Like Seabiscuit, small, but mighty!
Impressive dedication to project that seems to be all about curiosity. I wish your vessel good sailing and longevity. I wish you success on your project. I hope if creates the opportunities you deserve for undertaking this endeavour.
Such a generous sentiment
Thank you, FieldingBlue!
I have some questions: What type of distance per day are you seeing? I was wondering on your choice of prop shape. The prop shape you chose looks to me more like and airplane propeller than a water prop/screw. How/why did you decide to go in that direction?
Amazed by what you have done, excited for you. Thanks for sharing.
It's averaging about 45 miles per day. For boats with very low power that travel slowly, airplane-like propellers are more efficient. An example of this would be human-powered submarines. So I was going for efficiency. Thank you for your interest and kind words!
Wonderful project. Hope Seacharger have good seas and sunny days. I'll follow you from Italy!
I'm checking up on Sea Charger's progress, as I'm sure many others are. As it progresses further across the pacific, no doubt the number of followers will grow... I'm envisioning the day you're being interviewed by Good Morning America or the like. Congratulations on progress to date and best wishes on getting to the final destination!
how much battery power the ship has vs. how much the system drains? I read somewhere that the ship has enough power to run 3 days without sun and checked your power charts, but now you wrote that you don't have enough power to run the night at 100%.
And as an rc modeller I'm very interested on how an airplane outrunner does working continously for this long.
It has enough power to stay alive for 3 days with the motor off. Who knows, maybe it would last a week. I've never tried that. But with the motor on, the batteries are only enough to last through the night. Sorry for the confusion.
I'm also very interested in how the outrunner does working for this long! Theoretically the only thing that can really break is the bearings. So I'm just hoping they last.
Thank you for your answer.
I was thinking about your motor shut offs: modern regulators has thermal safety switch off, maybe it tends to overheat.
You may try to find a pattern (for example when the batteries are getting hot, etc.).
Following you from sunny St. Petersburg Florida for some time. It is a habit now checking in to see how far SeaCharger has gone every day. From one boater to another Good luck,
Congratulations (well, in advance)!
Please post as photos of the arrival and the state of the ship.
Congratulations from Italy! I following you from the first day :)
When you have some time please publish some photos off the boat!
OK, I'm about to put a few more on the website.
can you update us on the status of the ship - I can see on the tracking map that it is heading to the open ocean, perhaps towards New Zealand.
And I'm still very interested how the rc parts doing.
Thank you in advance for your reply, Regards:
You guessed right! It's heading towards New Zealand, but it's got a LONG way to go...
As far as how the R/C parts are doing, I don't really know. I did not disassemble the boat when it arrived in Hawaii. All I had time to do was re-program it and fix a corroded solar panel wire. Everything else appears to be working fine.
Following you from Auckland, New Zealand. Looking forward to seacharger arriving here. Where in New Zealand is it planning to arrive?
Actually, Mike, it's going to be somewhere near Auckland most likely. Check back in a few months to see!
Hey guys! you're on Neatorama!
Congrats for your achievements! onward more dreams!
Such a fascinating project. Well done. Very best wishes for the rest of the voyage. I am following the boat's progress from Norway.
Great job on this project. I can identify with your efforts since I built a purely solar powered air plane (no batteries) in the 90's and set 2 FAI world model airplane records with it. (Google solar solitude. It was entered in the no battery class of solar power models). What you did is not easy and I applaud your persistence. If you're interested in a simple MPP controller I have a simple, effective design which I can share. I enjoy following Seacharger's progress and hope she makes it!
Thanks Dave! A solar-powered airplane is a lot harder than a solar-powered boat. Kudos to you!
I see New Zealand is getting close! Let us hope for nice, sunny wheater.
Do you have info on battery charge cycle count and current max. capacity?
I don't really have any good measure of current max capacity, but it's gone through roughly 200 cycles. Shouldn't be a problem, as this type of battery is rated for something like 2000 cycles.
I too have been following your progress and cheer you on. Although she's slowing down I think you'll be flying down there soon to pick her up. Will this be another family vacation? Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your posts.
I hope you're right, Dave! No family vacation this time, though. I'll just be happy if it actually makes it.
Hi Damon. You mentioned in FAQ that there are no more plans for the ship once it arrives in New Zealand. Why's that? Why not letting it swim around the world as long as it can?
Because the boat is dying! It's getting slower every week. I think it's time to stop while we're ahead!
I think the ship can be easily repaired once landed somewhere.
I can only think of some cleaning, perhaps a new motor, or motor bearings, and maybe a new propeller (if damaged).
This a well proven ship - I think it can take lot more once serviced.
Hi Damon. I wrote a week ago regarding anti-fouling. Could this be the reason she is slowing down ? I bet there would be a few 'Kiwis' who would go out to retrieve it if necessary. Best of luck. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, I think that's quite likely. Thanks for the good wishes!
I'm in Auckland and would be happy to help retrieve it, but it will need to get a bit closer to NZ first :)
sorry to hear the present situation. I think you might be able to go to the right direction without rudder, if you are able to reprogram.
I mean you need to check the heading and throttle up when pointing to the right direction and throttle down when not.
It seems to me that there is a strong current against the ship at the present position, you should try to move west then head to NZ, if there is a change to do it...
I guess it can be done without reprogramming by remotely stopping and resuming the thruster manually via satellite link depending on the boat orientation. If done once an hour for a week, it should cost less than £45. Not sure, how far it would get by then.
did you manage to get the ship under control? It is going now in a straight line instead of circling (although in the wrong direction).
From what I see it looks like someone has picked it up and is going away from New Zealand. I can't tell from the updates if they are still coming in or if tracking has been disabled. I hope there is some ID on the boat so you get contacted when they reach shore. What do you think? Quite an adventure. Best of luck
Nobody has picked it up, it's just the current moving it around. The boat is sending one update per day and is moving at an average of maybe .75 knots. If it were picked up you'd see it moving a lot faster than that. We had contact info written on the boat in Sharpie but it came off on the CA-HI leg of the trip. So I hope the tracker keeps working until the boat hits land somewhere.
very good news, congrats for the rescue! Please keep us informed on the situation.
Thank you Zsolt for your interest during this project! SeaCharger is residing in the NZ Maritime Museum for the next five months.
Well, 5 months is just enough time to make a new rudder and a new propeller, but make sure they keep the batteries charged... :)
I want to pass along my congratulations too. I zoomed in and it looks like your boat is currently along side a pier probably on another boat. I hope you can make contact with whoever has it. It's impressive that it made it!
Thank you Dave! Yep, a cargo vessel picked it up. You can read about it on the Tracking page. An amazing feat.
Dave, Thanks so much! I just posted the story of the recovery on the Tracking page. Check it out.
This was awesome, inspiring and entertaining to follow. The question is, what's next?!
I wish I knew... any ideas?
I came up with the idea of a solar unmanned ship about an hour ago, googled it and of course somebody was years ahead! It's been fascinating and exciting to read about your progress. A few questions and shout-outs, out of excitement: Did you have any legal concerns / problems? I guess international waters are subject to at least a few rules and laws. Did any drug dealer contact you so far? Do you also believe that, if your project was taken to a high end budget level, it could be the future of low cost shipping? How much did the connection cost? I think you should write more material to increase the number of readers. It´s really interesting and it could help to fund your project. Wishing you all the best, Ingwer.
You could still make one.
No, no legal issues. We did have to get permission to launch from the harbor that we used for the first launch. But nothing other than that. Nope, no drug dealers! Solar power is really quite weak... that's why my boat went so slow. So I don't see it being used for shipping any time in the near future. The satellite connection cost about $0.30 per message. My total bill was several hundred dollars. But that's not bad for several months of usage.
Thank you for your interest!
Sent you a couple of inquiries to your contact email.Just finished reading your web details and these emails.
Heck of a project.Especially interested in the brushless motor gearing. Do you have ant drawings you could share?
So, what's the current status? Is the boat still in New Zealand? Please update!
Yep, it's still in NZ, at least for another month or so. Then it's coming back to my garage for inspection. Sorry, but no plans for another voyage. At least not in the near future.
I've been following a few of these projects for a while now and it always seems that the weak point is the boats rudder. Do you have any ideas on how that could be improved?
I guess maybe a shorter rudder and maybe have several of them would make it more robust?
but is there a downside to that?
What would you do next time to improve it?
more solar panels? backup motor?
Visited back to check the project status.
You might use two motors with differentiate driving instead of the rudder. Or put rudder mechanics above water level to disallow sea creatures getting into it.
By the way it would be nice to see Seacharger taking another trip.
Wouldn't differential thrust from two motors have been a better option than using a rudder?
There are a couple reasons I didn't use differential thrust:
1. It would require mounting the two thrusters far apart from each other (one on the left, one on the right), which doesn't really work for this particular shape of boat (although it would be great on a catamaran).
2. I was afraid that constantly jockeying the throttle would result in an overall higher power draw for the motors. I have absolutely no evidence for this, just a hunch.