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LondonRascal

It's All Gone Hybrid! - Brinks Rhapsody, The Blog

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Anyway next year I am looking to hire something really simply and low down to begin so quite a shift fromt he posh stuff.

 

Hi Robin,

 

Crown Gem or Pacific Breeze? They should go through THAT bridge for you to explore Hickling etc. :naughty:

 

 

cheers Iain.

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are you planning on going under wroxham bridge to, we are hoping to go next year , not been up their since early 80s looks like a lovely stretch of river . it would be good to see you do your blog down there.

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Interesting point Robin (and, No Grendel, the tax is on fuel used for propulsion). Letter of the law, you might have a fightable case given a slick solicitor. Spirit of the law, the 40/60 split would be thought generous.

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MM: Hmm ok so back to the drawing board, maybe a diesel powered heater that happens to propel a boat along ;)

 

Thanks for the photos Iain. It is terrible that we are only mid way through November and I am looking at boats weighing up the pros and cons.  It could well be lovely next year early in the season but it might well also be horrid so I am not sure about canopy’s on cold damp days compared to being ‘inside in the warm’ – so have been looking at forward steer boats.

 

I like something such as Clear Gem (and its cheap) but then I see Brinks Breamore and although way more expensive but has a lovely helm seat and looks akin to a bus driving position, I think I am mad.

 

Anyway suffice to say I have some ideas not just of a boat but have seen some camera accessories and places to go but that of course will all play out in time.

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Hi Robin,

 

In 1976 at the last minute we hired  a old woodie Barnes Bridge canopy and all, for the week before Easter, it was the Scottish schools holiday week so had no choice in the matter. It was a make up bed every night and to avoid the flappy canopy we cruised with it down all day, hailstorm n all near Beccles. What I am basically saying is.... cumon suvern softie try it! :naughty:  :naughty:  :naughty: Get the fresh Norfolk air into yer lungs instead of that London air that makes me knackered very quickly every time I have been there lol. 

 

cheers Iain.

 

 

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Why not try a lovely wooden Martham boat, explore beyond Potter bridge and then easy under it and any other to explore the best bits.

 

But be aware, get a taste for wood and nothing else will do !

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Hi VictoryV

 

Robin has had problems in the past opening a can of hot dogs, tasting wood may be a task too far :naughty: Seriously though, yes why not try a woodie from there.

 

cheers Iain.

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                Just thought I would share my experience after just getting back from a weeks cruising the Broads aboard Brinks Rhapsody 2 this Easter (2016).

                Collected the boat from Brinks on Saturday afternoon. I would just like to say how pleased with the boat I was. It was perfectly clean and turned out, a credit to the team at Brinks. I turned up a little early and was able to see first hand the amount of work they have on a Saturday trying to turn around so many boats in such a short time.

                I am going to write  a short blog elsewhere on the Holiday but for now would just like to comment on the overall experience and differences between Rhapsody 1 & 2.

 

  1. Control system- This is quite different from the system seen in Robin’s video. The speed is now motor related and not GPS as on R1. So this means you’re back to an estimated speed rather than actual. I had an app called SpeedTracker on my Iphone (a free app that does give you a speed to an accuracy of 0.1 miles an hour, which is very useful at the low speeds involved). In clam winds and low river flow rates the speed reported back by R2 was extremely accurate. But  On the lower control you now have a choice of running Electric, Hybrid or constant generated power. I ran most of There is an over complicated way of transferring control from lower-upper deck that  on the face of it seemed easy but still took a day or so to perfect. I would suggest that    anyone hiring the boat should practice this moored up rather than on the move as we did. This involves making sure both controllers are in neutral and then pressing a control button on the control required. The thing that throw us at first is that the upper controller has a foreign language and was obviously designed for a dual engine set up and there are 2 stops that act as neutral and only one of these allow control to be transferred.

 

  1. Fuel usage £124- Overall I was happy with the amount of fuel we used for the week, but I know if the weather on the first couple of days had been better this would have improved considerably. Also used the heating quite a bit which I understand also uses diesel.

                 We had planned to stay at Great Yarmouth on the Sunday night and leave for the Southern       Broads early Monday morning as tides dictated, but after arriving at Great Yarmouth YS at     about 3:30pm on Sunday the guy in the office said that due to the expected storm they  doubted whether they would be allowing anyone over Monday morning so advised me to  set off across there and then. Big mistake! As we set off the wind and rain came. So heading over breydon water we were struggling against quite a fierce wind. So I had the throttle at          full which was drawing 125 Amps showing 7ish MPH but in fact we were barley doing 3. So to cut a long story short that one journey used about a quarter of a tank of fuel.

                In electric mode if you run at over say 50 amps the diesel will cut in when the drive battery falls to roughly 70% however if you are happy to cruise at no more than 4mph the motor only draws 25 amps and on one day a managed well over 2 hours of cruising on electric only.

                Not sure on the total mileage for the week but we went as far as Beccles and Oulton Broad on the Northern Broads and pretty much covered the main routes on the Southern.

                We didn’t use any shore power and as Robin has said the generator never needed to cut in when moored up even when using oven, kettle etc. I think this is the main reason for hiring this boat along with the pleasure of near silent cruising (most of the time)

  1. TV- Only real gripe on the boat. R2 has the standard TV Ariel which for one thing really spoils the overall look of the boat and also a pain in the **** to get a reliable picture. Found ourselves looking with jealously at the futuristic looking 360 domes on the front of many other boats. Haven’t got a clue as to weather they result in a more reliable picture.

`Have also booked Rhapsody 3 for a week in July so will report back any further differences if any.

 

Nige

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Very interesting to read how you got on. I know I have been a little sceptical as to the intention behind these hybrid boats as the first model didn't sound all that green from Robin's video blog. Ferry Marina have a new boat this year that seems to be their first foray into this market. I'll be interested to hear what people think as more of these boats are hired out over the season.

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My concern Jean, is what appears a high cost of fuel for a week. Granted pushing into a wind on Breydon is not good, its still a tad high. What are Brinks charging per litre this season, Nige, please?

cheersIain

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That was my thoughts as well really Iain. When I first saw these boats, given the writing on the side of the Brinks Rhapsody saying "New Electric Hybrid" is in green, I thought that was going to be the point, that these were going to be eco-friendly boats. On watching Robin's video it did appear that potentially you weren't making savings on fuel and I couldn't see what the point was apart from the pleasure of silent cruising for a few hours.

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I get all the mechanics of it all, but just don't see any real progress, if you are still guzzling gallons/litres of diesel!

cheersIain

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Hi again,

didn't look to see what Brinks charge per litre. But like I said I'm sure if you don't get heavy handed with the throttle you would get through a lot less fuel. Also I did use the heating a fair bit and I'm sure during the summer not using the heating would decrease use of fuel even more. After getting across Brendon water the following day we did cruise all the way to Beccles, also very much into a very strong head wind. I can honestly say the more I think about it I was surprised we didn't use more fuel. Brinks do take a £200 fuel deposit on this boat so was quite happy to get so much back.

nige

 

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Very interesting report about Brinks Rhapsody 2.

These boats, and indeed those coming from the likes of Horning Ferry Marina are not any more 'green' than any other boat.  A lot of this is because unlike an electric car,  there can be no regeneration of your power used through kinetic recovery.

It is not even a complicated set up - take a 50hp engine, couple to a high output generator to make electricity to charge batteries to run an electric motor to turn a propeller. Because the engine when it runs is set to run at a high constant RPM it will of course consume more fuel than the same horse power engine running at variable RPM's (as to the speed you are doing) as with a conventional boat.

What these do allow though is one engine to do it all - it is used to produce the electricity for your cruising, but also used as a generator (should you need it) for your onboard luxuries like full size fridges, fan assisted electric ovens, electric kettle, microwave etc etc. In the past you might have a separate smaller generator that would be used to enable the use of these items onboard a boat.

Sure the solar panels will add a little bit of power on a high summer's day, but would not do much overall to recharge the large battery bank these boats have.  So why do Barnes etc do it?  Because it sells.

It is new, it is certainly a new direction and through its use means they can have boats with all the conveniences of home and not have an engine to make the boat go along and another small generator for the luxury electrical items (such as they have on other boats in their fleet). 

Hybrid is something to many equals innovation, modernity, new, greener, better be it open their car, a race car or now on a boat they can hire. These boats are sure not cheap to construct but with three in the class now show they are hiring well and bringing in money which is, at the end of the day what Barnes Brinkcraft are in business for.

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During the Holiday last week I had a Garmin Virb Camera mounted on the top of the boat for the entire week.  I had this on time laps for most of the journeys. This camera overlays all kinds of GPS data onto the footage including distance and speed.  I have now had chance to go through the footage and one interesting thing showed up as follows. On the Friday morning we left our overnight mooring at Paddy’s Lane and cruised to Ranworth for Lunch at the Malsters  and then on to The Ferry Inn at Horning for our overnight stay before returning the boat to Wroxham on Saturday.

On the Friday I purposely tried to be as economical as possible and the total distance was 10.5 miles and other than a very short time when I had to get heavier on the throttle to avoid a couple of sailing boats Rhapsody managed the whole journey on Electric with still 30% battery showing at the end.

I do believe that if you were to plug into shore power this would also charge the main battery as well (I may be wrong but when I collected the boat it had been plugged in and was showing 100% on both battery systems).

So considering the above and also keeping in mind that you have pretty much all the electrical power you need for cooking etc.,  I think it makes perfect sense.

Nige

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I think truly the way this would work is if the boat had, for at least the drive batteries Lithium Iron Phosphate cells.  These are lighter in weight, but can be discharged completely and re-charged to 100% and do this several thousand times over.  This, unlike any lead acid type battery which not only looses its capacity over time, but cannot be discharged completely without damage being done, so it is best to work on the basis of 50% discharge before re-charge.

If the boat had Lithium Iron Phosphate cells, there would be more actual usable capacity available for use to propel the boat (maybe even need less batteries) that would mean less generator run time which may mean a a smaller engine to cover the power demands in the first place.

If the Broads Authority had their act together and could liaise with boat yards when building these new boats, they may be able to have more charging posts - perhaps with a special card that meant only those with Hybrid craft can use the post and re-charge saving engine run time.

Because electric motors on a boat would in the main be running at the same RPM they make an ideal choice for propulsion - if only there was a true infrastructure to re-charge them at mooring. 

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20 hours ago, LondonRascal said:

I think truly the way this would work is if the boat had, for at least the drive batteries Lithium Iron Phosphate cells.  These are lighter in weight, but can be discharged completely and re-charged to 100% and do this several thousand times over.  This, unlike any lead acid type battery which not only looses its capacity over time, but cannot be discharged completely without damage being done, so it is best to work on the basis of 50% discharge before re-charge.

I quite agree that Lithium batteries are much more efficient than Lead/Acid, in all respects.

So much lighter (amp for amp), and capable of thousands of discharge/recharge cycles, as you say, compared to only a couple of hundred or so for lead acid.

Another of my interests is electric bikes, and lithium power has revolutionised those in the past 5 years or so. They're now a very practical proposition for commuting as well as pleasure cycling. The previous lead acid equipped bikes were far too heavy and slow and hampered by a range of only ten miles or so.

Lithium is also the secret of the Torqeedo electric outboards being so light with their built in batteries, though they're still way over-priced, since it's perfectly  possible to power a Minn Kota with a 12v LiPo pack, like I made for my canoe outboard.

Aside from the considerable extra initial cost, the only downside of lithium cells is their crucial demand for fool-proof control systems when charging and discharging. They are far more susceptible to exploding if over-volted or subjected to high charge or discharge amp rates.

Electric bikes have "BMS" (battery management systems), that constantly monitor each individual cell in the battery pack, to ensure that it stays within safe high limits, and doesn't drop below the minimum voltage, which would also ruin it.

So Lithium is much more efficient than Lead Acid, but not really viable cost-wise yet for the hundreds of amps needed to power a motor cruiser, IMHO.....

 

12v lipo weight.jpg

testing.jpg

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Lithium Iron Phosphate cells are a bit safer in so much as they won’t go doing stupid things if looked at in a funny way, dropped, pieced etc and this is why such are the preferred variety - if I can call it that - of Lithium cells used for marine applications.  

If you look online at the costs of branded Lithium cells they cost a fortune. Yes they are wonderful things but even so to most people they are simple too much money to consider riding their installations of Lead Acid batteries.  The components inside these Lithium  batteries are made up of several cylindrical, individual cells that are then ‘boxed’ into the standard square battery box we are all familiar with.

However it is possible to buy the cells – from good old China and the empty plastic boxes to put them in as well.  So you can ‘make your own battery’. As long as you get the right cells and controller for charging and you know your way around this dark art you could well save yourself a fortune verses the off the shelf stuff Victron or Mastervolt might sell you.

For everyone else though, I can see a massive change in Lithium pricing coming.  

Tesla began taking pre-orders on their new Model 3 electric car.  What makes this different to anything else is the mentality behind the project is not that of a large car firm like Ford or GM but very much more akin to how large technology companies are run and there is a real passion and following behind it (not to mention Elen Musk also is making commercial space flight and reusable space vehicles very much possible). I think this will make Tesla into the vehicle equivalent of Apple - a company that can now begin to make cars that are not cheap but at the right price point and a design both in the looks of the car and the underlying technology to stand out and appeal more than a Nissan Leaf as an example. 

What this has to do with everyday people and batteries is Tesla is going to need lots and lots and lots of lithium cells, so with Panasonic in partnership they have built the world’s largest lithium battery production facility, which when fully operational would alone produce more lithium batteries than the worlds current output combined. It is called the Giga Factory. 

Its projected capacity for 2020 is 35 gigawatt-hours per year of cells as well as 50 GWh/yr of battery packs.  Now most of this (Mr Musk hopes) will go into Tesla cars, but what happens to all the current production of cells? 

I envisage like with oil production, as time passes more and more cells will be produced and manufactures will want to get them sold – at every reducing costs. It might be a good time to invest in Lithium mining because in the short term it’s looking like a lot of the stuff is going to be needed.

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