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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on August 17, 2016 by  & 

Unmanned surface vehicle crosses an ocean on solar power alone

The SeaCharger project started in a humble garage and progressed to battling wind and waves on a trip from California to Hawaii. The SeaCharger not a commercial project, but simply a couple of hobbyists, engineer Damon McMillan and three others, assembling a few pieces of ordinary technology to accomplish an extraordinary feat.
The inspiration for this project was the Microtransat Challenge and like many others, McMillan and his team wanted to be the first to send a robotic sailboat across an ocean. They saw that not many people were trying to do it with solar power, so switched from sail power to solar power.
The unmanned SeaCharger travels at about 1.3 m/s (2.5 knots) in calm water, and a bit slower in rougher conditions. On board is a magnetic compass and sensors for navigation plus a two-way satellite modem for communication. Typically every two hours (the interval can be changed), it sends a message containing its position, battery voltage and current, heading, pitch and roll angles, rudder angle, etc. McMillan can also send it commands to follow a different course, restart the thruster, or do one of many other functions. SeaCharger's battery gets charged during the day and keeps it going at night.
At the end of July SeaCharger completed the distance from California to Hawaii, a total distance of 2413 miles in 41.4 days.
There are no further plans for the SeaCharger at this stage, the creators are using this journey as a learning experience.
Source and images: SeaCharger
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