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Thread: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

  1. #71
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    Default

    Thats a great feature of the LiFePo batteries.

    Following along, thanks again.

    Kevin


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

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Fascinating, Rick.... I'll be looking into that motor for the Piper!

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    I've been testing the motor in the summer winds of Suisun Marsh. The forecasts are typically 15 to 20 kt in the afternoons, in the winding sloughs it can be right down the slough or fairly sheltered depending on how the channel aligns to the wind. Performance of the EP Carry motor with the 24 V, 22 Ah battery is in line with what I saw on the calm day tests: it's like having an extra oarsman aboard, one capable of rowing at my cruising pace for 5 hours straight or my fast rowing pace for 2 hours. Except this extra guy only weighs 25 lb, takes up very little interior space, and doesn't drink my beer.

    First, though, I added a big analog current meter to monitor the power consumption. My digital meter is just not visible in the sun.

    Last edited by rgthom; 08-09-2020 at 04:00 PM.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Another picture of the setup on the boat: motor is on a gudgeon mounted bracket connected to the rope steering. That "destroyer" wheel on the forward deck turns the steering rope. I just lift and turn the sliding rowing seat to face forward when in full motoring mode. Battery and monitor panel are on the floor at the stern for now. The speed control knob is in the RAM mount next to the seat. Motor tilt line goes through a temporary cam cleat clamped on the aft coaming.


  5. #75
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    View from the rowing seat underway. GPS speed, battery voltage and now big visible ammeter on the panel.


  6. #76
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Short video of passage along Cutoff Slough. This slough aligns across the wind direction, so it is fairly calm. At the start the motor is pulling 4 A, about 100 W, and the boat is going ~3.5 kts with a slight favorable current. I'm trying to show the steering and the panel settings, apparently need to work on my videography and editing . The motor sound on the video is about accurate, it makes a whirring noise. Later I turn the motor up to full power, 9 A which is 220 W. Speed only gains 0.8 kt. The last bit is standing up and steering, which works and is nice to see around better.

    Last edited by rgthom; 08-09-2020 at 04:23 PM.

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    That’s a great setup. Well done.

    I’ve always thought a couple of solar panels would make a good bimini cover.

    What are these?

    AA826A60-915D-4972-976F-96253BBF4B2D.jpg

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    That’s a great setup. Well done.

    I’ve always thought a couple of solar panels would make a good bimini cover.

    What are these?
    Target acquisition radar dish and the missile launcher . The left thingie is a rear view mirror, front (on both sides) are oarlock extensions for standing rowing.

    I'm pretty sure now that a single 170 W solar panel would harvest enough power for all day touring on the Delta in summer, even on motor power alone without rowing. I was thinking of putting it over the rear deck, a Sunpower 170 W panel would fit with a bit of hangover.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Making progress on adding solar charging. The panel I picked up is a Sunpower 170 W flex. It's bigger than the rear deck space, so I'm thinking of making a support that sits above he deck, curved to copy the deck curvature, and just high enough to clear the motor tilt. Any better ideas?



    The motor draws 100 W to drive the boat at my typical rowing speed. There's about 6 peak sun hours in a summer day on the Delta. With a boost controller to harvest off peak I should be able to get 800 Wh, which should provide 8 hours running and about 25 miles distance on a calm day.

  10. #80
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    You could keep the battery and sell the motor if you thought a better one would be worth the cost.
    Maybe.

    Many of the motors running Li-On or Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries, require same to operate properly. At the least, the monitoring functions ( "fuel gauge" or running time remaining,for example) comes from the battery's electronics, not from the motor, and AGM do not have such control systems, at least that I know of.

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

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Maybe.

    Many of the motors running Li-On or Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries, require same to operate properly. At the least, the monitoring functions ( "fuel gauge" or running time remaining,for example) comes from the battery's electronics, not from the motor, and AGM do not have such control systems, at least that I know of.

    Kevin
    This EP Carry motor seems to have a wide input voltage range capability. It is NOT able to handle the 48 V e-bike battery I first tried, but maybe could run off 24 to 36 V lead acid series batteries.

    In any case I am just going with the "24 V" LiPO4 from K2 Energy, the same type battery that comes with the standard EP Carry except this one is bigger (22 Ah instead of the stock 9 Ah).

    There's no "fuel gauge" function that came with the motor or with the battery. Voltage change with charge is very small with this type battery, so voltage monitoring does not show remaining charge. The only way to monitor charge that I have seen is to use a Coulomb meter, just count how many electrons go into and out of the battery. Most of those seem to be scaled for measuring big battery banks, the charge on my little battery falls in the error band of the specs. I am just going to put current meters on the charging current and on the motor current, to get a sense of whether I am charging or discharging the battery at any particular time.

    This is the breadboard instrument panel getting ready for the solar, it also has a Genasun boost controller:


  12. #82
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    What are the dimensions of that solar panel?

    Jeff C

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    What are the dimensions of that solar panel?

    Jeff C
    Here are the specs Jeff: https://www.emarineinc.com/Shared/pd...-specsheet.pdf
    It's about 45 x 32 inches.
    Spec current is 5.84 A. I measured just over 5 A in afternoon, equinox sun with smoky air last weekend. Not bad.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Several small improvements:



    1) The control cable now has a cable tie mount on the motor and a pass through in the transom. Much more secure than just draped over the deck.

    2) The motor tilt line goes through a deck block to a cam cleat, with a rubber pad on deck to rest on.

    3) Not visible but even better: Joe sent a software upgrade to boost power and thrust from the motor. There should now be 250 W at full power setting.

    The solar panel connectors are also ready, I plan to test all this tomorrow with the panel just placed across the seats.

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Lookin' good! Do you normally start out rowing and switch to electric for a break?

    Or maybe just row or motor depending on how the mood strikes you?

    Very nice to have the two options.

    Woody

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Making progress on adding solar charging. The panel I picked up is a Sunpower 170 W flex. It's bigger than the rear deck space, so I'm thinking of making a support that sits above he deck, curved to copy the deck curvature, and just high enough to clear the motor tilt. Any better ideas?
    Turn it into a bimini. It would look better, get it out of the way, and provide some shade.

    Pete
    Like a miracle, all the trolls disappeared

  17. #87
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    Turn it into a bimini. It would look better, get it out of the way, and provide some shade.

    Pete
    Thanks Pete. I thought about putting it on a bimini, I did make one a few years ago, but there's a few issues. First is I only use the bimini on calm days for a passenger, the motor is for solo camp cruising with a cockpit tent. Tent and bimini do not really fit together, at least as set up now. To be able to fold the bimini would need a smaller panel, probably in 2 sections. And, the bimini would not allow tilting the panel as currently envisioned. I will make a rough tilting mount to see if the over-deck will work, can always change it later.

    This is the existing bimini:


    This is the tent setup, low profile due to the summer winds:


    There's one other issue, probably even the rear deck mounting will not be low enough to handle: there are a few very low bridges in the Delta. This one on a favorite loop to Little Honker Bay is already barely passable at high tide with the dodger lowered:

  18. #88
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Jones View Post
    Lookin' good! Do you normally start out rowing and switch to electric for a break?

    Or maybe just row or motor depending on how the mood strikes you?

    Very nice to have the two options.

    Woody
    The original plan was to motor and row at the same time, boosted human power like my e-bike. That does not really work, it's best to alternate and use the motor to rest. The Delta has some shallow places and weed growth in summer, for those rowing works best (I have clogged the prop with weeds a few times already). Going straight upwind against 20+ kts on some sections of sloughs I'm finding the steady thrust of the motor and quick steering with the wheel much more controllable than rowing. Rowing in that wind always means struggling to keep the bow from blowing off course between strokes.

    My backup plan for a serious injury when rowing was really just drop anchor and call for help. Now I have another option worst case.

  19. #89
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Test results for today, with bright mid-October sun at around 1-2 pm.

    First with the 170 W panel horizontal across the seats, charge current (left meter) was about 4 A:





    Tilting the panel toward the sun increased charge current to a bit over 5 A:


  20. #90
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    There was some tidal current and light wind today, so harder to get good numbers, but the boat speed picks up smoothly to around 3 kts at 4 A motor current. Above that, speed slowly rises to around 4 kts at maximum current. The software upgrade increased max current to 9.5 A, or 250 W at the battery voltage of 26.3 V. The increase in current had no noticeable effect on the top speed, this boat is hull speed limited and driving harder gets you nothing. It might turn out to be useful power in wind.

    So, optimum speed and battery life is at around 4 A motor current. The solar panel is making that much current laying horizontal, and would be charging underway if tilted. I will go ahead and make a rough tilt mount next to confirm this.
    Last edited by rgthom; 10-17-2020 at 06:43 PM. Reason: too many currents

  21. #91
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Sounds like a great result. Even numbers on charging and usage.
    If you could manage to get your tilting mount able to be raised to bimini height for when you carry a passenger back there, that would be the best of all.
    Sure you will come up with something great. You always do.

  22. #92
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    If you need 4A motor current you probably need to generate more than that, due to losses ( resistance) in the wires, connections and motor, to make 4A at the motor.

    Also, re a Bimini: issues of folding and bridge clearance aside, at the power levels being presented, I would hazard the opinion that the drag from the Bimini would negate much speed/ power. ( Can you feel its effect when rowing?)

    But this is a great test and development you have made. Thank you for posting and please continue to do so. It is both interesting and encouraging.

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

  23. #93
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Interesting project. I would have gone with the bimini mount myself but I see the difficulties. Though, down here, I will always have a bimini during the day even if I reconfigure at night with tent.

    Thanks for letting us follow along and nice boat!

  24. #94
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Thanks for the encouragement guys. I was happy just rowing, but this is a fun project.

    To Kevin's point on electrical losses: those meters are right at the battery connection, so losses into the motor and from the panel are accounted for. Power loss would be by voltage drop in any case, current is not lost unless there is a path out of the circuit, like a ground leak. I did use 12 AWG wire throughout, but seeing how low the currents are that is surely overkill. The one place there must be loss is in the battery, total charge put in to the battery must be more than the charge you can get out. I think that loss is very low for these LiFePO batteries, a Coulomb meter stays accurate for many charge cycles on a typical battery bank.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Love this project!

    Reading about these types of builds/modifications is a big reason I'm hooked on this forum.

    Jeff C

  26. #96
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    Love this project!

    Reading about these types of builds/modifications is a big reason I'm hooked on this forum.

    Jeff C
    Hmmm...

    Forum not moving this thread to top for some reason.

    Jeff C

  27. #97
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Since at least Jeff is interested in this 4 mph boat project....

    The motor has a clever catch mechanism to prevent it from tilting in reverse. To trip the catch, you are intended to pull the tiller sharply forward. My motor has no tiller, and the tilt line I made was pulling more down than forward. It was not working very well to trip the catch.

    So, I raided the various bimini fittings left over from tent making and came up with this. It's a rod attached to the motor by a universal bimini mount, held with a pin:



    A sharp tug works well to raise the motor. It balances tilted, but I put in a catch to hold the rod more securely:



    I will probably put a wood ball on the end of the rod, and something to rest that in underway.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Since at least Jeff is interested in this 4 mph boat project....


    .
    One more interested! I’ve got a Redwing 18 that I’m converting to electric and I’m following everything I can. So I’m all in on 4mph boats.
    Bill

  29. #99
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Since at least Jeff is interested in this 4 mph boat project....
    Very much! One of my favorite threads!

    Jeff C

  30. #100
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    I'm interested! I'm interested!

    Kevin


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  31. #101
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    And I am as well. I’ve just been lurking.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  32. #102
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Me too, just been lurking but really interested in progress. The Walkabout is proving a really versatile platform but do you have any thoughts about integrating all your developments into a new design at some point?

  33. #103
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Based on your opening post on the thread, you're meeting all your goals, especially when you come up with an effective mounting system for the solar panel. How does the boat handle with the rope steering when you're out on the bay?

    Jeff C

  34. #104
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    I'm happy you guys are into this, it's my first boat with any kind of motor so all new to me. The intriguing part is how efficient this little motor is, the fact that it can supply rowing speed while consuming only around 100 W electrical input power. I wonder how it would compare to the Torqeedo ultralight? That is rated for 400 W electrical input at full power, would it do as well at 100 W? Joe Grez at EP Carry discusses the optimization they did with the prop, and how large diameter narrow blades are best for this displacement regime. He says that a bigger prop, up to 2 feet diameter, would be even better but they had to keep it at a practical size.

    Clarkey - I too am pleased with the way this Walkabout has handled various roles, including camp cruiser, coastal rowing race boat, river drift boat, maybe someday even as the sailboat it was designed to be . I like that it rows well, yet still has enough buoyancy and stability that I can easily stand and walk back and forth in the 9' cockpit. During the motor tests I tried sitting far forward, aft and near the middle. Speed only changed a tenth of a knot, it made little difference where I was.

    As far as any new design, I know Joe has built up a solar powered boat of his own but with a standing cabin more in line with PNW weather. He sent this picture:


    This would be far too much windage for the Delta, but Joe says it does 4 kts at 250 W input in calm.

    Jeff - Testing in the rough water of the Bay is still to come.

    I hope you all are patient, what with work and a mother-in-law needing care this may not be all up and running until Spring.

    -Rick

  35. #105
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    If you could manage to get your tilting mount able to be raised to bimini height for when you carry a passenger back there, that would be the best of all.
    Sure you will come up with something great. You always do.
    Had to quote this after the latest fiasco. The plan was to get both tilting of the panel and ability to fold it down to deck level, using various bimini fittings and poles like in the tent. Execution was not so good, at least not yet. Apart from it looking fairly ridiculous, the universal bimini fittings I tried do not let the panel both tilt and fold. Folding tries to make the poles rotate as the angle lowers, causing them to jam. I was not anticipating that.

    The tilt is already looking like more hassle than it is worth. It needs some kind of mechanism to hold the angle, at least a couple of lines and cleats. Windage will be a problem when tilted. I am planning to go ahead and attach the panel, and try this out on a calm day (maybe over the weekend). This will get re-done, though, with just a horizontal panel on a more normal bimini that folds down.

    For your amusement - a couple of pictures with the panel frame horizontal and tilted:




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