Trolling motor / electrical question - Colorado Fishing Forum

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Old 04-18-2012, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trolling motor / electrical question

I have a circuit breaker installed between the battery connector and my trolling motor. Itís a 12 volt, 40 amp resettable breaker. I also connect the battery charger and one of the fish finders to the same circuit breaker. Here are the issues:

1. The wires and circuit breaker would heat up when I use the trolling motor and the breaker will trip after an hour or 2 (it trips faster if I have the trolling motor on high). Thatís not a big deal most of the time (I just have to reset it), but itís really annoying when Iím trolling and/or there are high winds.

2. I donít seem to get as much power from my trolling motor as I used to and the battery drains more quickly than it used to.

What do you folks know? I did a little bit of research online and found that I should switch the circuit breaker to a 60 AMP unit (instead of the 40 amp) as recommended by Minn Kota. Should I only use the circuit breaker for the trolling motor (and not connect the battery charger and the fish finder to the circuit breaker)? Do I have a short somewhere, or could a faulty circuit breaker itself cause the overheating? Is there a wrong/right way to install a circuit breaker (it's connected to the positive battery connector now)? Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Most fish finders require a 3 amp in-line fuse. I would definitely run separate power to it.

What do you mean about your battery charger being connected to that circuit breaker??

Is the battery just getting old, perhaps, and not holding a charge as well?

Installing the circuit breaker on the + battery cable is correct.



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Old 04-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonInDenver

What do you mean about your battery charger being connected to that circuit breaker??
All three wires from the battery charger, the fish finder, and the trolling motor are connected to one end of the circuit breaker. The other end of the circuit breaker is then connected to the battery. It was set up like this by the previous owner. Sounds like it's a bad idea (both the fish finder and the battery charger have their own fuses anyway). I have a 5 year old battery and a 3 year old battery (one is used as a spare). Both very lightly used because I don't use the boat much. This problem started about 3 years ago. That was actually why I bought the 3 year old battery. It didn't fix the problem.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

60 amp breaker for sure. Bigger gauge wire will help transfer current more efficiently.

Every device should be fused. Fuses should be as close to battery as possible to minimize the risk of ignition. The spec of the fuse will be provided by the manufacturer of the device.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Trolling motors, irrespective of the battery can degrade over time. I've got a brand new battery on mine but I'm in #4 and 5 speeed alot now, used to be in 2 or 3 speed most of the time when it was new.

The TM is 10+ yrs old and they do over time, wear out.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

First off forgive any spelling issues these smart phones arent really that smart. Second alot more info is needed to answer this question. Everyone is close but more info is needed. First check to make sure the circuit breaker is installed with the batt side to the battery and the load to the load. It is just fine to conmect accessories off of the load side of the breaker it acts just like a terminal strip, just make sure everything gets its own properly rated fuse. What guage wire and what strand is running how far to the trolling motor. Is it hardwired or are their plug connectors in line. What is the conditiom of the plugs. Are the greased, connectioms tight. Over time they connectors will spread opemimg the connection adding draw. Check motor for crap in the prop or worn bushings bent or damaged prop. Just to clarify or kustify the earlier statement of the circuit breaker think what is the difference if all is on the breaker post or the breaker post feeds a term block. If you need or want more help drop a note will do what I can to help.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Current spikes from a battery?
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Thanks to all for the good feedback. Fishing from a boat has been a frustrating experience for me. I have had this boat for 6 years now and it has probably never been on the water much more than 10 days per year (it was on the water twice last year). I knew very little about boats when I bought it. I kid you not: it took me until this year to figure out how to set the idle on my engine and how to properly choke it when I start it. I always had a hard time starting it before that because the idle was set too low and I was always too afraid to flood the engine by choking it too much. I would choke it for a second, maybe two seconds max. Now, I just choke it until it fires up and I have yet to flood it. Another funny detail: I did not understand what ďchokeĒ meant the first two years I owned the boat. I associated it with the choking of a human being and was perplexed as to how it could help with starting an engine. Now, I think the better analogy is spraying gasoline on wood before you light it up (someone is going to tell me that Iím still wrong). Needless to say, Iím no mechanic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12b_elmo
First off forgive any spelling issues these smart phones arent really that smart. Second alot more info is needed to answer this question. Everyone is close but more info is needed.
I agree, and understand that the issues I have my my trolling motor probably can't be resolved through a fishing forum, but you and others have provided me with good pointers and with a little more research on my own, I might just be able to figure it out. As I said, I really don't know much about boats or electrical issues.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

Unless you grow up around boats with a Dad, Uncle or neighbor to show you how, the way you learn is just what you are doing. Keep it up and you'll gain confidence in no time.

When you "choke" the engine what you are doing is increasing the Venturi effect to suck more gasoline in there. A cold motor likes to run rich at first. Then once you get going, you need less gas, in fact too much at that point is not a good thing. You want to run "lean" once you warm up, not "rich." If you run too rich once you get going you'll get carbon on your plugs, waste gas and your motor will run poorly forcing you to pull your plugs and clean them. Try this: Start your vacuum at home, and put your hand partly over the end of the tube. You'll feel the force of the suction increase. That's the same as choking the motor. The little butterfly on the carb does the same thing as you are doing with your hand over the end of the tube. The increased suction when the butterfly valve closes chokes the motor and brings in more gas.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Trolling motor / electrical question

That's a great explanation Albow. I've read many explanations online that were not nearly as clear. More specifically, the explanation on auto.Yahoo.com is just simply confusing as far as I'm concerned. It talks about a rich air/fuel mixture, which seems to imply a high ratio of air to fuel. Why are you restricting air if you want more air? I guess there is a reason why yahoo is no longer ďcoolĒ (and why its users are also no longer ďcoolĒ). Wikipedia.org provides a great explanation and correctly and clearly describes a rich fuel mixture as a high fuel to air mixture. Anyhow, I could go on and on about the challenges of starting a 2-stroke engine and other tragedies of owning a boat, which I'm sure are just second nature to some of the folks on here.
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