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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 03-09-2012
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Testing my trolling motor

I have a catalina 22 and just got a trolling motor to replace my outboard. I bought the same one the local rental folks use on my same boat. I wondered how long it would run on one charge of my deep cycle battery. I mounted it in a huge garbage can and ran it on the highest setting. It ran for about 2.75 hours. Is this a good simulation of how long it will operate on the water?
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

Hookturn:
I think it will give you a rough idea, however, its always been my understanding that electric trolling motors are designed for intermittent rather than continuous running, so I've always been leery of using one as a true replacement for an internal combustion outboard on a smaller sailboat. If that is true, I think running it continuously for up to several hours might be tough on it over the long (or perhaps even the short) haul.

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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

You'll probably find run time extends considerably on lower speeds. How are you recharging? I used one for a couple of seasons on a 20 and 24 foot sailboat, but only to get in or out of canals in calms. I used to recharge ashore.
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

If it is a quality, brushless, DC motor then it should stand up to that abuse for a long time, especially if you keep it from getting too hot.
If it's a cheap, Chinese POS from the Wal-Mart sporting goods department, then all bets are off.

If you're interested in going green, you could cheaply rip the powerhead off of an old outboard, and adapt a series-wound, DC electric motor to the output shaft, buy a forklift motor controller, and a potentiometer box for a throttle, and be on your way.

Something like this:
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

The motor is a Minn Kota, which is supposed to be pretty good quality from what I have read and heard from others. I will only be using it to get to and from the dock, so hope to not need it for more than 15-20 mins at a time. But my fishing buddies often use their motors for several hours at a time on lower speeds and that's what they're designed to do. I trailer my boat so I will be recharging it at home after each use. It is the same size and variety of motor that is used on the local rental sailboats. After talking to the folks there, they have used these motors for the last several years with good results.

Interesting modification Bubble. I like the idea of not having gas aboard in terms of safety, fumes, etc. Does it chew through the batteries or do you get pretty good performance in terms of run time?
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

I use a Minn Kota on my dinghy in lieu of a gasoline outboard. I've not yet run out of jiuce, but I only use it to ferry from the anchored boat to shore - 30 minutes or so. Run time is a function of the batter amp-hours available and how fast you are turning the propellor.
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Old 03-09-2012
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Re: Testing my trolling motor

thanks for all your input. I understand the issues that determine the run-time (and i'm planning on adding another battery at some point). I was just wondering if my test would accurately reflect real use. I can't think of any reason it wouldn't, but figured I'd ask.
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