In the post two weeks ago, I posed the question in the title “What Moves a Boat?” and went on to fill in the blanks around the answer which is the propeller because the engine “just” spins the propeller. In that post I went on to outline the relationship between the different types of Horse Power or HP measurements such as theoretical maximum power, power in the propeller shaft and most importantly power that is absorbed by the propeller. A lot of this has a very direct bearing on one of the key metrics most of us keep track of and that is the fuel burn rate or how much fuel does it take to go a set distance on a given amount of diesel fuel. However I spent so much time going through the power and engine side of the equation that I didn’t get to the propeller part itself. So consider this Part II of the “What Moves a Boat?” question.
Since that post and throughout the build actually, I received quite a few questions along the lines of “OK, but what about the propeller then?” and “Why did you chose to use a CPP Controllable Pitch Propeller on Möbius?” so I will do my best to answer these and other questions I’ve received in today’s posting.
Those of you who don’t find these technical discussions to be your cup of tea, probably most of you, please feel free to take a break from your devoted reading of these Möbius World blogs and I’ll try to have something different for next week’s update. And I will issue a warning right up front here that reading the article below may well bring back memories of your high school math and physics courses. I’ll let you decide if that is a good thing or bad?!
It may also help you to know that I named my previous boat sv Learnativity for a very good reason and she definitely lived up to her name in the 15 years I spent sailing her around the world. For Christine and I, two former teachers as well, Learning and Loving are the keys to living life well and that is what we aspire to do every day. Might help you understand what drives us to do things like designing and building Möbius and then writing articles like this one and others here on the Möbius.World blog so we can share all of our lessons learned with you.
Horses for Courses:
I promise to get to propellers as quickly as possible but it is neccessary to understand a wee bit more about the engine power that turns every propeller. It is not widely understood that for most diesel engine models from most manufacturers, the same engine model can be configured for several different service ratings, each with their own different set of HP, torque and fuel burn ratings. This is done so that the same engine can be set up to match the use case of the vehicle or boat that it is installed in. I am oversimplifying it but in marine applications these different configurations typically go from Continuous for engines needing to run at full load aka WOT or Wide Open Throttle 24/7 for days and weeks at a time, up through a series of other models as the use rating goes down to where the engine is only needing to produce peak output for a few hours a day. As you might guess as you go “up” this range, the Horse Power and the RPM goes up with each step as does the fuel consumption. It should also be noted that these same engines also start acquiring some “add on” equipment such as turbochargers, after and inter coolers, etc. but the base engine, block, crank, pistons, etc. are the same.
For example, below is a well done explanation by John Deere for their “M rating” system for their marine diesel engines. (click HERE for link to full PDV version) Keep in mind that these M ratings apply to the same overall engine model, let’s say their JD 4 cylinder 4045 4.5 liter engines or their JD 6 cylinder 6068 6.8 Liter model.
M1 rating is for marine propulsion applications that may operate up to 24 hours per day at uninterrupted full power. These applications typically operate more than 3,000 hours per year and have load factors* over 65 percent. Possible applications: Line haul tugs and towboats, fish and shrimp trawlers/draggers, and displacement hull fishing boats over 18 m (60 ft).
M2: The M2 rating is for marine propulsion applications that operate up to 3,000 hours per year and have load factors* up to 65 percent. This rating is for applications that are in continuous use, and use full power for no more than 16 hours out of each 24 hours of operation. The remaining time of operation must be at cruising † speeds. Possible applications: Short-range tugs and towboats, long-range ferryboats, large passenger vessels, and offshore displacement hull fishing boats under 18 m (60 ft). Marine auxiliary power engines for dedicated hydraulic pump drives, dredge pumps, or other constant-load marine applications should use the M2 rating.
M3: The M3 rating is for marine propulsion applications that operate up to 2,000 hours per year and have load factors* up to 50 percent. This rating is for applications that use full power for no more than four hours out of each 12 hours of operation. The remaining time of operation must be at cruising† speeds. Possible applications: Coastal fishing boats, offshore crew boats, research boats, short-range ferryboats, and dinner cruise boats.
M4: The M4 rating is for marine propulsion applications that operate up to 800 hours per year and have load factors* below 40 percent. This rating is for applications that use full power for no more than one hour out of each 12 hours of operation. The remaining time of operation must be at cruising† speeds. Possible applications: Inshore crew boats, charter fishing boats, pilot boats, dive boats, and planing hull commercial fishing boats.
M5: The M5 rating is for marine recreational propulsion applications that operate 300 hours or less per year and have load factors* below 35 percent. This rating is for applications that use full power for no more than 30 minutes out of each eight hours and cruising† speed the remainder of the eight hours, and do not operate for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Possible applications: Recreational boats in the U.S., tactical military vessels, and rescue boats outside the U.S.
Probably easiest to understand in table format like this. Putting this all together, here is the table of the eight different models of the JD4045 four cylinder marine engines John Deere offers. As you can see the HP ratings range from 75HP @ 2400 RPM for the M1 version all the way up to 150HP @ 2600RPM for the M4 model.
Mr. Gee’s Power Curves:
Just before I finally jump into discussing our CPP propeller on Möbius, let me quickly summarize the power curves from Mr. Gee himself, our Gardner 6LXB six cylinder diesel engine that is fully NA or Naturally Aspirated with all mechanical fuel injection, no turbo, no inter/after cooler.
All 6LXB’s can be setup for several different configurations along the lines of the M ratings of the John Deere outlined above and in our case for Mr. Gee and our XPM hull and use cases, we have set it up for a 100% Continuous Duty able to produce 150HP @ 1650 RPM.
Thanks to Michael Harrison and the other great people at Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury England I was able to get this copy of an original graph of all the outputs of the Continuous 100% Duty Cycle version of the 6LXB taken directly while running on their dynamometer.
I took the best photo I could of this very old paper chart so you may want to click to enlarge to read it better.
As per this graph, there are 5 numbered curves mapped out:
Max. power available from engine
Max Shaft Power
Power required by typical propeller
Fuel consumption max power absorbed
Fuel consumption prop power absorbed. If it helps, I have done my best to extract the following data from these curves and put them into this brief chart:
As we now get into our discussion about CPP propellers (finally!), curve #3 is the most relative as this is the power that a “typical” fixed propeller can absorb at these different RPM so that’s the curve to keep in mind here.
Fixed vs Controllable Propellers
Fixed props FP are pretty straightforward and common so I don’t think I need to go into these in much detail. Their basic dimensions are outside diameter, pitch, # of blades, etc. Pitch refers to the angle of the blades and as this angle increases the propeller “bites” into the water more. You order a fixed propeller after carefully working with the manufacturer and providing them with the data about your boat such as hull type, displacement, engine power curves, cruising speed, etc. and they calculate the prop diameter and pitch and manufacture the propeller to match.
Tying this all together, a correctly pitched prop is one that allows the engine to achieve a few more RPM’s above its rated WOT or Wide Open Throttle. This is done to ensure that you can not overload the engine and damage it and most manufacturers will void the warranty if the boat has been “over propped”.
All very logical and reasonable until you start to look at it more closely or more likely you actually get out there and run a boat for awhile and see what the real world performance and fuel consumption numbers turn out to be.
What you end up discovering are two fundamental limitations of a fixed prop:
A FP is pitched to be just right at one RPM, one HP output and one set of conditions or load. In all other conditions the pitch is less and less optimal. In this one scenario the fixed prop can be more efficient because it has been designed to be able to absorb all the power the engine can produce. However, at any other RPM or set of conditions and load a fixed prop is either over pitched or under pitched, running less efficiently and consuming more fuel.
Most of the time in most conditions you need much less power and torque than the maximum power available and so you run the boat with much lower loads which usually reduces the lifespan of that engine. This is exacerbated by the trend for the past decade or more for boat manufacturers, under pressure from buyers, to put in more and more HP rated engines and so it is quite common for boats to spend most of their time running at 10 to 20% of their full load rating which sets them up for very nasty results such as glazing cylinder walls, running too cold, etc.
Engine manufacturers recommend ways to try to reduce the consequences of running their engines in these low load conditions such as running them at WOT for a percentage of the time you have been running them at low loads, but you can see how this is far from desirable and a very poor fit for an eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker XPM type of boat and use case.
In summary then, with a FP boat, in many situations you end up running the engine inefficiently, using more fuel and reducing the lifespan of the engine. I don’t want to overstate this too much and there are of course thousands if not millions of boats running with fixed props so please don’t misconstrue my overview above to be saying that fixed props do not work. They absolutely do and can work quite well.
But as I repeat ad nauseum perhaps, we have our four fundamental SCEM principles for Möbius and all XPM type boats Safety, Comfort, Efficiency, Maintenance and so we are always looking to maximize all four of these and IF there is a better overall solution that helps us optimize one or more of these SCEM principles without compromising the others, then that is usually the Goldilocks choice we make. In the case of FP vs CPP, it became clear to us that CPP helped us make gains in all four of the SCEM categories, and especially so for Efficiency.
The CPP Efficiency Factor
I am going to resist the temptation, lucky you, of writing my own version of a deep dive into how and why a CPP prop enables you to achieve otherwise unavailable efficiency of both fuel consumption and engine maintenance and life span. Instead I will off load that explanation to the following two very well written articles on CPP propulsion.
** There is also a thread on the Trawler Forum with a discussion about the pros and cons of FP vs CPP HERE
The first is THIS one “Controllable Pitch Propellers” by the Naval Architect Michael Kasten’s at Kasten Marine Design. It was written back in 2001 but nothing has changed in this regard since and Michael does a very good job of walking your through the benefits of a CPP propelled boat. I will reference this article again a bit later as he also does an excellent comparison of the costs of building a new boat with FP vs CPP.
The other very worthwhile read is THIS eXcellent posting on CPP props by Matt Marsh. Matt published this very well written article back in April 2013 as part of a much larger “book” of which this is one chapter. All this is over on the eXcellent Attainable Adventures blog that John Harries has eXpertly curated over many years. If you are unfamiliar with this blog I can highly recommend that you spend a few minutes checking it out and I think many of you will want to subscribe.
The Wonder of Fuel Maps!
We need a way to talk about fuel efficiency of engines and boats and by far the best tool for that job is a Fuel map such as the one here from Wikipedia. These are also called Efficiency Maps or Consumption Maps where the horizontal X axis is RPM and vertical Y axis is Torque typically expressed in BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure”). This allows you to plot out colored lines of a given engine’s specific fuel consumption usually measured in units such as grams per kilo Watt hour g/kW/hr or grams per HP hour g/HP/hr and these colored lines are like a topographical map but instead of elevation of land, each curved line is a given amount of fuel consumption.
What is super helpful about Fuel Maps is that the specific fuel consumption lines are normalized so you can compare any two engines of any size because the lower the specific fuel consumption number, the more efficient the engine will be at that combination of RPM and torque. Does not matter if this is one of the world’s largest diesel engines such as the 14 cylinder Wärtsilä RT-flex96C that can produce over 100,000 HP @ 102 RPM (not a typo!) or a slightly smaller 2 cylinder Beta 10 engine that produces 10HP @ 3,000 RPM, you can directly compare their Brake Specific Fuel Consumption BSFC numbers.
Show Me the Money (numbers)!!
I know this has been a long and winding journey to get here and many of these acronyms and metrics can be overwhelming so let’s put this into more understandable every day units we can all understand.
While it may be counterintuitive to many the Wärtsilä RT consumes 171 g/kW/hr and the Beta 10 consumes about 330 g/kW/hr. Converting these numbers to efficiency, the Wärtsilä has a thermodynamic efficiency of 48.1% and the Beta 10 works out to about 24.8%. So as surprising as this may be, the Beta is about 50% less efficient and consumes twice the amount of fuel relative to its rated power output. Clearly I am choosing extreme examples as the Wärtsilä RT engine has held the record for the most efficient diesel engine in the world and it does weighs in with a dry weight of a svelte 2,300 tons so there is that, but you get the point of how handy it is to work wtih these BSFC.
Oh, and for those wondering, Mr. Gee, a Gardner 6LXB has a BSFC of 206 g/kW/hr which works out to be no less than 39.73%. If the engine is operated slightly below maximum torque, it does attain slightly more than 40% thermal efficiency. Now you can see why we chose to marry Mr. Gee to a CPP bride for truly outstanding efficiency, longevity and low maintenance,
If you’d like to know more about Fuel Maps, Matt also wrote up a very good explanation of these in his other post “Understanding an Engine Fuel Maps” HERE and reading that will help you understand what I’ve written below much better.
Fuel Maps for CPP driven boats
I will leave you to digest all these articles and charts above at our own choosing and speed but to get to the crux of it for our discussion of CPP props I will focus on the following 3 following three Fuel Maps from Matt’s great article above.
Here is an example of a “fuel map” that Matt created for his articles. This would equate to a typical 4L 100kW/135HP four stroke diesel engine. The thick Red line is peak Torque and the green circle is the sweet spot of fuel economy, power and torque we seek.
When we add in the Blue/Purple line of a Fixed propeller torque curve, the problem becomes very easy to see; the optimal green circle is a long ways away from the middle of that center Goldilocks Island we want and the prop torque curve never even gets close to Goldilocks Island at any RPM. With a FP this is just the way it is and there isn’t much you can do about it.
However, if we change to a Controllable Pitch Prop we can “pull” the green circle over here simply by changing the pitch and we now run right though that Goldilocks sweet spot! Being able to change the Pitch allows us to drag that torque curve pretty much anywhere we want it
I can imagine that some of you might feel that I am overstating the situation with FP boats to lead into the explanation of why we chose to go with a Controllable Pitch Prop or CPP, and perhaps I am. But all of these points above are based on the laws of physics to a large degree and just the way a FP and diesel engine works.
You might think about it this way; in a FP boat there is only one way that you can change the speed of the boat in a given set of conditions and that is by changing the RPM of the engine and prop. That works BUT these are often RPM’s that are much less efficient and you would otherwise not want to use if you had a choice. Turns out you do!
The ideal would be to be able to run your engine and prop ALL the time under ALL conditions, at their just right load conditions where they are most efficient fuel and power wise. As it turns out this isn’t all that difficult to achieve if we simply add the ability to change the pitch of the propeller at any time such that the engine is always running at its just right RPM and the boat is moving at whatever speed you want within its range. This is what a CPP does: just right load at any RPM and SOG (Speed Over Ground)
CPP props are not new or uncommon having been in daily use in boat airplanes and boats around the world for almost 100 years. For example almost all propeller driven airplanes have a CPP. Have you ever wondered how such a plane can sit there on the runway with its propeller/s whirring away and not be moving? Simple, the pilot adjusts a lever in the cockpit that changes the pitch to zero such that it is like a knife slicing through the air producing no thrust. When you’re ready to take off you just push that Pitch lever forward, the prop blades rotate more and more, producing more and more thrust and the plane zooms down the runway. Once the plane is in the air and finished climbing, the loads are much lower so you reduce the pitch accordingly.
Change the medium from air to water and the CPP in a boat works just the same way. Here is a short video that might help you see how a marine CPP works and looks as it is changing the pitch.
But Wait! There’s more!!!
Below is a short video of Uğur manually rotating our four bladed CPP on Möbius. This is from last year during the build but does a good job of showing you just what is going on under the water as we move our Pitch lever on Möbius.
There are several additional benefits that might not be immediately apparent until you get to know CPP a bit better and one of the biggest benefits worth pointing out is that if you can change the pitch from zero/neutral to full ahead, you can do the same in reverse by simply rotating the blades the opposite direction AND the shaft continues to rotate in the same direction.
Thus you eliminate the need for a fwd/rev transmission. You do still usually need a gear reduction box, ours is 3:1, to get the prop spinning much slower than the engine but no forward/reverse gears are involved. This has several positive consequences such as being much “kinder” to the engine and gearbox as there is no “clunking” in and out of gear and the other is that you can smoothly feather the prop from forward to reverse moving the boat just millimeters at a time if desired, which is eXtremely handy when maneuvering in close quarters, docking, etc.
Know the Load!
Just a very quick diversion to explain an eXtremely useful gauge on any boat and one that is of particular value on a CPP based boat and that is having a high temperature thermometer known as a Pyrometer or an Exhaust Gas Temperature EGT gauge. If you’ve been following along for the past few threads about engines, power and fuel consumption you will have noticed that the key metric that efficiency is based on is the % of load you are putting on an engine. To avoid confusion, keep in mind that Load is the power in either kW or HP that you are USING at any given time and NOT the total POTENTIAL power an engine can produce. Also keep in mind that load can not be measured by RPM, you can fully load or over/under load an engine at ANY RPM. Therein lies the challenge; If you can’t go by the RPM’s on the tachometer or the throttle position, how do you know what the load is at any given point?
It turns out to be rather simple to know the load when you understand that exhaust gas temperature or EGT is a direct proxy for load because as the load increases in a diesel engine, so too does the heat of the exhaust gas. Measuring the EGT is done very simply by having a thermometer that can measure high temperatures which is technically called a Pyrometer and what I will refer to here as an Exhaust Gas Temperature gauge. Very similar to what you might have to check the temperature of your oven or a meat thermometer, you insert a probe into the exhaust manifold, usually at the end or elbow where the exhaust is exiting the manifold.
My finger is pointing at the threaded fitting I have installed at the end of the exhaust manifold on Mr. Gee I am using a Maretron EGT probe as this makes it easy to put all the EGT data onto our N2K/NMEA2000 network that allows us to display the EGT gauge on any screen, anywhere, anytime. Installation is as simple as putting in the threaded adaptor that comes with the EGT probe, inserting the probe, tightening the nut and then connecting the wires into your N2K network.
There are also many gauge companies who make independent EGT gauges that just wires the probe to a dedicated display on your dashboard the same as you would do for things like oil pressure, oil/water temperature, RPM, etc.. Here is one example of a test setup Christine made to display EGT and Fuel Burn rate on any of our screens while we were doing our initial sea trials in July. For those interested, this is an example of some of the various ways we can chose to display our engine and boat data on our Maretron N2KView screens. You can have as many of these screens as you have time to create and this one is an example courtesy of our friends James and Jennifer on mv Dirona. OK, now that we know the exact EGT and therefore engine load at any given time, it is easy to adjust the Pitch lever to the Goldilocks load and efficiency we want at ANY speed and in ANY conditions. This is a significant advantage to any boat I would think but it turns out to be an eXtremely Big Deal on an XPM type of boat and use can in particular.
Why Does this all Matter?
If I have done a reasonable job of brining you this far, you now have a good answer to that question as the CPP enables us to operate near peak efficiency under almost any conditions and this adds up to significantly better fuel economy and lifespan for the whole propulsion system on any boat. Now put this in the context of an XPM style of boat that is intended to allow a couple to take their floating home across oceans to the far reaches of the seas which means that these boats will be underway on long passages running non stop for weeks or more and complete self sufficiency throughout their journeys. Therefore these boats have unusually large tank capacities for both fuel and water which adds up to a lot of weight that literally comes and goes over these passages and so the displacement (weight) of these boats changes a great deal from start to end of passage and over the course of a year. Thus the boat has a highly variable displacement and when you add into this equally as variable wind and sea conditions, an XPM’s propulsion system must bee able to handle ALL of these varied conditions and do so while continuing to be optimized for all of the Safety/Comfort/Efficiency/Maintenance priorities.
XPM liquid loads vary substantially during a passage and over the annual use of the boat and to put that into perspective, our total fuel tankage is 14,617L/3861USG = 12,410Kg and water is 7300L/1930USG = 7300 Kg/16100 Lbs for a total of 19,700 Kg/43,450 Lbs. That is a LOT of weight and amounts to the displacement of the boat changing by over 55% ! That is a huge range that the propulsion system needs to be able to deal with efficiently throughout and this is yet another way in which the CPP provides significant advantages. Being able to change the pitch in synch with the changes in overall displacement of the boat as the fuel and water volumes go up and down allows us to stay in that Goldilocks sweet spot on the Fuel and Efficiency Map ALL the time.
System Based Solution:
Another key benefit that helped convince me that CPP was the way to go for Möbius is that the CPP comes as an integrated solution. With a FP you typically need to spec, chose, install and buy each component; the FP itself, then a matching prop shaft, then cutlass bearings, prop tube, flanges, transmission, shaft seals, anti vibration mounts, Elecrical controls, and the list goes on.
In our case, we chose to go with Nogva a large Norwegian company that builds complete propulsion systems. They provided us with everything except the engine as we already had Mr. Gee, though Nogva does offer several major engine options from the likes of JD, Scania and Nanni.
We worked closely with the engineers at Nogva to provide them with all the details of the boat and how we wold be using it and came up with a propulsion system that consisted of their N4-215-65 CPP system that looks like this and includes literally every part you need from the prop at one end to the flange that bolts to the servo gearbox at the other. Installation of the whole prop tube and shaft assembly Nogva shipped was eXtremely easy as we just inserted the Nogva prop tube into the aluminium shaft log pipe that had been welded in as part of the hull months prior. These two tubes slid into each other with about 10mm / 3/8” clearance between them so it was a simple matter of aligning these two shafts concentrically and then pumping the space full of ChockFast an epoxy filler made for this job.
The bright red flange you can see on the far Right here is that flange on the N4 CPP which I am not bolting together with the brown Nogva HC-168-C servo gear reduction box using the standard SAE1 flange on the back of Mr. Gee which is the Silver/Aluminium part on the far Left.
I can not overstate the benefits of getting the entire propulsion system as a complete system from the same manufacturer as it made both the installation and the maintenance of this critical system eXtremely easy and reliable.
Additional Benefits of CPP
This does not apply to us on Möbius as we went all electric, but for boats that have hydraulic systems for things like thrusters, stabilizers, windlasses and winches, CPP provides a significant advantage in that not only is the pitch always just right for actual load, it also provides the ability to have higher engine revs needed for the hydraulic pumps even when you are docking or stopping the boat. With a FP it is challenging to keep the engine revs up just as you need that bow thruster and winches the most while the boat is near standstill while docking.
Slow Speed Maneuverings
Speaking of docking, with a CPP you can move the boat with silky smooth precision 1mm forward/astern with nothing more than small movements of the Pitch lever forward/aft.
Repairing Broken Props
Given our intent to cruise in icy locations in high latitude locations, as well as the always present danger of an errant underwater log or coral head that can take a bite out of your prop blades, the CPP provides a much more manageable repair than a FP. With a once piece FP if you bend or break a prop blade the whole propeller needs to be removed, often the shaft along with it and have it repaired or replaced by an all new one. I have had to do this on previous boats and it is a big job that takes a lot of time.
With the blades on a CPP being separate parts and the center hub being much stronger and more robust, it is relatively easy to remove and replace just one or two prop blades and this can be done while the remains in place.
When I spoke with the Nogva engineers about this scenario they agreed to machine an extra set of four blades in the same run and were able to provide these at a very low cost. I carry these four new blades along with a set of O-ring seals and grease just in case this should ever be a repair I need to do in some far flung spot. To fully validate all this and give me some advanced practice in such ideal conditions, I did a trial run by disassembling the prop and removing all four blades. It turned out to be a very quick operation with no special tools required.
I started by removing the eight SS Allen head SS bolts you can see here which let me easily remove the end side of the hub. This now exposed the bases of the four blades which rotate around the square bronze block you see in the center. Each blade is machined to precisely slide into place on the boat side of the hub and then the end side hub fits over that to fully capture the props. A rubber O-ring around the grooves you see here, seals each blade to keep the water out and the grease in. Some of you have asked “Isn’t this a very complex piece of equipment?” and while it can’t get more simpler than a single part fixed prop, these CPP props really are not complex at all.
And when you consider the whole propulsion system not having any gear changing transmission reduces the overall complexity considerably further. When you slide the blades off the only thing that remains inside is the end of the SS Pitch Adjustment rod and the single bronze block that each blade pivots on. No gears, no bearings, just a lot of grease. Slide each blade back in place, bolt the end cap back in place and you end up with a fully operational CPP. Before we splashed the boat back in February we of course put on the black International InterSleek silicone based Foul Release paint an all the underwater aluminium surfaces and coated the Nogva CPP with similar silicone PellerClean. Now seven months later with very little movement unfortunately, the good news is that there is almost no growth on either the CPP or the bottom surfaces and what little we’ve found comes off easily with a simple wipe with a cloth.
In my discussions with the Nogva engineers and other research before making my decision to go with a Nogva CPP, I was impressed by the attention Nogva had paid to the problem of prop blades transferring noise and vibration into the hull. As I understand it, Nogva provides propulsion systems for work boats used in aquaculture and the use case of these boats in particular need to have robust, efficient and reliable propulsion in their very demanding situations.
Like XPM’s these work boat hulls are usually made of aluminum, which can be prone to noise and vibration problems. Nogva’s solutions counteract these problems by minimizing the propeller’s impulses toward the hull.and they have gained a lot of experience though their R&D into this. I will need to get more nautical miles on our Nogva CPP to more fully understand how well this all works but based on our sea trials to date, the whole propulsion system is very smooth and working very well so far.
OK Wayne, but What about Cost?
This is perhaps the most asked question or concern when others are considering FP vs CPP for their boat. For those considering changing their current boat from fixed to CPP it would be a move costly conversion in terms of both time and money and I don’t think the payoff would be there. However the opposite is the case for those of us building a new boat where everything has to be purchased and installed either way. In this case the CPP turns out to be no more and some have suggested less total coast than a fixed prop.
Perhaps the best explanation of this is a very thorough comparison that Michael Kasten’s did and wrote about in that article I mentioned up near the beginning. HERE is that link again to save you from scrolling up to find it. Michael did this research back in early 2001 so the actual amounts he quotes have of course changed, but based on my more recent research and purchasing all the costs have scaled up equally and so I think his examples still hold up. In the beginning of this article Michael does a good job of providing an overview of how CPP props work and why he too sees them as a better and more efficient type of prop for the boats that he designs, but if you scroll down to “Part II Costs” you will find his comparison of pricing out a like for like Fixed Prop and a CPP.
Near the end of this comparison he goes on to cover some of the same points I mentioned above as to the cost and labour required to install a CPP vs a FP. He arrives at the same conclusion as I have with is that installing a CPP system is actually less time and effort than a FP. Installation wise there is little to no difference between installing a transmission for a FP vs installing a servo reduction gearbox for a CPP so that is a wash cost and difficulty wise. However installing a CPP shaft system is much easier than the more “distributed” FP components.
Michael ends with names and links to all the CPP manufacturers he was aware of at the time and these will provide those interested with a good starting point for doing their own research.
I had read Michaels article several years ago before we Möbius was even a twinkle in my eyes and so I referred back to it and used it to help me do my own research and comparison of the pros, cons and costs of FP vs CPP and I came to the exact same conclusion that a CPP is no more expensive or difficult to buy and install than a fixed prop and could be less. Given the significant advantages and benefits I’ve gone over up above you can hopefully understand why this became a “no brainer” decision for me to make. Nothing since then in our experience with buying, installing and now staring to use a Controllable Pitch Propeller has changed and it has already exceeded our hopes that this would be the Goldilocks propulsion system for Möbius. I fully expect that opinion will continue to improve over the entire time we are running Möbius and enjoying all these advantages of the increased Comfort and Efficiency our Nogva CPP provides as well as the significant reductions in fuel costs.
Isn’t a CPP Difficult to Operate?
Another of the most common questions I receive and so I will close out (bet you thought that would never happen!) by doing my best to answer this final question. A couple of quick caveats for context here. First there is no question that Christine and I are much more familiar with operating boats with a Fixed Prop and their typical Throttle + Fwd/Reverse levers or combined single lever versions. Switching over to CPP therefore presented us with some initial learning curve and at first it all felt very strange as everything was SO different. No “clunk” as we were used to when you put a FP into gear and you knew that the boat was going to move forward right away and increase speed as you increased the throttle and engine RPM. With the CPP there is no noise at all and the boat does not immediately jump forward, or reverse, and so at first you are a bit uncertain what is going to happen. You know the prop is turning at all times as you can see some of the turbulence coming out the sides even when you are in the Zero Pitch/Neutral position and moving the throttle forward increases the engine RPM but the boat just sits there. However, as you push the Pitch lever slowly forward in absolute silence and lack of any other indication, you notice that the boat is indeed moving forward and the more you push the Pitch lever forward, the faster you go. Pull the Pitch lever back and you very quickly slow down but again no other indication other than the visual confirmation of gauges and surroundings that you are slowing down and stopping.
We both spent some time out in some calm open waters to try out this all new propulsion control system and the strangeness soon faded away and began to feel more and more intuitive. Set the RPM where you want them and then increase the Pitch to move forward or reverse with extremely smooth and strong control.
Our first few experiences with docking this all new boat would have been challenging enough so with the added newness of a CPP it was all the more so. However all the surprises were very good ones as you were able to so smoothly and completely control the movement of the boat. With a very big four bladed of just over 1m diameter and an equally large rudder controlling the stern of the boat while docking is like having a stern thruster. We also have a very powerful electric bow thruster and as we have practiced using the combination of these fore and aft controls we have already gained a lot of confidence in our ability to control Möbius while doing such close quarter manoeuvring and even more so when we get underway. All still VERY early in our learning process but it has been a great start so far.
So the best answer I can provide at this early stage is that there is no question that learning to operate a CPP does take some time but it is time well spent and I’m not sure that this is very different than any system on a boat. Like all our systems, It takes a bit of time to learn where the sweet spots or Goldilocks settings are and become familiar with them so they become routine.
Operation of the CPP for cruising can be done in two different ways; set the Pitch and adjust the throttle to reach optimal loading of the engine or do the opposite, set the Pitch to where you have learned you think it will be best and then use the throttle to move you up to whatever speed you have found to be optimal for a given set of conditions. As I’ve covered in the sections up above about EGT we have learned that we basically run the boat based on the EGT reading once we are at the speed we want. We are learning to watch the EGT numbers to be sure we stay well below the maximum EGT/load which in the case of our Gardner 6LXB is about 450C/840F. If the EGT number gets too high, just back off the Pitch a bit. At this setting, the engine is powering the prop at its maximum ability, and runs well loaded at max. efficiency.
You don’t want to set the pitch too shallow as the engine will not be loaded by the prop and will run straight up to its maximum rpm. Nor do you want to set the pitch too steep either for the given rpm as that will overload the engine. Dark smoke and a increasing EGT are a signal for overload. In situations where you want to be moving much slower, you set the RPM lower and the Pitch higher to load the engine sufficiently at low power range and low fuel consumption. In opposite situations when going uphill in adverse weather we will set the RPM higher and the Pitch lower or more shallow to allow the engine to come up to speeds with higher power output. The recommended practice for docking with a single prop vessel is to set the RPMs higher rpm (about 60 to 80%) and then use the Pitch lever to do the needed and often hard over manoeuvres. We are learning to trust that we can push or pull the Pitch lever in either direction at these higher revs and it does not harm the system. This is quickly feels very comfortable as you experience the eXtremely fine control you have over moving the boat incrementally or quickly with just the Pitch lever.
Clearly I am in NO position to be offering advise here about running a CPP well and how to best handle a CPP powered boat, but these are my early lessons learned and I look forward to bringing you more and more as we get out there and log more hours and nautical smiles on Möbius.
Whew!! If you have made it this far, you are probably almost as tired from reading all this as I am from writing it. But even if it takes you, and me, more times to re read this and learn more, I do hope this has at least been interesting and informative for you no matter where you are at in the comparison between Fixed and Controllable Pitch propellers.
I will sign off for today with a “proof is in the pudding” shot of the stern wake we leave behind us while doing 9.2 knots at 1500 RPM burning 21.7L/hr EGT @ 305C.
VERY happy with how well Mr. Gee and his Nogva CPP bride get along and how they propel us with such eXcellent Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and Maintainability.
Thanks for coming along for this long and winding ride and please join the discussion by adding your comments and questions in the box below.
The cooling trend continues with the weather here in Finike Turkey as the daytime highs drop down below 34C/93F most days this week and the forecast calls for our first sub 30C/86F high next week. We are very fortunate in that we have a huge swimming pool here at Finike Marina, aka the Mediterranean Ocean, that is just a short walk down along the sea wall from where Möbius is docked. We are able to have our nightly swims thanks to a set of stairs up over the sea wall that the Finike municipality put in several years ago.
You can see more of our nightly swim spot in the fun video HERE which Christine put up last week of her first solo piloting of our Mavic Air 2 drone. So every evening around 7pm or so, we exchange our work clothes for our bathing suits and make the short walk down to this set of stairs up over the sea wall every evening after we stop working and swim off this landing for 15 minutes or so. We even a fresh water shower to rinse off all the salt on our way back to the boat.
Oh! AND we also have the AirCon working very well now for those days that are still a wee bit too warm, so we are very comfy and grateful to be here. I am running late here getting this blog written on Sunday afternoons as usual and it has been another very busy work week getting more and more of the jobs done on Möbius but I’d like to share some details on a set of related topics which I get asked quite about very often and which seems to be surrounded by SO much confusion and misinformation; Power, Load and fuel consumption.
What moves a boat?
Seems like such a simple question, and the answer really is equally as simple and yet, in talking with other boat owners over the years, both in person and online in various forums such as Trawler Forum, I’m often surprised at some of the things I hear otherwise very savvy and smart people say when it comes to things like Horse Power, fuel consumption, propellers and other aspects of the propulsion of their or other people’s boats. I was reminded of this again just this week by a post that Steve D’Antonio sent out in his August 2021 Newsletter “Full Throttle vs. Full Load”. If you are not already subscribed to Steve’s newsletter I recommend it highly as a super valuable source of very thoughtful advise and info on all things boating.
In this most recent article, Steve goes over the often confused differences between full throttle and full load and more importantly he links to a much longer and well written article of his called “Wide Open Throttle” from back in 2010 for Professional Boat magazine which I also recommend eXtremely highly if you are not already subscribed (free) as ProBoat is one of my best learning resources and I have their entire library of magazines.
Both of these articles are must reads in my opinion if you would like to understand the relationship of HP, fuel burn and power going to your propeller. However THE best explanation of this relatively simple set of relationships is written by Tony Athens at Seaboard Marine in his very well titled article “Propellers Move Boats, Engines Just Turn Them”. All three of these articles are very much worth your time and I will circle back around from what they address in a future article here to talk more about why we have a Controllable Pitch Propeller or CPP on Möbius. It will also address why we chose to have a Gardner 6LXB turn that CPP
Once you have read these over I think that you will clearly understand what so many don’t seem to. The major points are as follows:
The rated HP of any engine tells you very little about the amount of fuel it will burn or the load that engine will be running at.
When I am having these discussions my key point is that HP = amount of fuel burned, full stop, no other information or variables required.
However, to quote a much fuller explanation from Tony’s article the single best relationship to understand is “… the amount “FUEL BURNED” is the amount of “HORSEPOWER PRODUCED.” That is the COMMON DENOMINATOR, not ENGINE RPM, and NOT the actual rating of the engine. And, what makes the engine produce a given amount of horsepower is how the propeller loads the engine.”
Using one of the example’s Tony uses near the end of his article, if you have the same make and model of engine in two identical boats, but one is set up by the factory, to BE ABLE TO reach a maximum of 300 HP and the other boat with the same engine is set up by the factory to reach a maximum of 715HP, when these two identical boats are running side by side, their fuel consumption will be the SAME because the amount of HP that the boat requires is also the SAME.
Load can be very deceiving because it is based on the RATED HP of that engine and has very little to do with how long an engine will last. (assuming it is not overloaded). As Tony outlines in his article, you can set up the same Cummins QSM11 300HP to 715HP, for the otherwise exact same engine. So if the propeller requires 215HP to move this boat at a certain speed and set of conditions, then the load gauge on the 300HP engine would read 72% whereas the 715HP version would say the load was 30% and BOTH engines would last or have the same amount of “wear and tear”. So contrary to very popular opinion, load % has very little to do with how long any marine engine will last.
If this does not make sense to you, or you have always been told otherwise, please do give these articles above a read and then let me know in your comments if you still think this does not make sense or is not correct. Once we all have the same understanding of these basic components of boat propulsion and how they are related to each other, I will address one of the most asked questions I receive; why did you chose to use a CPP on your boat?
I know these more technical topics are not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those it is, I hope you enjoy the articles above and I look forward to any additional discussion or questions you have.
Sorry that I wasn’t able to write up this weekly update and get it posted on my “regular” schedule of each Sunday and I’ve kept you waiting till now but hopefully the wait will have been worth it as I take you on a deep dive into the DC charging system on Möbius.
On Sunday, Christine and I took the afternoon off to go explore some of the area around our new “home town” of Finike, which is something we should do more of I’m sure as boat and book work completely consumes us otherwise. We have rented a little Fiat minivan for a few weeks so we wanted to take advantage of that and my super researcher partner had found a cool sounding little restaurant on a river about 20 minutes drive away from the coast here. It was a wonderful treat for us both and we spent the whole afternoon sitting at this table for two at this tiny little restaurant on the riverbank in an equally tiny little village off a side road. You can see that I timed the shot to catch one of the kids jumping into the cool waters that the village had created with a small rock dam to slow down the flow. We have found several of these little riverside restaurants during our years here in Turkey and this one was the Goldilocks just right, just for us being so small and remote.
Fresh roasted trout dinner with the full compliments of fresh salads, fries, Turkish baked bread and sauces plus a well chilled bottle of Merlot made for the perfect getaway afternoon for us both. Total bill was an exorbitant USD 30 but heck, we’re worth it!
We weren’t the only ones chillin’ ourselves waterside as Barney enjoys his very own pool on the aft deck where he can survey his Kingdom while staying well hydrated.
Yes, that’s the bow of our Tender “Mobli” which when on deck serves double duty in providing the shade for Barney’s pool.
Möbius’ Charging System Trifecta
Back in September 2019 I wrote the first Tech Talk to outline the overall design we came up with for the Electrical System and this is an updated version of the schematic I created of the overall system.
As per this week’s title I believe that we have put together the perfect trifecta of components to make our Goldilocks 24 Volt charging system consisting of;
24 x FireFly Carbon Foam 4v cells
Just 10 of them shown here and these have been well covered in many previous posts.
2 x Electrodyne 250A @ 24V AC PowerHead E250-24 alternators with remote rectifiers mounted out in the Workshop (see photo below)
2 x WakeSpeed 500 Smart Regulators with the 2 red remote Electrodyne rectifiers mounted alongside
I have written several articles in the past as these components were being installed and if you’d like more details on that here are links to some of those past postings:
NOTE: Just to be clear for anyone who might wonder, Christine and I have purchased all of the equipment I’m discussing here and none of this has been sponsored or otherwise paid for. indeed this is true for ALL of the equipment on Möbius and covered in this blog. We are simply BIG fans of companies who produce products that really work in our eXtremely real world and especially the people at these companies who stand behind their products from the beginning of our work with them to design systems, install them and all the way through to their support as we move into commissioning and putting all these systems to work.
So we are delighted to feature such products and the people behind them here on the Möbius.World blog.
Meet Big Red #1 & #2
As I wrote in those past posts, I’d known Electrodyne alternators since I was working as a HD construction mechanic in my youth and Electrodyne alternators were the ultimate choice for large construction and mining diggers, railroads, trucks, busses, emergency vehicles where they often ran 24/7 for weeks or months. They are literally built like tanks and each one weighs 40kg/90 lbs!
I had initially worked with Pete Zinck until he retired in 2018 and turned things over to his Production Manager Dale Gould and who could not have been more helpful and responsive to my many Emails and requests.
As you can see Dale is also a very hands on guy! Here he is making the final checks and tightening the remaining nuts on finished alternators awaiting packaging.
Dale continues to be super supportive as I commission the whole charging system on Möbius and I can not recommend Electrodyne and Dale highly enough.
What we ended up choosing are two identical Electrodyne E250-24 models which are de-rated down to 250Amps @ 27.5V @ 3750RPM which would give each one a maximum output of almost 7kW (6.875) for a combined output of almost 14kW. As I covered in last week’s posting about the drive systems for these massive alternators, I chose some ratios for the pulleys such that their max speed will be about 3200-3400 RPM for even longer life.
These “PowerHead AC alternators” have several unique characteristics that made them just right for me and Möbius:
Brushless so no brush springs or brushes to wear out
One moving part (rotor)
Everything other than the rotor is external; No built in regulators, No built in rectifiers.
Why go to such extremes? In a work; HEAT, which is the largest factor in shortening an alternators output and lifespan. Rectifiers can produce more than half the total heat within an alternator so by removing these and going with industrial grade 3 phase bridge rectifiers I can reduce the internal head of the alternator by more than half AND control the heat of the rectifier bridges outside the ER and with their own fans.
With only one moving part, the spinning rotor so MUCH better airflow through the alternator stator windings and rotor. The Goldilocks alternator for an XPM; consistent high output with low heat and low maintenance.
Each PowerHead is “double headed” housing two separate AC Alternators inside, one on each end. Having two of these Electrodyne units means we have 4 alternators in total.
With no rectifier or regulator built into them, each PowerHead only puts out AC current, everything else to convert this AC current to DC is external.
As you can see in these photos, there are six large cables to carry the AC output out of the Engine Room and over to …… …… these two red external rectifiers which are mounted outside the Engine Room under one of my AL Workbench tops with thermostatically controlled fans to ensure they are always running nice and cool and at maximum efficiency. All the heat Mr. Gee generates stays in the Engine Room which is why I designed the ER to be just that; and ENGINE (only) Room.
Q&A with Dale Gould from Electrodyne:
** Feel free to skip to the end of this section if you are not interested in a deep dive into the inner workings of how these Electrodyne alternators work.
For those of you interested in more details on the unique way these Electrodyne PowerHeads work, I asked Dale a series of questions and he kindly answered them as follows. I’ve added some photos I took when I was taking these alternators apart and painting them, to help illustrate these Q&A.
** Before you ask, Yes, of course I took these Electrodyne alternators apart! When I don’t understand how something works or I am otherwise curious, this is what I do.
Wayne’s Q: In working with the two Electrodyne E250-24 PowerHead alternators you built for us, I’ve noticed that they are built quite differently that any other alternators I’ve worked on. Can you tell me a bit more about how you build these and why?
Dales A: When looking at the inside of an E250-24 you will notice that the Electrodyne’s are built completely opposite of a normal alternator. The rotor spins around a stationary stator rather than the rotor being inside the stator (Claw tooth design). The reason we do this is to achieve more power. By having a larger stator inside the unit that can hold larger sized wire we can achieve higher outputs. We have fine-tuned the size of the magnet wire to the amount of turns per coil to achieve certain outputs at various voltages. We also use an individual lamination stack made up of either 54 or 64 laminations depending on unit and voltage. This helps us reduce eddy currents and allows us to dissipate heat more efficiently. This method is also used in our rotor lamination stacks. Wayne’s Q: I understand that these are permanent magnet or PMA alternators so can you tell me why there are still Field Coils and what their role is? Dales A: The field coil is essential to all units as it works in tandem with the stator to achieve the voltages, output, and current desired. Each field coil has also had extensive testing with different turns of wire at different thicknesses for the highest performance. Even though the rotor has magnets in it a field coil is still necessary. The field coil is what supplies the magnetic field in the alternator. On certain alternator applications such as yours, Electrodyne will add permanent magnets to the rotors to aid in additional magnetism to achieve higher outputs and a lower turn on speed.
Wayne’s Q: Most alternators, even high output ones I’ve used in the past, their cases are typically made from aluminium and are much smaller and lighter than these beautiful cast iron beasts you make. Can you explain the reasoning behind this? Dale’s A: The housing we use is cast out of ductile iron for two reasons. Extreme durability and magnetization. When the unit is first powered on and magnets are introduced to the rotor, we magnetize the housing. This also contributes to higher outputs as the whole housing now acts as a magnet itself. Electrodyne uses an insulated grounding method for its alternators so nothing goes to ground unless specified by the customer. Having an insulated ground system allows for the Electrodyne’s to be either negatively or positively grounded.
Wayne’s Q; I chose to go with your Electrodyne alternators largely because you not only removed the regulators but the rectifiers as well so I can mount these as separate units outside of the alternator cases and outside the Engine Room. The rectifiers like this one here also have their own thermostatically controlled fans. This dramatically reduces the amount of heat being generated inside the alternator cases but there is still some, so how do you keep these PowerHeads running even cooler and for so much longer than other makes?
Dale’s A: The rotors of an Electrodyne alternator act as two large fans. There are holes plotted along the casting of the housing that act as breathers.
Photo Dale provide from the Electrodyne factory showing the rotors being machined.
The fan spinning will pull air from outside and cool the two major components of the alternator (stator & field coil), simultaneously ejecting that air out and keeping the inside free of excess heat buildup.
Another way the alternators deal with heat is by switching the field on and off (pulsing the field). This turns the field of the alternator off to allow free spin when a load is not required. The rotors are also bi-directional. They will cool the unit with either directional rotation an engine uses. Finally, on a remote rectifier system like yours, we remove the diodes from the top of the alternator and give them their very own fan cooled housing. The E-2281 is mounted with a fan that keeps the diodes cool while under load. The diodes used on Electrodyne’s are extremely important and need to be able to withstand constant abuse. The diodes act as a check valve for electricity, turning the AC current the alternator produces and eliminates the back and forth alternating current to a straight-line direct current. Our diodes are rated to a 900-ampere capacity and offer a high load dump capacity as well. Ensuring that electronic equipment such as regulators are not damaged when the unit is powered down. Wayne’s Q: As I looked more closely I can see that these PowerHeads are not just heavy in weight they are truly Heavy Duty as well. With our focus on Maintenance (Lack thereof) and longevity this was another big factor in my choosing to go with Electrodyne alternators so can you give me some details of how you have designed and built these alternators to be so long lasting? Dale’s A: The Mechanical parts Electrodyne uses are made for longevity. The bearings used are class 3 ball bearings and needle bearings that have a 20,000-hour rated life. The reason we use such long lasting mechanical components is for duration of life for the alternator. When an Electrodyne is purchased peace of mind should go along with it. Minimal failure rates are key to the Electrodyne advantage. With a brushless design we can eliminate parts from wearing over time.
Mounting the Red Monsters:
If you read last week’s post you know all the details of how I’ve designed and mounted each Electrodyne to be driven differently so here is a quick summary.
Big Red # 1 is up top, resting on the large flat mounting surface cast into all Gardner 6LXB Crankcases and then driven by a cogged tooth rubber belt being driven by the crankshaft pulley. This drive setup has a 2.15:1 ratio, meaning that the alternator rotates at 2.15 times the RPM of Mr. Gee’s crankshaft.
Big Red # 2 is down lower where it is bolted directly to the side of the AL crankcase to align with the gear driven PTO or Power Take Off on the bottom front corner of all 6LXB engines. I modified a jack shaft to connect the two very solidly together as you can see here. The drive ratio for this alternator is fixed by the internal gears driving the PTO shaft at 1.80:1 so this alternator #2 will spin a bit slower than #1.
No Generator = Best Generator?
I am often asked how Möbius can be completely self sufficient electrically without having at least one if not two stand alone diesel generators as would be typical of most other passage making boats and trawlers. First part of the answer is that the 4.48kWh from our 14 solar panels is enough to keep our 43.2kWh battery bank fully charged most days and the second part is that if not, the combined output of these two Electrodyne alternators are able to add up to 12kWh of their own.
Designing our charging system this way eliminates the need for a separate generator and aligns perfectly with our SCEM priorities of Safety/Comfort/Efficiency/Maintenance to give us the best generator of all; none!
To be fair and technically correct I guess it can be said that we do in fact have a generator onboard, and a 12kW one at that! Just not in the traditional sense nor with all the traditional cost, noise and maintenance.
Electrodyne Output Details:
I’ve received quite a few questions about the numbers behind our charging system so let me provide the following info to help answer these: Here is a scan of the graphed results of the test runs that Dale did at Electrodyne of our E250-24 PowerHead alternators.
(Click to enlarge this or any other photo)
Using this graph I can see the output of each alternator when they are spinning at any RPM as well as how much power they need Mr. Gee to provide to do so.
Using those numbers, I have put together this simple spreadsheet to show the output of each Electrodyne alternator when Mr. Gee is spinning them at different RPM’s and the combined total output at the bottom. For example, when Mr. Gee is running at 1000 RPM, we have a total output of 363 Amps @ 24 Volts or 8.7kWatts and at our typical cruising speeds he is running at about 1500 RPM and there is up to 478 Amps/11.5kW available from the two Electrodyne alternators. Hence, anytime Mr. Gee is running, we have more charging power than we would ever need whether we are in tropical climates or the polar regions.
The Secret Sauce: WakeSpeed 500
I very purposefully refer to our charging setup on Möbius as a SYSTEM and each of the three components of our system are important and neccessary members of the team.
But what I think has really turned this into an eXtremely good system is the “brains” of the system; our two every “smart” WakeSpeed 500 Regulators. It is not at all hyperbolic to call these regulators “advanced” as they do on their cover and let me explain a bit more about why these are the true Goldilocks factor for our charging system on Möbius. And don’t take just my word for how truly revolutionary and smart these WakeSpeed regulators are! Here are some reactions from others MUCH smarter and more qualified than me as to how well these worked when they installed WS500’s on their boats:
“The notion of using current, as well as voltage, to regulate charging has always been the holy
grail for intelligent battery charging. With WakeSpeed Offshore’s new WS500 Advanced alternator
regulator, we now have that ability.”
Rod Collins — from www.marinehowto.com
“The WS500 also has a bunch of whiz bang features, but the cool thing is all most of us have to
do is install a shunt (if not already present) and replace our stupid regulators with this smart one
— and the even cooler part is that because this regulator is designed right — measures and
acts on net charge current — we don’t need to spend hours reprogramming it to get around its
John Harries — from www.morganscloud.com
Just as with Dale at Electrodyne it was the people more so than the electrons that mattered most. From the beginning, I was able to work directly with the two brains behind the smarts of WakeSpeed, Al Thomason and Rick Jones who created this amazing product. Al and Rick are both veterans of the marine charging world and are founders and inventors of WakeSpeed. Even better, Dale, Al and Rick all teamed up and worked together with me to do more testing on the combination of Electrodyne alternators being controlled by WakeSpeed 500 regulators charging FireFly Carbon Foam batteries! Does not get any better than that and I can’t begin to thank these guys enough for putting up with my incessant Emails and questions. Thanks guys!
The key features that make these WS500 regulators such a Goldilocks fit in our charging system are that they monitor and use a combination of system voltage, current in/out, alternator and battery temperature and alternator RPM to continuously adjust the Electrodyne’s to be the Goldilocks output for the FireFly Carbon Foam batteries at all times. Until WakeSpeed came along all our previous regulators could only use voltage to monitor and adjust the output of the alternators whereas the true indicator of what’s going on battery charge wise is the current (amps) going in/out of the batteries.
It was also not lost on me when I first started researching them several years ago, that WakeSpeed had already created custom profiles for FireFly Carbon Foam batteries and this was one of the examples that told me that these Carbon Foam batteries met my Tried & True test that I require for all our critical systems on Möbius or any XPM.
The other Goldilocks factor for our installation is that both my WS500 regulators can be “daisy chained” to work together and automagically synchronize the outputs of both Electrodyne’s by using both WS500’s to perfectly meet the needs of our FireFly house bank and everyone plays nicely together.
Sound difficult? It normally would be and would require additional relays or switching devices, but not with the WS500’s. All I do is plug a standard ethernet cable (white cable in this photo) into the RJ45 jacks in each WS500 and they become one big happy charging family.
Without going into too much detail here as there is lots available elsewhere that I will link to in a moment, it is the use of current (amps) going in/out of the batteries that adds the previously missing secret sauce to ideally optimized charging systems. Prior to these WakeSpeed 500 units, regulators were correctly called Voltage Regulators because that is what they monitored to control the charging output of an alternator. This obviously works because generators and alternators have been using voltage regulators for over 100 years to do their job. BUT, voltage by itself is not a very accurate way of determining the state of a battery and what we really care about is the amps flowing in/out of a battery to provide a truly accurate and just in time determination of what the batteries need from the alternator which ranges from everything they’ve got to nothing at all.
Some other great people have done a MUCH better job than I ever could at not only explaining their perspective on WS 500 regulators, they do so having installed these on their and other boats so they are speaking based on my favorite kind of knowledge; eXperiential. Here are links to these great resources so you can learn more from these others:
Steve “Seabits” Mitchel review and installation WakeSpeed WS-500 regulator review – SeaBits If you are not currently subscribed to Steve’s Seabits blog I highly recommend doing so. His articles are some of my most valued resources.
Last but not least, a big thanks to Rick Bell at Off Grid & Marine Energy Systems where I purchased our two WakeSpeed 500 regulators. Rick was a big help in answering questions and providing eXcellent after sales service for the WS Configuration Utility Pro version as part of my purchase.
WakeSpeed Setup: Have it Your Way
These WakeSpeed 500’s not only have the electronic smarts to do all of this, they have been put together in a package that I think is just brilliant. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to configure these regulators. For example, if you want to KISS the setup to your system, there are a set of 8 DIP switches inside each WS500 case and you just flip these to a pattern of On/Off and you’re done. Rick and Al and their crew at WakeSpeed also get a gold star from me for their documentation. NOT an easy award to get nor one that I am able to hand out very often I can assure you. For example, how well done is this Quick Start card?! Clear, concise, colour coded and shows you everything you need to know to connect and configure on one page! Connect the wires, set the DIP switches once and you can leave it at that for most installations. Adding to this already impressive feature list, WS500 regulators also provide me with these very valuable benefits that would otherwise not be possible or not easily obtained:
Adaptive Idle Technology™ which allows me to set the WS500 to control alternator loads based on
engine RPM. We can use this at both ends of the spectrum; when getting underway, doing close quarter manoeuvring and such we would typically have Mr. Gee at lower RPM’s and want all of his available power for moving the boat and don’t want or need any loads from the alternators. But if/when we want to add the output of the Electrodyne’s to our solar charging when at anchor, we can turn on our “Gardner Generator” by dialing up the loads on Mr. Gee at lower RPM’s to produce high outputs from the alternators to charge the batteries faster. This keeps both the batteries and Mr. Gee very happy.
Zero Output Technology™ enables the regulator to limit output to
loads when batteries require discontinued charging. This is particularly valuable for Lithium battery installations but this will be very handy with our large solar outputs when we don’t want or need any output from the Electrodyne’s when we are on passages.
More Goldilocks Gold
At the opposite end of the KISS spectrum, for those of us who might want to “geek out” more and really customize our charging system to be a truly Goldilocks setup, the WS500 regulators have more than 100 parameters that can all be adjusted and tweaked to get that just right, just for your boat’s charging setup. While this an get you “into the weeks” of minute details of charging systems there are several tools and utilities to make these adjustments relatively easy and quick to do. WakeSpeed is also to be commended for doing everything with open standards and being equally open themselves and we are already seeing a rapid growth in the number of companies making batteries, alternators and other components who are building custom profiles with all the specific settings for the WS500 to use. This method of having profiles, which are just small text files, that can be freely shared and easily uploaded into any WS500 via SD cards, USB cables, WiFi interfaces, etc. makes these WakeSpeed regulators a truly Goldilocks solution. You can see a list of some of these profiles and other technical documents HERE on the WakeSpeed web site.
Real World Data Coming Soon
I am still finishing up the final wiring of the WakeSpeed 500’s and the Electrodyne alternators so I have not been able to run this charging system and gather the real world data of all this at work; yet! But do stay tuned as I get this and the other critical boat jobs finished so we can take Möbius out on more trial runs and start to log all the data from this charging system and put some real data behind all this work to design and build our Goldilocks charging system. I’m waiting on some parts for Mr. Gee to arrive from the UK and complete a few other jobs that are keeping us tied to the dock here in Finike but I’m hopeful that we will be able to head out by the end of September and as soon as we do I’ll be posting updates for you that provide the proof of how all our systems are performing, including the charging system you now know all about.
Hope it was worth the wait of an extra few days for this week’s Möbius Update and that you found this latest posting to be of interest and value. Either way, I would be most appreciative of any and all questions and comments you can provide in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Your Feedback Wanted: More Q&A type content and more Video?
On a related note, I’ve received some good suggestions that I start doing some Question & Answer sessions in some of these blog posts so if you have some questions that you would like to see me cover in a Q&A section, please type those into the box below and I will start to gather them together and post some answers to them in future blog posts.
I have also been receiving more requests to also start creating more video based content to cover the boat now that it is more finished and to consider including some Q&A sessions in those videos so let me know your thoughts on that and if there is enough interest, Christine and I will do our best to start creating more video content to post here and on YouTube.
But Wait!!! There’s more! Speaking of video content, if you have not already seen it, be sure to check out the great little video segment “The Drone Report” which Christine just published last week based on her first solo test piloting of our DJI Mavic Mini 2 drone. She’s a fabulous story teller in any medium and you can see that clearly in the suspenseful context of her first drone flight. You will also get a great hi-rez aerial tour of the Finike Marina and Möbius so it will be well worth a few minutes of your time. CLICK HERE and enjoy!
Naval Yachts is a beehive of activity this past week with a big push for launching two other boats in the shipyard. One particularly exciting one for Naval is the the first GreeNaval boat to be launched, their GN60 all aluminium 18m/60ft hybrid electric powerboat whose build began about three years ago just before Möbius. The second boat is a complete refit inside and out of an all steel 16m/54ft sailboat originally built in the 1980’s. Unfortunately this means that most of Team Möbius members have been called on to work on these two boats as they are both due to launch by the end of this month but hopefully they will return soon and progress can resume on our already long delayed launch.
However the remaining Team Möbius members are literally working overtime and weekends so progress on XPM78-01 Möbius is still being made so I have lots for this week’s Show & Tell progress update so let’s jump right into all that.
Our Lead Sparkie aka Electrician Hilmi had Selim assisting him with pulling some more cables and wires such as these huge cables which connect the 24 FireFly Carbon Foam L15+ batteries to the Main DC Distribution Box seen here and where you may recall they left off last week. The overall House Battery system is shown here and consists of four individual “battery banks” formed by connecting six of the 4V @ 450Ah FireFly Carbon Foam batteries together in Series, Positive to Neg, which is abbreviated as 6S in electro-speak. And here is what 6S looks like in reality when six 4V @ 450Ah FireFly batteries are connected in Series.
* NOTE: If you look closely at this photo (click to enlarge) each of these FireFly L15+ batteries are actually TWO 2V cells inside of one case. This is a very smart way to do things because by simply changing how those black covered copper bars are connected, each cell can be either 2V @ 900Ah OR 4V @ 450Ah, your choice. We are choosing to configure each L15+ as you see here so I will always refer to each L15+ as a 4V @ 450Ah battery .
** TINY TECH TALK (feel free to skip over if not interested)
Series vs Parallel connections:
Each of these four 6S banks are subsequently connected in Parallel, Positive to Positive, Neg to Neg, abbreviated as 4P so the total House Battery is 6S4P:
6S = 4V x 6 = 24Volts @ 450Ah
6S4P = 4 x 450Ah = 1800Ah @ 24V
When connecting batteries in Series the VOLTS of each battery are added together while the amps stay the same so each 6S bank is
6 x 4V cells = 24V @ 450Ah.
As per the House Battery schematic above, the four 6S banks are then connected together in Parallel or 4P where the AMPS are now cumulative and the Volts stay the same so the total House Bank is abbreviated 6S4P and totals 4 x 450Ah = 1800Ah @ 24V. Volts x Amps = Watts so that equates to 43.2kW aka a LOT!
Protecting Wires vs Consumers:
Fuses and circuit breakers can be used for two very different purposes depending on WHERE in the circuit they are installed. if they are installed at the very beginning of the power SOURCE such as a battery or inverter, then they are protecting the WIRE from what is known as Overcurrent Protection. If the fuse is instead installed close to where the consumer or appliance is connected then they are protecting the Consumer/Appliance. It is possible to have one Fuse/Circuit breaker do both by installing it at the very beginning of the circuit aka power source but this means that the amps would need to be the SAME for both the total amps carried by the wire AND the total amps required by the consumer. Therefore this only works in the case where the whole circuit is serving just one individual consumer so that the amperage rating of the fuse matches both the limits for protecting the wire and protecting the consumer.
Putting all that theory into practice, let’s take a look at the case of fuses used for Overcurrent Protection of the batteries and their cables. In this photo you can see that Hilmi and Selim have installed these large T-class fuses directly to the Positive output of this 6S bank using a thick copper flat bar.
The batteries are the very beginning of the circuit so these fuses are being used for Overcurrent Protection of each Red 120mm2 / 5/0 AWG cable. If as is often done when wiring batteries, no fuse is used and the Red cable is connected direct to the Positive battery post then there would be NO protection of that cable as it makes it way from the battery to the Positive Bus Bar inside the Main DC Distribution Panel. With the potential of 24V @ 450Ah a short circuit on this positive battery cable would be VERY bad and a fire all but guaranteed. Hence we use Overcurrent Protection on all our wires and cables.
This adds a degree of expense and complexity but when Safety is involved all other factors take a back seat.
AFT DECK WINCH:
Back in the Workshop looking up at the ceiling right behind the end of the Engine Room Enclosure, we find another job that Hilmi and Selim completed this week by connecting the 24V power cables to the big Lewmar EVO65 winch up on the Aft Deck. This winch will get quite a workout as it is how we lift the Tender off and on the Aft Deck and we’ll cover that more in the coming weeks as the Davit Arch gets built.
As you can see, the motor and gearbox assembly tuck up nicely in this space which will be even more protected with the AlucoBond ceiling panels are put in place.
N2K NETWORK & MONITORING:
On the Starboard/Right side opposite the Winch Hilmi has mounted this Junction box to house some of the connections of the wiring in the Workshop for some of the 24V consumers such as the Maretron Black Boxes and Workshop lights.
Every wire labelled at both ends of course. Zooming out a bit to get the bigger picture you can see how this newest junction box sets nicely up in the boxed corners that wrap all the way around the perimeter of the Workshop and how well that beautify big overhead hatch brings in all the light and fresh air. The large rectangular AL bracket will soon have the DC Distribution Panel mounted to it and all those large Red/Black/Yellow/Green cables will go in their to connect up to the Positive and Neg bus bars, circuit breakers and fuses. Speaking of which, that DC Distribution Panel for the Workshop showed up this week so we now have all three of these Distribution Panels, two of which you’ve seen in previous weeks with one up in the Forepeak and the Main one down in the Basement. All the cable glands have been pre-installed for all those cables you saw in the photo above and keeps each cable both securely mounted with a waterproof connection. You will be seeing more of this panel as it gets mounted inside the Workshop and Hilmi starts connecting all the cables, wires, fuses and circuit breakers. Panning to the Left to this area above the Fuel Manifolds, these are some of the Maretron BB’s and one of the bluish multi-port N2K blocks on the far Right where the N2K backbone connects with the larger Blue cables such as the one visible on the far Right. The small white wires are coming from the various Maretron sensors for things like temperature, pressure, fuel flow, WIF Water in Fuel, etc..
Making a nice transition from electrical to aluminium “hotworks”, I finished up the design for this fairing block for the Aft Depth and Bottom Discriminating sounder and Uğur transformed it to solid 30mm thick aluminium in literally minutes.
The Black plastic transducer I’m holding is a Furuno 520-5PSD Bottom Discriminating Sounder which connects to a dedicated Furuno BBDS1 Black Box and then sends the data and graphics like this out via Ethernet cable to our boat computers and the TimeZero navigation software. These sounders are most commonly used by commercial fishermen but having all this detailed information about the contours and materials below us is eXtremely valuable to us for checking out the best anchorage spots. While very powerful, these BD transducers are very sensitive so they need to be well protected where they are exposed on the bottom of our hull from debris and possible groundings. Strangely enough bubbles are the biggest “enemy” in terms of getting maximum performance from this and any depth transducer as they interrupt the pulsed sonar signals being sent and received by the transducer.
This boat-like shape helps accomplish all these tasks; protects the transducer and smooths out the water flowing over the bottom surface of the transducer.
Equally critical is having the bottom surface of the transducer being parallel with the waterline so that the sonar signals are pointing straight down so we tacked the front end to the place on the hull we had strategically chosen and then used the laser level to get the bottom surface eXactly parallel with the “ground”. Even though we had chosen a spot on the hull that was relatively flat there was still a good sized gap at the Aft end where the bottom plates start their sweeping curves up into the prop tunnel. However it only took Uğur minutes to quickly cut some small triangular shapes of 5mm AL plate to fill that gap and then start laying down the first passes of weld to make this all integral to the hull.
Uğur will lay down at least one more bead of weld and then we will grind the block to an even more hydrodynamic shape and finish it up with epoxy fairing putty when we are prepping the bottom for the epoxy primer preceding application of the silicone base InterSleek 1100SR Foul Release bottom paint we are going to use.
One additional detail we designed in for an extra bit of safety with anything that is a penetration of the hull is that I had Uğur weld in a matching boat shaped piece of 5mm thick plate to the top of this 30mm thick boat shaped block before he tacked the whole block to the hull where it touches on the far Left/Forward end. Click to enlarge this or any photo to see this 5mm plate and then the thicker 10mm hull plate above it.
Mr. Gee Mounting System
In last week’s Update I outlined the design I came up with for mounting the Gardner and the Nogva to the beds in the Engine room using large anti-vibration mounting “feet”. This week I finished up those design and construction drawings and Uğur got busy the brackets for Mr. Gee’s four “feet” and the two for his best buddy the Red Nogva CPP Servo Gearbox.
For the front Gardner mounts we need to extend or widen the inside of the Engine Beds a bit where the motor mount feet attach and for the Nogva feet we need to add an underhanging mounting bracket to the beds on both sides.
To help with your orientation in the real world, here is a shot standing up on the Aft Deck looking straight down into the Engine Room. The two long parallel Mounting Beds you see in the rendering above are what you see here running from top to bottom in this photo. Stern is at the top here so that is the Aft end of the Engine Room Enclosure at the top of this photo and out of sight at the bottom is the WT Bulkhead with the Guest Cabin on the other side. Two large transverse Frames # 18 & 19 rare what you see spanning across between the two beds. Inside the ER looking Aft I’ve been busy laying out the exact locations for the mounts. Getting the location of these engine and CPP mounts eXactly correct is eXtremely critical to the overall performance of the propulsion system so even though I’ve modeled every component very precisely in Fusion 360 3D modeler, I double, triple check all the numbers and geometry using independent hand sketches and pulling off real world measurements with tape measures, laser levels and machinist squares and then transferring this all to the aluminium with labels and lines on the masking tape I’ve put down along the beds.
The red flange halves up at the top are the zero reference or base plane that I have used for all my models and measurements as this 2 part flange is where the prop shaft connects to the output flange shaft of the Nogva CPP Gearbox. When it comes time to align these mating flanges we have to get them to be less than 0.002”/0.05mm. For reference a human hair is about 0.07mm in diameter so we don’t have much room for error when it comes time to align the Engine/Gearbox with the propeller flange.
Uğur has cut all the 25mm / 1” thick AL plates to size and prepped them for full penetration welds with the large 45 degree chamfers to form a deep V gulley for his MIG welding passes. I really enjoy working so closely with Uğur and with all the modeling, measuring and marking done and all the plates cut and prepped time now for Uğur to start tacking them in place.
For orientation, the Door into the ER in the upper Left corner and the angled walls of the ER point to the Stern which is on the far Left. The aft most mount for the Nogva Gearbox required this stringer be cut away where the mounting bracket plates will be and to provide enough room for the MIG gun to access. New stringer plate will be welded back in again after the mounts are all done. At the opposite front end, the supports for the bed extension required these slots be cut in the stringer under the 25mm thick Mounting Beds. With all the interfering stringers cut away and slotted, Uğur could start tacking in the mounting plates starting with this vertical brace for the Stbd/Right Nogva Gearbox undermount and get it perfectly lined up with the reference lines I’ve marked on the bed surfaces. He soon has both vertical braces tacked in place. and then tacks in the horizontal base mounting plate. My hand will give you a sense of size and scale. Mr. Gee weighs in as a svelte 1400kg/3100lbs and the Nogva CPP adds about another 250kg/550lbs so these mounts need to stand up to several decades of support for over 17-1800kg / 3750-4000lbs of vibrating propulsion goodness so I am over engineering these beyond even my usual eXtremes.
BTW, Mass is also a big help in reducing vibration and noise so there is that added benefit as well.
At the front end of the beds this Stbd/Right side bed extension is also now all tacked up and perfectly leveled ready for one last check with the laser level and straight edges before final welding begins. Soon all four mounts, none needed for the two in the middle, are all tacked up, checked and ready for welding. Front Bed eXtensions fully welded ready to be ground flat and flush. As are the rear two undermounts with the stringer plates now added back in. And here is a Birds-eye view looking down through the big ER Hatch on the Aft Deck. Meanwhile, one floor up in the “Fitting Room” in my Workshop, I’ve been busy getting Mr. Gee’s new mounting brackets which we finished building last week, all fitted and installed on Mr. Gee himself as we prep for the big day of lowering him into his new home in the ER onboard Möbius.
These are the Aft two mounts that sit in the middle of the ER Beds. The huge flywheel is also being prepped to mount to those six bolts on the end of the Crankshaft.
Seen from the front side and with the anti-vibration “feet” in place, this is what the finished Aft Mounts look like. Front Right mounting bracket and foot test fit and good for final torqueing. On the Front Left mounting bracket I have incorporated this extended base plate where I will soon be mounting the big Jabsco sea water impeller pump that provides all the cool seawater to flow through the heat exchangers for the engine coolant, engine oil and Nogva Gearbox oil before exiting out via the wet exhaust system and back into the seal. In the photo above, the PTO or Power Take Off drive can be seen on the far Left here and then viewed through the two holes in the vertical mount brackets. I’ll be making up a SS drive shaft that will attach to that PTO end and go through those two holes in the mount and then be attached to the shaft of the Jabsco pump. Should make for a very robust and reliable drive setup for this critical pump.
Mr. Gee’s FLYWHEEL;
Mr. Gee’s feet were not the only thing I’ve been massaging this week, I also finally made the time to finish prepping the purposely “obese” flywheel option that Michael at Gardner Marine Diesel kindly provided for us. This mass helps to further even out the legendary eXtreme smoothness of all low revving Gardner 6LXB engines and make Mr. Gee a real smooth operator to quote Sade Adu’s great song. Many months ago I had sent this flywheel out to the CNC Machine shop next door to have that recess with the 8 M-12 threaded holes machined and now I needed to remove these no longer needed bolts and bearings that are used for mounting a traditional Gardner gearbox. The outer circumference of the Flywheel also serves a critical function by having these precise marks that are used for setting the timing of the fuel injection pump. There are three sets of these precision marks and this one is for setting the injection timing of #1 cylinder. I have filled these stamped in marks with fluorescent Green paint to help make them easier to see through the timing window in the outer aluminium Flywheel bell housing. I sanded these areas down to leave the Green paint just filling up the letters and masked them off before spraying on the primer and topcoats. As always, all the time in painting comes from the prep work so after months of that it only took a few minutes to spray on the first coat of primer. Followed the next day by the final topcoat of aluminium paint.
A bit eXcessive for an item that will never see the light of day? Perhaps, but with our last boat having been all steel and Neil Young’s refrain of “Rust never sleeps” echoing in my head, I try to do anything I can to prevent rust happening ANYWHERE on my beloved new boat Möbius! Call me crazy if you like, you’d be in the majority, but I’m a very happy and rust free nutcase!
My anti-rust fetish had me take the time to sand blast the six anti-vibration feet so I could paint them while I had my spray gun out and the aluminium silicone paint mixed up, And shot them at the same time I was shooting the Flywheel so they are now all ready for installation. Final step was to insert this aluminium SAE14 Centamax 1600 drive plate into that recess I pointed out earlier and torque down the eight hardened M-12 bolts. When it is time to connect the Gardner to the Nogva Gearbox, this rubber flex drive which is bolted to the input shaft of the Nogva, will slide snugly into all those matching U shaped grooves in the AL drive plate that is now bolted to Mr. Gee’s Flywheel. This is one more very significant component helping to make Mr. Gee such an eXtremely smooooooooth operator.
This is Exhausting!
The last bit of TLC for Mr. Gee was getting these stainless steel flexible exhaust bellows machined and welded so we can start installing the Halyard exhaust system. These SS woven mesh connectors work really well by absorbing any vibration or movement between the Gardner engine and the dry stack SS pipes running up and over the Gardner on their way to the Halyard Combi Silencer/Separator.
The round SS flange faces up and this is where the first vertical dry stack Halyard pipe attaches. And the bottom square flange bolts to Mr. Gee’s exhaust manifold. You will be seeing much more of this once we start installing the Halyard exhaust system later this month.
Why Drop Your Drawers When You Can SLlllllliiiiiiiiide Them Instead?
We kept dancing to Sade’s Smooth Operator song throughout the week and that certainly included all the work that Omur and Selim were doing in the Main Cabin and the Galley.
Omur continued installing all the beautiful Rosewood drawers in the Master Bed Platform with their super smooth operating Blum drawer slides.
As you may notice, our Chippies aka Cabinetmakers, went a bit overboard last year when they started building the first drawers for XPM78-01 Möbius and made EVERY surface out of Ro$ewood so my pocketbook and I needed to reign them in a bit and use the very nicely contrasting Beech for the insides and undersides and unseeable surfaces of all the rest of the drawers and drawers they subsequently made.
But as you are seeing here in the Master Cabin, all the drawers in the King Bed Platform are Rosewood throughout. All the other drawers and doors in the Master Cabin and throughout the rest of the boat have this very lovely contrast of colour and grain between the dark swirling Rosewood and the honey coloured Beech. Thee upper four drawers in this Bureau of Drawers beside the Master Bed Platform show this well.
The upper four are slide out drawers whereas the bottom four where the hull curves in and makes them narrower have fold down doors. The outer faces will soon receive their Gray/Green leather covered fronts.
I covered these AbFab Blum bottom mounted drawer slides ad nauseum last week so I’ll leave you to go check that out if you’d like and just point out that this is a good shot at the underside of one of the Bureau drawers to show how these slides and their cushioned auto-close mounts work. and here is an interior shot of one of the sliders in one of the bed platform drawers. Looking rearward to the stairs leading up to the SuperSalon, these are the six drawers along the Starboard/Right side of the Master Bed Platform. And these are the five drawers on the forward facing end of the Bed Platform. Last 2 drawers in the Master Cabin are the two Omur in front of Omur located underneath the Vanity Sink at the very front end of this Cabin. Omur soon has both drawers all mounted as well s the door on the Medicine Cabinet above the sink. The Rosewood doors along that Starboard side open up into very large storage shelves with hanging lockers and the Washing Machine behind what will soon be mounted Green/Gray leather covered drawers above the BHL Handhold. Difficult to fit it all into one photo but this shot standing in front of the Vanity sink provides this perspective looking down those doors on the far Left and along the Bureau of Drawers and the Bed Platform on your way to the hanging locker on the Left just before you start up the stairs to the SuperSalon. Speaking of which this view looking straight down those stairs from the SuperSalon lets us see that Omur has also now installed all the solid Rosewood nosing on each of these stair treads. The solid Rosewood nosing and intake air grills for each of the stair treads came back from the Finishing Shop with their multiple coats of PU varnish all rubbed out to a beautiful matt sheen. Omur soon had these all fully installed and awaiting the installation of the final flooring which will be planks of click-lock high end vinyl.
MAIN HELM STATION:
Upstairs Omur and Selim continued to make good progress installing the Main Helm Station which we saw them begin the previous week. The hinged Dashboard is now back from the Upholstery Shop along with the mounting panel for the two 19” touch screens and the cut-outs for the switch panels are in the angled wall on the Right side of the Helm Chair. I was finally able to get a photo of Sinan our Mater Upholsterer standing beside the latest round of ceiling panels for Möbius as well as the three Black Leather covered Dashboard pieces. This is the basic layout that Captain Christine has come up with and is now in place. Kobelt Throttle/Pitch control levers bottom Right, Furuno Jog Lever to its Left and then the Gray cover is hiding the Furuno 711C AutoPilot Head.
Above the Jog Lever is the Maxwell Windlass Chain Up/Down switch with the round Kobelt Pitch Angle gauge to its Right and the ACR Pan/Tilt Searchlight control in the Upper Right corner. The empty hole beside is waiting to be filled by the Vetus Bow Thruster Joystick that has not yet arrived.
The hole on the far Left corner will have a smooth radius ring on it and will allow the Standard Horizon RAM4 VHF mic cord to coil up in the space below.
Vertically mounted on the Right wall is the Nogva Clutch & PTO control switches and the empty rectangular cut-outs will soon have the switch board mounted to control all the exterior flood/search lights and the High Water Bilge controls system. Up on top of the Right side angled wall, that Black Kobelt panel is the Kobelt control station to give control to either the Main or the Flybridge Helms OR give control to this Kobelt 7176 WalkAbout Controller which we are eXtremely eXcited to try out soon. This is a corded remote control which can plug into a receptacle here at the Main Helm or up in the SkyBridge Helm and the 10m/33ft cord then allows us to “walk about” almost from stem to stern with this remote. It is eXtremely multi-functional as the two levers on the sides control the Pitch of the prop and Throttle of the Gardner and then up on top we can control the rudder, the bow thruster and the CPP Clutch. With this in hand we can pretty much control the whole boat while standing anywhere on the boat from the very aft end of the Swim Platform to up on the Bow. In addition to giving you an overview of the whole front end of the SuperSalon and the Main Helm, all those wires hanging down from the ceiling indicate that Hilmi and Selim have been here putting in all the power cables for the LED lights overhead. Most of all though, Christine and I are already fantasizing about sitting in our super comfy Llebroc Helm Chair up here and gazing out through these 360 degrees of windows as we head out towards our next great destination.
Come on Team Möbius, we are counting on you to get us there ASAP!
SuperSalon gets Superer!
It is a hard area to photograph well but the “doghouse” overtop of the Entryway from the Aft Deck into the SuperSalon is shaping up very nicely thanks to Ömür’s hard work.
This shot is looking straight up while standing on the Entryway Stairs. Omur now has the very nicely done Rosewood Hatch liner installed and Sinan has finished the first of the intricate snap in White leather covered ceiling panels on the Right here. More to follow soon.
Here is a different perspective on that same area looking in through the Entryway door on the Aft Deck. The Black Corner Box running across the upper ceiling area will have a snap In/Out panel to give us access to the various electronic gadgets that will live inside.
The SkyBridge is on the other side of the far right side here and ……. …… if I now climb up to the SkyBridge you can see this same Hatch liner from up here and get better oriented. Walking a few steps forward in the SkyBridge and looking back at this same Hatch you can see where the SkyBridge Helm Chair will set in that space to the Left of the Hatch. We have oriented this Hatch lid like this to make it easy for us to pass things back and forth from the Galley and the SkyBridge and to make it easy for us to talk back and forth when we are in these two areas.
Can you guess where these three little drawers are bound for? Well, I guess the heading of this section makes that easy to guess that they go HERE on the “peninsula” in the Galley that runs parallel with the walkway as you come down the stairs from the Entryway door.
One of the main themes Christine and I prioritized as we worked through the design of XPM78-01 Möbius is what we refer to as “Diversity” by which we mean having a lot of different options for different aspects and areas onboard. in the case of the Galley that means a lot of diversity of size and shapes of drawers and doors so have a look around and see how this design diversity is manifesting itself in the Galley.
BTW, the tall skinny area in the middle of this set of different sized drawers will also be a pull out “drawer” that has no sides and just a series of shelves to store things like spices and condiments and utensils that you can easily access from the side.
Drawer Diversity continues over here on this set of drawers on the Window side of the Galley countertops forward of the double sink. And yet more different sizes and shapes of drawers here on the other “peninsula” running along the back of the Dining Settee on the other side. A bit difficult to see through all the construction but you can see how all the Garages atop the Turquoise marble countertops are also different sizes and depths for yet more diversity of our storage. Our hope is that having all these different options will allow us to optimize all these storage areas and enable us to find the Goldilocks just right spot for everything we want to store in our Galley. Also eXciting for us to see the big double sink be permanently set into the marble countertop. And yes we heard all your questions and recommendations for a undermounted sink instead and we may well agree with you for the next boat, but we are very happy with this top mount and thing it will work well for us.
The large main faucet has a removable spray head with a very effective magnetic holder to keep it in place when not being used. The smaller faucet on the far Right is just for cold drinking water which comes from its own 150 Liter tank that is completely independent of all other water tanks for an extra bit of safety should it ever happen that all six of our integral water tanks should be somehow contaminated. Highly unlikely as they are all filled from our 150L / 40 USG per hour Delfin Watermaker, but just in case ………………
Whew! Even when shorthanded the rest of Team Möbius still makes great progress and we get closer and closer to Launch Date!
Oh, and one last bit or eXciting news, look what we just received!
It is NOT a Fake News lie that XPM78-01 Möbius is now a “real boy” as she is fully and officially registered in Jersey and the British Ship Registry!
I realise that this might seem like “just a piece of paper” to many but to us this is such a big milestone that makes our dreamboat seem all the more real and tantalizingly close.
Thanks as always for joining us on this grand adventure and PLEASE add your questions, comments and suggestions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Till next week, same time, same Bat station this is your cub reporter Wayne and Christine’s Loving Owners Representative signing off.
This is the first of the Tech Talk style of articles I promised in THIS previous posting. Many of you have been asking for a more in depth and technical look at the What, Why and How of all the various major systems required for an XPM boat such as Möbius. And not to worry, I will continue to do the weekly progress updates and then as my time permits, I will also post these Tech Talks for a bit of a change of pace and a different look at these boats.
Note that there is a tag in the blog for Tech Talks so you can filter on this whenever you want to have just these articles show up on your screen. These Tech Talk articles will also be a bit different in that I will update them if things change or there are other additions or edits to improve them so much like your author here, these will be a continuous work in progress.
As with all my writing on the Möbius.World blog please keep in mind that the context for all my writing and all our decisions is always and only, what is “just right, just for us” as we are living on our all aluminium XPM78 eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker. As in our past boats, this will be Christine and my full time home as we double-hand** our way around the world’s most remote locations at all latitudes from polar to equatorial with equally eXtreme degrees of Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and Low Maintenance.
** We were both formerly single handed sailors until we met, fell in love and married in our 60’s and are now about to set off “double handing” our way around the world on our new XPM78 Möbius.
If you would like to learn more about our use case THIS previous post has the full explanation.
And before I go any further please keep the following in mind about all these Tech Talk articles:
These are NOT recommendations on what YOU or any other boat owners should do or what equipment you should buy.
I am NOT suggesting that our choices are “the best” I merely hope to explain OUR (Christine and my) logic and why we believe that these are the Goldilocks “just right, just for us” choices in the design, installation and equipment aboard XPM78-01 Möbius.
I am NOT an expert nor do I have any qualifications or certifications in any of these topics and while we have enlisted the help of true experts, engineers, designers and naval architects throughout the design and build process please only use the information provided in these Tech Talks as additional information to assist you in developing YOUR OWN opinions, ideas and designs.
· These Tech Talk articles are intended to generate lots of questions, suggestions, and ideas. I hope to learn as much as you do by writing these Tech Talks and more so by responding to your comments and provoking more good discussions.
· In doing so we can all contribute to the wealth of information and knowledge already out there for all of us to access and learn from. Indeed this is the primary purpose and value of these articles, so don’t be shy and please add your contributions to the “Join the Discussion” box below. I only ask that you keep the above notes in mind and of course keep the discussion respectful, polite and on topic as you always have.
As mentioned in our use case overview and in many previous posts, we have four fundamental principles or priorities which we have used throughout the entire design and build process to guide our decisions. These are Safety, Comfort, Efficiency & Maintenance. We strive to keep the first three as high as possible and the last one, Maintenance, as low as possible. I will therefore add a “SCEM Review” section for each system’s Tech Talk and summarise how each system contributes to each of these fundamental priorities and principles.
All right, with all that out of the way, lets dive into the details of the What, Why and How of the XPM Electrical System.
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM OVERVIEW
The Electrical System on our new boat can best be described as a DC Battery Based electrical system meaning that ALL of the electrical power consumers on the boat, both AC and DC, get their power from the large 24 volt “house” battery bank. This is in contrast with many other boats that could be characterized as “AC Based” boats because their systems are optimized for AC inputs from onboard generators and shore power. Both models work well and the question is not which system is “best” but which system is best for a given boat, owner and use case.
Given that by design and use case there is no generator onboard Möbius and shore power is rarely available as we live on anchor almost all the time, a DC Battery Based boat is the just right, just for us solution.
Our large 24 volt 1350Ah battery bank is charged from either the +5kW bank of 14 solar panels and/or via the two large alternators, 250A @ 24V each, 12kW total, driven off the main engine when on passage.
This is very much a “world boat” so all four of the most common voltages are available onboard at all times. 24V DC and 220V 50Hz AC are the primary voltages we use and 12V DC and 120V 60Hz AC outlets are located throughout the boat as well for devices and guests which require these voltages
There will be shore power connectors at the front and rear for those infrequent occasions when the boat is hauled out for maintenance or to leave for extended times for trips back to be with our three Grandkids and other family and friends. These shore power connections come aboard through a Victron Isolation Transformer primarily to ensure we have no connection from the boat to shore side grounding wires and gives us the significant advantage of being able to plug into any shoreside power from 100-240 Volts @ 50 – 60Hz.
BASIC ELECTRICAL SYSTEM COMPONENTS:
House Battery Bank: 18 FireFly Carbon Foam L15+ 450Ah @ 4V batteries connected in three 24V banks 6S3P (6 Serial 3 Parallel) = 1350Ah @ 24V = 32kWh
220 Volt Inverter/Chargers: 3 Victron MultiPlus 24V 5000W 120A
120V Inverters: 2 Victron MultiPlus 24V 3000W 70A
DC-DC converters Victron Orion 24V to 12V 70A
Engine Alternators: 2 Electrodyne 24V @ 250A = 6kW each = 12kW total output.
Both with remote rectifiers and remote “smart regulators”
Battery Monitor: Victron BMV 712s for monitoring each of the 3 battery banks and the overall DC electrical system.
Augmented with Maretron monitoring
Solar Panels: 14 each 96 cell 360W = 5.04kW peak total
Engine Start Battery: 2 FireFly G31 110Ah Carbon Foam batteries in series 110Ah @ 24V
I hope you have found this first of my Tech Talk articles to be of some value and I would be most appreciative of any and all comments and suggestions on ways I can improve them. With this Electrical System Overview done I will next dive into each of this system’s components and I think it is appropriate to start with the true center of or Electrical System; the House Bank batteries and then progress through each of our Charging Sources which are solar and engine alternators.
Please add your comments, questions and ideas in the “Join the Discussion” box below each post.
This is an advanced notice that I a going to start posting some new type of articles here on our Möbius.World blog which will be different from and in addition to the typical Weekly Update posts I do to cover the incredible work that Team Möbius does each week. I have previously posted some more technical articles like this about things like the overview of the the design and use case for our new boat and the one on Mr. Gee our Gardner 6LXB main engine and a few other such topics since we started this blog almost two years ago and with growing requests for these detailed technical explanatory type articles I will be doing my best to increase the frequency of these kinds of posts now..
These new articles will be different in that they will be “Tech Talks” where I can go into more detail on all the various systems on the XPM boats and explain my logic such as it is for the design of these systems, reasons for choosing the equipment we have and how these systems will be installed and maintained. I will do my best to make these “as Show & Tell” as possible with illustrations and diagrams, and possibly some video versions, but by their nature these will be more text based explanations compared to the more visual orientation of the Weekly Progress Updates. Hopefully it will be a good contrast and combination for you and if not I’m counting on you to let me know!
It is also my hope that by separating these more explanatory and detailed technical discussions from the more visual Show & Tell type of Weekly Progress Updates, you will be able to more easily chose what suites you best. And I hope those of you who are interested in these deep dives into the technical aspects of the XPM boats will chime in with your comments and questions to help me cover the topics you are most interested in and provide the Goldilocks not too much, not too little type of content that you would value and which will provoke more discussion for all of us.
Before I go any further and as I will likely repeat several times in the articles to follow, let me be very clear about the context and conditions of these articles:
These are NOT recommendations on what YOU or any other boat owners should do or equipment you should buy.
I am NOT suggesting that our choices are “the best” I merely hope to explain OUR (Christine and my) logic and why we believe that these are the Goldilocks “just right, just for us” choices in the design, installation and equipment aboard XPM78-01 Möbius.
These articles are intended to generate lots of questions, suggestions, and ideas. Indeed this is the primary purpose and value of these articles, so don’t be shy! I only ask that you keep the above two notes in mind and of course keep the discussion respectful, polite and on topic.
Please keep in mind that the overriding context for ALL these articles, choices and equipment selection is for an XPM style of boat and use case which is an eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker for a crew of two, typically a couple who want to be able to go to remote locations on all latitudes from polar to equatorial with equally eXtreme degrees of Safety, Comfort, Efficiency and low maintenance and where the boat will be their full time or primary home.
I hope to learn as much as you do by writing these Tech Talks and more so by responding to your comments and provoking more good discussions. In doing so we can all contribute to the wealth of information and knowledge already out there for all of us to access and learn from.
Unlike the Weekly Progress Update articles I will edit these Tech Talk posts over time as decisions or equipment changes and as I get more information along the way. For these posts there will be two dates for each one, the date it was first published and the date it was last updated/edited.
I will create some new tags for these different type of postings to make your future searches more productive and right now my intent is to write articles on most of the following primary systems and topics:
Screens, Monitors, Displays
DEPTH & SONAR
Portable Helm Station
Boat Data Logging
WiFi & CELLULAR
Gardner main engine
Nogva CPP servo gearbox
Nogva CPP propeller
Hydraulic steering components
Steering Back ups
Engine Room venting
Tanks, Filling & Venting
Centrifuge Polishing (Alfa Laval)
Hoses & Fittings
FIRE & SAFETY
Fire extinguishing systems
All electric cooking
Storage drawers & Garages
Outside Galley & BBQ
ANCHORING & GROUND TACKLE
Main anchor & Windlass
Stern & Kedging anchor
BOAT DESIGN & PERFORMANCE
Whew! Already a long list but if there are other large topics or systems you would like to have covered, please send me what you think I’ve missed in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll do my best to add these to the list and cover as time permits.
And please note that this is NOT a promise that I will be able to write about all of the above or at least to do so fully but it is my intent to cover as many of these topics as fully as I can in all my “spare time” during the building of mv Möbius.
And NO I am NOT interested in or trying to write a book! We already have an author onboard who writes best selling books, also known by her nom de plume Christine Kling and aka Captain Christine and my Beautiful Bride so we’ve got the book writing aspect covered eXtremely well already thanks.
Looking forward to writing these Tech Talk articles and getting your suggestions and ideas as these new discussions begin.