what I'm thinking. I'll be busy with other stuff the rest of the week so it'll have to wait.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    A not-so-good video shot by my wife yesterday. Going 5 mph at 40% power into a stiff breeze.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    I'm down at the stern a bit. Think I'll shift my batteries further forward.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I'm down at the stern a bit. Think I'll shift my batteries further forward.
    Yeah - but how's the boat?

    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Yeah - but how's the boat?

    Hey! We all get a bit saggy at our age!!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Rich,

    Sorry to hear about your electric woes but would you be able to talk about them a bit more? Your fantail strikes as an easy boat to drive and you say that the 80 lb thrust trolling motor did a decent job of it. I am somewhat puzzled that the 160 lb. thrust replacement was so un-satisfactory to you. Can you explain why?

    You say: "you can't go cheap if you want good results" - but wasn't the 80 lb. motor cheaper than the 160 lb. motor? <

    The reason I ask is that I recent became the keeper of a small 20' double ended sailboat. It has an outboard well but no motor. I have a nice Honda 9.9 but that seems to me to be more than double what the little girl requires. And it might not even fit. I thought about first a small propane outboard but a trolling motor seems like it would be even easier. And I am almost certain less picky that you (your fantail is a Masterwork far beyond my present day inclinations) so maybe a trolling motor would work for my interests.

    Which are getting away from and then back to a dock if the wind abandons us.

    Hey! Speaking of which: how much for the 160 lb. motor that you hate so much? I could take it off your hands and I promise you I will never bring it up ever again. It will be just like that never happened to you.

    So what was the bad -ness of the 160 ? I'd like to know - but at least some part of that is the idea that there is every liklihood that it is something can I can live with. <

    PHM
    -------------


    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    When last we left this saga, it was October of 2018 and I was crying the blues that my attempt at re-powering my fantail launch had been an utter failure.

    A brief recap: When first I built the boat, I powered it with the components of an old 80 lb. thrust trolling motor that had been given to me. It worked surprising well, driving the boat to 5.4 mph at full speed (hull speed is 6 mph). This motor died (or at least reverse gear did) and I had to replace it. I choose a 160 lb. thrust trolling motor and for a variety of reasons, it only drove the boat to 4.8 mph at full speed and added lots of vibration. I went with the cheaper trolling motor as opposed to regular electric motor for economic reasons. Lesson learned: You can't be cheap if you want good results. I'll sell the damned useless thing on craigslist.

    I spent the winter researching electric drives for boats. Rueben Smith of Tumblehome Boatshop, a high end wooden boat restorer in the Adirondacks, was good enough to spend a few hours with me going over the options for electric drive. He's been installing quite a few of them in old launches and sailboats that come in for restoration.
    I was only interested in quality units, not things that had old golf cart motors, pulleys and odd contractions.
    It turns out that these motors are very expensive. Bell Marine, Torqueedo, E-Tech and Elco were among those discussed.
    Not wanting to lose interior space, I went with a pod unit. That brought it down to either Torqueedo or E-Tech. I've heard iffy things about Torqueedo, one of them being a high pitched whine when running. Plus, it was about $600 more then the E-Tech. E-Tech also claimed to be much stouter, quieter and more energy efficient.
    Here's some specs on E-Tech. It's a German motor with electronics added in Poland.
    Reversible brushless DC engine
    24 volt
    1.9 kW
    1200 max rpm
    12Nm at 70A torque.
    83% efficiency
    11" bronze propeller.
    Cost without shipping: $3700

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post
    Rich,

    Sorry to hear about your electric woes but would you be able to talk about them a bit more? Your fantail strikes as an easy boat to drive and you say that the 80 lb thrust trolling motor did a decent job of it. I am somewhat puzzled that the 160 lb. thrust replacement was so un-satisfactory to you. Can you explain why?

    You say: "you can't go cheap if you want good results" - but wasn't the 80 lb. motor cheaper than the 160 lb. motor? <

    The reason I ask is that I recent became the keeper of a small 20' double ended sailboat. It has an outboard well but no motor. I have a nice Honda 9.9 but that seems to me to be more than double what the little girl requires. And it might not even fit. I thought about first a small propane outboard but a trolling motor seems like it would be even easier. And I am almost certain less picky that you (your fantail is a Masterwork far beyond my present day inclinations) so maybe a trolling motor would work for my interests.

    Which are getting away from and then back to a dock if the wind abandons us.

    Hey! Speaking of which: how much for the 160 lb. motor that you hate so much? I could take it off your hands and I promise you I will never bring it up ever again. It will be just like that never happened to you.

    So what was the bad -ness of the 160 ? I'd like to know - but at least some part of that is the idea that there is every liklihood that it is something can I can live with. <

    PHM
    -------------
    My guess would be the prop pitgh was too small. That 160# motor was intended for a much heavier less slippery hull.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post
    Rich,

    Sorry to hear about your electric woes but would you be able to talk about them a bit more? Your fantail strikes as an easy boat to drive and you say that the 80 lb thrust trolling motor did a decent job of it. I am somewhat puzzled that the 160 lb. thrust replacement was so un-satisfactory to you. Can you explain why?

    You say: "you can't go cheap if you want good results" - but wasn't the 80 lb. motor cheaper than the 160 lb. motor? <

    The reason I ask is that I recent became the keeper of a small 20' double ended sailboat. It has an outboard well but no motor. I have a nice Honda 9.9 but that seems to me to be more than double what the little girl requires. And it might not even fit. I thought about first a small propane outboard but a trolling motor seems like it would be even easier. And I am almost certain less picky that you (your fantail is a Masterwork far beyond my present day inclinations) so maybe a trolling motor would work for my interests.

    Which are getting away from and then back to a dock if the wind abandons us.

    Hey! Speaking of which: how much for the 160 lb. motor that you hate so much? I could take it off your hands and I promise you I will never bring it up ever again. It will be just like that never happened to you.

    So what was the bad -ness of the 160 ? I'd like to know - but at least some part of that is the idea that there is every liklihood that it is something can I can live with. <

    PHM
    -------------
    The 80lb. thrust motor was a simple transom mounted unit like those you see every day ( I butchered the motor and used the components). The 160 lb. thrust unit I bought is a twin 80 lb. thrust unit that usually attaches to the cavitation plate of a large outboard engine. It has a complicated controller that for some reason limits the forward speed of the motor so I got poorer speed out of it then the single 80 lb. motor. One naval architect here on the Forum offered an explanation, but I saw no reason to limit the forward speed of the 160 lb. unit when no such limit was put on my old 80 lb. motor. Plus, the single 80 lb. unit was installed in line with the skeg, so little turbulence and drag. The twin pod stuck out on either side, creating lots more drag. Also, two motors caused more vibration then just the one. Things I should have thought about.
    My 160 lb. thrust unit could not be used on your boat. E-Tech does make an electric outboard, but the smaller Torqueedo might be cheaper for you.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Would you sell it to me anyway? <

    PHM
    --------


    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    The 80lb. thrust motor was a simple transom mounted unit like those you see every day ( I butchered the motor and used the components). The 160 lb. thrust unit I bought is a twin 80 lb. thrust unit that usually attaches to the cavitation plate of a large outboard engine. It has a complicated controller that for some reason limits the forward speed of the motor so I got poorer speed out of it then the single 80 lb. motor. One naval architect here on the Forum offered an explanation, but I saw no reason to limit the forward speed of the 160 lb. unit when no such limit was put on my old 80 lb. motor. Plus, the single 80 lb. unit was installed in line with the skeg, so little turbulence and drag. The twin pod stuck out on either side, creating lots more drag. Also, two motors caused more vibration then just the one. Things I should have thought about.

    My 160 lb. thrust unit could not be used on your boat.

    E-Tech does make an electric outboard, but the smaller Torqueedo might be cheaper for you.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Re-powering my Palmer fantail launch: Part Deux

    Looks great. Hope you're having as much fun doing as we are watching
    Cheers
    Kent and Skipper
    Small Boat Restoration blog

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