Boat trolling motor propulsion input

Hello....
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I am looking for some help or guidance on a fishing boat project I am working on. I am sure most of what I want to do has already been done and I am hoping I do not need to waste time trying to recreate the wheel if I do not have to. But maybe some tweaks by the end for my particular vision for my project.
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I live in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Finding someone close/nearby would be nice but not required.
Finding someone who enjoys fishing/boating would probably be helpful to understand what the end goal I want to achieve will be. But again not required.
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So let me explain a little about the project. I love fishing and I love boating. So... the project is electric boat propulsion.
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I have 4 - 24 vdc motors that draw 45-50 amps at full load each.
I have 2 - motor controlers. Each controller capable of controlling 2 motors each. The motor controllers are Cyrtron MDDS-60 units. The user manual is listed on the web site listed below. I have 4 options for controlling the variable speed and forward/reverse operations. the manual says it supports four different types of input mode RC, Analog, PWM and Serial. I would like to use the PWM function????? a few of the pictures show Arduino boards being used.
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My vision....
Each motor will have its own set of controls. So.... Let me explain the vision for one motor and then you can imagine multiplying it for operation of four motors.
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on /off / on toggle switch.
On - forward populsion
Off - Neutral
On - Reverse propulsion
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6 push buttons to select a percentage of power to motor. When any button is pushed it will cancel the previous selection and begin the new selection. I would also like to have a lighted switch if possible to indicate what selection is in operation.
Pb1 - off
Pb2 - 20%
Pb3 - 40%
Pb4 - 60%
Pb5 - 80%
Pb6 - 100%
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To meet boating regulations. I need to have an Emergency stop button. If engaged it shuts off all electric propulsion. I will also have a lanyard to a switch to engage the emergency stop as well.
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Later... After this project is complete I may like to add other options like temperature sensors, gps speedometer... Who knows what else is possible with Arduino technology that may be useful to me on my boat. So.... maybe thinking ahead to adding on to the system possible?
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Having zero experience with Arduino technology at this time, please let me know if what I am visioning is possible or if you think any other option may be a better fit for what I am wanting to do.
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Thank you all for your time, assistance and help.
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Respectfully,
Richard

Image from Original Post so we don't have to download it. See this Simple Image Posting Guide

...R

Can you post a link to the datasheet for the motor controller?

Also a better picture of the controller so that the names on the input pins are readable.

If (as sounds likely) the controller can work with the outputs from the Arduino analogWrite() what you want to do should be very possible.

I suggest you start experimenting with a short program to learn how to control the speed of a single motor and another separate program to learn how to get inputs from your proposed buttons.

IMHO the emergency button should be quite separate from the Arduino and should just cut off power to motors.

...R

Hello Richard.

RC, Analog, PWM and Serial.

Of those 4 serial and PWM would be easy using an Arduino.

I see nothing in your project that is not possible with an Arduino, however, Arduino products are for hobby and educational purposes, they are not for safety critical systems. While I am sure you could use an Arduino to learn what you need to learn for your project I would suggest you use something else in the final implementation.

I live in Terre Haute, Indiana.

I had to look where that is, I guess you do your fishing on lakes, not at sea!

What do the lake authorities say about this kind of thing?

What happens if the system breaks down while you are in the middle of a lake and you have no propulsion?

One thing I see a possible issue with, for the emergency stop you would need a breaker capable of interrupting a high DC current, such breakers exist, I've never had one, I suspect they are expensive.

What are you going to use for batteries? Presumably lithium ion as they are light and compact for a large energy density. However, they are also a fire risk if not handled correctly, both physically and electrically. You need to learn how to treat them, they are as dangerous as leaking petrol (gasoline) if handled incorrectly.

Start simple, buy a Mega because it has plenty of PWM ports and 3 unused serial port and play with is. Do the tutorials on this web site and in the IDE and understand how to program. I think you have an interesting project but be aware of the safety concerns. Finally, while many of the contributors to this forum have worked in electronics in one form or another and have a great deal of expertise, remember most of us are amateurs when it comes to electronic boat speed controllers.

[EDIT]
Any battery capable of doing what you want is also capable of providing enough current to quickly burn out wiring and possibly start a fire. You should include a fuse in the battery circuit as close to the battery as physically possible. My suggestion would be to put it in the link between the 2 middle cells of the battery. The fuse must be HRC (high rupture capacity) capable of interrupting the prospective short circuit current of the battery (battery voltage / battery internal resistance) and rated for DC. I would guess that might be couple of thousand amps at least.

Analog/PWM/Serial Input Terminal Block

RC Input Pin
This pins specially for RC receiver input wire.
RC1 for forward/reverse
RC2 for steering.

DIG1*
1: Digital signal (Direction) for motor LEFT.
2: Serial Simplified, Serial Packetized.
*DIG1 can accept 2 types of input.

DIG2
Digital signal (Direction) for motor RIGHT.

AN1
Analog/PWM signal for motor LEFT.

AN2
Analog/PWM signal for motor RIGHT.

+5V
+5V output. Do not connect to another 5V source.

GND
Ground.

ed2f-smartdriveduo-60-a5777-5-1-0-7-1-800x800 (2).jpg

ed2f-smartdriveduo-60-a5777-5-1-0-7-1-800x800 (2).jpg

indianajones_1971:
Analog/PWM/Serial Input Terminal Block

Please make your image visible in your Post. I gave you a link to the instructions when I displayed the earlier image.

...R

Also... A quick fyi about me... Obviously this is my first post and I just joined the site...
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With regard to the safety issues regarding the electric... I have a degree in electrical and mechanical industrial technology.... I definitely have all the safety and proper wire gauge and batteries and solar panel and charge controllers in order.
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For obvious reasons... I fully understand and agree bringing those concerns to the front lines regarding the safety and concerns issues. :slight_smile: I think that those issues being brought up regarding safety are great and respectable comments/concerns because a lot of people will not think about those items/issues. :slight_smile:

Sadly my education did not cover this type of technology. :frowning:
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I can hook up potentiometers and make my system work right now. But I am wanting to be high falutant with the extra push buttons and get fancy. :slight_smile: I also could use a PLC and do this system but that could get a little pricey depending what unit I bought.
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I am really excited right now to start learning this new technology and see how it can be fit into what I already have knowledge/education.
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I was hoping that I was not going to be barking up the wrong tree trying to recreate the wheel and so far it sounds like everyone believes it is doable. :slight_smile:
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Also note: With my current employment as a special detective, I am not online much due to work. So if I do not reply within a couple days, please do not give up on me... I will return... but depending on work sometimes I may be 5-7 days before being back online and capable of responding.

With regard to the safety issues regarding the electric... I have a degree in electrical and mechanical industrial technology.... I definitely have all the safety and proper wire gauge and batteries and solar panel and charge controllers in order.

OK, good. I don't think that with your existing background you will have much difficulty learning to program in C/C++, and learning to connect this up.

We have no idea what knowledge people have unless they tell us. Some of the things some people ask about here are very dangerous even for a qualified person, the people asking often don't have a clue what danger they are on or how to mitigate it.

I can imagine... Even with some of the professionals in the Electrical field my degree is in... I can not believe some of the really dangerous things I come across and see other people do.
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Safety is my #1 concern along with doing the job correctly. Of course correctly to me includes all safeguards and not cutting corners.
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And yes I can understand not knowing a persons level of knowledge. While I may have a basic understanding... I have never done any of this coding and I'm not aware of the abilities of the technology. I knew it existed but not much beyond that. So... Here I am hoping to learn more about the technology and its capabilities. :slight_smile:
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I am also going to have to figure out certain posting protocals about images. LOL!!! I am old and you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks! LOL.... I am almost unteachable. lol.... You all got your hands full helping me with my project. lol

I am also going to have to figure out certain posting protocols about images.

I find posting images on here a pain in the a...

You all got your hands full helping me with my project.

Your project seems interesting and it's nice to have a project being done by someone with some relevant knowledge.

One thing up front because it is a constant annoyance for me on here; the very first Arduino tutorial shows you how to make an LED flash, which is great for giving a beginner the confidence that they can get something to work. The problem is in its simplicity the example uses delay(). Don't get into the habit of using delay, it will make your code slow and unresponsive and not work at all well. Follow the subsequent tutorials and learn how to write multi-tasking, non blocking code without using delay(), ever.

Thanks for the larger picture.

Without seeing the controller datasheet or user manual I assume that connecting an Arduino PWM pin to one of the ANx connections and connecting GND to GND will allow you to control a motor speed with analogWrite()

...R

My vision....
Each motor will have its own set of controls. So.... Let me explain the vision for one motor and then you can imagine multiplying it for operation of four motors.
.
on /off / on toggle switch.
On - forward populsion
Off - Neutral
On - Reverse propulsion
.
6 push buttons to select a percentage of power to motor. When any button is pushed it will cancel the previous selection and begin the new selection. I would also like to have a lighted switch if possible to indicate what selection is in operation.
Pb1 - off
Pb2 - 20%
Pb3 - 40%
Pb4 - 60%
Pb5 - 80%
Pb6 - 100%

This seems like it will be really difficult to operate! Like one of those very early attempts at vertical take-off jets, the "flying bedstead". How will you manage when single handed? And when you only have a single hand free because you have a line or a net in the other? How will the 4 motors be deployed? Bow & stern thrusters? Will there will be tiller/rudder?

Other than being a crazy/fun project, what's the point of the 4 motor system? What advantage will it give?

I am thinking your control design will be too clumsy. You need something with more simple, intuitive controls, and let the microcontroller handle the details of the individual motor control.

Let me explain the project as it is set up... or going to be set up.
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The boat is a 1978 Formula Liberator 255. It is a 26 foot off shore boat.
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Originally had twin 350 inboard engines. When it was running at cruising speed it would suck down 20 gallons of fuel per hour. When running it hard it would suck down 32 gallons per hour. It was an expensive boat to use.
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I love the boat and when I decided to return to college it became my college project boat. I am converting it to 90% electrical hybrid.
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I have removed the twin engines and everything associated with the engines except the twin out drives.
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Phase one of the project is low speed propulsion and 100% electrical operation. My goal is to achieve variable speeds of 0 to 6 mph. At those speeds I can do a wide variety of trolling type fishing. Freshwater is around 2 mph and saltwater is around 3-5 mph depending on what species of fish I am trying to catch.
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Phase two of the project is high speed propulsion and will be a hybrid system. 90% electrical and 10% fuel. My goal is to achieve planing/cruising speed of approx 20 mph.
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PHASE 1 - Boat conversion
I am currently working on phase one. I have already tested and achieved my goal of 6 mph. I used 4 - 75 pound thrust motors at 24vdc and approx 37-42 amp draw per motor full throttle. According to boat weight and size, the recommendation called for 150 pounds of thrust. I doubled the recommended thrust to accommodate water conditions such as off shore waves and wind and water current. I will not always have to use all four motors and the extra motors are available for severe conditions and also back up ability if it was needed. I also chose to use four motors because of load spread and better water volume and also better boat response handling.
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I am powering the motors with 4 large deep cycle AGM battery banks. I ran all four motors for 5 hours continuous during 3 test runs. i could have went longer. Starting speeds achieved during testing was 6 mph in the beginning and when the testing ended at 5 hours I was holding 4 mph.
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I am currently installing a solar array on the boat as a T-top and also a charge controller. The current output of the solar array is 32-41 amps output on nice sunny days. That is enough to run one motor non stop with almost no draw from batteries. When anchored the batteries will charge.
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I also have a gas powered generator installed onto the boat. If I ever did need to charge the batteries I can use electric battery chargers ran off generator to re-charge the battery banks. I can also use shore line power at the dock to run the onboard battery chargers if needed also.
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Phase 2 - boat conversion
I will be using the current outdrives with adapters to connect electrical motors. I will be using 48vdc. I currently have the motors and will attempt to install and test them later this summer. They are 15hp motors with high torque and 3600 RPM max. I previously used 23 pitch props with the twin gas motors and at 5800 RPM wide open throttle achieved 86 mph top speed. I will be running smaller pitch props with the electrical motors and pre test calculations are that I will be able to approximately 30 mph. But my goal was set at 20 mph prior to calculations being made. I will also be assisting the battery amperage draw using the gas generator to run the battery chargers if I am going long haul using these motors as well as the added current from the solar array I mentioned in phase 1. I will be planning to add more solar to the boat later this summer as well. I am not convinced of what the calculations came out to be, but I had 3 different professors/instructors double check my calculations and they said they were accurate. But with my experience in boating I am still not convinced of the 30 mph calculation. I also have to add that the calculation was 30 mph for a 25 minute trip off battery power capacity only. I am also looking at the amount of money I could save in fuel cost alone if this system only works partially. I am exited and anxious for the real world testing to happen.
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With all the above stated... I have Indiana State Conservation Officer helping me with the coast guard certification. I have used multiple safety devices and fuses with the new wiring harness I am building and installing. I also have air ventilation safety covered for the batteries and fuel and gas generator use.
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Right now I am trying to complete phase 1. To complete phase 1 of the low speed application I need to build the above stated system for controlling the motors currently installed. This is all I have left to do and I will be fishing!!! :slight_smile:
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Thank you all in advance for helping me with this part of the project. I honestly just do not have the education/training for this part of the project. I could us VFD or PLC but the cost was not effective as well as the efficiency. I think this is going to give me the best outcome and "BANG" for the buck. :slight_smile:
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Also note: Since this has been a project I have been working on during the past 3 years at the college I would have went to the Electronics engineering professor and gotten help... But with this Covid-19 virus, our college is currently closed and I am unable to get advice or help. Thank you to everyone who assist me.
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Another note... I am wanting to do this programming and building myself, but I am also having doubts about the amount of time I will have to work on the project. With that said... I may eventually ask someone to assist and I will pay for the help. It all depends upon how my work schedule fills up.
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I hope this long explanation helps everyone to see the

Your project sounds very interesting. This is one of those things where I am not directly interested, I don't have a boat and I don't fish, but if you were my friend I'd be round all the time helping because I'd find the project interesting to be involved in.

For the next bit note that I don't know what I am talking about...
If the engines powering the boat consumed the amount of fuel you mentioned that does not tally with the drain on the batteries. If it needs that much fuel to power it then surely it needs the equivalent in battery power to achieve a similar performance. Lead acid batteries do not have anything like the energy density of petrol (gasoline), even taking into account the higher conversion efficiency of an electric motor compared to an internal combustion engine. I am not saying your calculations are wrong, I don't know, but they feel wrong.

I am very interested to know how this project goes, please keep us updated.

Thank you.

Perry.... With regard to the energy of the gas engines vs the electric.... The gas engines were using a far larger propellar and pitch to obtain the high speed and overcome the amount of water friction.... The electric will be far slower and have a dramatically smaller propeller pitch. That is why the electric motor calculation showed approx. 33% less than what the gas engines were. It is also why the electrical motors have a short run time. The plus side to the electrical motor is the continuous even torque compared to gas engine that does not hit it's max torque/power till high RPM. Many variables play into the electric vs the gas engines. I wish the battery technology would improve. I know that battery capacity is one of my largest issues I am facing at the moment, but with approx 3500 lbs of weight removed from the boats when I took out both big V8 engines.... That freed up a lot of area for batteries and the weight associated with the batteries being installed on the boat. That was another part of the equation that made a small amount of difference was the weight of the boat now vs before I removed the engines and other things associated with the engine. I also removed 200 gallons of fuel that I had on board when using the boat. That fuel was another 1200 lbs I am not having to move. So in total that is around 4700 lbs I no longer have in the boat.
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but I also agree with you that the calculations do not sound right. But after having 3 different professors double check my calculations... They say they checked out. But I still only have a goal of around 20 mph. But the short run time really does not make me happy... but I am hopeful after having it operational, I can make some adjustments and improve that time.
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I wish I had a friend nearby that was willing like you are to spend time with me doing this project because you found it to be interesting. Of course if you lived nearby... I am sure that boat rides would grow on you after a while. I love getting to see the eagles, birds, wildlife on the shore as I am going up and down the river or on a lake. The sky is also beautiful at night from the water.
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I am anxious to see how much more wildlife I see once I have quiet electrical motors vs the noisy gas engines.

Perry...
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I was also going to go ahead and order the ARDUINO MEGA 2560 REV3 because you said to order the mega because you said it had plenty of pwm ports.... But they are currently sold out. What else would you suggest that is the next level higher and have plenty of pwm ports like the mega???

"90% electrical and 10% fuel"

Hmmm, so you are going to charge the batteries before you leave the house?

trolling type fishing

Do you mean "trawling"?

Re: Arduino Mega. I would not recommend Mega and I would not recommend Uno either. This is because I like to build prototype circuits on breadboards, then I often solder them up using stripboard or similar. Uno and Mega are designed to be used with "shields" which are pre-made PCBs designed to do a particular job and plug into the Uno/Mega. But if you are prototyping your own circuits, Uno/Mega are a pain to use and result in messy and unreliable prototypes. Also it seems like you only need 4 pwm outputs, and even basic Arduino have 6.

I would recommend Nano 3 to begin your project. It's small, suitable for breadboard/stripboard use, costs almost nothing and can be expanded later if more inputs & outputs are needed.

PaulRB:
Do you mean "trawling"?

Trolling is correct

...R