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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Great thread, mucho info. A question, Im installing a 403 on an outback next week. The bulk of its use will be in the FL Keys. The sun is hot and direct. Should I try to have the battery below deck vs topside in rear exposed to sun. I fried a camara battery that was in my lap for 2 hours, Im worried the sun might be to much for the Torquedo battery . Is the battery small enough to fit down one of the hatches? How about the larger battery now available?
Thanks .


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:15 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
If you would prefer to keep it on deck, just cover it with kitchen aluminium foil

_________________
Tony Stott
2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:41 am 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
We live in swfl and the keys and it is always really hot and sunny here.
I have outboards on my TI and need to carry fuel but it's pretty illegal to store inside the hull. So I keep a 1gallon gas can bungied onto the rear deck. I went to Home Depot and bought one of their orange cloth shopping bags, (I think their like $2 bucks). I just keep the gas can in there, it stays nice and cool in the sun. If I had a torqeedo battery I would throw it into the same type of bag. If you want it to stay dry inside just spray the bag with a can of tent water repellent, (walmart) so water splash bounces off. Of course it sun bakes quickly, I just get a new bag every year or so.
Just tryin to help
FE


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:31 pm 
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Thanks for the ideas.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:43 am 
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nycsteve22 wrote:
Great thread, mucho info. A question, Im installing a 403 on an outback next week. The bulk of its use will be in the FL Keys. The sun is hot and direct. Should I try to have the battery below deck vs topside in rear exposed to sun. I fried a camara battery that was in my lap for 2 hours, Im worried the sun might be to much for the Torquedo battery . Is the battery small enough to fit down one of the hatches? How about the larger battery now available?
Thanks .

I live in the Northern US and while it doesn't get as hot as Florida, I've never had an issue with the Torqeedo batteries in the full sun all day during 80-90+ degree days. The battery case is very well designed and the internal lithium cells appear to be well protected from direct solar radiation. Torqeedo batteries are nothing like camera or other such batteries, they're ultra high tech and specifically designed for heavy duty marine use in all kinds of weather.

However very high heat is generally not great for anything electrical. Torqeedo states in their documentation that while there is no concern for operating the battery in hot weather, it should be stored in a cool location when not in use. This will reasonably limit exposure to very high heat over the course of the battery's lifetime.

I really don't think you need to do anything special to protect the battery during use, I don't, but if you have the room to store them out of the direct sun, or shield them in any way without going to too much trouble, then that might be advantageous in the long term. However keep in mind that the GPS antenna is located inside the battery case and you probably shouldn't use anything metallic to block it.

If you still have any concerns simply contact Torqeedo at service_usa@torqeedo.com. They have always answered all my questions.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:55 am 
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^^^
Good idea. I will contact Torqueedo service with the question. If they answer I'll post the reply.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:16 pm 
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Heres the response from Torqueedo;
"Steve,



Anytime you can expose a lithium battery to heat the better. I would recommend trying to locate the battery below deck.




Best Regards,



Daniel Witczak | Claims Technician"

Has to be a typo, he meant don't expose to heat:)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:06 pm 
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pro10is wrote:
Yakinthesalt wrote:
Also, if you don't mind me asking, when you utilized the Yakima Windjammer, where did you position it on the motor shaft?
Down against the motor, or in the middle of the shaft, or toward the waterline?

Thanks
Dave

I positioned it against the motor. This seemed to make the most sense, but I need to experiment more to find the optimal mount.


I also positioned mine against the motor, and wow, what a difference. Cavitation is gone !
Thanks so much for all your guidance for us, in this thread. It made fine tuning my 403 install much easier.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:17 am 
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nycsteve22 wrote:
Heres the response from Torqueedo;
"Steve,
Anytime you can expose a lithium battery to heat the better. I would recommend trying to locate the battery below deck.
Best Regards,
Daniel Witczak | Claims Technician"

Has to be a typo, he meant don't expose to heat:)

Not much of a reply, but the gist of the message is there despite the typo, it's usually always a good idea to shield electronics from direct heat if possible.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:27 am 
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Yakinthesalt wrote:
I also positioned mine against the motor, and wow, what a difference. Cavitation is gone !
Thanks so much for all your guidance for us, in this thread. It made fine tuning my 403 install much easier.

Be sure to find a way to tightly secure the hydrofoil to the shaft or else it may rotate in heavy waves. I'm working on a method of better securing it to the prop shaft without doing anything to void the warranty.

Additionally I've also just lowered the prop as you can see from my posts above. This too has completely eliminated all cavitation, even without the hydrofoil, and has resulted in performance improvements.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:32 am 
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I can't find this info anywhere... Does anyone know if the 1hp torqeedo left in the water while sailing can charge the battery if you turn it around so it faces forward? If so how quickly does it charge in your experience?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:50 pm 
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constantdreamer wrote:
I can't find this info anywhere... Does anyone know if the 1hp torqeedo left in the water while sailing can charge the battery if you turn it around so it faces forward? If so how quickly does it charge in your experience?


I doubt it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:14 am 
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constantdreamer wrote:
I can't find this info anywhere... Does anyone know if the 1hp torqeedo left in the water while sailing can charge the battery if you turn it around so it faces forward? If so how quickly does it charge in your experience?

That would be unlikely. Even if the motor did supply some current it probably wouldn't produce enough to charge the battery efficiently. If you want to charge the battery on the boat you're better off with a solar charger.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:46 am 
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pro10is wrote:
I purchased a Torqeedo 403 Ultralight Motor in April of 2016 and mounted it to my 2015 Hobie Tandem Island. I’ve been extensively testing both the motor and the TI installation in actual use since early June. After over 75 hours of testing in a multitude of conditions, I finally feel I now have enough factual information for a comprehensive review.

When I initially tried to research the Torqeedo Ultralight 403 motor specifically with a Hobie Tandem Island, it was surprisingly difficult to find much good information anywhere online. There were a few decent references including several here, but nothing definitive or in enough detail. There is also as much disinformation about this motor and its capabilities as there is good information, much from people who don’t even own one. So I decided to take the time to write this review to hopefully provide others with some helpful information on this motor and its specific application on the Tandem Island.

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Disclaimer:
I’m an (almost) retired IBM Electrical, Electromechanical, and Software engineer with 40 years of experience and an avid boater for 32 years, so I have some qualifications for presenting this review. I do not have any affiliation with Hobie or Torqeedo and my only interest is to provide some useful information to anyone considering using the Torqeedo 403 Ultralight Motor with the Hobie Tandem Island. I assume, but make no claim, that this information is also mostly applicable to the Adventure Island as well. Everything presented here is in my opinion only and to the best of my knowledge, but I have strived to present accurate information.

Advantages:
After using my new TI for an entire season in 2015, I decided that it’s usefulness might be significantly enhanced with the addition of a motor, and that the cost would be justified. Actually, I underestimated its usefulness, and in retrospect I don’t know how I managed without one. A motorized TI offers many advantages including:

    Greatly Enhanced Range
    Without the motor, a typical day for me would cover about 10 miles. What limited this range was being conservative on how far I could sail out and still get back before dark. If I sailed downwind, I needed to account for the greater time it would take to return sailing upwind. If I sailed out far and then the winds died out, which was often the case, I need to account for the extra time and energy it would take to pedal back. If there was no decent wind at all, I would only pedal out as far as I felt I had enough time and energy left to pedal back. Now, with a motor, I can easily cover 20 miles or more and still be home for supper. If I sail downwind, I can use the motor to sail or cruise back upwind much faster. If the winds die down I can use the motor to get back easily and quickly from almost any distance. There’s a reason most modern sailboats have a motor, and the TI benefits equally as well.

    Better Maneuverability
    Turning an 18.5 foot boat in tight quarters was always a challenge. However, with the motor turning along with the existing rudder, I can now maneuver the TI much better in and around boat launches, docks, moorings, hazards, etc. This comes in very handy especially when quick maneuverability is essential like in strong wind conditions and in close proximity to other vessels, docks, and hazards. The motor also generates far more thrust and speed than pedaling alone so you have much better rudder control in conditions that would normally slow the boat such as running against winds, tides, and currents. As you all know, once you drop under 1.5 knots or so rudder control suffers greatly and you can lose control of the boat quickly in adverse conditions. The motor ensures a steady speed and an excellent rudder at all times, especially when you need it most.

    Increased Versatility
    Adding a motor gives you a whole new option to power the TI. You can use it alone or in conjunction with the sail and/or pedals. As you’ve probably experienced, adding a slight amount of thrust can make sailing in marginal conditions much better. With just a slight boost from the motor I can now sail in winds that were too weak to effectively move the boat on wind power alone. If you’re using the TI by yourself, using the motor while pedaling is like having an olympic athlete pedaling with you in the other seat. If there are two of you are pedaling and you add the motor, you can really move. If you’re too hot or tired to pedal and there’s no wind, or you want to go in a direction the wind won’t take you, then you can use the motor alone. You get the idea. More versatility is always great. You can make your TI a tri-powered boat.

    Increased Safety, Confidence, and Enjoyment
    I can now do things I would never do before like sail confidently downwind as far as I want without worrying about getting back to the boat launch upwind. It used to take hours and hours to sail back upwind and sometimes I would underestimate the time and get back really late. Or if the wind conditions change when you’re far from your starting point. Many times the winds would change direction or intensity and I had to really struggle to sail and/or pedal back. All of that has changed now and I can now sail out with much more confidence knowing I have a motor to help me get back if necessary. Then there are times when an unexpected change of weather can create dangerous winds, waves, or currents. The motor provides a significant extra margin of safety in those critical conditions. The end result is greater confidence, safety, and enjoyment of the boat.

Choices:
My choices to motorize the TI included the Torqeedo 403, its cousin the Hobie Evolve, other electric marine motors such as trolling motors, and small gas powered outboards. I first decided against the gas outboards due to the weight, mounting and control issues, exhaust fumes, fuel odors, increased risk of fire, maintenance, vibrations, and noise. I know many TI owners use them successfully, but this choice just wasn't for me. Additionally, the cost wasn’t that much different if I also had to purchase the extra hardware necessary to remotely operate the throttle and steering of a gas outboard motor from either seat as you can with the Torqeedo 403 (throttle and steering) and Hobie Evolve (throttle only). If you don’t include some type of a remote throttle for a gas outboard then you must somehow mount it near you to control it. This puts you in very close proximity to the noise, gas fumes, and exhaust. Ugh. I switched from power boats to a sailboat to smell the sweet sea breeze on the water and quietly glide over the waves, not to have a gasoline engine right next to my noggin. So I crossed the gas engines off my list. Again, this is just my opinion. If you have no objections to gas powered engines then they should stay on your list.

Other electric marine motors did not have the high tech advantages of the Torqeedo 403 and the Hobie Evolve, especially the high-performance, ultra lightweight lithium battery or the thrust. So I quickly eliminated them as well. The Torqeedo 403 and Evolve are not mere trolling motors, they were specifically designed to power kayaks. There is currently no electric marine motor manufacturer worldwide that can match Torqeedo’s technology. They design and manufacture both marine electric motors up to 160 equivalent horsepower and ultra high-tech lithium batteries to replace the ancient, heavy, lower powered lead acid batteries that most other marine electric motors use.

This now narrowed the choice between the Torqeedo 403 and the Hobie Evolve. Both of these motors are manufactured by the same German company and are essentially the same in many ways. They share the same remote controller, the same battery, the same motor, etc. However the key difference, at least for the TI, is the mounting. The Evolve mounts in either Mirage Drive slot. There is a rudder mount option included, but not for the TI’s specific rudder. I did not want to give up either Mirage Drive slot, I still want to be able to pedal, and so did my passengers when I take them. Additionally, the Torqeedo 403 can tilt. This was huge for me, I needed a way to quickly tilt the motor out of harm’s way in the shallow, rocky areas I often frequent. With the Evolve you would have to quickly yank the motor out of the slot in shallow areas. This is not, in my opinion, a good design choice. Also you lose the maneuvering advantages of a motor that turns with the rudder. Finally, the Torqeedo 403 is significantly less expensive than the Evolve even though they share most of the same components. I was able to purchase the 403 from Defender Marine new for $1,490 (USD). The Evolve is $2,149 USD, $659 more. That’s more than enough savings to buy a spare battery. A hint on purchasing the 403, be sure to put the motor in the shopping cart to see its actual price and not the MSRP. Hobie on the other hand appears to almost never allow its dealers to sell or advertise, online at least, for less than MSRP.

So for all of these reasons I decided to power my TI with the Torqeedo 403 Ultralight.

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Mounting:
    Motor:
    Again, there wasn’t much information for me to start with. Torqeedo’s dealers insisted it could be conventionally mounted successfully to the TI so I wasn’t too concerned, however there were the critical issues of whether or not the motor would interfere with the TI rudder’s up/down tilt access or its normal operational right/left swing access. As it turned out, this can be easily avoided by simply mounting the motor slightly to the side and in back of the rudder. The rudder is then able to swing fully right to left as normal, and to tilt up and down as normal either half-way up in any situation (which is good enough), or fully up if rotated slightly away from the motor. In either case it is fully out of the way of hazards. The TI's rudder operates as normal with the 403 motor either tilted up or down, and you can operate the TI as normal in either motor position.

    It was very easy to mount the 403 to the TI. It took less than an hour for the main part. All that was necessary was to drill four holes to mount the gimbal ball to the back of the TI. The included backing plate, stainless bolts, and the high quality metal gimbal mount made for a very sturdy installation as shown in the photos below. Here is the manual if you wish to see the mounting details: http://media.torqeedo.com/downloads/manuals/torqeedo-ultralight-403-manual-DE-EN.pdf

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    Tilt Controls:
    Next you can optionally mount the tilting mechanism. Torqeedo includes two simple plastic clamp blocks to secure the up and down tilting lines, but I thought this was a bit too crude.

    Image

    It would have worked, but there is always a better way. So after a quick trip to my local West Marine store I installed a couple of Harken MicroCam cleats and blocks to use the same method in which Hobie cleats their lines. I even used the same Hobie Up and Down handles as used by the rudder, which I found online at Austin Kayak. This all made for a much neater and better operating tilt mechanism. I chose to control it from the rear seat, which I prefer, but it could also be mounted for the front seat. There are two lines, one to tilt the motor up, which is a directly mounted to the top of the motor’s tilting plate with a stainless clip for easy removal, and the other is to tilt the motor down. This line also prevents the motor from thrusting upward if you put it into reverse. Torqeedo instructs you to use a straight line to the motor, but if you do then you will prevent it from kicking up if it hits an object while in operation. So instead I tied it to a length of shock cord. This prevents the motor from thrusting upward while in reverse, but also allows the motor to kick up if it strikes an object in the water to prevent damage when going forward.

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    Rudder Control:
    The 403 motor offers the option of either a fixed point straight back or moving with the TI rudder. Either will work. I was intrigued with the motor moving with the rudder which offers both thrust maneuvering and a way to steer the boat if the rudder ever breaks while on the water, so I chose the latter. Torqeedo’s instructions say to fix a line to from the boat’s rudder to the 403’s steering arm.

    Image

    This works, but it does not make for the best movement of the motor with the rudder because the distances and angles from the rudder to the motor are not equal on each side. It’s not critical that the motor move exactly with the rudder, but the perfectionist in me couldn’t live with that. So I tried some other methods of attaching the rudder to the 403. The method that seemed to work best was to tie a shock cord to the starboard side and a spring and turnbuckle to the port side. This combination allows the motor to turn almost exactly with the rudder as best as possible. The shock cord and spring allow the rudder to constantly pull on the motor tightly even though the movement is not linear laterally or rotationally from one side to the other. The elastic shock cord and spring continue to pull even after the rudder is fully stopped at either side. A simple length of inflexible line could not do that. The turnbuckle allows quick and easy field adjustments to precisely align the motor to the rudder. I expected to have to tweak this arrangement throughout the season to get it just right, but luckily it works incredibly well as is. The spring and shock cord also allow the motor to absorb any punishment from hard hitting waves and bounce right back into proper position, so that was an extra benefit.

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    Throttle Control:
    The electronic remote throttle was very easy to mount. I used the existing mounting kit that came with the 2015 TI for the thru hull wiring, but if you have an older TI, this kit can easily be ordered from any Hobie dealer or online. It had all the right sized grommets to fit the wire and hull plugs. The throttle wire goes to the lithium battery. I used a Ram Mount RAM-B-238 2.43" x 1.31" Diamond Base with 1" Ball which was easily mounted to the TI hull, along with a Ram Mount RAM-B-138U Mount. This very flexible mount allows the throttle control to be comfortably adjusted and controlled from either the front or rear seat. I chose the rear seat. The throttle control is listed as completely waterproof to IP67 specifications and specifically designed to get wet so no worries there. In actual operation it get splashed a bit and can survive underwater in the unlikely event of a capsize.

ImageImage

    Battery:
    The battery simply is placed in the rear cargo area of the TI. I rearranged the existing shock cord to better hold the battery in place. Additionally I attached a couple of backup straps and cables to hold the battery down if the cords should ever fail while trailering or in the event of a capsize. The battery is expensive, you would not want to lose it. Fortunately it is waterproof and will float. The battery can be recharged on the TI or easily removed to charge indoors. The battery shown in the photos is a larger battery than the one that comes with the 403. More about that later.

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    Motor Cable:
    The motor cable simply attaches to the battery and does not need to be routed through the hull. I simply run it under the existing shock cord on the back of the TI and it works fine. It does not get in the way when tilting the motor.


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That’s it for the installation. Really couldn’t be much easier.

Operation:

    Transport:
    It should be noted that Torqeedo does not recommend that the 403 motor be trailered or otherwise transported over land while mounted. I did try this once and the many nasty road bumps encountered along the way did upset the mounting alignment which fortunately can be easily field re-adjusted. I imagine that the constant road bumping could also eventually break something. So now I simply remove the motor assembly where its shaft attaches to the gimbal mount and reattach it at the boat dock. This involves only one bolt and can be done quickly. The tilt and steering lines all quickly attach/detach with clips so that is also easy. Still it would have been nice to be able to trailer it mounted, one less thing to do at the dock. I may try to design a bracket that will properly brace it for trailering like some gas outboards use. Quick and easy removal of the motor does however prevent it from being stolen if you ever need to leave your TI unattended.

    Throttle and Controls:
    To operate the motor I simply turn on the control unit, tilt the motor down into position, hit the throttle and off it goes. The control unit takes about 10-30 seconds to find the gps satellites, but the motor can be run right away. Once the control unit is on you never have to shut it off for the rest of the day. There is a however slight pause before the motor starts, which some people complain about, but I don’t see it as much of an issue.

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    The throttle works as expected, push it forward to go forward, pull it back to go in reverse, and put it in neutral to stop. The motor speed control is smooth and linear, and it has infinite speeds between stop and full throttle in either direction, there is no notchiness as with some controls. You can chose any speed you want anytime you want. The throttle appears to be very well made with rugged components.

    The throttle displays, in real time, the battery’s current remaining charge in percent, the remaining range at the current speed in miles, nautical miles, kilometers, or hours, the current speed in mph, kph, or knots, and the current battery consumption in watts. These readings constantly change and are re-calculated instantly as you go faster or slower, as conditions change, and as the battery discharges. Quite remarkable and highly useful.

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    An onboard gps built into the battery is used for the speed and range calculations. This remarkably accurate information allows you to exactly tailor the use of the motor to your needs. You can go faster with less range, or slower with more range, and can change this at any time. So if I’m four miles from the launch and the display says I can get there at full throttle with two miles to spare, I can then gun it for the duration knowing I’ll get there with power to spare. There’s never any guesswork involved. I find this to be incredibly useful and I plan all my excursions using it. In the many times I’ve used it, it has never failed me. If anything it’s conservative. I can usually push it for about another mile or so after it says the battery is discharged. You can also recalibrate it for even more accuracy.

    Motor:
    The motor itself is very smooth while in operation. There are virtually no vibrations like you might experience with a gas outboard. It holds a consistent thrust at any throttle position. However, speed will be always determined by water, boat, and wind conditions. With the TI, I was first able to reach a respectable maximum speed of 5.3 mph in calm conditions with a reliable maximum speed of around 4.7 mph in all but the worst conditions (heavy headwinds, waves, or currents). But when I tried to push it to go faster it would begin to cavitate since the prop is not that far into the water (the motor shaft ideally could be a few inches longer) and a round shaft was not the best choice as a water foil. As an experiment I recently mounted a Yakima WindJammer (designed as an air foil for car roof cargo bars) to the round motor shaft of the 403. This was cleverly suggested by someone from the Hobie Pro Angler forum. It fits almost perfectly but I had to rivet it closed because it's just a tiny bit too small.

    Image

    This improved things dramatically. The cavitation all but disappeared and I was now able to get a top speed of well over 6 mph! For a tiny motor that, along with the battery weighs only 15 pounds, this is remarkable! I didn’t think adding a water foil would make such a difference, but it did. The only issue is that the Yakima WindJammer would not stay aligned after being hit by waves. I need to find a way to hold it in position without having to drill into the motor shaft (would void warranty). I’m thinking 3M Marine Fast Cure 3200 to fix it into position, but any better ideas would be appreciated. When I have this fixed I'll post about it here so stay tuned if you're interested.

    So this tiny, very lightweight motor and battery can reliably propel the huge and relatively heavy TI at respectable speeds. To get more speed you would need considerably more power. The progression is not linear. The Torqeedo 403 is certainly not going to power you around in your TI like a speed boat. It will get you where you want to go at 3 to 6 mph which is about equivalent to a larger, heavier, and noisier 2.5 hp gas outboard. Expect motor-only speeds of about 3 to 5 mph on average given all conditions involving wind, water, weight, boat design, and conservation of power. This should be plenty for most of us for its intend use as auxiliary power to the sail and pedals. If you really need to go faster than 6 mph without wind and/or pedal power, then you probably purchased the wrong boat, and you’re going to have to go through the trouble to rig and manage multiple small gas outboard motors on the TI to go faster. In theory I estimate two small gas motors may be able to propel the TI to about 12-14 mph maximum with both at wide open throttle, but this is an extreme option few will consider. Practically though, twin gas outboards would give you only about 3-5 more mph on average in normal use at reasonable fuel consumption and noise levels. If that’s what you need then go for it, but I feel that the Ultralight 403 will satisfy the majority of TI owners and is far, far more easy to manage than two gasoline engines which, along with the required extra mounts and rigging, would add about 90 pounds to the rear of your TI.

    Of course maximum speed is not what the 403 motor is all about and its real advantage for the TI is the ability to provide reliable auxiliary thrust whenever wind sailing is not possible or practicable, and pedal power is not enough for your purposes, or just to add some extra speed to both. The TI can be pedaled all day without a motor by anyone in decent physical condition, but not all of us are in decent physical condition, especially us older guys. Or if you’re like me you may simply be too lazy or hot sometimes and not feel like pedaling back the ten miles you sailed after the winds died out. Or perhaps you are willing to pedal but wished you could go a lot faster especially against headwinds, waves, and currents where sometimes pedal power alone is not enough. Or maybe you wish to sail better on days where the wind is light and variable and you need to keep up some steady momentum. This is where this motor shines. It’s like having a tireless pedal partner onboard to provide you with more thrust anytime, anywhere. No need to have to fire up an outboard, all you need to do is move the throttle forward. Virtually instant on or off with zero hassle. You can cruise all day with this motor at around 3.5 mph, it will last for hours and hours at this speed. If you pedal along with it, it will go even faster and longer. I’ve gone on excursions of 15 miles and more using only the motor at varying speeds around 3 to 5 mph. I have a gps chartplotter on board that shows me the exact distance and average speed for any trip so I know this for a fact. If you purchase an auxiliary battery, the motor will take you farther than you may wish to go in a day at greater speeds. I purchased another (larger) battery and despite my best attempts I have not been able to wear them both down during daylight hours in normal operation of about 3 to 5 mph. Ranges of 30 to 40 miles or more are possible.

    In the worst conditions you’re likely to encounter on a TI, the motor can possibly save your life, or at least get you back to shore in one piece. The worst I encountered so far was trying to head three miles back to the launch directly upwind in a nasty thunderstorm that came out of nowhere with steady winds of 25-30 mph and against 3 to 4 foot waves. Granted this is not the worst conditions anyone will encounter, but it was bad enough for me. I managed to move along at a steady speed of around 2.5 to 4 mph sometimes pedaling with the motor, sometimes not. I was not using the sail because I needed to head directly upwind to get back asap (I hate lightning when on the water). The steady thrust provided by the motor got me back safe and sound, I may not have been able to do it by pedaling alone against the heavy winds and waves and I wouldn’t want to have had to find out. My TI forward hatch leaks badly in rough conditions and the boat was laden with about 15 gallons of water inside the hull that day so this added another 125 pounds of weight, yet the motor came through for me. I’ll never leave home without it again.

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    Reverse:
    This motor has a reverse feature. You simply move the throttle back toward you from neutral much like a power boat helm control. The prop nearly instantly (slight lag) goes into reverse. Like the new reversing Mirage Drive it’s great to finally have an easy way to move the mighty TI backwards, especially in tight quarters, or if you’re about to run into something, or if you need to slow the boat down faster. However the TI is big, it takes some time to get it to move into reverse. The prop is optimized for forward movement, not to go backwards. Also you’ll need to rig the optional tilt down/reverse hold line like I did or else there’s nothing to stop the motor from thrusting upward. All in all it works quite well, but it’s not very fast in reverse. I’ve used it many times in the launch area where I have to turn 90 degrees at the last minute to line up with the dock. If another boat suddenly gets in the way I use the reverse to stop, and then back up. Before I had this motor I used to have to frantically swap the Mirage Drive in backwards to go in reverse. That was no fun. This is much better.

    Noise:
    The motor is far, far quieter than any small outboard I’ve ever heard, but it is not silent as some people may think or expect. It makes a typical whirring sound that you would normally associate with such an electric motor. It’s not loud, I would estimate about 50-55 decibels, or just below a normal voice conversation. It can get louder or softer as you accelerate depending upon how hard it’s working, acoustic harmonics, and where it hits its most efficient operation, much like any motor. Unless you’re particularly sensitive to such sounds it shouldn't bother you much at all as long as you didn't purchase it expecting virtually silent operation. However some people do complain that it’s not silent. But it certainly isn’t loud either. I can tell you I’ve unintentionally snuck up on people fishing on kayaks in very quiet still rivers and startled them as I went by. Some told me they never even heard me. Try doing that with a gas motor. They always ask how I can go so fast because it isn’t obvious that I’m running under motor power.

    Battery:
    The high tech 29.6 Volt DC, 320 Watt Hour, 11 Amp Hour lithium battery that comes with the 403 is surprisingly small and lightweight for the power it provides when compared to a typical 12 Volt DC lead acid battery that powers most marine electric motors, and is worlds ahead of it in technology. It contains an integrated gps and charging/protection circuitry. It weighs only about 6 pounds compared to a typical weight of about 55 pounds for a group 24 sized marine lead acid battery and supplies more power. It will recharge overnight using the provided charger but you can purchase other charges if you need to charge it faster. It will also charge, albeit slowly, with solar panels and has many other charging options. Newer ones come with a USB compatible port to power or charge your smartphone. It’s waterproof to IP67 specifications and will even float. It’s definitely not inexpensive though, a replacement costs $524 USD.

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    One of the worst kept secrets of the Ultralight 403 motor is that you can use a more powerful 1147-00 battery normally used for the larger Torqeedo Travel 503 / 1003 model outboard motors, even though Torqeedo does not admit this. This battery is rated at 29.6 Volts DC, 532.8 Watt hours, 18 Amp hours and appears to be fully compatible with the 403. It’s only $87 USD more than the normal battery and well worth the money for the extra capacity. It’s too bad the 403 does not come stock with this battery. I purchased one as a spare and when I use it, it will go all day. I can usually get well over 20 miles on it at varying speeds of 3.5 to 5 mph. It’s a beast and not much heavier or larger than the stock battery.

    Image

    Believe it or not there is now an even more powerful compatible battery rated at 29.6 Volts DC, 915 Watt hours, 31Amp hours, but it cost nearly $1K USD. That could last for days.

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Cons:
I’ve discussed most of the amazing attributes of the Ultralight 403 so it’s only fair that I divulge some of the cons. First and foremost, it’s expensive. It costs hundreds more than a roughly equivalently powered gas motor. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you were to add the additional hardware required to give a gas powered motor remote throttle and helm steering like the 403 has, the price would be about the same, not that you need to do this. Still, given all it’s advantages and technology, I strongly feel the price is worth it. With quality comes cost. I initially hesitated to buy one and had to talk myself into spending the money, but now that I’ve owned one I would do it again in a heartbeat. I can’t imagine using the TI without it.

It can be touchy concerning error codes. The motor is well protected against anything that can harm it thermally or electrically and it has safety features. However it can and does, very occasionally, throw error codes. Most of these can easily and quickly be reset if a problem is not critical. However mine has recently been giving me E04 errors which means it thinks it’s tilted in the up position. If I tap the motor the error immediately goes away, so it’s just a sticky tilt switch, but it is annoying. I can have it fixed under warranty but then I have to send it to a repair facility which is too far away to drive. If it doesn’t stop doing this by the end of the season I’ll send it in for repair. However just because mine does this does not mean any others do it. It’s probably an isolated incident. Despite this one minor, annoying issue it’s been very dependable so far and has never failed me for more than a minute or two on the water. This is much more than I can say for many gas powered marine motors I have owned in the last 32 years.

Earlier models had an issue with fishing line getting caught on the prop shaft and cutting the o-ring seal resulting in water ingress and subsequent motor failure. It’s been reported here in this forum and elsewhere that this issue has been resolved by re-engineering the design as of the summer of 2015, but I cannot independently verify that. I have not seen this issue with mine, but it was manufactured after it was supposedly fixed.

Update: I now have been able to verify that 403 motor has been redesigned to address the issue of fishing line getting wrapped around the prop shaft as of late 2015. Please see page 2 of this thread for a photo of the redesign.

Overall the entire system is very well engineered and built with high quality components, after all it’s designed and manufactured mostly in Germany. It should last many years. Spare parts are readily available if you break a prop or skeg, loose the magnetic key, need a new cable, battery, or a controller, etc. Customer service is responsive, they will answer any questions you email them in a day or so. Some say the warranty service is great, others have complained when they were refused a repair of the o-ring/fishing line issue under warranty.

I did come across a few flaws. The aforementioned round motor shaft should have included a water foil or anti-cavitation plate because the motor works sooo much better at full throttle when cavitation is managed. There was a guide in the gimbal mount that the tilt up line passes through that I had to polish smooth because it was initially rough and cut the line. It could have been designed to trailer better or at least have a fast disconnect. Maybe it could have been designed for even quieter operation. But these complaints are all relatively minor compared to all the things it does right and the benefits it provides. I mention them here only for completeness. I’m highly satisfied with mine.

Conclusion:

The bottom line is that the versatile TI is primarily a sail boat, and like most sail boats it can really benefit with the addition of a small motor for those times when you need it. With a motor you will have a very rare and very useful tri-powered boat which will increase your range, enjoyment, confidence, and safety. A small, lightweight but powerful, easy to install and manage motor like the Torqeedo 403 Ultralight should go to the top of your short list if you wish to add a motor to your Tandem Island.

Thanks at your recension i have mounted this motor for my A.I. it's very good i had a little problem with the wave that move the motor in position no central. It was blocked with the pin .
I solve it with bungee and no block it now it is free to move and return at central position.
Excuse me for my bad english...
Gianluca,Trieste, Italy

Inviato dal mio PLE-701L utilizzando Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:49 pm 
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gianlucacarusots wrote:
Thanks at your recension i have mounted this motor for my A.I. it's very good i had a little problem with the wave that move the motor in position no central. It was blocked with the pin .
I solve it with bungee and no block it now it is free to move and return at central position.
Excuse me for my bad english...
Gianluca,Trieste, Italy

Inviato dal mio PLE-701L utilizzando Tapatalk

Good to hear. Keep in mind that it is not essential for the motor to turn with the rudder. I've tested it in both a fixed position and turning with the rudder. There is little difference in performance. The only advantages are slightly better maneuverability and a backup in case the rudder breaks.


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