Author Topic: How about a a sailboat motor controller that is also a regen battery charger  (Read 513 times)

sailingcinderella

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Hey all,

It was great meeting everyone today! What a cool place.

In case you didn't hear, we are looking for a product that as far as I know isn't available. It's a key piece in an affordable electric drive system in sailboats and could really change the industry and drive sustainable energy.

A 48V PM motor controller that could double as a charge controller when acting as a generator under sail. Ideally, the controller itself would be able to charge two different battery banks (Motor drive at 48V and house system at 12V). And of course it would also be great if the bank charge priority was user selectable on the fly.

Based on what I learned today from you fine folks, it is possible. One of your products may even have the hardware and be capable with a little different firmware.

The benefits are huge to sailboats even though hydro generation is pretty new to the sailing world. At the moment there is only one successful company with a hydro generator product in the market, and it's on EVERY modern boat/raceboat.

https://www.wattandsea.com/en/products/racing-hydrogenerators

Imagine if a product could allow one piece of hardware (the drive motor) to do all of this!

It's huge, yet simple.

I would love to assist in any way possible to bring a product to market.

Keep up the good work,

Pajo & Ava

boB

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It was great meeting with you two, Pajo & Ava and showing you all around the nooks and crannies here at MidNite !

The  bi-directional controller is definitely a possibility and is a pretty cool idea.  This is one good place to ask about this.

One day when we aren't all up to our eyeballs in new product design, it would be nice to think more about this.

I wonder if there IS something like what you are asking about but we just don't know what or where it is yet ?

Keeping in touch,
boB
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mike90045

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I'd think looking in the EV or electric bike groups, would be the place to find a motor controller with regenerative braking.  That wheel has been invented already.  You may have to dip it in epoxy to make it marine worthy.
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ClassicCrazy

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Not being around any ocean here - never heard of charging via a prop . I looked it up and see that this company changes the pitch of the props to optimize charging  https://oceanvolt.com/solutions/hydro-generator/
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boB

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That's interesting, CC.  I think I HAVE seen that product or something like it actually.  I wonder now how much the shape of the propeller blades makes a difference in  Motor  moving water vs. water moving generator ?  It's maybe similar to wind turbine generator vs. a fan blowing air like for an airplane.

As far as the bidirectional controller goes, it could be as simple as having a separate charger vs. motor controller which is already there.

A Classic running in wind mode (or hydro) mode could actually do that or maybe a KID wind/hydro controller.  Would just have to add a switch to select which one is in circuit.  Just thinking out loud.


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grgdgreek

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You mean something like this? https://eclectic-energy.co.uk/products/duogen/

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sailingcinderella

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I'd think looking in the EV or electric bike groups, would be the place to find a motor controller with regenerative braking.  That wheel has been invented already.  You may have to dip it in epoxy to make it marine worthy.

Hey Mike, you are definitely right, I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I already have a Kelly Controls motor controller. It works fine, and is capable of regen, but it doesn't charge the batteries according to any battery algorithm (no bulk/absorb/float) which is important for reasons you guys know better than me.

Ideally, a vessel could activate the regen when crossing an ocean and with a small loss of speed, you could power the boat's systems while underway. Or, top off the batteries after motoring.

As mentioned above, It could be probably be done with a couple of controllers switched, but why not simplify? If the only spare you needed to carry was a controller, that would be pretty great, and save a lot of precious space.

If this controller existed, and you could buy the motor and controller for around $2,000, we could really get a lot of leaky engines off the water. Which is what I really want to see in the end.

On another note, If motor RPM could be measured, I imagine all of this could be done without a large "load" resistor circuit by letting the prop free spin and only braking as much as the system needed.

I also don't believe there is a controller on the market capable of charging two separate battery banks at different voltages at the same time. This would also be important as most marine "house systems" are at 12V and electric drive systems are at least 48V.
Having the two battery systems separate is a pretty important redundancy at sea.

For the time being, I think I'll have to switch off separate controllers, and see how well it does.