Large Paddler Builds => Power (Large) => Topic started by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 20, 2006, 07:48:31 AM

Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 20, 2006, 07:48:31 AM
Hello All,
Now that I know the SJ cant be steam just at this minute, I need another power option (other than pedal!!)
Dad said that marine diesels are to heavy, and I wouldnt be able to find one small enough, is that true?
And I was thinking of the old green petrol engines, the ones that go bang every now and again!! Would they be suitable, given that the weight is ok?
Title: Engines
Post by: anth on November 25, 2006, 09:47:59 PM
there to heavy old and expensive james you should aim for a little air cooled 4 stroke.
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 25, 2006, 10:06:01 PM
So just a small air cooled 4 stroke petrol motor should do the job then.. Until I can get my hands on a small steam engine, hopefully it wont through out the whole weight distribution and stability thing we have been discussing..
I will start browsing, but no buying just yet.. not for a while..

Title: Engines
Post by: derekwarner_decoy on November 25, 2006, 10:38:44 PM
Hi PD's & as James says

"I will start browsing, but no buying just yet"

This is a good idea to think about the engine first [or should we say the variations on your considered engines].... a small current vintage air cooled four stroke engine will develop optimum power at say 4000 to 6000 RPM

Just wondering what type/size speed reducer you were now considering to bring your paddle axis revolutions to say 150 RPM :?: - Derek
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 08:51:22 AM
PD's and Derek - I was thinking (as a few have suggested) to have the engine running at bilge level and connect to the drive shaft via a chain.. If that was the case I could lower the RPM from the engine output to the paddles input by making the circumference of the chain circle a lot smaller than the circumference of the drive shafts chain circle.. Kind of like bike gears (but not with multiple gears).. eg.. on the PS Pevensey the engine directly drives a smaller cog which then in turn drives a larger cog and in effect making the paddles RPM a lot smaller/slower than the engines RPM..
Hope that makes sense!!
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!
Title: Engines
Post by: Eddy Matthews on November 26, 2006, 09:03:31 AM
Assuming Derek is correct with a 6000 RPM engine speed (and I have no reason to doubt his figures!), to get the 150 RPM your going to need for the paddlwheels will mean a reduction of 40:1

Using a simple chain drive straight from the motor output shaft to the paddleshaft is never going to be practical - for two reasons....

#1. If you had a motor sprocket with only ten teeth, you would need a paddleshaft sprocket with 400 teeth - Which lets face it isn't realistic..

#2. You have to consider the speed the chain is being driven at as centrifugal forces will play a large part with such high RPM, and the chain will simply jump off the sprockets. Chains are a very efficient method of driving something, but they can only be used at relatively low speeds.

Your going to need some sort of gearbox to reduce the motor speed to an acceptable level, and then use a chain/sprockets for final tuning of the paddle speed.

Sorry to be negative again, but the laws of physics come into these things as well...
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 09:41:54 AM
Eddy, that is not negative.. It is very bloody helpful.. Imagine where I would be without the constructive comments from PD's :)
A gearbox?? I know what they are but I have never fully understood the marine engine geary thing??  :oops:  :oops:  :oops:  :oops:  :oops: I dont really know a lot about engines..
Title: Engines
Post by: derekwarner_decoy on November 26, 2006, 12:36:44 PM
Hi PD's.... James GOOGLE the "RENOLD Chain" site... you will find simple chain calculations & limitations of chain speed... [it is the linear speed of the chain {surface distance per unit of time travelled} & change of direction on the pinions that determines the limitation]

So you have the initial speed limitation :hammer  & hence multiple chain reductions of 1001043 which is the original bicycle chain developed by Monsiour RENOLD in FROG land all those years ago will not help

From memory even a .025" pitch BS or ASA chain would catastrophically explode  :boom at speeds well below those you are contemplating with a small engine as previously noted

Many, many years ago... on completion of my engineering studies I was employed by an Australian company from Wellington Road Mulgrave Victoria.... just around the corner from you...... yes the same Renold Australia.... Derek
Title: Engines
Post by: mjt60a on November 26, 2006, 12:47:15 PM
Just a 'shot-in-the-dark' here, I haven't really figured this out at all but how about if you could get an engine and gearbox from one of these - - I don't know if they ever show up in junkyards but if you could find one it might work, it's only 50cc so should be small enough when stripped of all the 'road use' components, you'd probably only need to use first and reverse gear...........
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 01:15:55 PM
Helical wormgear unit available in six unit sizes up to 45kW capacity.  Gear unit ratio range up to 300:1 and up to 22000:1 if combined with other Renold helical gear products.

Variable mounting - design flexibility
High torque unit - compact design
Robust construction - suitable for heavy duty applications
Adaptability - ideal for hostile environments
Innovative design - allows modular extension of power ratio range
Motorised and speed reducer versions
Long life synthetic lubrication
Hollow output shaft design for direct shaft mounting
Single and double extension plug-in output shaft for many design options
Speed reducer version available for drives requiring free standing gear unit only
Modular design to allow flange mounting of other Renold gear units increasing ratio and torque capacity range
e.PM series - PH type - Product Features

Unique Holroyd tooth form for maximum torque capacity and optimum efficiency.
Sprag clutch backstop option to prevent drive reversal.
Heavy duty taper roller bearings fitted for maximum load capacity and long life.
One piece close grained cast iron gear case for strength and absorption of vibration for quiet running.
Accepts standard IEC and NEMA motors, B5 and B14 flanges.
Hardened and profile ground helical gears for quiet running and high efficiency.
Hollow output sleeve with electron beam welded bronze wormwheel rim for high security under shock load conditions.
The e.PM series, PH type unit has been designed and built to a modular form to allow the combination of other Renold products to extend the torque, ratio and speed range.

e.PM series - PH type - Product Features

Crane Drives  
Food Process Machinery
Mining Mixer Drives  
Timber Machinery
Water Treatment  
General Industrial Applications

This is a sample I took from the site that Derek mentioned, is this the kind of gears I would be looking at.. and I cant find anything about chain limitations yet, but this is the most simple looking chain I could find.. Thanks Derek and Mick for the help..

Leaf Chain
Our range of leaf chain for materials handling applications is used worldwide for straddle carriers, forklift trucks and on major civil engineering works such as flood defence barriers.


We are behind some of the biggest names in the industry thanks to the quality of our products.


Special design features


High Fatigue Strength
Long Service Life
Maximum Resistance to wear
Compact Design


Link Plates

Plates are made from a special steel which can withstand sudden loads and provides maximum resistance to breakage


Bearing Pins

Pins are manufactured from a special steel which has excellent resistance to bending. This increases the wear life of the chain.


Inner Link Plates

Movement of the inner plates is improved by close control of the pin and plate hole dimensions. This reduces rubbing (friction) to a minimum so the chain operates more economically and efficiently.


Chain pitch

Pitch (distance between each pin or plate hole) accuracy and pin hole diameters (holes in link plates) are maintained on every component during manufacture. This ensures consistent precision performance and good movement of the leaf chain joints.



I had a look at the Vespa, it looks fun actually.. but to expensive.. I will keep an eye open for them around Mick!!
Title: Engines
Post by: derekwarner_decoy on November 26, 2006, 02:20:33 PM
Hi PD.... but James ... yes these are from the Renold site I mentioned

Helical wormgear unit available in six unit sizes up to 45kW capacity. Gear unit ratio range up to 300:1 and up to 22000:1 if combined with other Renold helical gear products.

however even in the smallest size .75Kw [input power] would cost say $2500.00 AUD

Please back read the postings as I was not suggesting any such costly direction... just the limitations of of chain speed

The colour & content  :rant of your last posting suggests frustration - could I suggest most if not all PD's have felt or wandered down that creek or road or sea :oops: many times... so you are certainly not JC on the X [with no disrespect to the latter]

Just take your time James with PS Sarah.... regards Derek
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 02:57:01 PM
No, I am not frustrated Derek :D
Not yet anyway (the paint stripping could change that one!!)
I had a feeling that they could be quite expensive however I am keeping all options open at the minute, considering I need to consider everything..
Title: motorcycle engine & gear train?
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 26, 2006, 04:20:52 PM
I have no experience here.  However, clearly all motorcycles (with inbuilt gearboxes) are set up for chain drive, and the chain does not disintegrate through overspeeding.  Furthermore, the chain is of a size which should handle the power which you need on a boat of this size.
So: buy a second-hand motorcycle; use the engine and gearbox and output cog.
Chain on the right level of reduction gearing.
And: recyle the two wheels as the cores of your paddles, with floats welded onto the rim.

All you need now is a main shaft, two stub shafts and some suitable cogs, also a dog clutch so that you can engage reverse.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 04:27:45 PM
That sounds perfect you know... I didn't even think of a motorcycle.. But it sounds practical, and therefore good!!
Wouldnt a motorcycle engine be quite noisy, just thinking of the motorcycles at home??
A dog clutch?!? Couldnt I just use the clutch from the motorcycle I would be using?
Title: Engines
Post by: anth on November 26, 2006, 07:57:27 PM
just a point who say's you have to use the full rpm range of the motor!
what engine ?
what hp...?
A larger 4 stroke may produce 14 hp but i very much doubt 14hp will be needed just an example.
You could have the engine governed producing less hp at lower rpm.
This will be more practical than using a smaller engine and making it rev  to produce the same what a larger engine would make at a lower rpm range.

Just a thought :D
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 26, 2006, 08:36:19 PM
So if I governed as , say for examples sake a 14hp engine, to produce less hp at lower rpms that would reduce fuel consumption wouldn't it??
And by using a larger engine the noise would be less?
Title: Engines
Post by: anth on November 26, 2006, 08:47:53 PM
it's all guess and estimates james until there are figure's of

hp needed to power hull
engine used/type  

no-one  really knows. :thinking
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 27, 2006, 07:05:07 AM
just have to wait and see what is needed to power the hull, and go on from there...
then you can work out all the rest from that..

Title: Engines
Post by: mjt60a on November 27, 2006, 09:54:33 AM
Just a thought or two on using a chain drive.....
Motorcycles mostly do use a chain drive but the speed it runs at is not too high as it has already been reduced by the gears inside the engine unit - particularly the crankshaft-to-clutch gearing. Having said that, lambretta scooters and most older british motorcycles (Triumph, BSA etc.) have a chain from the crankshaft to the gears and I never heard of one breaking, though of course they run in oil and, at least in the case of the lambretta, they use a multiple (duplex? triplex??) chain....
Whatever you do, remember it'll need to be able to reverse to stop the boat...
Title: Another motor & gear source
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 27, 2006, 11:01:48 AM
Way back, I am sure that Sean floated the idea of using a ride-on mower engine.  I don't know how many gears a typical one has, but the gearbox does include reverse.  A motorcycle doesn't include reverse.

One thing which did deter me from buying a beautiful 13 m paddle vessel, which was available, was the amount of mechanical complexity it had, all needing mainenance.  Another problem was finding an affordable mooring.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 27, 2006, 04:43:41 PM
Thinking of our ride on mower, it is really noisy I have to wear ear muffs to mow the lawns and I dont want anything noisy...
It would be a good thing to have the reverse with out needing a clutch though.. Still undecided
Title: Engines
Post by: Eddy Matthews on November 27, 2006, 06:34:35 PM
Want something quiet?

use a couple fo electric wheelchair motors to power the boat - almost silent in use. Then a small petrol generator to top up the batteries if necessary... Problem solved.
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 27, 2006, 07:03:59 PM
Quiet is what I am aiming for on the SJ, and electric power does sound good, how long do you think that the batteries would last powering a boat?? And then if I charge the batteries it could work very well!!
Title: Engines
Post by: Eddy Matthews on November 27, 2006, 07:11:23 PM
Most wheelchairs use 12Ah batteries and have a top speed of 8-12 MPH and a range of around 10 miles, so in other words they can probably run for 2-3 hours if your careful....

Now if you ditch the 12Ah batteries and use one (or maybe even two) 60-100Ah leisure batteries you should be able to run all  day before recharging...

If you got hold of an old wheelchair/invalid scooter, you would get the motors (complete with their gearboxes), and a speed controller as well. Even allowing for the cost of buying the whole thing and just using it to rob the parts from, it should still be a viable alternative to petrol/diesel in terms of cost.

Just make sure you buy one that has reverse - Some of the cheaper ones are forwards only control.
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 27, 2006, 08:16:35 PM
Yes, it definantely has to have reverse in the gears, or I will never stop!! And with the larger battery running for a day would be ample I would think!!
I will keep looking for a wheelchair motor and make sure it has reverse.
Anything is better than petrol, being in Ararat 1.29 per litre (I think?!?)
Thanks Eddy!! :D
Title: Electric power
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 27, 2006, 08:40:23 PM
Duck Flats offers an electric option on the Mundoo, with solar panels on the roof.
There is a ~20 seat electric cruise launch on Lake Tyers which has enough range to get to Nowa Nowa and back on an all-day cruise (google on Rubeena)
There is an electric tourist-cruise launch on Lake Burley Griffin.
And there is Gnatty: try contacting that website for some guidance.

I suspect that the micro vessel which I posted somewhere in Paddleducks (jokingly dubbed 'Grebelet' by me) is electric.

I have seen a plan for using a kitchen beater as a cheap outboard motor; the cost was in the extension cord, and cruising was restricted to semicircles of at most 100 m radius.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Engines
Post by: anth on November 27, 2006, 09:16:18 PM
:hehe and you could call it  P.V beater
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 28, 2006, 06:39:07 AM
Really, well that is all they basically are, Big Beaters!!!! If you had and Electric Paddle Vessel, would it become EPV Sarah-Jane!?
Also I am going to really look into electric power for the SJ, I will contact Duck Flat Wooden boats, and Gnat Riverboats. If I were to have solar panels, I could attach them to the roof of SJ, or the tops of the paddle boxes if I decide against the roof. All day quiet cruising is really what I am after and Electric power so far sounds the best!!

Title: Engines
Post by: mjt60a on November 28, 2006, 10:21:32 AM
Electric wheelchair does sound good, the noise of a petrol engine was always going to be an issue....
If you could find one of the older types (ie. an actual motorised wheelchair with joystick control like these - - as opposed to a 'mobility scooter' with handlebars) it most likely has independant motor drive for 'tank style' steering...
Title: Engines
Post by: Eddy Matthews on November 28, 2006, 10:25:54 AM
I should say that I can't really take the credit for coming up with electric wheelchair motors for a small paddler. Walter Snowdon and I were talking about it over a couple of beers the other day, and he came up with the suggestion...

Though I have to admit that the more you think about it the more practical it seems...
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 28, 2006, 04:29:28 PM
Yes, the electric motor does sound more and more practical everytime I think about it.. I was speaking to Dad this morning about it and he reckons it is useless.. What if you run out of battery? It will be too expensive!! They will be as heavy as lead!! But I counteracted them, hopefully!!
Just thinking though, would it be strong enough to haul a - not too light - boat through the water.. Going into a headwind against the current etc..?
Title: Electric power
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 28, 2006, 08:31:52 PM
You have moved past this group's knowledge.
You should have gone to the four experienced operators, then reported back here:
Duck Flat (electric Mundoo)
Lake Burley Griffin
Gnatty site

Electric has heaps of range for 1 h cruising from a base, and seems to have all-day range too.

Contingency plans:
* Buy Sean's fence planks, and paddle on dull days.
* Collect dead redgum limbs, and light a fire on the roof to illuminate the solar panels to run your motors.
* Install a pedal-generator (there was one in the technical museum in North Tce, Adelaide; humans could reach a half hp, 350 W).
* Carry a hand-worked winch, and work yourself forwards 100 m at a time.
* Cruise only in Lake Goldsmith, Burrumbeet or Wendouree.  When you run out of power, climb out into the 30 cm depth, and push.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Engines
Post by: Sean Bryan on November 28, 2006, 10:40:30 PM
I just read about powering a 13" paddler in a Murray book just the other day. During the actual riverboat era one family (and probably more) had a paddler that was operated by a square bend in the shaft being rotated to make the wheels rotate...similar to pedal power but without the strain of the legs. The paddles could be operated standing up or sitting down.

I know it's not electric but the fact that that's how they powered a 13" paddler in the day may be interesting if you want a historically acurate boat!  :wink:
Title: Engines
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on November 29, 2006, 07:15:24 AM
The original idea for SJ was pedal power (or some other type of manual power).. it acutally sounds quite fun.. but tiring.. I will have a good look at that too..

Also I had emailed Gnat Riverboats, DFWB and Rubeena cruises, but yet to recieve a reply. Hopefully they turn up something good..
Title: Engines
Post by: Murray Whaler on November 30, 2007, 08:29:12 PM
Manual powered paddle boat.    I have a book called the "Incredible Trevors".  It is a record of a couple who set out from Bourke in May 1894 to row to Albury a distance of 1800 miles while both rivers were in flood.   They fitted a stern wheel to their rowing boat so that one could row while the other used the paddle wheel.    From the ladies diary "He made a rough model and that being satisfactory set about the big one.  There were five fans from the axle and fencing wire running through holes at either end connected them firmly together.  I had a handle at either side of my stern seat and as I pushed one forward I drove the other back.which turned the wheel.  Ofcourse to backwater I just reversed the motion..The trial trip was a great success."      Trevor was an artist who painted many pictures of the rivers, boats etc,and the book contains a very good picture of the boat complete with wheel.  The picture shows seven paddles not five.    There are no details of the boat but from the picture I would estimate 17 feet painted yellow and black because that was the only colours they could get and named it appropiately the Wasp
Title: Re: Engines
Post by: Murray Whaler on February 13, 2008, 09:45:19 PM
Re:Engines and paddle drives.    I have found the discussion on engines and drives most interesting.   I'm not sure of the size of the paddle boat or whether it is stern or a side wheeler.    The principals are similar.   The first thing to establish is the maximum hull speed.  With a displacement hull it is fairly easy.    From there establish the revs of the wheel(s) taking into account the pitch diameter of the wheel noting they can be very inefficient hence normal people use propellers.   The number of paddles is important,   too many and there is cavitation  Best,   one at maximum depth,   one entering and one exiting.   One of the problems with internal combustion engines is that they run fast and need a big reduction it get down to paddle wheel speed which in over come with gearboxes and money............I have made a major change to the drive on P.S.Minimus.       I originally bought a steam engine and was advised by the manufacture to run it at 500 rpm.which meant a vee belt drive to an expensive hollow shaft gearbox.      Experience showed the engine,boiler and me were more comfortable at 250-300 rpm.knowing the extra was there if I needed it.....A re-design has allowed me to eliminate the gearbox altogether and just have a vee drive.  Nice and quiet.     The main pulley is very heavy at 45kg. which is the same weight as the gearbox was......There is a stern wheeler of about 20 ft. being built at Goolwa SA at the moment using a steam engine (mill configuration) using a countershaft to reduce the rpm. and to get the drive from down in the hull up and out to the paddle shaft.      I'm looking forward to a trip to the UK in March to visit my daughter....I'm a member of the Steam Boat Assoc. of Great Briton and looking forward to a day with them in Bristol.     Regards Murray Whaler
Title: Re: Engines
Post by: Locowork on April 11, 2008, 10:41:57 PM
Gentlemen fwiw
Gophers/ electric wheelchairs generally have 24v systems. (& 24v motors) these are much more e-fish-ent systems than 12v.
Brushless motors may be the way to go.

A  solar panel or two 100w each for two batteries will suffice for occasional running, remember (1) overcast cond. do not allow for full capacity of charge,(2) as well as to hot a day( charging capacity drops with temp rise as well),top it up with a 500w wind genny of 24v ( blade dia of 2 metres ) size becomes a problem.
You may get out on the lake but not back, easily.
(wind, batt size, water currents, etc all conspire agin you)
with the manual stuff, the paddleboats on the Torrens R near Adelaide seem to work ok, yes small dia wheels but a sitting posn is better than the arms doing the work (leg muscles are bigger)

And in other words don't believe the salesmen on solar energy claims.