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Ulu

Experimental Electric Boat

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This is why I have not been working on the p15 lately or posting pictures of my progress: There hasn't been any. I sprayed the body down with oil and let it sit Raw Under The Canopy. ( I don't know why my cell phone capitalizes these random words when I dictate to it. )

Since I retired this year I have not done much except little fishing and work on my experimental boat. This boat had a 40 horsepower 2 stroke pushing a modified and reinforced 30 horsepower hull. I have owned it for 20 years and it is a '76 Columbian by RJ Smith. Here's a photo from a couple years back and you can also see I hadn't stripped the Plymouth down yet.

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It's so modified today that you would not easily recognize it next to the original boat.  I have converted the boat over from gasoline to all electric, so I can fish at quiet lakes where they do not allow fast boats. 

This is a totally experimental setup built from scratch, mostly out of junk I had laying around, and mostly because someone gave me the Navigator Motors (Over $1200 new!)  I also have a $500 MinnKota motor up front & each of the three is 55lbs thrust or approximately a 1/2 horsepower gasoline motor at cruise and I can run all three from my seat.  Here it is parked in front of my tow vehicle.

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The X-24v had lots of mods since I took that photo. I added a casting deck and spend a lot of time reinforcing the gunnels with fiberglass.

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It was in the high 100s this summer and so lots of the work was done at night. As you can see there the sun was well over the yardarm and around the horn.

I built the casting deck with a seat in the front. It's mostly all just glued to the plastic boat with siliconized latex rubber.

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With the Electric setup it goes just as fast as it did with a 4 horsepower gas outboard. Slow. So far this is the only fish I've caught out of this boat worth keeping and it was only 14 inches.

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See the deck there? I put grit on the top so it wouldn't be slippery.

The front motor will be upgraded to a 24 volt motor  and I have a larger 1hp electric motor on order It will replace both of the Navigator Motors and Tiller arrangement for now. Eventually it will replace the small front motor and I will get a 2 horsepower electric motor on the rear.

It will never be enough to make this boat plane but that's not my object. I figured the top hull speed on this is going to be somewhere around 6.5 miles per hour if I'm really flogging the batteries. Right now I have run 5 hours at 5 miles an hour without a problem, and with six group 29 batteries on board there was lots of reserve power. 

But my homemade tiller Arrangement is flexible and no good at all in rough water. It will handle much better with the new electric outboard, but my experiment in building this was that I wanted to see if I would be happy with a 5 or 6 mph boat after owning a speedboat. I am and so now I'm not at all squeamish about spending thousands of dollars on high quality electric gear.

If you don't count batteries or cables, my big expense on the electric conversion was for the stainless steel hose clamps which hold each motor to the tiller. There's also about $8 worth of electrical conduit, which I reinforced internally and externally at the critical mounting points. I swaged out some tubing to make doublers and triplers for the main pivots, & there are solid internal stainless steel slugs.

 I used at least two parts from a Plymouth p15 on this Electric outboard tiller arrangement, and anybody that can spot them wins many brownie points from the gods of mopar history.

Edited by Ulu

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16 minutes ago, Ulu said:

So far this is the only fish I've caught out of this boat worth keeping and it was only 14 inches.

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I see you holding up a piece of bait.......this will be just perfect for the small ponds and lakes about residential areas....sneak in, sneak out and if your lucky, you can take your pet hamsters skiing on the cruise to the best fishing spot, (this spot is obviously marked by an X painted on the floor of the boat)

fishing kayaks are becoming very popular here in our area

Edited by Plymouthy Adams

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Well it was no trophy that's for sure!

Considering the drought we've had for many years I was happy to catch anything at all. You have much more water this year but the lakes are all screwy for fishing.

But I was very happy at the way the boat ran and if it'll go a little faster I'll be even happier.

This is the kind of experiment that Engineers call "a quick and dirty". There wasn't a lot of planning, I didn't make any drawings, & my calculations were very minimal. In view of all that I'm thrilled.

BTW, owning an electric boat does not prevent me also owning a gasoline-powered engine for those occasions where it is still appropriate. I think 15 or 20 horsepower however will be appropriate.

I'm going to set this up so it will be easy for me to hoist off the gas motor and drop on the electric motor, or vice versa.

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Edited by Ulu

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"Since I retired this year I have not done much except little fishing and work on my experimental boat."....  I gather you are no longer employed - as am I, (for pecuniary gain), enjoy yourself. :)

 

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That looks like fun Plymouthy,  but I'm too much of a cc snob to ride anything less than a literbike nowadays.

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On 8/18/2017 at 8:29 PM, T120 said:

 I gather you are no longer employed - as am I, (for pecuniary gain), enjoy yourself. :)

 

I retired in February after 42 years in the engineering business. My wife also retired this year. We are very lucky to have made it in reasonable health and with some financial security. 

Edited by Ulu

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Well I see that no one identified the two Plymouth p15 Parts on my home made electric outboard.

They are quite visible in the photo.

Those parts are removed and now back in the parts bin because I have completely disassembled the test rig.

I had in fact been so distressed by the poor seakeeping in rough water conditions that I disassembled and reassembled my device in a more rigid configuration with motors closer together less cantilevered and more restrained. I also got all of the slop out of the trunnion bearing so that helped as well. Unfortunately in my testing one of the motorstarted to squeak badly. I didn't have any replacement parts for them on hand so I knew it was time to set these aside for now if I wanted to get any more fishing in this year.

Properly motivated by the results of my initial testing, I bought a real Minn Kota 1hp electric outboard. Being a born cheapskate, I found one on sale at a goodly discount. It was also a 56" model with the tiller reversed for bow mounting, so it needed shortening.

Using a pipe cutter,  I grooved the composite shaft deeply,  and cut 23 inches off of it with a small hand saw, being very careful not to nick the wires inside. There was plenty of room inside the head unit to just coil up the excess 23" of wire so I did not bother to shorten them. I had to drill one through-hole at the top of the shaft for the lock screw. I reversed the tiller as I reassembled it so I could transom Mount the motor.

I actually spent more time making and installing that piece of wood for the transom cushion then I did modifying the motor.

She's bolted solidly to the transom and through the steel tubing, and so my $900 investment won't disappear in any random parking lot.

I finally got a GPS speedometer application for my phone and did some real testing and I found out that the boat was not as fast as I thought. My little boat speedometer was off by over one mile per hour and I was really only hitting about 4 mph. The boat is perceptibly faster now, and I have clocked a calm water speed of 4.54 knots which is about 5.25 miles per hour.

I'm going to rebuild the Navigator Motors and put them back on the hull, with a non steerable kick up mounting tube. Maybe I'll hit six miles an hour with a little luck.

 

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Edited by Ulu

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I went back and looked at my photos and realize that I had uploaded the low-res versions here. Even I could not tell what the parts were.

Anyhow two of the clamps which were clamping my tubing are tie rod clamps from the p15.

 

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Well I was so happy with the performance of the electric outboard that I decided to repair and replace the two Navigator 5000 trolling motors. This will essentially double my horsepower at the stern. From 1 horsepower to 2 horsepower.

Exciting stuff huh?

Anyhow these motors are Obsolete and it's impossible to find brushes, so I bought some bigger brushes at the National Hardware Store in Pinedale California and cut them with a little saw and then some sandpaper.

This motor was very noisy and previously had water in it, so I spent some time cleaning it up and replaced the seals, though it was not the seals that were leaking. A casebolt had come loose.

The brush shown installed in the holder is still way too long. I trimmed and dressed them as exactly as possible by hand. I soldered the leads and then insulated them with urethane rubber glue.

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When I hooked it up to 24 volts, she ran as quiet as a brand new motor.

Edited by Ulu

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Well the X-36v suffered some small hull cracks at the site of a previous repair, and has been dry for 2 weeks now.  I ended up repairing 1/3 of the transom heel with epoxy and glass cloth from the inside, after removing some rotten plywood from the transom. She's tight again now, and will be back in the water Wednesday.

I had to open a 4"x8" hole in the top of the flotation chamber & R&R the styrofoam to do so. This led me to find that this boat has only 2 chambers, and not 6 as I thought. The bottom has one, and all the others are connected internally around the perimeter. This is my first and only boat, so no clue if this is a typical situation.

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I'm happy to report there were no leaks, and we had her in the lake for 8 hours.

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There's my lovely wife holding the boat for me.

It was a terrible fishing day but a beautiful day for boating!

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