Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Boats, Jet Skis, Kayaks etc., including hovercrafts
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methods   100 GW

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Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 12:55pm

Kayak - 2 person, donated by a guy who came by Calfee Design

Battery - 6S packs in parallel, maybe 20Ah

Motor - 12V pull-down from the Flea-market, a bow mount remote control setup for $20

Transom - built in 15 minutes using nothing but an angle grinder and blind rubber nuts

Mounting - pulled from an old and very small minkota

Controller - Early model (2008?) Zero. Same as a golf cart. Has run-away failure mode :!:

Throttle - Early model Zero Magura, configured as 2 wire (very dangerous)


Took it out into open water yesterday
Have to go easy on the throttle

Got it back to harbor
Tried full throttle for a few minutes
Melted out all the wiring to the (rather large...) motor


In an hour electrolysis started at the Controller case, at one of the controller plugs


45A Andersons into 12 or 10AWG (I think its 12) melted out


Smoke shot out of the tube when the 2 motor wires shorted
(Not using the internal electronics - driving directly from controller)

More later

Here are some pics
(Have taken it out maybe 5 times now - starting with a much smaller motor and working up)

Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

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methods   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 1:06pm

We ride it 3-up
Kid in the very front

Thru chop - its like the log ride... person up front gets splashed

Bunch of patching done on the bottom... takes on water... good for a couple hours before needing a drain

(sigh... I used to work on 8 things at once... now I have a kid, ex-wife, contracting business, ... so much busy...)

Accelerated Aging

What does Salt Water Do?

Well... I can tell you this brothers and sisters...
Whatever it does... IT DOES IT FAST


I mean REAL QUICK... like... Minutes to Hours...


If you are thinking you want to do some "stuff" -
Even stuff at only 24V
You want to do it in Salt Lake City (or anywhere they salt the roads)

You better check yo'self before your Wreck Yo'self




Safety Review:

1) That setup has 2 runaway modes: 1 thru the throttle, one thru the output stage.

The Early Model Zero's (pre 2011) were death traps
Because they copied Golf Cart design ... BUT WITHOUT INCLUDING THE INTERLOCK

If you drive golf carts you KNOW that the primary contactor CLOSES when you step on the throttle

Not only do they have a throttle interlock....
on many


Because Brushed motor controllers can short circuit into the ON position
Very easily

The throttle?
Even a drip of salt water anywhere
On the connectors... on the throttle... can cause a runaway

2) OTHER "STUFF" that runs in salty enviornments

You cant have ANY sort of safety system that is excited to 24V exposed to anything which could be remotely exposed to salt water.

Multi-point failure modes turn into single point failure modes
Single point failure modes turn into contactors that are out of control
Out of control contactors.... on multi-contactor systems...

Create big problems


Why do I have to say this?
Why is nobody competent in charge?


I am starting to see a pattern in the local industry
It follows a pattern I first experienced at Zero Motorcycles


This is where the wrong guys are in charge
The money guys
The marketing guys

This is REAL frocking SERIOUS...


When you see Schindler just drop his tools and walk away from a job... What does that tell you?

... :evil:



Ok - Back on the topic of boats.
Its just hard sometimes... to stay focused on positive DIY EV tinkering... when...

Real Life happens.


P.S. Currently I think the CEO of Zero Motorcycles is from a headphone company. Pretty sure the CTO is still a Mechanical Engineer. No idea who leads up the EE department - heard Kenyon is back (not an EE).

Yea - I am a dick
Want to know why?

Because people die over this shit.

Think people dont?

Meet me out on the water by the lane and I will give you a "Bay Area Download" that you wont forget :shock:

... "Respect and pay your Quality Team" .... "They are the only thing between YOU and EPIC FAILURE"
Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

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methods   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 1:12pm


Anderson Connectors are "PULL AWAY" connectors

If you get into trouble
You can YANK on the cable
And... Usually... they will let loose


Think about that when you are building
Especially when building without fuses and interlocks


Yes - the housing has a melting temp...
Yes - you can still pull it away :D


Yes - Andersons are meant to be plugged and unpluged
To scrub off the oxidation that collects on the proprietary coating

If you dont... they will eventually raise in resistance... and I^2R Fail You...


On our bikes we keep the Anderson up front where you can Yank it
Stop a run-away fire or runaway motor

Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

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methods   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 6:33pm

Just had a nice bike ride....

Fashioned a flag out of a big blue laundry bag and a fishing pole we picked up for free over on the west side
(Trikes are low... if you are towing a kid - run a flag. At night I run strobes - bright red strobes)


Anderson Connectors

Guidance on Use
(Like my Grandfather used to say - "do as I say, not as I do")

They are good connectors. Find them here: https://powerwerx.com/
(I have no affiliation with that site other than that I have bought about 1,000 andersons and 5 crimpers)

The "Power Pole" are the connectors you want.
They are like Legos

They come in 15A, 30A, and 45A
Do whatever you want with the 15 and 30's for small signal stuff
If you are going to run power - do it like this:

1) Run ONLY the 45A variant (open barrel)
2) Run ONLY the genuine (there is very good reason and it has to do with material science)
3) Recognize that the patent is up... so there are knock-offs which will not meet my specs
4) Crimp them only with a crimper that works well. This one works well: Fordy Bux Crimper
5) Use ONLY 10AWG wire.
6) Use ONLY 10AWG wire. Not 12AWG. Not 14AWG.


The wire is the heat sink for the contacts (which do have relatively high contact resistance, or will develop high contact resistance, as can/will the crimps if not gas tight)

7) You can feel free to run 45A continuous thru them. They are rated up to 50A continuous... and remember that heat developed across a connector goes up with the SQUARE of current - SO - 55A is a LOT MORE than 50A.

45A * 45A * 100uOhms = 200mW
55A * 55A * 100uOhms = 300mW

So for a 22% increase in current handling we see a 50% increase in connector heating power!

8) Double them up where needed. . . but beware of the "backout". Backout is where a contact is not properly seated (often due to improper crimping, oversized insulation, wear, overheating, etc). In the event of backout on a single Anderson pair it displays as a single point failure resulting in power loss

In the event of a backout on a 2 pair... you end up with a single point failure which is undetectable and is catastrophic to your mission.


Because when the first pin backs out the vehicle keeps moving
The remaining 3 pins carry the full load
In the case where a red backs out
The two black will still load share
The remaining red will see double the current

Doubling the current....

45A * 45A * 100uOhms = 200mW
90A * 90A * 100uOhms = 800mW

A 100% increase in current handling results in a 400% increase in connector destroying heat.

Got it?

9) Noodle wire does not do that well with them. First it is hard to get all the fine strands crimped (tho you can) - more importantly the insulator often does not fit into the connector. This forces you to trim it back, and trimming it back BYPASSES the insulating properties of the connector housing. (tho I have never seen shorting or failure due to this)

10) You need to crimp them properly so that they seat properly. They must have a "loose fit" in the housing. This is to allow the springs to do their job and apply even mating force on the contacts. Should you pull a shit-crimp and cock one side... you will end up with anything from a kissing contact to a piss-poor contact - which severely de-rates the connectors current handling

11) Spend some money on them. Buy lots of colors. Buy lots of crimps. Buy the proper crimper... Standardize on them and you wont be disappointed. They are unisex, bi-directional, expandable, pull-away, relatively high cycle count, easy to crimp, easy to re-configure, PCB compatible, have good power handling, OK for PCB use, have a high voltage rating, do pretty well in rain water, and are a favorite of folks who are useful - like me, ham radio guys, ebike guys, dorks, nerds, etc.

12) Be CAREFUL. Eventually you will have 50V things on Anderson, 24V things on Anderson, 100V things on anderson. Dont let others fiddler your bits (hook their stuff into your stuff without asking). Consider configuring them different for different applications - or - what I like to do is color code (tho that goes to shit when you get to the last few in your stash)

The housings rework well - the crimps are disposable.

Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

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methods   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 7:13pm

Since on the topic of single point failures

If you like boating in the deep water (open sea) you know that having your rig fail is BULLSHIT.

If you ride aggressive (like shooting out in front of cars) you know that having your rig fail can mean death.

Single Point failures are to be avoided
Like... girls with big purple herpes on their lip are to be avoided

Dont do it
Just... dont create systems with single point failures.


A single point failure is more than just a single point where something can fail.
There are "Single point failure mechanisms"

Ok - Smart guy... what does THAT mean :roll:

... (glad you asked) ...

A single point failure mechansim
Qualifies as an avoidable single point failure
IF the failures leading to the Single Point Failure are undetectable under normal use.

This is important

... Above I described a single point failure - the anderson popping out ...

In the first case you noticed - but it was still a single point failure because you lost power
(Reliability failure, not fire failure)

In the second case you did not notice
(Fire failure, then reliability failure)

There can be a cascade of failures which result in a single point failure *


Lets say you have a motorcycle
Lets say you wire it runs 900A
Lets say you run 20 Anderson pairs in parallel (it WOULD work just fine)

Lets say one of the 40 connection points pops out
(wont notice)

Lets say two pop out
(wont notice)

At some point, you will reach "runaway"
We call it runaway because it is a SQUARED PROBLEM
It can be fine, for the equivalent of FOREVER, then rapidly devolve*

>.. These are the REAL SCARY single point failures ..<

Ya gotta address these things if you are producing goods which are packaged in fancy plastics.

Not "you should"
More like "You frocking must"

If you dont
Its only a matter of time before one of the following things happens

1) Loss to life and property
2) The boogie man (Government) will crawl up your ass


We can choose (and have been choosing) to self police
Self policing is what we want - this is the most efficient

... If you ship to the UK you will notice that the regs are MUCH MORE STRICT ...


Because they have the boogie man telling them how, what, when, where, and why

We in the US live in the wild west
We do as we please and ... innocents sometimes suffer the conciquences
(price you pay for freedom. Harsh - but true. Dont care if you dont believe it... Fisher Price could give a frock about your kids... they just dont want to get sued by your Lawyers)

... Ignore the Fisher Price reference - that just came out because I am pissed that all the local second hand stores wont sell kids stuff due to recall and lawyer bullshit ... Replace Fisher Price with the car company from FightClub........ and any big business run by business people*


Since off on a rant - why do I say Elon Musk is a Hero?

I blow that guy constantly because he is a rare example of an Engineering-Business man.
He is not an Engineer
He is not a Business Man
He is an Engineering-Business man

He surrounds himself with the best Engineers money can buy...
And the best business people he can find

He created PayPal - which was one of the most globalizing tools ever created... a tool that completely disrupted not only banking but politics. Its powerful... if you dont understand you may one day... its POWERFUL.

He also laid his balls out on Tesla
He was all in

Solar City - Even tho Solar is still a bust... I guarantee that his actions there will help to keep driving down the cost.
It was $5/watt
It was $0.5/watt
Now it is dropping still

4 panels makes an HONEST kilowatt***
(Thats free energy that cools the earth)


Do I care what he says?
Thailand is known for its ex-pat sex tourism with underage kids. His comment was CLEARLY along those lines and funny to those of us with a dark sense of humor.

I dont care what he says... its not his job to be PC for you*

Thats the job of liars like your School Principle, City Councilman, Mayor, Governor, Congressman, President, etc
(Liars the whole batch - at least from Governor up - as its impossible to reach those heights without being a liar**)

-> And since I am going tangential ->

It is IMPOSSIBLE to become a billionaire (unless you are Elon Musk and a tiny handfull of others) without being a crooked, greedy, shady, bastard of a person

Its just that simple
Its just that true


... Why dont I include some - like Elon - and maybe the Google guys - in that batch??? ...

Because of what they have done, how much they have gambled, how much they give back, etc.

Look at what Elon did, how much he gambled, what he is gambling now. SPACE is the future and he is all in. He may lose his ass and end up with a petty $100M... but once I am rich... he will always have a place at the head of the table.

Google guys are cool - they fund all sorts of beautiful things... LIKE GOOGLE.
They play fair... for instance... if you negotiate poorly at time of hire... Google often ramps you up to median.

NUFF SAID - Shitbag no-good bastard

Eh... Yea... Jury is out on Amazon
Yea they have certainly revolutionized things... but we have to let it settle.
Let the taxes creep in. Let the early players starve out. Let the competitors catch up...
We will see.
As far as the guy running the company?
No idea if he is doing anything beautiful.

... Ok... what is beautiful?

In Santa Cruz the dirtbag rich people give back to the community *
This is true
It directly impacts me
My life is made better by some rich people in SC County


Donations to the right spot.
In the last few months I attended a "Meet your congressman" - Funded by [urlhttps://events.time.ly/ubb7r2z?event=10781998]Ow[/url]

The same Ow's subsidized a VERY HIGH QUALITY youth learning camp in my neighborhood. The cost (like the above) was trivial... and the program is top notch. All day, at a very good museum, with tons of nature hikes and nature activities, with good staffing, kid loves it and wants to go back every time. They go to the beach, down to creeks, poke around with bee hives, get hands on in cold water reef tanks, do rad art.. . .

... I can afford that because it was subsidized by a local rich family ...

Thats called giving back.

The people I shit talk just take and take and take for themselves... and give only what they are forced to give.
Sometimes we just kill all those people (know your history)


So -
To rewind back to usefulness

Rich people
back to Elon back to Funding of Startups back to ethics and Government control


THE ONLY OPTION IS TO PRACTICE: "Universally Preferable Behavior"

Yea... Call me an anarchist.
When I was captured and caged during Occupy thats what the twit jr officer labeled me with "HEY - its that Anarchist"
Right... Schinder the G-Man... and Anarchist :roll:

Continuing to roll up...
Startup companies run in shady ways

Just dont do it
Self police
Dont make us (er... I... mean... THEM) drop the hammer on you.

Its simple :)

* Pay a fair wage
A fair wage is (unfortunately) determined by a mathematical calculation based on your area.

* Pay for your Quality team
And hire people who are QUALIFIED and are SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS in EXACTLY (or as close to...) what you are doing. If you are making swords - dont hire a rubber specialist. Maybe hire a rail-road steel mill guy... but not the guy who made flubber. There are BIG DIFFERENCES in the EE realm. 1.8V technology (Cell Phones) has nothing to do with 180V technology (Lithium). You need people in your quorum who actually know what is going to happen in the future. If you do not have this then you will learn of the future when it comes. This will result in more losses than you would incur if you simply invested wisely up front.

Supposed to be talking about boats

Ok Boats... BOATS....

I live 2 blocks from the yacht harbor.
Lots of boats down there
Big boats, small boats, e-Boats, rubber boats, stand-up paddle board boats, kayaks, home brew...


Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

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methods   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by methods » Jul 21 2018 8:30pm

So back on topic:

Boating, Reliability, Safety, Quality, Value




Looking at that throttle you would never know that as we pulled the boat from the water last night;
and turned it over to drain the water
That the throttle fell into the drink :shock:

The drink was salt water
Likely 1.026 salinity
Sea Water

Inside of the throttle is a potentiometer
It is sealed to some degree... but I do not know its IP rating

The salt water inside of that throttle is now a ticking time bomb

It is critically important than any throttle on a POWERFUL system be interlocked in some way which is INTRINSIC
... so...

By intrinsic I mean built in
Such that the natural riding or operating motion activates it

This means not a key switch, slapper button, etc...
Because in the thick of it (like accelerating on a Zero SR...)
There is just NO FROCKING WAY you are going to get your hands off the bars and to the Stop Switch before you are maimed


So this boat is slow
Low power
Like... an Ebike

I "ride dirty"
Just like I do with ebikes

But we are talking a hp or two
* A Go-Kart (not a shifter kart)
* An Ebike (not an E-Motorcycle)
* A powered Kayak (not a ripper speed boat)
* An item you could aaaaalllllmmmmoooossssst put a kid on

(You would never put a kid on a Zero SR - you might put a 12yo on an ebike - thats the kind of difference we are talking about here)

So along those lines -

If it accelerates slow enough that you can take your hands off the bars and pull some andersons... or overcome the power with the brakes, or just dive off the vehicle - or smash into some bushes


Not worried about it


If you are on an Electric Skateboard that goes 25mph... NOT COOL


Speaking of not cool...

I was at Starbucks the other month
There were kids in there, maybe 12 years old (they did not have much if any hair on their balls I suspect)
They were CHUGGING Vente caffeinated beverages
They had 25mph electric skate boards
They had the minimal gear - just top helmets - no pads

sigh... Such an extreme fail waiting to happen... in so many ways.


I support the production of Electric Skateboards
I also think that they are EXTREMELY UNSAFE
Like... sigh... the gnarliest

Tiny wheels
No suspension
High Speed

Not a kids toy
Not at all

----------------- BOATS ---------------------------

The throttle above is for a boat
Boats go out in the water
Some go out in the salt water

Boating is a really great way to learn about electrolysis - IN FAST FORWARD

Salt fog is great... but it is always subject to the argument of OVER-TEST
Mostly because it is a contrived test

Boating... is natural

I had no intention of the aft digging down deep and getting wet - that just happened because the seas were rough and we were over-loaded.

What I learned from it - was - what I already knew... but needed a reminder for:

Salt Beats EV's


In the game of ROCK, PAPER, SISORS

Saltwater wins every time.
Remember that - its going to be REAL IMPORTANT in the next decade or three. It is kryptonite - like spark is kryptonite to gas

Trouble is... that it is a much scarier failure mode.
A spark lights a fire then and there (yea you can get a coal fire... or an auto igniting solvent fire....)
But those are NOTHING compared to the kind of fire that can sneak up on you with salt intrusion :shock:

remember I told you

It could happen now... or in an hour... or in a day... or in a week... or years later*
Salt could cake in and go dry... sit dormant...
Then all it takes is a misty morning
Some funny weather
A different circumstance


And the counter on the time-bomb starts ticking again :shock:


I exagerate
Usually to try and express a situation that words can not do justice for
(Like jumping off a 20 foot cliff into 20 foot surf... at that point in time... it is a THIRTY FOOT CLIFF... believe me... that is factual)

In this case I am not exaggerating the risks

Until we understand how to keep the lithium narrowed down into a failure vector we can control - you best fear it.
(not like we feared the original lithium batteries... but also not like we fear gas vehicles... these are different beasts)

Like a sawsall and skill saw
Both can get ya
Both can be worked with for a lifetime without harm
They get ya in very different ways - rather - thru very different failure modes
(Kick back vs runaway)

Increasing battery voltage and controller current limit will result in a non linear experience

markz   100 GW

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Re: Powered Kayak - on the cheap

Post by markz » Aug 28 2018 7:00pm

Oh I heard fishing and it peaked my interest. Me, not having much luck the last week, and today 4 hours and nothing and they were jumping and feeding right in front of us. Bought a ton of soft bait from Wallies Mart $0.50 for a bag, different colors, 2" long w\ 1" tail. Gunna start buying flies and just use it on my regular Mako tele-pole until my 18' fly pole comes in off the slow boat from china. I had a nice dunk in the river today, the e-ride home dried my hair quickly and my jeans were coming along nicely, all the while I had the crack-head look going on wearing a light hoodie and a light winter jacket unzipped, bearing skin for all to see. Gunna start an ebike fishing company instead of them float boats.

methods wrote:
Jul 21 2018 6:33pm
Fashioned a flag out of a big blue laundry bag and a fishing pole we picked up for free over on the west side

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