Trolling motor wire routing

Moderator: GreenLake

Trolling motor wire routing

Postby 109jb » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:01 pm

I've decided to mount a trolling motor on my DS II for convenience getting in and out of launches, docks, etc. For the time being I am going to just mount the battery box at the stern where there are 2 eyes conveniently located for tying it down. This makes wiring a non-issue too since the stock trolling motor wires can just be connected right to the box terminals. That will be how I do it initially.

However, I eventually want to put the battery in the cuddy which means running the wires from there aft to the motor. My first inclination is to just pop a couple holes, one in the cuddy wall under the starboard seat, and one in the seat face at the stern, running the wires through the seat to a trolling motor quick connector at the stern location. The thing I'm not sure of is how the boat is actually constructed and if there are obstructions in the way underneath the seat. I would use my multi-segment fiberglass electrical fish stick starting from the cuddy to fish the wires, but that means I'd need a straight shot from the cuddy to the stern location. Does anyone know if I would have such a straight shot or are there bulkheads, flotation foam, or other that would get in the way? I'd rather know before putting holes in the boat if possible. Once the wires are run the holes would be sealed with marine sealant.

If the above is a no-go, how have others routed their trolling motor wiring?

I guess another option is to just have a long pigtail to go from the battery in the cuddy to the stern that I stretch out when I need to use the motor.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Re: Trolling motor wire routing

Postby GreenLake » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:02 pm

I have a DS1 where the front of the seats is accessible. I had mounted battery straps there and for years used a trolling motor with one battery strapped to each side. I purchased a massive cable (more diameter than the standard motor cable) to make the run forward - on the older DS1's there's a area under the side deck where you can hide a cable run.

WIth a 12V system you lose a lot of power if your cables are too thin and if they are thick enough they are heavy and expensive. I know, others have placed their batters at the base of the mast (that's most beneficial for balance).

I've decided that I'm done with the weight and am in the process of upgrading to one of the new electric outboards. Of course, they are expensive, but I don't need more back breaking stuff in my life. I've been looking at the EP-carry. The motors are lighter than the trolling motors, mount the same way and the battery at 6.5 lbs is something you can just leave at the transom.

They are designed to be used without leaning over the motor, so to pull them up out of the water when you sail is a simple tug at the controller handle (a simple push puts it back into the water).

I actually compared GPS tracks from before with new ones, as well as the power drawn. The new motor is about 3 times as efficient if measuring power per knot. A more efficient motor plus an optimized propeller; also using a 24V battery helps reducing losses from wiring.

The actual speeds are comparable, if slightly better than what I could do with my trolling motor. The design point was smaller boats like inflatables and tenders, the DS is a bit at the upper end. But I found that it's a more convenient replacement for my trolling motor and it appears that I'm getting an overall range with one battery that is as good as I got with two big ones.

And the recharge is so fast (and the battery so portable) that I've been able to go on a dinner cruise, recharge motor at the destination and ahve the full range for the return.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Trolling motor wire routing

Postby Alan » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:46 pm

I routed my trolling motor cables as you describe, and there weren't any obstacles inside the benches. I didn't have a proper fish wire, so I used a shock-cord loaded tent pole. I taped a string to one end, folded the tent pole into sections, climbed in the cuddy and pushed the string to the hole at the stern, unfolding the tent pole as I went.. Then I tied the string to the wire and pulled it back through to the cuddy.

I used 2-gauge wire to prevent the voltage losses the GreenLake mentioned. Somebody else on the forum used 2-0 wire.

I agree with GreenLake about the more high-tech electric motors and their advantages. I've replaced my trolling motor with a Torqeedo, which weighs 30 pounds with battery. You can take 10 pounds off the transom by detaching the battery and connecting it to the motor with a remote cable. It has the power to fight through powerboat chop and much better range than a trolling motor.

The Electric Paddle sounds impressive. Less expensive than a Torqeedo, and a much faster recharge time for the battery. However, having invested in two spare Torqeedo batteries, remote throttle and battery cables, a fast charger, and miscellaneous spare parts, I'm kinda stuck.
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Re: Trolling motor wire routing

Postby 109jb » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:48 pm

Thanks guys. My issue is cost. The trolling motor I have I was given by my brother in law who upgraded his fishing boat. My son is disabled and uses an electric wheelchair that we replace the batteries every 2 years, so I have a pretty good supply of good quality deep cycle batteries. My only cost for the trolling motor will be the wire and the battery box. I've decided to use the Minn Kota battery box that has external terminal connections, accessory charge ports, battery meter, and circuit breaker protection ($50). so for less than $100 I can totally set up the trolling motor. I guess we will see if it proves adequate for my needs. Frankly if it doesn't, I would probably opt for something like the Honda 2.3 4-stroke outboard and when not in use put it in the cuddy strapped to the floor.
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Re: Trolling motor wire routing

Postby GreenLake » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:32 am

Totally understand the cost issue. Can't beat a trolling motor for price. If your boat is accessible for charging so that the batteries can stay onboard that would make the setup reasonably convenient.

From a power perspective, the motor will definitely get you to/from the dock/ramp and it may also get you across a becalmed patch or under a bridge. It will not work getting you home against adverse wind or current or across miles of water when the wind has died for the night. That said, I found that a trolling motor served me well for many, many seasons of typical sailing.
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