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Thread: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Clever.
    Have you put some resistance on the rudder to check for slippage anywhere?

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by timo4352 View Post
    Clever.
    Have you put some resistance on the rudder to check for slippage anywhere?
    Yes, and the rubber hose slips on the shaft. I need to pick up a big hose clamp.

    Trying a support block for the shaft end. Just one bolt and a stack of washers to shim it, but now the wheel feels solid:

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Depending on how much friction the system has you might want to rig a S hook on a short lanyard to lock the wheel. Equivalent of dropping a loop on a spoke. Another thought is a couple of open clam cleats mounted along side your steering line into which you can drop the steering lines, somewhere near your rowing seat so you can reach them.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Depending on how much friction the system has you might want to rig a S hook on a short lanyard to lock the wheel. Equivalent of dropping a loop on a spoke. Another thought is a couple of open clam cleats mounted along side your steering line into which you can drop the steering lines, somewhere near your rowing seat so you can reach them.
    Thanks for the ideas Ben. The rope steering had enough friction to hold the rudder when sailing, so I'm hoping it's enough to keep the motor pointed. If not, I would probably try your cleat idea.

    BTW, I got a shipment notification. The motor should arrive early next week.

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    The motor is here. I was planning to test it in a bucket of water, but the prop is 13" across and bigger than any bucket I've got. The motor uses water as the lubricant for the immersed gear, so I just ran a quick bench test by spraying the lower unit from a hose and only going slow. I had already spliced the short battery pigtail to a longer cable, and hooked up to my battery panel.

    The speed control unit connects by a USB type cable (not USB signals, just using the commonly available cable). Joe set up my motor with a USB out of where the tiller would normally attach, and included an extension cable plus electrical grease and adhesive lined heat shrink so I can water seal the connectors and make up my cockpit control unit. It seems to run just fine on the 48 V e-bike battery (as promised). The controls are just a simple twist to set speed and forward/reverse, and the setting holds when released.


  6. #41
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Fit up check on the motor mount. Height is good, the waterline is at the top of the gray prop housing. There's just a couple cm clearance from the deck when tilted, but that's enough. The only problem, which I expected, is the clamp screws. I already removed the clamp pads as they were too big to fit over the 1 1/2" center wood, but the nice molded tightening knobs are also too big and limit turn angle. I plan to replace the screws with plain 1/2-13 bolts, and use more of the stainless strip as bearing surfaces. The motor will stay on the mount, then the motor/mount is easily removed from the gudgeons for car transport.


  7. #42
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Nice rig; I see you made the tiller blocks removable. You might want to hitch them together with a biner or something for trailering.

    I'll be intereste to see how all of this works. I have a feeling that at some point there might want to be stops in the tiller rope system to keep the motor from hitting the all the way over stop and spinning you. And those cleats for fine trim may be nice. The trick will be balancing steering with the engine and the oars., and balancing pulling with the motor assist. You don't want to drag the motor but you don't want to be going too fast under power so you have no drag on the oars.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Nice rig; I see you made the tiller blocks removable. You might want to hitch them together with a biner or something for trailering.

    I'll be intereste to see how all of this works. I have a feeling that at some point there might want to be stops in the tiller rope system to keep the motor from hitting the all the way over stop and spinning you. And those cleats for fine trim may be nice. The trick will be balancing steering with the engine and the oars., and balancing pulling with the motor assist. You don't want to drag the motor but you don't want to be going too fast under power so you have no drag on the oars.
    I want to see how all this works also! There's a few more things to work out, but maybe a wet test next weekend.

    For the rope steering, yes the two blocks are released then the whole motor with mount lifts of for trailering. Don't know if you saw this previously, but the steering line goes around the outside of the cockpit and through the transom, then around the steering blocks and back in to the open compartment on Walkabout. There it gets cleated on each side. I found it not possible to keep even tension with just rope, so one side has a section of sturdy shock cord to take up slack. This works well with the rudder, should do here also. Looks like this:



    For trailering, I just pull in the slack ends and re-cleat.

    The black cable leading out the center is the power cord for the motor.

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    While waiting for varnish to dry on the motor mount, I'm trying to solve a couple of issues with the motor tilt. The tilt mechanism uses a clever catch that holds the motor down when in reverse, but allows tilt up when pulled firmly by the tiller. A detent holds the motor in the up position. When the shaft on mine is adjusted most of the way down, which is right for my waterline, the detent does not hold the motor up. This may be because I have no tiller, and the weight of the tiller is expected to balance the unit up. My motor weighs 13.2 lb, the spec weight of this motor is 14.1 lb, so the tiller would be almost a pound. I have emailed Joe for a recommended solution, possibly a stronger spring in the detent, maybe I could file a deeper groove. I don't really want to add a pound of dead weight.

    Since I have no tiller but still want to be able to tilt up the motor for beaching and getting over all the weeds that grow in the Sac Delta in summer, I'm thinking of using a modified telescoping boat hook and a universal bimini fitting, like this:



    The universal fitting would let the motor swing sideways for steering, and tilt up. I could rest the pole in the cockpit within reach. I've also emailed Joe for any advice on attaching the fitting to the plastic housing.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    This might be the place for the KISS solution of a lanyard with a S hook or biner.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    This might be the place for the KISS solution of a lanyard with a S hook or biner.
    You are right, I'm overthinking this. Just use a lanyard to a cleat. No need to fix the detent, just pull and cleat to raise the motor, release to lower. That's why I post here, so smart people can tell me when I do something dumb.
    Still need to attach the lanyard to the motor somehow...

    The motor mount is done. I tapered the steering arms some more, since the motor is smaller than I anticipated. Finished with 3 coats of System III spar varnish, except 5 coats on the redwood end grain. That wood just drinks varnish.


  12. #47
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Is there some kind of hole or fitting on the motor where you were going to hook the bimini fitting? If so you can probably find a shackle to fit into it. You may find that you want to deploy and retrive the motor by hand in which case the lanyard can be fixed to the boat and have a snap shackle or S hook to hold it to the motor.

    It'll be interesting to see this in action. I've 'motor sailed' adding oar power to a sail in light air but this is new.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Is there some kind of hole or fitting on the motor where you were going to hook the bimini fitting? If so you can probably find a shackle to fit into it. You may find that you want to deploy and retrive the motor by hand in which case the lanyard can be fixed to the boat and have a snap shackle or S hook to hold it to the motor.

    It'll be interesting to see this in action. I've 'motor sailed' adding oar power to a sail in light air but this is new.
    Here's what the fasteners and openings look like at the back and base of the motor:



    I do not see anything behind the opening between gray back panel and white top cover. This must be for air flow.

    Looking through my box of hardware came up with this potential for a tilting line (pink twine):



    IF I could attach a ring to one of the base screws, and IF a guide of some sort (probably plastic, not this metal one) could be attached to the white cover, then that should be a solid tilt line. I need to get the OK for this from Joe at EP Carry.

  14. #49
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    When I was building the boat I bought a big box of binder clips to use as cheap clamps. Every few weeks I seem to find more uses for these, and here's another - motor tilt lanyard clip:



    This works, good enough to use for testing the motor this weekend.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    When I was building the boat I bought a big box of binder clips to use as cheap clamps. Every few weeks I seem to find more uses for these, and here's another - motor tilt lanyard clip:



    This works, good enough to use for testing the motor this weekend.
    Cool; it might be that you could just use an S hook on that lip. I take it that is where the battery comes off or does it? On the torqeedo that battery comes off for charging. Another thought might be if there is enough room under the lip a riveted or bolted eye would work especially if there was enough clearance for a backing plate if the plastic is whimpy.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Cool; it might be that you could just use an S hook on that lip. I take it that is where the battery comes off or does it? On the torqeedo that battery comes off for charging. Another thought might be if there is enough room under the lip a riveted or bolted eye would work especially if there was enough clearance for a backing plate if the plastic is whimpy.
    The battery is separate, this 13 lb part is only the motor. Since it is still in warranty I'm hoping not to make any holes in the housing. Also, this cover seems secure but I don't see how it's held on, possibly just snaps over. I'm still waiting for guidance from Joe. Sometimes he gets right back to me, but other times I must be trying his patience. It's his fault for sending me all the info on solar power and egging me on, though .

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Joe says go ahead and use the binder clip for now, he is working on an attachment for the forward lip of the motor housing.

    I think all is ready for testing, probably Saturday unless I take Friday off .

    The rope steering is done and works nicely with the steering drum hose secured by clamps:




    Battery panel setup with readouts for battery voltage, motor current and GPS speed:


  18. #53
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    The motor speed, reverse control, and dead man stop knob, which was designed to go on the end of the tiller tube, fits nicely in a RAM mount beside the rowing seat:

    Last edited by rgthom; 02-20-2020 at 06:38 PM.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Motor on the mount. Knobs replaced by 1/2-13 SS bolts, which permits full steering arc. Shaft rotation locked by supplied knob and bearing ball. Power cable and control cable connected. The control cable needs some improvement, maybe I can find a waterproof 4 pin connector to mount on the motor.


  20. #55
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Everything fits nicely in the car without taking up much more room than just rowing gear:


  21. #56
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Want to try it out on the lower, snag-free part of the upper Napa river? The Row & Roister is Sunday, March 22, launching 11-ish at Riverside Dr. ramp.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Want to try it out on the lower, snag-free part of the upper Napa river? The Row & Roister is Sunday, March 22, launching 11-ish at Riverside Dr. ramp.
    I am hoping to be there, with or without this contraption! Testing this weekend, hopefully without a crowd of amused onlookers....

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Not so great on the testing today. I launched at Suisun Harbor and rowed out from the dock, then lowered the motor and tried rowing. The good news is the motor does not impede steering by oars very much, it is not like a full rudder.

    Then turned the motor to slow forward and tried steering. This was also working but the wind picked up and started to push the bow off, so I turned the speed control a little higher. Suddenly all went off, the fuse had blown.

    Joe had advised a 20 A fuse, about twice the expected current draw of under 10 A for a 24 V battery. Since I was using 48 V for this initial testing, the expected current should be less than 5 A and I installed an 8 A fast blow which I had available. So one of two things may have happened:
    1) Surge current in the motor exceeded 8 A, I should have used 10 A (or maybe slow blow).
    2) The motor controller blew, it did not handle the higher voltage I was advised it could.

    I do not have any more fuses to find out yet which one happened. I will get some higher current fuses hopefully tomorrow. I also picked up a big tub, will use that for static testing in water before launching again.

    Meanwhile, here is a photo of the boat and motor at the dock:
    Last edited by rgthom; 02-22-2020 at 08:37 PM. Reason: stupid tapatalk

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Hybrid rowing/electric/solar camping skiff

    Well it appears my #2 is what happened, the motor is now kaputt. I am sending it back to EP carry for analysis and repair. The cause is not yet clear, but past uses of solar power at up to 70 V did not have the ability to source as much current as my battery, so I may have uncovered an issue. The motor design is fine at the nominal 24 V voltage, not to disparage this in any way, I was operating at the edge of the envelope. Project is on hold until the analysis is done.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    World events have overtaken this little project, but before it all hit the fan my repaired motor and a 24 V K2 Energy LiFePO4 battery arrived. I had a quick chance today to test the motor with the new battery, it works:



    With 200 W input it seems like more thrust than I typically make rowing, so this looks good. I don't even know if the local launch ramp is open, but maybe I can get down there and see if any on water testing is possible. Just me on the boat, that would be good social distancing.

  26. #61
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Nice project!

    These modern brushless motors are incredibly efficient, provided they are operated at the correct rpm and voltage combination.
    If you really want to maximise range it might well be worth experimenting with different voltages.

    From my tests I have learned that the motor controller performs at its best efficiency at full throttle. So the aim is to find an input voltage that gives the desired cruise speed at full throttle.

    If the optimum voltage is significantly lower than your preferred battery, you can use a buck converter to drop the voltage. By placing the buck close the the motor, you retain the benefit of low current in the wires between the battery and the buck.

  27. #62
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskeyfox View Post
    Nice project!

    These modern brushless motors are incredibly efficient, provided they are operated at the correct rpm and voltage combination.
    If you really want to maximise range it might well be worth experimenting with different voltages.

    From my tests I have learned that the motor controller performs at its best efficiency at full throttle. So the aim is to find an input voltage that gives the desired cruise speed at full throttle.

    If the optimum voltage is significantly lower than your preferred battery, you can use a buck converter to drop the voltage. By placing the buck close the the motor, you retain the benefit of low current in the wires between the battery and the buck.
    Your project is more interesting whiskeyfox, mine is just a stock electric outboard. Don't know if you perused the whole thread, but my first attempt was to run this motor on a 48 V e-bike battery. The manufacturer estimated it should work, but the motor controller could not take it. A buck converter with the same battery was one choice, but the e-bike battery technology is not as safe as LiFePO4 and I had planned a better battery after initial testing. 24 V is the recommended voltage for good efficiency, and current should be less than 10 A max.

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Rode my bike down to the Suisun launch ramp a few days ago, it was open and posted.



    With just me on the boat, I figured it would be fine to try another test run.

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Yesterday was calm wind, slack low tide at 11, good day for a test.

    This is the layout of motor and battery:



    The battery is now a K2 Energy LiFePO4 rated 24 V, 22 Ah capacity. That is 2.5x the capacity of the normal battery for the EP Carry. It weighs 12 lb.

    Joe Grez added a tilt plate to the motor for me, since I'm not using the tiller. The tilt line clips onto the plate, holding the motor up with a cam cleat (on temporary mount).

    I am still monitoring motor voltage and current, and measuring speed with the GPS.

    The power cable passes through the rear open slot, through a transom fairlead, and to a connector to the motor. The control cable is running on top of the deck for now.
    Last edited by rgthom; 05-09-2020 at 01:21 PM.

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    For steering when motoring only, I just turn the sliding rowing seat around and use the locks to fix it. It's just right for reaching the wheel. I keep the dodger up, as I can see over it no problem.


  31. #66
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Tests included running motor only, rowing at my steady cruise pace, and rowing at a faster racing pace. I recorded motor current, volts and GPS speed. Motor power consumed was calculated by adding the previously measured 0.2 A meter offset to the current. Power at maximum setting came out at 225 W, which is the rated power of the motor.

    Plot of speed vs power consumed:



    Motor power when rowing was taken from the volts and amps between strokes. During a pull the current dropped a few amps, so rowing caused the motor power consumption to be somewhat less on average.
    Last edited by rgthom; 05-09-2020 at 02:08 PM.

  32. #67
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    Default

    So.., draw is 9 amps at full throttle/ power? Delivering useable running time of about an hour and 15 mins with that battery ( to half discharge)?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kevin


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  33. #68
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    That's about right Kevin. The nominal 24V battery is actually 25.6 V average, I was fully charged at 26.8 V and measuring 8.4 A (corrected for meter offset). For these LiPo batteries it's fine to discharge the full 22 Ah, so run time at full power should be about 2.5 hrs. I will test this at some point.

  34. #69
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    For the flat water measurements here are some observations:

    1) My steady cruise rowing pace is about the same as the motor at half power, about 120 W to go just over 3 kts. Motor only should provide 4 to 5 hours at that pace.

    2) Motor at half power plus my cruise rowing pace meets the original goal of just over 4 kts cruise speed.

    3) Full motor plus race rowing gets only another knot, just over 5. The fastest I've ever seen over-water speed was just over 6 kts, using a downwind sail in 25 - 30 kt wind.

    4) If I can add a single 170 W solar panel and boost controller, it should harvest enough power on a Sac Delta summer day to keep going most of daylight hours at 120 W. That would be my 30 mile per day goal.

    5) Another way to think of this motor is as another rower on the boat (only much less weight!). With 2 aboard we usually take turns rowing, as twice the power only gets another knot of speed. I can definitely see using the motor to keep going when I take a break for food, radio, rest etc.

    6) The motor needs more depth than oars, but less width. I can use it for narrow passages. It was certainly easier to come alongside a dock and tie up with the motor than with oars using up both hands.
    Last edited by rgthom; 05-09-2020 at 03:43 PM.

  35. #70
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    And a video. Not Ted Hoppe quality, I'm afraid...


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