GETTING THE RIGHT TROLLING MOTOR AND BATTERY SETUP
There are a few things to consider and understand when choosing a marine battery for your electric trolling motor. They aren’t that complicated, it’s just important you make the right choice to get the most out of the money you spend and get the most out of your trolling motor.
Here we take a look at the general types of marine batteries, some good choices for your trolling motor, and more importantly, how to look after what you have got because maintenance is a big factor to getting the most out of your trolling motor battery.
In this article, we will mostly focus on batteries that would suit a typical electric trolling motor used for fishing.
TWO MAJOR TYPES OF MARINE BATTERIES
The first consideration is actually the easiest to decide on. In the most general terms, marine batteries come in two forms.
There is the battery that is designed for cranking, such as getting a boat engine started. This type of battery puts out a lot of power but can only do so in short bursts. It has numerous thin plates, and therefore, will overheat if used for anything but a short period of time.
NOW, THE SECONDARY CHOICE OF BATTERY
The second general type of marine battery is the deep cycle battery. This battery is designed to put out power for longer periods of time. They also have fewer and much thicker plates, which makes them better at withstanding vibrations as well as occasionally getting knocked about. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that deep cycle batteries are the best, and the only choice for trolling motors.
There are a few battery types on the market but there is only really one type that is best suited to electric trolling motors. Here is a look at the 3 types so you know what they are and know which one to choose.
CONVENTIONAL WET CELL DEEP CYCLE
These are the cheapest and normally last around 2-3 years. They use lead plates, separated by spacers, immersed in a solution of approximately 35% sulfuric acid and 65% distilled water. They leak, they let of noxious gases and they are generally messy although cheap. This does not make them good for smaller vessels and fishing kayaks. Forget about conventional wet cell batteries when it comes to your electric trolling motor for your kayak or small fishing vessel.
AGM & GEL CELL DEEP CYCLE BATTERIES
AGM are a little more expensive but they are sealed and are maintenance free. A good AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) deep cycle battery will last around 3-4 years.You don’t have the same kinds of corrosion problems unless you overcharge the thing, and doing that will cause the battery to stay with a low charge. So, the rule with AGM batteries is to take good care of them. Just so you know, AGM is not a brand, it is a technology type. There are many brands that produce AGM deep cycle batteries and do a good job of it.
Gel Cell batteries are often mistaken for AGM batteries because they are very similar. You can’t spill them, they can be mounted in any position and they are low self-discharge and you don’t need to worry about ventilation. However, Gel Cell batteries are really designed for standalone power, say when using a solar power system and will last for thousands of cycles – this is way beyond what you need for powering your fishing kayak or smaller fishing vessel.
So simply put, the technology of AGM deep cycle batteries is the way to go. There is no other option to bother with.
Here are some recommendations before we go on to maintenance and care.
AGM DEEP CYCLE BATTERIES FOR TROLLING MOTORS
• 30AH-50AH AGM battery will suit a 12V 18lb-24lb trolling motors
• 60AH-80AH-105AH AGM battery will suit a 12V 28lb-34lb trolling motors
• 105AH-125AH-135AH AGM battery will suit a12V 44lb-54lb trolling motors
• 150AH-165 AGM battery will suit a 24V/36V 60lb-80lb trolling motors
KEEPING AGM YOUR DEEP CYCLE BATTERY IN GOOD CONDITION
Looking after your battery does not have to be a chore but a little bit of effort will go a long way to getting a lot more out of your vessel’s setup. While AGM deep cycle batteries don’t need a lot of maintenance, there are some things that you can do to get more out of it.
The most important thing with your AGM battery is to recharge your battery as soon as you are back from your fishing trip. You will find a drop in performance in AGM batteries left with a low charge for any period of time because sulphates build up on the plates. By charging the battery you return those sulphates to the solution.
The other thing you can always do is check your terminals for corrosion. Keep them clean, although this is a bigger problem with non-AGM batteries.
GET YOURSELF A SMART CHARGER
Smart chargers are the best insurance for your battery. Modern smart chargers won’t overcharge your battery and will keep your AGM battery in great condition. I would not bother the risk of using any other charger type – you are just asking for trouble.
• Never use an older battery with a new battery because the old battery will drag down the new battery
• Always store your batteries in a cool and dry place when not in use
• You can use a trickle charger to care for your batteries when not in use
• Charge batteries once a month if you have not used them and are not using a trickle charger
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