Blank Slate!

Discussion in 'Electrical Systems' started by OutOfMyLeague, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. OutOfMyLeague
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: Portsmouth, NH

    OutOfMyLeague New Member

    Hey,

    I have a BIG project that is beyond what I know, so I need any help that I can find out there in the world! As regards a 1972 Ray Creekmore 48' (sloop) that I am outfitting with a diesel-electric hybrid motor. I am doing this because the boat came with NO systems installed - the old diesel was removed and all wiring was snipped away at seemingly random places. I am starting from scratch!

    My first task is to find a professional who knows about boat wiring to come give me an estimate and help me figure out up from down. I do not, however, want to be such a fool that I can't understand a word that he/she tells me! I know that I'll need a 12V system and that things were set up with 30 amp shorepower.

    I've been looking for and studying some wiring schematics, but I am in the dark and can't seem to grasp The Big Picture. What happens when power comes in off my 30 amp wire from shore? What path does this electricity need to follow in order to... for example... light cabin lights?

    I am just starting, and I am committed to learning about this... off to the bookstore now to see what I can find there!

    Thanks for taking the time to help those less knowledgeable!
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Why are you using a diesel electric? Unless you are running a tug or something that needs fine speed control is not a very economic or light system. The cost will also be very high. It would take you years to just break even
     
  3. OutOfMyLeague
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Location: Portsmouth, NH

    OutOfMyLeague New Member

    Am looking at a system like the one running the Lagoon 420s. I like the engineering (search emotionhybrids on YouTube, and there are some videos about it done by the engineer). A serial diesel hybrid system where the diesel engine is just there to generate electricity for the motor not to turn the drive shaft. I'll install the system over the next few months with a diesel generator for power initially, but that will not be permanent. I intend eventually to go hydrogen (see http://www.independencegreenyachts.com/ ). I do not have to worry about the cost of this project, but I am worried about my inexperience with electrical schematics.
    Thanks!
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    If you are not worried about cost, then I would like you as my customer. Tell me more about what speed and other specification you have, and I can ship you a complete power package.
     
  5. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    OOML,

    Regarding the Independence boat: It's a nice concept. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist yet, and some of the technology needed to make it work (specifically, the hydrogen storage system) is still a decade or two away. There is also one critical point that is omitted from most articles on it: the length of time it must sit and recharge after its 600 mile, 8 knot cruise is over.

    Having said that, I think it's great that someone's working on a technology demonstrator like this- I just won't vouch for its commercial viability at present.

    Now, your own boat:

    You need a hard and fast primer in marine electrical and drive systems, more than can be taught via a forum like this. Go to your favourite bookstore and place an order for ISBN 0-07-143238-8, Nigel Calder's "Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual" (about $45). Read chapters 1-10, think for a while, then read chapters 1-10 again.

    Once you've been through that book (or something similar), you'll know why Gonzo thinks your hybrid system is too complex and too expensive for this application. You'll also see that you won't have just one, but quite possibly three electrical systems in your proposed scenario: shorepower, 12 volt DC, and high-voltage DC.

    I'm not saying electric drive is bad- there are many cases where it could be quite appropriate. (Generally speaking, this is true if house loads are comparable to, or larger than, propulsion loads- true for cruise ships, true for some megayachts, very rarely true for pleasure craft unless their life consists of short, slow trips in between long stays at anchor.) But before you can make that decision, you need to know how electricity works, you need to know how to calculate power demand and battery capacity, how to specify system components according to the anticipated power requirements, and you need to do a cash flow comparison of your proposed system versus a conventional powertrain. (There is no point in spending $500k on systems for a boat that is only worth $50k, nor is there any point in spending $500k on systems if you have to work overtime and weekends to pay for it instead of going sailing.)
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Hey Marshmat, there goes my $500K contract. Seriously, it may not be so much but will be expensive. I can still send a whole package though.
     
  7. JRMacGregor
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: Scotland, UK

    JRMacGregor Junior Member

    OutofMyLeague

    Converting energy from your diesel into electricity that your battery can store involves loss of energy (inefficiency).

    Converting the energy in your battery to rotational energy (to drive the prop) involves yet another loss of energy.

    To cover these losses of energy, you will have to run the diesel engine for longer in order to turn the prop by means of an electric motor, than you would if you just turned the prop by the diesel.

    So this is not a "greener" alternative. Unless you think that you can get your batteries charged by a clean source of shoreside energy.
     
  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I've worked in tugs with that setup. I was a navigator in oil surveys and speed control is very important. It was not fuel efficient
     
  9. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    OutOfMyLeague, what is your background? What will you have done and what will you do yourself? Have you done anything similar on a smaller scale already?

    Decisions have to be made like the required motor size, type of storage battery and capacity. Do you want to make your own control circuitry or use standard industrial components?

    I am willing to answer questions and provide help designing the circuitry, but if you have no inkling of electricity I may not live long enough to see the project finish.
     
  10. JRMacGregor
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: Scotland, UK

    JRMacGregor Junior Member

    Gonzo

    you have probably worked in tugs with the set up diesel-alternator-motor-propeller. There are losses there compared to direct drive diesel, but they are not huge.

    The set up talked of here is diesel-alternator-charger-battery-motor-propeller, which has much greater losses.
     

  11. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Outofmyleague,

    I was like you a few years back. I have one recommendation for you:

    Boatowners Mechanical & Electrical Manual
    How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
    By Nigel Calder
    Published by International Marine (division of McGraw Hill)

    Read it, study it, sleep with it. Well, OK maybe not sleep with it but take the time and put some mental energy into studying this supurb book and with this text at your side you will be able to go one on one with any marine electrican. You'll certainly know weather he's being honest and you might even decide to do some of the work yourself.

    This text is written in a way that any reasonably intelligent novice can understand BUT it comprehensively covers a vast amount of topics.

    I'm currently in the process of completely rewiring my old Silverton. With the knowledge that I've gained from this text and from the Blue Sea Systems website (www.blueseasystems.com) I'm absolutely sure that I'm doing it right.

    You can too.

    Regards,

    MIA
     
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