Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24

Thread: Want to replace the Atomic 4 with an electrical motor, any advice?

  1. #1
    Contributing Member II
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Henderson, NV
    Posts
    39

    Want to replace the Atomic 4 with an electrical motor, any advice?

    Hi Folks, I haven't posted on here in ages.

    I have an 1974 E27, the boat is still in excellent shape, however, I'm fed-up with working on the damn engine all of the time. I want to replace it (A4) with an electric motor, my question is, is this a viable option, if so, who of you out there has done so and is it working out well for you.

    I read in one of my sailing magazines a long time ago about someone (I completely forget who and what now) who had replaced their engine with a more efficient electrical motor, with a generator etc.

    My question is, is the conversion to drive the shaft/prop do-able? In other words how does one change it to drive the shaft and prop?

    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Portland, OR. Columbia River
    Posts
    7,536
    Blog Entries
    63

    Electircal

    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...&referrerid=28

    There are some other electric drive threads you can locate with some searching.

    LB
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  3. #3
    Principal Partner Mark F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Felton CA
    Posts
    976
    Blog Entries
    5
    Hi Fencer21,

    look under the blogs section here. I have a couple of entries about my electric propulsion installation. I am at four years with an electric auxiliary on my 1976 E27 and couldn't be happier. The E 27 is a very good platform for EP, that said I've been reading about much bigger sailboats converting lately. I will warn you once you have the electric motor installed it's pretty boring, nothing to work on ;-).

    Where is your boat, how do you use it, daysail, cruise? Are you in a slip?
    Lotus Flower
    1976 E27
    Electric Inboard
    Santa Cruz CA

  4. #4
    Principal Partner Lucky Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencer21 View Post
    I'm fed-up with working on the damn engine all of the time.
    .......What are you planning to do with the Atomic4?.............mark
    "The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision." Helen Keller

  5. #5
    Perfect Storm C Masone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Port Jefferson NY
    Posts
    116
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Dog View Post
    .......What are you planning to do with the Atomic4?.............mark
    Hey, the body isn't even cold yet!
    If anything's going to happen it's going to happen out there!

  6. #6
    Contributing Member III
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    QCYC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    68
    A guy in our club did a very successful conversion of a C&C 35 from an A-4 to electric.
    http://sunchallenge.blogspot.ca/
    I believe this is the brand he used
    http://www.electricyacht.com/2010/09/initram/


    Dave Robinson
    Dragonfly
    1978 Ericson 30-2 #25
    QCYC, Toronto

    "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk".
    -Sir Francis Chichester while loading his boat with gin.

  7. #7
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Wakefield, RI
    Posts
    1,701
    I'll come right out and say I'm a skeptic of electric propulsion except for some very specific applications. Some are very happy but I will be waiting until the battery technology improves to the point where the electric option is equal to the conventional solution.

    Consider this:
    -What is the conversion cost, can you do the work and how much custom work will be required to make it happen?
    -What is the cost of a rebuilt A4? The A4 gurus at Moyer Marine, and other places seem to be able to make them reliable.
    -What is the cost of simply paying someone who really knows what they are doing to make your A4 right?
    -Nothing is free, what is the cost of replacing a battery bank years down the road?
    -Will this affect the resale potential of the boat? Correctly done, maybe not, but anything other than a pro-grade install on an alternative propulsion system will surely devalue the boat.

    I don't like seeing old boats hacked. A poorly done conversion of any type will be worse than a poorly maintained original engine. Hanging an outboard on the transom is a hack as well. Go in with both eyes open and consider all the options.

    RT
    Rob Thomas
    Wakefield, RI
    1983 Ericson E38 "Ruby"
    "I purchased a boat because setting fire to $100 bills was not an efficient enough way to dispose of them...."

  8. #8
    Contributing Member II
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Henderson, NV
    Posts
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
    Hi Fencer21,

    look under the blogs section here. I have a couple of entries about my electric propulsion installation. I am at four years with an electric auxiliary on my 1976 E27 and couldn't be happier. The E 27 is a very good platform for EP, that said I've been reading about much bigger sailboats converting lately. I will warn you once you have the electric motor installed it's pretty boring, nothing to work on ;-).

    Where is your boat, how do you use it, daysail, cruise? Are you in a slip?
    My boat is currently moored on Lake Mead here in Nevada, and I primarily use it for day sailing. Lake Mead can be fun and poses challenges one doesn't get on the open water/ocean.

    I don't have the time to devote towards maintaining the engine, it has a lot of hours on it, it's used up and needs serious TLC. I'm just tired of always having to fix it. Whenever I do have the luxury of getting out to the boat, the last thing I want to do is spend what little time I have working on the engine.

    Summers here in southern Nevada are hot. I've been thinking about converting to an electric motor ever since I read that article, but never knew how to execute the act of getting one. I have a personal friend who is an electrical engineer, and the challenge this presents is very intriguing to him. He has a keen eye and a very adept at attention to detail. Once he gets on this project, I know it'll get done right.

    The cost would (I think) be invariably high at first, but still would be cheaper than bringing someone out to work on it or have it rebuilt. But in the long run, I don't have to put fuel in it, or oil, or make sure it's operating temperature is always where it should be, and I can get rid of the exchange/wet exhaust system and all of its associated hardware. This will make the boat lighter and more efficient, and on top of all of this I haven't read once where somone was totally unhappy with the change.

    As for resale, it'll drive the value of the boat higher (that is if I were to sell it).

    My plans for the atomic 4 (after a successful conversion) will either be, a big-ass paper weight or another boat anchor...we'll see.

    Thanks to those who responded, I appreciate it, I'll continue my research with the info some of you provided and I'll let y'all know how it went.
    Last edited by Fencer21; 06-14-2012 at 08:31 PM.

  9. #9
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Wakefield, RI
    Posts
    1,701
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencer21 View Post
    This will make the boat lighter and more efficient, and on top of all of this I haven't read once where somone was totally unhappy with the change. As for resale, it'll drive the value of the boat higher (that is if I were to sell it).
    When someone spends $10K and it doesn't work out as they planned they very rarely admit it. If your boat is worth more than book value and you sell it after electric conversion I'll send you a crisp $100 bill. I'm completely serious. You have already made up your mind, and in your case I think you will be happy with the conversion. Best of luck. RT
    Rob Thomas
    Wakefield, RI
    1983 Ericson E38 "Ruby"
    "I purchased a boat because setting fire to $100 bills was not an efficient enough way to dispose of them...."

  10. #10
    Principal Partner Mark F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Felton CA
    Posts
    976
    Blog Entries
    5
    Hi fencer21,

    If you have any specific questions when/if you and your friend start the project don't hesitate to contact me. My only concern is how are you going to charge the batteries since you are on a mooring.
    Lotus Flower
    1976 E27
    Electric Inboard
    Santa Cruz CA

  11. #11
    Contributing Partner jreddington's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Middletown, CT
    Posts
    159
    Another alternative to driving the existing propeller is the Mastervolt Podmaster

    http://www.mastervolt.com/press-rele...om-mastervolt/

    A conversion of a classic daysailor with no auxiliary to this system was outlined in the most recent edition of Professional Boatbuilder. For this application the Podmaster was perfect since there was no engine compartment to put even a motor and very shallow bilges. The advantage in your situation is that the pod system is engineered as a unit. You don't have to re-engineer and re-specify propellers, etc. Just plug up the shaft log.

    With the pod on the outside, this also frees up the old engine room space for easier retrofitting of a battery bank. One of the most complicated parts of retrofitting a boat to electric is finding places to put the batteries.

    The same article notes another conversion where professionally installed the cost was $17,000 and estimates that this is $3,000 MORE than an equivalent diesel. Not that your installation would run that but illustrates that a proper electric install is not going to save much if anything over a traditional repower.

    There was an article a few months ago in either This Old Boat or Sail that outlined converting a boat to electric drive using the original propeller. It was on how to do this on the cheap. However, the author appeared to be skilled to more than the shade tree mechanic level.

    Also, as Nigel Calder has noted in several articles, there are significant hazards with available fault current and other issues that are associated with newer batteries (lithium) or just the scale up from an A/B battery set to a multi-battery bank.

    As a minimum, adhere to ABYC standards and work with an ABYC technician certified eletrical technician. /And even current ABYC standards are really not designed to address these larger banks. These standards are in active development but since the industry is still in the infacncy of these electric and hybrid vessels the standards are chasing a moving target.

    And make sure you are realistic about the application and your expectations. People frequently overestimate how much they can get out of a battery bank. In a hybrid boat presentation I gave, I used the Chevy Volt as an analogy. The state of the art batteries in this car weigh about 700 lb. Electric range is 30-40 miles. MPG once the engine kicks in is in the 30 mpg range. So this 700 lb. of battery has equivalent energy to about a gallon or gallon and a half of gasoline or diesel (we're talking just rough ballpark numbers to illustrate).

    Envision it this way. Would you head off on a cruise with just a gallon or two in your tank, especially if even Sea Tow can't supply you with a gallon or two of emergency "fuel" out on the water? (Your electric "tank" size would vary depending on the size of your battery bank). If your answer is "yes" than you are a good candidate.
    Jim R.
    ABYC Certified Master Technician
    Lady J - 1984 E-28
    Homeport: Old Saybrook, CT

  12. #12
    Principal Partner Mark F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Felton CA
    Posts
    976
    Blog Entries
    5
    Hi Fencer21,

    You might want to checkout some of the online forums by groups of people that have converted to electric. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Electric propulsion for sailboats is a nicely maturing technology.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/electr...s/messages?o=1
    http://www.electricseas.org/

    some of the manufacturers that I'm familiar with;

    http://www.electricyacht.com/
    http://www.propulsionmarine.com/electric
    http://www.c-e-marineamericas.com/products.php
    http://www.advancedmarineelectricpro...es/Page497.htm

    and for grins you can view a video that the now defunct manufacturer (SolidNav) made of my E27 a few years ago;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjqC9wZUVL8
    Lotus Flower
    1976 E27
    Electric Inboard
    Santa Cruz CA

  13. #13
    Principal Partner steven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Annapolis
    Posts
    366
    a new (to me) supplier: http://www.electricsloop.com/
    Steve and Paula
    Indigo E35-2 #446
    Annapolis

  14. #14
    Contributing Member II
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Henderson, NV
    Posts
    39
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
    Hi Fencer21,

    You might want to checkout some of the online forums by groups of people that have converted to electric. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Electric propulsion for sailboats is a nicely maturing technology.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/electr...s/messages?o=1
    http://www.electricseas.org/

    some of the manufacturers that I'm familiar with;

    http://www.electricyacht.com/
    http://www.propulsionmarine.com/electric
    http://www.c-e-marineamericas.com/products.php
    http://www.advancedmarineelectricpro...es/Page497.htm

    and for grins you can view a video that the now defunct manufacturer (SolidNav) made of my E27 a few years ago;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjqC9wZUVL8
    these are great resources, thanks Mark...

  15. #15
    Principal Partner Lucky Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    417
    Other than be old and cranky, is there anything major with the A4? I used to hot rod engines in younger days and now teach small engine repair.
    "The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight but no vision." Helen Keller

Similar Threads

  1. Electrical Panel Refit...Need advice
    By Solace in forum Maintenance & Mechanical
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-24-2011, 10:01 AM
  2. Atomic 4 Motor For Sale
    By bigd14 in forum For Sale & Wanted
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-11-2009, 08:10 PM
  3. replace gas with diesel
    By chuckA in forum Maintenance & Mechanical
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 08-13-2009, 09:41 AM
  4. Help replace my mainsail...
    By Howard Keiper in forum Design & Function
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 09-28-2007, 12:11 PM
  5. replace my own prop?
    By oceanview in forum Maintenance & Mechanical
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-02-2007, 03:33 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •