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  #1   IP: 71.38.119.29
Old 02-27-2019, 09:27 PM
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VOODOO MAGIC?

Recent discussions have centered around Solar, Wind, Generator, Battery vs onboard power "needs" and I thought I'd add this to the crew discussion.
(Granted, it'd be much better sitting around in the cockpit watching the sunset with a "sundowner drink" in hand)

Has anyone else been following this "development"?
See this and this and this.

This is not exactly related to our "group" since it currently applies to the "stinky Diesel" plants.

I'm personally interested, as recent sailing journeys I've done have me seriously looking at larger and more blue water capable vessels which would put me in the Diesel family.
(NOT happily leaving my beloved A4 )
I'd probably have not researched as deeply as I have if it were not from one of the "Guru's" of our industry is seriously endorsing this technology.

Ok... thoughts?
(Don't shoot the messenger comes to my mind here)

EDIT: I should say that the biggest downside I see is putting all of your "power eggs" in only one basket.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:32 AM
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Oh yeah, saw that in some magazine last month. Then I looked up the price.
Yeah, Iíll just have that system added into my custom expedition yacht when my secret inheritance comes in.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:03 AM
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I sold a system like that briefly back in the 1990s. We didn't have the magic permanent magnet alternator, so the actual unit was bigger and we were more like 5 KW or so and 120 volts AC, not 48 volts DC.
It was not really a success for the following reasons:
1. Getting 5 or 9 KW off the front end of a diesel with belts is not easy at all without either ruining the belts and/or ruining the bearings with side load.
2. Once you overcome #1, the end result of running a diesel all night at partial loads could be a carbonned-to-death engine.
3. There is no voodoo involved, if you want 1 KW out on the electrical end at least 1 KW has to go in on the mechanical end. 1 KW = 0.75 HP. The "magic" is probably the permanent magnet alternator, which is smaller and more efficient than the normal kind but much harder to regulate.

Nigel Calder is a smart guy, so I assume they have some good mounts for #1 and it may be modern electronic fuel injection diesels don't carbon up the way the older designs can.
On to the larger issue, 48 volt DC systems IMHO will one day be very common. The savings in copper alone on a large boat would be huge. This has been a common voltage in the telephone and IT industry for well over a century and cars are starting to use 48 volts now as well. Chargers, inverters, solar panels, and DC-DC converters (48>12) are all readily available. I am not too sure about 48 volt alternators, that may be a bit of a DIY operation besides for the one in these articles. If you DIY a voltage divider onto your 12 or 24 volt regulator you probably lose some low RPM charging ability.
* edit - I just remembered I know someone that bought a really big 24 volt alternator (300 amps??) that drives directly off the front of their diesel with no belts. No side loads at all. That is almost 9KW and 24 volt boat stuff is available right now vs. some future date. If you are thinking of doing this for air conditioning, be warned that sailboats are usually poorly set up for this. Besides for the carbon issue, running an engine all night introduces a lot of heat into the cabin. You need a pretty big boat with a well insulated engine room to not end up adding as much heat as you remove and then you end up over in the "Why does that farging icehole run his engine all night" thread

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Old 02-28-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddster View Post
Oh yeah, saw that in some magazine last month. Then I looked up the price.
Yeah, Iíll just have that system added into my custom expedition yacht when my secret inheritance comes in.
Yeah the cost alone may be their biggest challenge getting this off the ground.
I will say, in a discussion I had about this a few weeks ago with a full time cruiser,
he said if it actually worked as advertised he gladly invest in it to get rid of his generator in his engine room and his big solar array on his stern.

It's why I brought it up.
I'm interested to see where it goes, given Calder's endorsement.
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:37 AM
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Reality check:
30 amp shore power cord = 3.6 KW.
Heavy duty 24 volt 150 amp alternator = 3.6 KW.
Small genset = 3 KW. Smallish/medium generator = 5 KW.
You can - right now with no going out on a limb with an experimental system - buy an alternator that will give you as much power as your shore power cord. I don't see this as replacing wind or solar at all, the whole point of that gear is NOT running the engine. Do note almost everything is available in 24 volt versions and 48 volt equipment for boats is off in the future.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:08 PM
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PM alternators, yes.
I like that the rectifiers are mounted away from the Alt. Hopefully they are easy to replace in the field.

Nigel Calder has contributed to my better understanding of boat issues for years. Always a fan.

R.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:37 PM
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A few thoughts:
  1. It looks to me like an updated big alternator, big battery bank system. Nothing earth shaking there.
  2. The big power they're getting has much to do with the higher voltage output (48V). Their alternator output in amps is not extreme by today's standards, 187A.
  3. Joe's mention of belt wear and bearing side loads could have been easily solved with a serpentine belt system but Integrel didn't do that.
  4. There is no getting around it, 9KW requires a minimum of 12HP mechanical input @100% efficiency. Mechanical and other losses will drive the input horsepower higher.
  5. There's no getting around it #2, diesels suffer over the long term at loads less than 70% of max and because of that I expect this system is intended to operate when the boat is motoring rather than stand alone generating. I recently finished troubleshooting a rebuilt small diesel with huge oil consumption that boiled down to the owner baby-ing it for a few years. Ten hours of running hard at WOT solved the entire issue, he now runs at 80% religiously, oil consumption and tailpipe smoke has disappeared. Until the diagnosis he was considering yanking the engine for another rebuild, even pondered dumping it in favor of an outboard.
  6. There's no getting around it #3 (at least currently), Li-Ion batteries have a rated life of 500 deep cycles, more cycles if discharges are shallow.
  7. Li-ion batteries work well normally but when something goes wrong they fail catastrophically. They cannot be discharged fully, cannot tolerate overcharging and ambient heat is also a risk factor. Short of physical damage I trust Integrel's management system monitors these factors.
  8. The innovation in the Integrel system looks to me like the management box. There is a lot of programming input available. If it is owner programmable, that's a potential problem. Give a boat owner an adjustment and you bring in the very real risk of him screwing it up.
  9. The price. Dear Lord, the price. The bare bones basic system with a single 10KWH battery pack is $24K. Wait, I'll type it out for full impact, $24,000.00. Each additional battery pack is another $11,000.00.
  10. Repairs. What do you do when something goes wrong, particularly if you're out cruising and a week or more from port? Who is going to fix it? As Calder was describing the components and management system as "sophisticated" I kept thinking a sailor needs to be able to fix everything onboard himself.
I'd say I'm not a candidate
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:25 AM
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What's wrong with just plugging your charger into the inverter to keep the batteries topped up? Works great for me!
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by wristwister View Post
What's wrong with just plugging your charger into the inverter to keep the batteries topped up? Works great for me!
Say WHAT???
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Old 03-01-2019, 12:13 PM
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I thought sails were the way you move the boat(?) You know, FREE power from the weather !
This motor stuff was supposed to be how you negotiate harbors and calm wind conditions.

The investigation of a more-efficient charging system is commendable, but the return on investment(ROI) for this system must be about 100 years. The guy in the sailing video tells us we "expect" these luxuries. I don't. In energy management, the "low hanging fruit" is always to reduce consumption first, so I'd get rid of that toaster of his first. It's all in your perspective. It's just that he's never been moose hunting with me camped on a mountain in a snow flurry making lattes on a tiny MSR whisperlite gas stove. The secret to happiness is to put Old Grandad in the coffee. Now That's luxury!

I must admit, using electricity to cook on a boat with would get rid of my propane. I hate my setup—its cares me.
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Last edited by lat 64; 03-01-2019 at 04:06 PM. Reason: more better readability. I really need an editor!
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
Say WHAT???
I assume that was a joke
Technically that IS how 12 volt batteries are charged in 24 volt boats, a DC-DC converter is essentially that inside.
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Old 03-01-2019, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
A few thoughts:
  1. It looks to me like an updated big alternator, big battery bank system. Nothing earth shaking there.
  2. The big power they're getting has much to do with the higher voltage output (48V). Their alternator output in amps is not extreme by today's standards, 187A.
  3. Joe's mention of belt wear and bearing side loads could have been easily solved with a serpentine belt system but Integrel didn't do that.
  4. There is no getting around it, 9KW requires a minimum of 12HP mechanical input @100% efficiency. Mechanical and other losses will drive the input horsepower higher.
  5. There's no getting around it #2, diesels suffer over the long term at loads less than 70% of max and because of that I expect this system is intended to operate when the boat is motoring rather than stand alone generating. I recently finished troubleshooting a rebuilt small diesel with huge oil consumption that boiled down to the owner baby-ing it for a few years. Ten hours of running hard at WOT solved the entire issue, he now runs at 80% religiously, oil consumption and tailpipe smoke has disappeared. Until the diagnosis he was considering yanking the engine for another rebuild, even pondered dumping it in favor of an outboard.
  6. There's no getting around it #3 (at least currently), Li-Ion batteries have a rated life of 500 deep cycles, more cycles if discharges are shallow.
  7. Li-ion batteries work well normally but when something goes wrong they fail catastrophically. They cannot be discharged fully, cannot tolerate overcharging and ambient heat is also a risk factor. Short of physical damage I trust Integrel's management system monitors these factors.
  8. The innovation in the Integrel system looks to me like the management box. There is a lot of programming input available. If it is owner programmable, that's a potential problem. Give a boat owner an adjustment and you bring in the very real risk of him screwing it up.
  9. The price. Dear Lord, the price. The bare bones basic system with a single 10KWH battery pack is $24K. Wait, I'll type it out for full impact, $24,000.00. Each additional battery pack is another $11,000.00.
  10. Repairs. What do you do when something goes wrong, particularly if you're out cruising and a week or more from port? Who is going to fix it? As Calder was describing the components and management system as "sophisticated" I kept thinking a sailor needs to be able to fix everything onboard himself.
I'd say I'm not a candidate
Besides for all that, you could just by a generator for less or one of the numerous drive-a-generator-from-the-main-engine schemes for bigger boats that have been around for decades.
When we had something like this in the 90s the customers all wanted air conditioning while sleeping, which is an exceedingly bad use for a main engine.

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Old 03-01-2019, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by joe_db View Post
I assume that was a joke
Technically that IS how 12 volt batteries are charged in 24 volt boats, a DC-DC converter is essentially that inside.
Yup, I was kidding. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I gave up on inventing the perpetual motion machine long ago. And I did try! When I was a kid, I taped my bicycle headlight generator to an electric motor, wired them together, set up a pulley between the two, and gave her a spin. I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't just run forever.
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:00 PM
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So, pretty much how I figured the group would see this.
As I'm sure I said earlier, this is waaaay not for us.
I should point out that the main reason I posted it was that I thought some of the "tinkerers" among us would find it interesting.

There is one other *site I frequent regularly and John, the main host, spent a very detailed article on it.
He basically shot it down for many of the same reasons we've discussed.
In fact some of his bullet points were almost line for line with Neil's.

*Attainable Adventure Cruising
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Old 03-02-2019, 10:25 AM
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I would love to read John Harries' article but I am unwilling to pay for a membership to do so.
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Old 03-02-2019, 11:58 AM
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So, pretty much how I figured the group would see this.
As I'm sure I said earlier, this is waaaay not for us.
I should point out that the main reason I posted it was that I thought some of the "tinkerers" among us would find it interesting.

There is one other *site I frequent regularly and John, the main host, spent a very detailed article on it.
He basically shot it down for many of the same reasons we've discussed.
In fact some of his bullet points were almost line for line with Neil's.

*Attainable Adventure Cruising
It is interesting for sure, but also puzzling. I am not sure what they think they have accomplished
Using a main engine as a genset too is an ancient idea. Freighters have tailshaft generators to avoid using their gensets underway. This is now being promoted as "green energy" because you don't have the exhaust of 2 different engines.
https://www.marineinsight.com/enviro...aft-generator/

A friend of mine just got rid of the genset on his fishing boat and got one of these setups. They are available in sizes that work on 40+ foot powerboats.
Using higher than 12 volt batteries is likewise very old. Way back in the day 120 volts DC and 32 volts DC were common voltages for boats. 24 volts DC is the standard DC system on any commercial ship now and many larger boats. As I said, 48 volts may one day be common on boats, but it isn't yet.
Permanent Magnet alternators are already on boats in wind generators. You gain some by not needing field current, but you need different regulators that are a lot more complex.
Also note marine gensets are pretty simple, very reliable, and the fuel in to electricity out formula never changes
Three Laws of Thermodynamics:
1. You can't win
2. You can't break even
3. You have to play
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Old 03-03-2019, 01:40 PM
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WOW, I don't see any advantage to it other than financial bragging rights! I also don't see many applications "size of vessel wise" to which it would be an advantage.

For those of us in 30~40 ft sailbots going electric to me seems backwards in most approaches. Were I repowering with an eye to efficiency of the "unit" and space I would sort of turn things around. An electric drive system for a sailboat does not need to be very large as compared to a power boat.

My approach would be to remove the existing diesel and trans and sell them. Say it was a 35 foot boat why not install a 20kw genset and an electric drive to suit. The genset would happily run any "comforts" all night long. After all it is a sailboat as per "Russ". The genset nd batteries could easily get close to hull speed when you were docking or motoring.

A friend of mine has been having a lot of electrical power problems with his 45'
liveaboard.. He has 320 watts of solar and a genset. Because the genset is horribly noisy hidden under the galley they don't like to run it. I began to get curious as to why he was having dead batteries because of his "refrigeration" as he put it. So I grabbed a meter and went to give him a hand. Well to my surprise and his "shock" it had nothing to do with the refrigeration. While at anchor he uses the 10 gallon electric water heater, a coffee maker, toaster, microwave and AC when hot! He had absolutely no idea of how much power he was using. When I got things added up there wasn't enough room on his boat for adequate solar power. He was going to add another 300 watts of solar power which he bought. He said he had been listening to me with the same refrigeration system having my solar system at float before noon on cloudy days and thought he could do the same. I think he is now going to invest in better insulation for his genset.

To many people swallow the hype and do not research what their "needs" actually are.

Dave Neptune
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:30 PM
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I think quite a few motor yachts will be interested in this system though. Not a big percentage-wise cost for a small Nordic Tug($500,000+)

I also had another thought on the economics of a boat with all-electric appliances, battery storage, and diesel propulsion with the "magic-stuff" alternator—Safety. No CO exposure from a generator running at anchor or at night and no propane fire risk. I imagine on emergency room visit and hospital stay for burn injury can well exceed the cost of this system*. Just a thought.

*As Dave says, one does have to be aware of the energy budget. No teenagers showering.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:00 PM
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I think quite a few motor yachts will be interested in this system though. Not a big percentage-wise cost for a small Nordic Tug($500,000+)

I also had another thought on the economics of a boat with all-electric appliances, battery storage, and diesel propulsion with the "magic-stuff" alternatoróSafety. No CO exposure from a generator running at anchor or at night and no propane fire risk. I imagine on emergency room visit and hospital stay for burn injury can well exceed the cost of this system*. Just a thought.

*As Dave says, one does have to be aware of the energy budget. No teenagers showering.
Still don't get it - there are cheaper ways to do the exact same thing that are well proven.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:02 PM
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WOW, I don't see any advantage to it other than financial bragging rights! I also don't see many applications "size of vessel wise" to which it would be an advantage.

For those of us in 30~40 ft sailbots going electric to me seems backwards in most approaches. Were I repowering with an eye to efficiency of the "unit" and space I would sort of turn things around. An electric drive system for a sailboat does not need to be very large as compared to a power boat.

My approach would be to remove the existing diesel and trans and sell them. Say it was a 35 foot boat why not install a 20kw genset and an electric drive to suit. The genset would happily run any "comforts" all night long. After all it is a sailboat as per "Russ". The genset nd batteries could easily get close to hull speed when you were docking or motoring.

A friend of mine has been having a lot of electrical power problems with his 45'
liveaboard.. He has 320 watts of solar and a genset. Because the genset is horribly noisy hidden under the galley they don't like to run it. I began to get curious as to why he was having dead batteries because of his "refrigeration" as he put it. So I grabbed a meter and went to give him a hand. Well to my surprise and his "shock" it had nothing to do with the refrigeration. While at anchor he uses the 10 gallon electric water heater, a coffee maker, toaster, microwave and AC when hot! He had absolutely no idea of how much power he was using. When I got things added up there wasn't enough room on his boat for adequate solar power. He was going to add another 300 watts of solar power which he bought. He said he had been listening to me with the same refrigeration system having my solar system at float before noon on cloudy days and thought he could do the same. I think he is now going to invest in better insulation for his genset.

To many people swallow the hype and do not research what their "needs" actually are.

Dave Neptune
I was going to say the same thing - get a well proven reliable diesel genset and an electric motor. This is how cruise ships operate, the diesel gensets run all the hotel loads and the propulsion motors. Also plenty of diesel-electric tugs around. Still some cash involved though.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:43 PM
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Joe, John "Q" Public is mostly interested in systems with well written boasting. I looked to "tiffany's (west marine)" for a solar system and was shocked with the costs after having researched "building" my own with available quality parts. I built a 320 watt set-up for less than $600 including installation and monitoring gages.

Another point regarding voltages. In DC once your at 48v it is becoming a "current" to be careful with. Some articles I've read state that voltage concerns are why the "electric superchargers" are having a hard time being developed and marketed. I think they will wind up with a capacitor assist to spin up turbochargers and/or wheel motor boost's for rapid performance in the near future.

Dave Neptune
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:53 AM
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I have no idea why, but West Marine is the worst place on the planet to buy solar. Their gear is half as good and twice the price of any random eBay find.

Back to the original idea: If you are going to imitate something found on commercial vessels, it pays to find out how they do it AND remember they pay an engineer to babysit the system
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