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One stop shop, plug and play, Electric propulsion for NBs and WBs


Alan de Enfield

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No connection, it just sounds a good option.

 

Has anyone heard of these 'market leaders' ?

 

 

Canal Boat Electric Inboard Motors (Narrowboat and Wide Beam (ashtonmarineservices.co.uk)

 

Canal Boat Electric Inboard Motors

In 2023 ePropulsion  launched the new range of electric inboard engines for narrowboats and widebeams and became the only engine manufacturer to offer a single source solution including their own batteries and inverters.

This gives several key advantages

  • Batteries are far cheaper as ePropulsion make their own
  • A single manufacturer to deal with ie far easier support
  • Plug and play
  • Optimised for maximum efficiency, increasing range and reducing battery requirements

Moving to electric engines has some very distinct and obvious advantages similar to sea going boat solutions where ePropulsion have become the market leader in the UK ie:

 

  • Virtually Silent
  • No need to service
  • Reliability
  • No belt driven solutions
  • Reduced licence costs
  • No need to run an engine to top up batteries
  • Instant torque
  • No gear box
  • Increased boat value if the boat is sold
  • Eco-friendly
  • Single source solution
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9 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

For that you'll need the Jen-in-Wellies patent pending Unicorn Poo Eco Electricity Generator (UPEEG). Simply connect the generator to the batteries and add one shovel full of unicorn poo (not included) for years of hassle free silent electric boating. Yours for the introductory price of £10,000 +VAT*.

 

*Use only genuine unicorn poo, easily recognised by the rainbows. Any other poo will invalidate your warrantee.

What about Mermaid poo? It has similar spectral qualities but with the added benefit of lubricating fish oil? It's far greener as you don't need to cut down swathes of enchanted forest for the farming of said mythical excrement, keeps the pixies sweet ;) 

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Having looked up the details on the ePropulsion site, I have a few comments...

 

"Unit price as low as £0.50 per kWh" for the batteries is *not* cheap. 96V (32S1P) means it doesn't all into the "low-voltage" regime for certification and safety.

 

The 20kW motor (for narrowboats) is rated at 1500rpm (direct drive, no gearbox) which is rather too fast, it'll end up with a noisy egg-whisk propeller.

 

2-year warranty is not very good.

 

Not clear how (or if)  it integrates with other onboard power systems on the boat (e.g. Victron inverter/chargers, MPPT, generators...), it seems to be "propulsion-only".

 

But it does look like a clean plug-and-play electric propulsion solution... 🙂

Edited by IanD
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1 hour ago, IanD said:

Unit price as low as £0.50 per kWh" for the batteries is *not* cheap. 96V (32S1P) means it doesn't all into the "low-voltage" regime for certification and safety.

You are correct 96VDC does not fall into the low voltage category it  falls into the Extra Low Voltage category

 

Extra low voltage (ELV) Is an operating voltage not exceeding 50Vac or 120V ripple-free dc.

Low voltage is below 60OVAC and 900VDC with respect to earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

You are correct 96VDC does not fall into the low voltage category it  falls into the Extra Low Voltage category

 

Extra low voltage (ELV) Is an operating voltage not exceeding 50Vac or 120V ripple-free dc.

Low voltage is below 60OVAC and 900VDC with respect to earth.

 

 

I'm pretty sure there's another boundary at about 60V DC, which is why nominally-48V systems are popular in both mild hybrid cars and narrowboats...

Edited by IanD
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Just now, IanD said:

 

I'm pretty sure there's another boundary at about 60V DC, which is why nominally-48V systems are popular in both mild hybrids and narrowboats...

Not that I have ever seen or worked with.

Maybe in the RCD but not in the real electrical world.

48v is popular cos it's an even multiple of 12v, just the same as 24v and 96v

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15 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

Not that I have ever seen or worked with.

Maybe in the RCD but not in the real electrical world.

48v is popular cos it's an even multiple of 12v, just the same as 24v and 96v

SELV, Safety Extra Low Voltage, 60V maximum DC:

 

https://www.pulspower.com/uk/support/service/glossary/index/read/selv/

https://std.iec.ch/terms/terms.nsf/0/DEC6487A319AA228C1257AA7004FD87D?OpenDocument

 

This limit has often been stated as the reason carmakers plan to adopt 48V nominal DC for future car electrical systems rather than anything higher, no extra precautions are needed compared to 12V or 24V systems.

Edited by IanD
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1 minute ago, GUMPY said:

After a bit of digging I find that 

25V AC and 60V DC is the recommended safe limit for Children and Animals. It's only recommended and not in law.

Maybe that's where you have the 60V figure from.

See above... 😉

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From that first link:

 

For an individual fault the specified voltage limits may not be exceeded for longer than 200ms. Moreover, the peak value of 71V for alternating current and direct current voltage value of 120Vdc may not be exceeded. Grounding of the secondary side is not required, but permitted.

 

Which brings us back to the 120vDC.

I could start going through the IEE regs but I won't bother as they don't agree with your point and you would only say they are wrong.

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25 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

From that first link:

 

For an individual fault the specified voltage limits may not be exceeded for longer than 200ms. Moreover, the peak value of 71V for alternating current and direct current voltage value of 120Vdc may not be exceeded. Grounding of the secondary side is not required, but permitted.

 

Which brings us back to the 120vDC.

I could start going through the IEE regs but I won't bother as they don't agree with your point and you would only say they are wrong.

 

OK I admit it, you're right and all the world's carmakers (and me...) are wrong... 😉

 

https://std.iec.ch/terms/terms.nsf/0/DEC6487A319AA228C1257AA7004FD87D?OpenDocument

 

"Such systems are also relatively inexpensive to implement because they don't need to meet the more stringent safety and performance requirements that govern so-called high-voltage systems rated for more than 62 V"

 

https://www.dalroad.com/resources/48-volt-what-it-is-and-why-its-important/

 

"48V’s limited range of 30-60V has led to its re-emergence. The reason this range is effective, regardless of capping voltages below a 60V cut-off, is because they meet Safety-Extra Low-Voltage (SELV) requirements. "

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318638628_A_Comprehensive_Study_of_Automotive_48-Volt_Technology

 

"The 48 V technology is advanced to the other high voltage technologies as well as being within the safety limits of 60V for prevention of human shock. "

 

Narrowboat electrical installations (DC in a touchable grounded metal box which might well be wet) are much more similar to cars then AC in the home and industry... 😉

Edited by IanD
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Cor that is shocking !

At the end of the day an average narrow boat probably needs about 5kw for most porpoises perhaps going up to 10kw for unusual circumstances. 

 

If it was 48v that would be about 100a-200a. Seems manageable. 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing which seems interesting is the ePropulsion inboard power units all seem to be the same weight. 

 

I am led to wonder if perhaps they are all actually the same thing with various limits applied via the software. 

 

Maybe not but one would think a 20kw motor might be heavier than a 10kw motor. 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

But the ISO specs for elevtrical propulsion of 'small vessesl' (up to 24 metres) states :

 

 

Screenshot (2318).png

 

 

 

Screenshot (2317).png

So are you trying to claim that there's no difference in safety regulations between 60V DC and 1500V DC as far as boat propulsion is concerned?

 

I know you *love* quoting slabs of documents without actually checking what they really mean, but this seems implausible to say the least... 😉

 

(just because the standard you quote applies up to 1500V doesn't mean there aren't other standards which apply at lower voltages)

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4 hours ago, IanD said:

 

"Unit price as low as £0.50 per kWh" for the batteries is *not* cheap. 96V (32S1P) means it doesn't all into the "low-voltage" regime for certification and sa...

🙂

Isn't £0.50 per kWh unbelievably cheap for batteries?

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5 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

For that you'll need the Jen-in-Wellies patent pending Unicorn Poo Eco Electricity Generator (UPEEG). Simply connect the generator to the batteries and add one shovel full of unicorn poo (not included) for years of hassle free silent electric boating. Yours for the introductory price of £10,000 +VAT*.

 

*Use only genuine unicorn poo, easily recognised by the rainbows. Any other poo will invalidate your warrantee.

Buls*it

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52 minutes ago, magnetman said:

Cor that is shocking !

At the end of the day an average narrow boat probably needs about 5kw for most porpoises perhaps going up to 10kw for unusual circumstances. 

 

If it was 48v that would be about 100a-200a. Seems manageable.

 

One thing which seems interesting is the ePropulsion inboard power units all seem to be the same weight. 

 

I am led to wonder if perhaps they are all actually the same thing with various limits applied via the software. 

 

Maybe not but one would think a 20kw motor might be heavier than a 10kw motor.

 

 

Like I said in the other thread, we were typically using 3kW-5kW for cruising along, depending on speed and canal width/depth. To see what happens we did whack it up to full power briefly on a wide deep bit of canal, at which point it was drawing about 17kW (350A) and we had a *massive* bow wave and wash, no way would this ever be needed on a canal, and very rarely in a river -- I've certainly never had to push a diesel boat that hard even up the tidal Trent.

 

With 700Ah LFP batteries this is only discharge at the 2h rate (C/2) so no problem, the controller will probably eventually throttle back a bit to keep itself cool, IIRC it's rated at 650A short-term and 280A long-term, and all the cables/fuses/contactors are sized to cope with this.

 

The 10kW motor is 45kg, the 20kW one is 49.5kg, the 40kW one is 85kg. Probably the lower power ones are the same motor with different electronics, the bigger one is a bigger/heavier motor.

29 minutes ago, Tacet said:

Isn't £0.50 per kWh unbelievably cheap for batteries?

Oops, Wh -- so £500/kWh, or £17500 for 35kWh...

 

https://www.bimblesolar.com/batteries/48vbatts/pylontech-house-batteries/PYLON-US3000C

 

£300/kWh including VAT...

Edited by IanD
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As @GUMPY said the IET Wiring regulations (18th edition) applicable in this country define ELV (including SELV) as a voltage as not exceeding 50V ac or 120V ripple-free dc.

 

However the designer is free to specify a lower voltage than this if he so desires and other countries may have regulations that specify lower voltages. For example I used to specify that batteries be broken into sections of 50 volts or less before access could be gained to protect maintenance personnel.

 

EV's are sold worldwide so they will adopt the highest standard to avoid having to have too many country specific variations of major components. I think this is what is causing the confusion.

Edited by cuthound
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I'm pretty sure that some regulation kicks in at 60volts. A fair few years ago there was a plan to build internal combustion engines with just a crank and pistons, everything else, oil pump and all valves etc. would be electric, and 42 volts was the chosen voltage to avoid the extra cost of exceeding the 60 volt limit.

 

In our boaty world I do wonder if we are limiting ourselves a bit by sticking to 48 volts, and if more volts and less amps might be better, but then again a "proper" boat would need a motor producing about 30horse at 600rpm and I suspect this requires lots of amps.

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3 hours ago, cuthound said:

As @GUMPY said the IET Wiring regulations (18th edition) applicable in this country define ELV (including SELV) as a voltage as not exceeding 50V ac or 120V ripple-free dc.

 

However the designer is free to specify a lower voltage than this if he so desires and other countries may have regulations that specify lower voltages. For example I used to specify that batteries be broken into sections of 50 volts or less before access could be gained to protect maintenance personnel.

 

EV's are sold worldwide so they will adopt the highest standard to avoid having to have too many country specific variations of major components. I think this is what is causing the confusion.

The IET wiring regulations apply primarily to industrial and residential applications like houses and factories.

 

AFAIK the voltage/safety rules which apply to boats -- especially ones with highly conductive grounded metal hulls -- are more closely related to those for cars, for which I provided multiple references about why 48V systems (60V maximum) are chosen, in both the UK/EU and worldwide.

 

If you want to carry on ignoring this fact, there's no point continuing any discussion...:-(

3 hours ago, dmr said:

I'm pretty sure that some regulation kicks in at 60volts. A fair few years ago there was a plan to build internal combustion engines with just a crank and pistons, everything else, oil pump and all valves etc. would be electric, and 42 volts was the chosen voltage to avoid the extra cost of exceeding the 60 volt limit.

 

In our boaty world I do wonder if we are limiting ourselves a bit by sticking to 48 volts, and if more volts and less amps might be better, but then again a "proper" boat would need a motor producing about 30horse at 600rpm and I suspect this requires lots of amps.

It does but this isn't difficult to do, the usual solution is a 6-phase PMAC motor driven by 2 synchronised 3-phase controllers, all easily available off-the-shelf -- I believe it's what Finesse do for widebeams... 🙂

Edited by IanD
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