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Vintage narrowboat goes electric

08 June 2015

Reflecting its leadership for electronic integrated systems and flexibility and resources to support any size and type of enterprise, Curtis Instruments has recently completed a project with a charity that wished to convert a 1938 Iron Narrow Boat with an environmentally friendly electric drive.

When Birdswood, which dates from 1938 and was fitted with a diesel hydraulic propulsion unit in 1995, was purchased by the charity to work on the Cromford canal in the Derwent Valley world heritage site which is also a designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), zero emission propulsion was required.

After evaluating different ideas it was decided that although the hydraulic drive would remain, the diesel engine would be replaced by a CFR Induction motor controlled by a Curtis Instruments 1238 Vector Controller.

48V 820Ah batteries were supplied and Curtis commissioned the system. Curtis also fitted Acuity, its battery monitoring system, to monitor the battery data, state of health, total power used and operating temperatures.  

Now, almost two years later, interesting and useful data is coming through from Acuity. As the hydraulic system is very low pressure, Acuity proves the efficiency to be very good with the boat easily managing 4 pleasure cruises before an overnight recharge is needed.