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GregPavlov

Battery/Trolling Motor Problem

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I have a 12-volt MinnKota RipTide. It is connected to a Group 27 AGM battery. The combination has worked fine for a long time. I have an "intelligent" on-board charger that takes care of three batteries. I keep the batteries charged all the time. This weekend after about 20 minutes of total run time, the trolling motor stopped working. It still showed a delayed response to turn commands but it wouldn't turn the prop. After messing around checking for loose connections, etc, I decided to try switching it over to the accessories battery (which is identical to the trolling battery). That fixed the problem.

 

When I got home I checked the charge on the trolling battery; it registered 12.9V. I plugged in the charging system so it ran overnight. Today I dragged the trolling motor battery over to the local West Marine shop. They checked the battery out and said it seemed fine. Thinking by now that maybe switching from one battery to another and the motor starting to run again was just a coincidence - I had problems with the electronics on the MinnKota last year that I had repaired - and hoping that I didn't have to buy a new battery after all, I switched the trolling motor back to the trolling battery.No dice, the motor wouldn't spin the prop but it did after I switched it back to the accessory battery again. So, anyone have any idea of what is going on? I assume I need a new battery after all and am ready to go ahead and buy one, but I sure as heck would like to avoid that if I could. Should there be something else I could check?

 

Also: does anyone know of a battery switch with either two positions (battery 1 or 2) or three (battery 1, battery 2, off) that I could use to switch power to the trolling motor? I *don't* want to get the usual 4-position switch, because it would only be a matter of time before someone who is on my boat - including me - accidentally set it on the "batteries 1 AND 2" position.

 

Thanks!

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Are you sure the West Marine store tested the battery under load? If you just measure voltage a marginal battery will often read OK. But if you test it under load, you will see the voltage drop below minimum, even though it recovers full voltage with no load.

 

You didn't mention the wiring between the battery and trolling motor. Very possible you have a bad connection somewhere, or corrosion creeping inside a wire jacket. Sometimes just replacing wiring terminals can solve problems. And you didn't mention fuses or circuit breakers condition either - check them!

 

If you have three batteries onboard are you sure you have a twelve volt trolling motor? If it's more than 50/55lbs thrust it's going to be 24or 36 volts. Usually one battery is reserved for engine cranking, two batteries are ganged together either in series or paralell to provide either 12 volts and double capacity or 24 volts at the same capacity depending upon connecting.

 

Keep in mind you are trouble shooting a system and don't fixate on only the battery.

 

Check out a Blue Seas catalog for more switch possibilities. If you are shopping at West Marine, they will have one, usually in a set of flip files at their customer service counter.

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View PostAre you sure the West Marine store tested the battery under load? If you just measure voltage a marginal battery will often read OK. But if you test it under load, you will see the voltage drop below minimum, even though it recovers full voltage with no load.

 

Well, you're right, that was the problem. I was thinking last night that the difference I was seeing was probably an issue of load, so I called the other WM store in town and asked if they could test the battery under simulated loads. They said they could and they did - using the same meter the first store used, but they knew how to use it! - so I ended up walking out of the store with a new battery (unfortunately....).

 

You didn't mention the wiring between the battery and trolling motor. Very possible you have a bad connection somewhere, or corrosion creeping inside a wire jacket. Sometimes just replacing wiring terminals can solve problems. And you didn't mention fuses or circuit breakers condition either - check them!
That makes sense, but the wiring (which goes through a circuit breaker) that I used to connect the trolling motor to each of the two batteries was identical.

If you have three batteries onboard are you sure you have a twelve volt trolling motor?
Yes, I'm sure, since I installed most of the stuff on the boat. I have a dedicated starting battery, a dedicated trolling motor battery, and a third for other accessories and as an emergency backup to either of the other two.

Check out a Blue Seas catalog for more switch possibilities. If you are shopping at West Marine, they will have one, usually in a set of flip files at their customer service counter.
I'll check that out next time I'm there; thanks.

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Well you figured out the issue obviously. Glad it was kinda easy, and you didn't go absolutely crazy figuring it out.

 

How long did the battery last you?

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