Hovercraft Conversion

Technical discussion on converting internal combustion to electric
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Vanders
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Hovercraft Conversion

Post by Vanders »

I'm wondering if some of your would have some advice for me. It's a bit of an unusual vehicle.

I have a small 2 seater hovercraft that I want to convert to electric. It's currently powered by two air-cooled Solo 210 engines (one for lift and one for thrust) that produce 15hp @ 6000rpm. The engines are hard to start and extremely noisy. The engines are also exposed to the elements and both are throttle controlled.

There is a dry place under the seat to store batteries and control units.

What I'm looking for is replacements, and I'd like to go electric rather than petrol. They would need to have some degree of weather-proofness and be about the same power. If any of your members have advice on what to use I'd appreciate it.

I'll try and link in a couple of photos.

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wovenrovings
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by wovenrovings »

There is some motors that are used on paragliders, they might be the go. Another options is multiples of RC motors. Any idea what power the solo engines are rated for?
Your biggest issue is going to be battery weight, still its possible.
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woody
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by woody »

How much petrol does it use?

How long do you want to go for?

e.g. if the lift motor is going full power the whole time, that’s 11kW, so a full leaf pack won’t last much more than an hour.
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack
Vanders
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by Vanders »

I think the fuel tank is about 30 litres, so when full, that's an extra 30kg or so. I'd probably want it to go for 2 hours between charges.
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brendon_m
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by brendon_m »

If you want it to be weatherproofed then I'd personally recommend you steer away from brushed DC motors. It'll be easier to find an AC (or BLDC) motor that will withstand the elements better, however they are generally more expensive to buy and control and I'm guessing regen (a benefit of AC) won't be very useful on a hovercraft.
Motenergy do some small PMAC motors that would probably suit.

What's the budget? That may help people work out if you are planning on spending $4000 per motor and controller or you are planning on raiding a metal recyclers yard and getting some 2nd hand motors.


Do the motors spend all day at full noise or are they just plodding along for the majority of the time and only really load up occasionally (like in a car for mostly cruising and sometimes accelerating)?
Ie. do you use the whole 15hp constantly or do you think you use 5hp normally and only use the 15hp for short bursts?
Vanders
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by Vanders »

The budget is pretty small. We bought the hovercraft for only a couple of $k, so spending more than that on re-powering it would seem silly.

It's hard to tell at this stage. We haven't been able to fire up the engines, and take it for a 'drive'. The lift motor would be pretty constant, but the thrust motor would be up and down on load.

At the moment it's all about exploring the options.
lobster
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by lobster »

Paul, This should be an interesting project on this forum.

Do you have a Link for this hovercraft make, model and specifications? I can't find this one on the Hoverjet Site.

Those two Solo 210 engines should get a good resale price as the are popular in home built lightweight flying machines.

Cheers, Steve
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brendon_m
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by brendon_m »

A good bet would probably be to find a scrap electric forklift. It wouldn't need to be a very big one at the power levels you are talking about.
That way you can get the traction motor for propulsion and use the hydraulic motor for lift.
If you keep it at 48v you may even get away with reusing the controllers and everything
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bladecar
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by bladecar »

Vanders wrote: Sun, 17 May 2020, 05:00 I'm wondering if some of your would have some advice for me. It's a bit of an unusual vehicle.

I have a small 2 seater hovercraft that I want to convert to electric. It's currently powered by two air-cooled Solo 210 engines (one for lift and one for thrust) that produce 15hp @ 6000rpm. The engines are hard to start and extremely noisy. The engines are also exposed to the elements and both are throttle controlled.

There is a dry place under the seat to store batteries and control units.

What I'm looking for is replacements, and I'd like to go electric rather than petrol. They would need to have some degree of weather-proofness and be about the same power. If any of your members have advice on what to use I'd appreciate it.


Apologies for this in advance: Are the Eels electric or standard. If you aligned them correctly, you might get better range. I did say apologies in advance.
T1 Terry
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Re: Hovercraft Conversion

Post by T1 Terry »

I think you will find the weight of the required battery pack would push the lift motor to it maximum output, so then a bigger battery pack to get the 2 hrs would require a higher output motor and/or fan, the loop is a bit like Einstein's E = mc2. The propulsion motor wouldn't be such a big issue.
Hard to get an idea of the power/lift issue when it's not running, the difference between one person and 2 people on the craft would give a better idea of the lift capability.

As for the noise, not sure you would hear the petrol motors over the fan noise so I'm not sure the electric drive would improve the noise aspect, but it would certainly improve its kool factor

T1 Terry
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