Friday, November 17, 2023

New Test Data

 CONCLUSION = New Electric Propulsion?

Testing the Torqeedo drive...
No, this is not some new electric JET drive.
It is a 1,500 watt standard hair dryer
the same amount of power that drove
the ALGEMAC II Totally Electric
Powered Solar boat.

Click on pictures to enlarge view.

At 6 tons and forty feet in length ALGEMAC II is actually a fairly lightweight cruising vessel because it is made of wood sheathed in epoxy glass fiber powered only by 24 volts direct current (DC) of Sun power. That begs the question of how little is the amount of power required to move it as compared to a pure wind powered sail boat? Answer.... your hair dryer. 

Generally, sail boats need to tack from side to side in order to progress en route, therefore 6 miles per hour might translate to 4 miles per hour  to equal a straight line speed. Further complications come from wind and tides both for and against its progress as well as river currents. Our  hull was covered with nearly two years of 6 inch sea plant growth shown below on the boats forefoot, which was also limiting speed. Now that we have collected some hard numbers, we should be able to see the difference after a Spring haul out and cleaning of the hull with a subsequent speed run for comparison.

A typical day trip test distance was designed for about 30 miles counting the search for anchoring, crossing large wakes, skirting traffic and just making some scenic diversions. So, enter the invite from the folks of Southport, NC to display our solar boat, we accepted. Straight line distance to Southport is 26 miles plus some optional navigations comes to about 30 miles.

The test we planned dictated the minimum amount of power to maintain steering while making headway. The only way to find the actual speed and power is to make a test trip to and from Southport and also upriver and downriver on the tidal Cape Fear River. That data was collected in order to fairly assess how well the motors, batteries, solar modules, controllers and number of motors running (1, 2 or 3) that are required to safely cover the distance. Three Torqeedo motors having 2 horsepower each at a nominal 24 VDC comprise the total drive system.

SPOILER ALERT... we are talking about speeds of 3 to 5 miles per hour. If those speeds, completely negating the use of fossil fuels are anathema to your sense of water travel, please consider the hull speed of the boat is most capable of 7+ knots (8+ mph) which has been exceeded previously. That is not the test at hand.

The plan was to leave in the outflow of tide, down river to Southport in the afternoon of November 2 at 3pm at the latest. Murphy's law prevailed, in that the 24 volt DC large connectors and the 3 individual low voltage connectors were operating intermittently due to my neglect. After a scrupulous cleaning, maneuver and control became precise. 

Shoving off a bit after 4:30 pm left only a few hours of sunlight, therefore stopping to anchor for the day at about 6:30 pm. If the drive were to continue, the boat would be fine to proceed but there would be no Sun to compare inflow to outflow of the solar generated energy. The speed with just one motor using just one horse power (746 watts) while passing through Wilmington and its port had been 3.2 mph. Best to reflect on the day's travel with a more clear idea for the next day's travel versus running in the dark.

Four hundred foot and larger cargo ships ply the Cape Fear River at night along with logs and various flotsam, no place for any cruiser in narrow river channels in the dark. Even anchoring behind a spit off an island, I was still awakened several times with some hefty rocking from seriously large craft, tugs and pilot boats.

Dinner was comprised of some vegetables graced by a two minute run of an instant turkey meal in the microwave (last seconds of the video clip below). The oven gulps down the battery voltage that was at 25.7 volts to 23.6 volts, then turns off, at which time the battery voltage rebounds immediately back to 25.7

The night was quite cold dipping down to 38 degrees (3 C), calling for my down comforter plus a thermal camping blanket. In the morning a small 1,500 watt electric space heater was turned on high while I dressed then into the head for a hot water wash cloth facial, electric shave and lotion. Breakfast was a glass of juice, milk on wheat & bran cereal with a chaser of coffee. Sun came up at about 7:30 and we were out about 0800 hrs fully charged at 26 volts and rising. Moving along at about 4 mph at 0824 was just amazing with no noise, plenty of power and an uncompromising view. 

While running, the main battery banks were at over 24 volts all day although the helm controls report a 2 volt drain on their displays, about 22 volts DC. At this time we were running a total of just under 1,500 watts (hair dryer) power consumption. In essence, there was a balance between the amount of energy flowing from the Sun, into the battery banks against that being withdrawn by the electric motors at 4 mph.

At 2:51 pm (1451 hrs) we were passed by the Southport, NC bound Fort Fisher ferry, traveling twice our speed at about 8 knots burning diesel fuel, the smell of which hung in the breeze for a half hour. A lot of folks waved and took pictures, just so cool.

The power input versus output remained stable throughout the entire test, underscoring the the potential to replace the present roof array with lighter, more powerful and better cost per watt performance, easily increasing our speed and range. Additionally, the reduction of roof load and subsequent rocking angle would be a most welcome creature comfort from the nearly 60% weight reduction by new thin flexible solar modules.

The speed was kept to a max of 5 mph to monitor the increase of power inflow versus out flow. I found maintaining the ratio quite simple and should be amenable to control through artificial intelligence combined with landscape recognition so that the pilot may spend more time observing the realm rather than acting within it. As one who has raced motorcycles up to 160 mph on tracks, the slow pace allows just as much enjoyment at the other end of the speed scale.

Finally arriving at the Southport dock Robert and a few others from the Southport Wooden Boat Show stood by to handle the deck lines laying along the gunwale and in a jiffy the ALGEMAC II was neatly tied to the dock cleats. At 3:51 pm the arrival had been completed with the main battery bank at 25.9 volts DC and the motor controller displays catching up past 24.4. At the end of the daylight the battery bank was over 26 volts DC and I was on my way to the Appreciation Evening event at The American Fish Company, a pub at the end of the dock. BBQ, chicken, coleslaw and wine were gratefully accepted as well as positive congratulations from a number of what seemed to be a hundred guests.

The next morning the show opened at 10 AM as I scrambled to fold up the hide away queen size bed, sweep the floor, arrange the chairs clean my dishes, and bunch of trivial movements that culminated in a somewhat shipshape presentation. The streets of the town were awash in all manner of wooden boats but I was unable to get off our boat, it was mobbed most delightfully. 

A visit from my wife Hillary and her friend Caroline resulted in a lovely and gracious welcoming committee. Caroline's picture of the  admiral and captain sealed the day's memory.

Prizes were also awarded for various types of boats with the ALGEMAC II being the first ever electric boat category and winner.
The true winner is the quaint, open, real, adorable and friendly town of Southport, NC. 

After the crowd had left the bed reemerged with billowy comforters, soft pillows and enough wisps of wind to lull the tiller man to sleep. Of course there was no way to pursue a good night dreamscape without a nightcap at The Fishy Fishy Restaurant bar and a call home.

Then up at 0730, a quick cereal breakfast, free the lines and back her out single handed. It is so easy with the small three powerful electric motors because the center motor steers while the fixed port and starboard motors allow precise neutral steering in her own length radius circle. I only captured a few seconds of the initial departure as it was more prudent to steer than video at 0846 hrs.

At about 0900 hrs the tide turned toward the North and home to Wilmington, NC. As the sun and tide worked together and the combined power to the motors was regulated to just under 1,500 watts (2 hp) the GPS replied with a fairly consistent 4 to 5 mph all the 26 plus miles back to Cape Fear Marina.

Back through the City of Wilmington Port one needs to keep a sharp eye out for large ships turning in the port basin for you never can be sure of where or when a tug or vessel may change course and use your boat as a dockside fender.

Always nice to return to town through the Wilmington draw bridge. The tide action beneath the bridge has its own mind, with opposing eddy currents and swirls around the large piers and dolphins. Interesting too is a floating barge being assembled at a boat yard to be towed to Wrightsville Beach as the Commodore Club Restaurant. That should be interesting.

Back in home port at 2:16 pm (1416 hrs) on Sunday the 5th of November direct from Southport, NC in under 5 hours, no fuel, no noise, no sound and ready to go on a moments notice.

In summary, the test was to evaluate the efficiency of the whole boat and power system to operate at the lowest margin of acceptable control under moderate weather conditions. A speed guideline of 3 to 4 miles per hour was determined from previous tests that would allow acceptable control in moderate weather conditions. Together with electrical demand and collection monitoring, a determination of the additional amount of power required for higher speeds could be estimated.

The test indicates a need for almost twice the power as now available from the roof array into the battery storage banks. 5,000 watts of collection of the Sun's light from atop the boat is a number that appears to satisfy the requirement of 7 mph (6 knots) with a clean hull and in moderate weather conditions. That speed would last for about 6 hours WITHOUT degrading the battery banks, as the Sun's energy would proceed nearly directly to the motors.

A supplier of lightweight, powerful and efficient solar modules has been located on the west coast for an order of 30 to 32 modules to replace the heavy 11 modules now employed. As a private venture the costs are all borne by yours truly. Moving on from 2,585 watts to 5,000 watts is exciting, expensive and time consuming but the outcome should be quite impressive to see a 12,000 pound 40 foot yacht for 2+ voyagers to travel at 6 knots with no apparent fuel or noise on three hair dryers worth of electricity.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

MOG at Boat Show 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Southport Wooden Boat Show

North Carolina

We are happy to respond to the SWBS invitation to display our 40 foot Totally Electric Powered Solar (TEPStm) boat at their in water portion of the boat show. Our spring and summer have been spent responding to long scheduled medical surgeries that are now beginning to allow us to regain a long awaited correction of hearing, sight and mobility issues for Hill and me.

The event will provide the first time in nearly two years that we have a clear opportunity board the ALGEMAC II for a trip on the Cape Fear river to Southport, NC for the show and some well earned time living the boat life toward which we have so looked forward. 

The motors will be 3 Torqeedo electric outboards, new batteries last year and the previous 11 photovoltaic modules of 235 watts each, 2,585 watts total..  The new 32 light weight flexible modules of 160 watts each will be on order for next year for our long delayed Great Loop 6,000 mile adventure. The new array would punch out over 5,000 watts, enough to drive the boat without any drain of batteries on a sunny day.

We hope that the weather for the show will be perfect for attendees, vendors and boat owners to enjoy. See you there.

Waterfront of Southport at restaurant Fishy-Fishy

View of private and public docks

Friday, March 17, 2023

 MOG Made The Cut

The MOG Canal Boat named ALGEMAC II was selected by the entries committee of Off Center Harbor's World Wide Classic Boat Show to be displayed under the heading of Classic Electric Yachts during their two week online classic boat show. There were literally thousands of boats entered of which our private build prototype was ultimately selected.

The following is the information submitted, approved and displayed during the show.
Because of the difference in formats, you may need to click or double click individual 
videos or sets of photos to enlarge them.

Bio  :
I arrived by pelican near the end of WW II just outside Philadelphia, PA to a mom and dad both of whom embraced the idea of boating. My dad was deferred by command of General Electric, from enlisting in WW II for the military because of his critical work in solving problems with the manufacture, jigs and testing for the Mark series of torpedos. His passion for boats grew even stronger at his work. I grew up in a family of swimmers and lovers of all things rivers, lakes and seas.

At the age of 9, dad and I built our first boat in the early 1950’s, after many years putt-putting the family of four around in rented row boats with a 1920 3.5 hp aluminum Johnson outboard. The new plywood boat of 14 feet came as design from a boat magazine. A 1932 24 hp Johnson race engine (35hp) was purchased from a relative of the actual Johnson family who owned Johnson and Towers Marine in Philadelphia. The boat was open seating, tiller steering and designed for 16 hp, called The Whiskey. Like all things, dad modified it to a center deck/fore deck with reinforcement to 40 hp. It was very fast even by todays standards.

So it was only natural for me to pursue Industrial Design at Phila. Museum College of Art, Army artillery computers, Computer Aided Design and Engineering then designing my own family yacht, the MOG.

For enlargement of all pictures, a double click might increase the size. 
About my boat  :
The MOG Canal Boat is a TOTALLY SOLAR POWERED yacht and electromotive drive system. The initial concept laid to CAD was in 1986 when George McNeir wanted an enclosed boat that could ply near shore Atlantic waters and estuaries with family aboard. MOG (Marine Off Grid and TEPS, Totally Electric Powered Solar)tm.

After a year of technical considerations and deliberations of final use and application of a craft, George settled upon a fundamental change in the design criteria. Since the yacht would be solar electric, the roof (solar collection area) would have the greatest impact on the way the hull and superstructure were designed.

Hulls of different types and interior arrangements were placed on a 3D solids modeling CAD (computer aided design) system where the different elements of a boat could be seen to interact in three dimensional space. This new technique of solid models viewed on a computer was one of the breakthroughs for the design of boats and their cousins, aircraft. The base hull design for a Garvey type hull was purchased from Graham Byrnes NA as a stretched ‘C’ size drawing with a table of offsets. From that rudimentary information the MOG was fully developed as full size frame patterns, mass properties and bill of materials using CAD.

Between 1987 and the laying of the keel in 1988, a tremendous amount of visualizations were made and evaluated. The result was a stubby thirty foot boat where the roof camber, detail of the roof edges, overhang and rolled edge treatment became apparent to support a large solar photovoltaic array.

At the end of the century the boat was hauled out after having out distanced all solar boat records, to be lengthened to her present 40 feet. Many electric drive systems have been applied to this prototype, the latest are 3 Torqeedo motors. The last picture compares the Torqeedo controller with our custom controller 20 years ago. All this can be viewed on YouTube video documents over the years as well as documented in the MOG Blog

For enlargement of all pictures, a double click might increase the size. 

  • Owner’s Description

  • Photos

  • Video

  • Map

  • Comments

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    The first US Design Patent was finally granted March 30th of 1993 with other Design and Utility patents and models to follow covering furniture, changes to prior art and innovations concerning new electric motors, batteries and fuel cells. 
    A customized remote motor control was fashioned for the 2 custom 10 hp converted Mercury ICE outboards (internal combustion engines). Center inset is a picture of the custom outboard’s innards. 
    Torqeedo power into the water compared to the 2 custom built (converted) 9.9hp Mercury ICE outboards. The 3 Torqeedos were less expensive and highly modular for any maintenance issues. 
    New Torqeedo controller/control versus custom units twenty years ago.