"Current Situation" DIY Efficient Solar/Electric Powered Newport 17 Project

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ElectroDanO, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Nice to see some "out of the box" thinking. I'll be following along! One thing I haven't seen mentioned. Your old man (assuming he's your father) has a pretty wild beard there.
     
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  2. Heimfried
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Location: Berlin, Germany

    Heimfried Senior Member

    Hi bajansailor,
    as I'm an old guy and learned late some English - which is not my my mothertounge - it is a bit laborious for me to write longer texts in English. But some pics will tell about my build.
    Houseboat Katamaran ECO62 http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?232326-Houseboat-Katamaran-ECO62
    Much more and very deteiled stuff can be found here, it's in German, but contains also a lot of pics.
    boote-forum.de - Das Forum rund um Boote https://www.boote-forum.de/showthread.php?t=260166

    I very appreciate your friendly and knowledgeable posts in this forum!

    Gruß, Günter
     
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  3. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 29
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    Who? This old hot rodder!?o_O
    [​IMG]

    Not my Pops, but one of my best buddies right there! That's me in the back BTW. He donated the Minn Kota 30 and always helps with crazy projects I come up with. While he doesn't completely understand my passion for this boat, he's way more supportive now after going for a sunset cruise. We'll keep working on him...:D
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    It's very cool to see interest in my little project. Motivates me even more. I thought I might get laughed out of the place at first!:D

    I quickly looked though your project thread and WOW! I'm impressed and in love! That will be a perfect candidate for solar/electric drive. I have a feeling your finished product will be worth all of your effort. What an accomplishment that will be!

    Originally I was just looking for a cheap, small, lightweight sailboat hull and never planned on having a cabin. Now that I've discovered "boat camping", it's opened up a whole new world of enjoyment(and ideas) for me. I think it would be awesome to travel and use the boat as an off grid camper. Your boat with solar would be perfect for that kind of adventure! :cool:
     
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  5. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    We've been ice/snowed in all week with no internet. Oh my!!!

    Perfect time to babysit these new batteries while doing a top balance and capacity test. I spent DAYS with that little project...:eek: I learned a lot and it was cool to see how this chemistry acts in real time. Completely different ball game than FLA! Mostly in a good way. I stress out over this stuff...:rolleyes: Doing the capacity tests, both "batteries" came in at exactly 100ah/1.28kwh each. These were supposed to be 105ah cells so I'm not sure what to think. Is this normal? Did I not do something right? Are they really 100ah cells? I'm thrilled with the results though. They absolutely cranked out an honest 100ah with no drama. More than enough capacity for this project!

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. clmanges
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: Ohio

    clmanges Senior Member

    I wouldn't worry about a five percent discrepancy from advertised capacity.
     
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  7. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: USA

    portacruise Senior Member

    Capacity may be lower at high current draw and low temperatures, even for the various advanced lithium chemistries. Peukert equation?
     
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  8. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell "Whatever..."

    EDO,

    How were the temperatures throughout the tests?
     
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  9. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    Yeah, I'm not one bit disappointed at all. For being low budget stuff, I was happy to see that all the cells are healthy, BMSs are doing their jobs and nothing got hot. I breathed a sigh of relief when all of this was over...:D I pulled just under 20 amps for the whole test and nothing got over mid-80s temp wise. This was done inside my house that was 72 degrees. Pretty cool to watch them push 250w for over five hours while holding the voltage steady at 13.0-12.9 for most of that. Laughable to think how the old lead acids would have held up...
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: USA

    portacruise Senior Member

    You might need a fuse, a circuit breaker, or some kind of high current alarm to warn about weeds tangling in the prop, short of causing a stall. The RC props that I have used are much more likely to tangle than the weed free standard prop.

    Here is a Ragone plot for diminished capacity at High currents with some lithium chemistries:

    BU-503: How to Calculate Battery Runtime – Battery University https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/bu_503_how_to_calculate_battery_runtime

    May not be much of a factor unless you are running a fouled prop for prolonged time, which would also make the motor run hot.
     
  11. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    Thanks portacruise. Interesting stuff. A fuse is something I haven't given much thought, but probably should. These BMSs have a built in over current shutoff if they hit over 60a. Not sure if that's good enough or not. Weeds are almost never an issue for me but I did go exploring last year and found out what you guys have been talking about with these RC props in weeds. Yikes! Thought I was going to have to get out and swim with the snakes. Lesson learned...:eek:

    Probably not a bad idea to throw a factory prop in my prop box that I keep in the boat...;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  12. ElectroDanO
    Joined: Jul 2019
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    Location: Smyrna TN

    ElectroDanO Current Situation

    Well, this project escalated quickly today!

    I started with my usual CAD(cardboard-aided design), but with some(all of the) help from a good friend, it's turned into something much better! NACA 0025, 3D printed fairing is in the works! Trial runs are starting right meow. How cool is this!?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: USA

    portacruise Senior Member

    If you cannot reach the prop to manually detangle weeds , sometimes lifting and spinning the prop out of water for a few seconds in reverse and forward will flick them away.

    My guess is the 60 BMS amp limit might be good for a complete stall, if it is shut down fast enough. Monitoring for current increases while underway will indicate significant accumulations on the prop even when a change of speed is barely noticeable. But constantly glancing at the meter might detract from enjoying the Boating experience.

    Another consideration might be to find what limit of wind/ water current speeds can be challenged. Myself likes to find a launch site that is into the wind if at all possible, so I can know the limits and coast back with the help of the Wind at any point should I fail to make progress.

    But you may already be aware of these things, hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  14. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
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    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    ElectroDanO what an awesome project! Also a great demonstrator that solar electric can work well for slow moving with camping breaks.

    I've been looking into solar panels and well. It looks like either cheap and heavy (glass, sunpower), expensive and light but not efficient or long lasting (china flexible) or outrageously expensive, light and still not very efficient (marine flexible, solbian).

    You could also build your own solar panels. This is probably not that useful for your project but maybe still kinda interesting... keep in mind I researched this info from the internet and am not sure about these things. If you search for "solar cell encapsulation" you can find lots of articles, videos and research papers on this.


    The best (affordable) solar cell you can get are the 22-24% efficient sunpower maxeon solar cells. 125x125cm monocrystaline cells with 3.4 to 3.6 watts and about 0.6V per cell. They are sold in different charges and qualities the latest Gen III. They might be as cheap as 600-750€/kW but you should buy them directly from sunpower. Budget panels or cells with these will use the ones with cosmetic and other defects that might break easier. They are flexible and only 0.125mm thick.

    Soldering these solar cells looks easy enough and they sell "dogbone" connectors that are flexible and won't damage the cells when flexing.

    These cells need to be encapsulated or things oxidize and break. All solar panels seem to encapsulate them between two thin sheets of EVA plastic sheeting that is heated to 150C and laminated under vacuum in between a cover glass and a backing plate. At that temperature the EVA becomes transparent and works as a glue. PET/EVA seems to be standard material for paper laminator.

    The cheap flexible solar panels use PET film as covering. Cheap but doesn't last very long.

    The best for flexible panels is EFTE which is a fluorine based plastic related to PTFE / Teflon and very durable in UV. Very expensive. But even that apparently only last 10 years.

    Solar glass is the cheapest and longest lasting, multiple decades. Solar glass is transparent to UV up to 300nm which is good for efficiency. But standard solar glass is 3.2mm and density of 2.6kg/m³ so heavy. What I've seen for most glass solar panels it's about 12kg/m² so a lot of weight very high where you don't want it.

    Acrylic glass might be the best option, maybe something like 2mm acrylic glass (PMMA or plexiglass) and a foam core as a very stiff backing as a Bimini. Has similar properties than glass (up to 300nm UV range) and holds up to UV well. I'm not sure how long PMMA lasts outdoors without UV additives, would love to hear experiences from boaters.

    I didn't find any solar panels that use this option though, but there is ACRYLITE Solar Panel Acrylic. Maybe it is a bad idea because PMMA gets also soft at 150C so might interfere with the EVE laminating.

    Acrylic glass / PMMA can be sanded and polished. And theoretically I believe you could also sand it down a lot and coat it with more PMMA resin. I believe it can be processed as a 2 component resin. Or as granules as a thermoplastic at something like 350C, not sure if you could iron it on.

    The ideal might be if there was an infusion resin that could work as an encapsulate that is both UV transparent and UV resistant long term. Not sure if there is such a thing. Then you could vacuum infuse something like a "solar bimini" relatively easy.
     
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  15. kerosene
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: finland

    kerosene Senior Member

    your post about individual cells picked my interest. Quick check for local online pricing for clear acrylic (3mm ~ 1/8") was €119 for 1m x 2m. With hard surface treatment almost double.

    330W PERC panel is €149 (I saw a 400W+ panel at similar price and 1 by 2m like the acrylic sheet...
    330W panel is 18,5kg so not horrible.

    My solution is multihul where the weight can be low. Here with sails but goal is actually go solar only (or at least primary) with 600-1000W trolling motor.
    sample1.jpg sample2.jpg
     
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