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  • charging trolling motor batteries onboard with generator

    I have a question for anyone who might know the answer. I have a boat that stays in the water year round and is a pain to trailer. It has a minn kota terrova 112 on it i use to troll for striper etc... I have a solar panel + trollbridge 36v system now that charges the batteries onboard, but it takes a day or two with good sunlight to get them charged generally. The problem im running into is that when its cloudy and i want to fish a lot the engine running plus the solar panel cant keep up.

    Have yall seen/heard some of the honda or yamaha 1kw or 2kw generators? there almost wisper quiet. Ive confirmed with minn kota that they will be fine to power an onboard 3 or 4 bank charger, and charge the batteries when they arnt in use, but they say not to use the trolling motor while the batteries are charging. They cant tell me why, so i feel like its just something they say to cover any possible situation where the charger failed and delivered a voltage spike that might mess up the trolling motor, but that barring any charger failure it would work fine. Why is that? When i run my main engine and my trolling motor simultaneously there has never been a problem, and its putting out dc power that i thought would be the same or similar to an onboard charger. The solar panel has been charging the battery bank for the past 6 months with no issues, and ive never disconnected my trolling motor to charge on any boat, on-board charger or not. I realize that even the nicest 4 bank chargers only output 10-15 amps per bank, so i wouldn't be able to run my trolling motor full blast without just killing the batteries anyway, but generally im running the trolling motor between 1.5-3 on a 10 scale power-wise, depending on wind. Oh and if I could do shore power and plug it in I would, but its at a dock in a common area so no luck there.

    Does anyone know the actual reason you cant be charging the batteries with an on-board charger and run the trolling motor simultaneously? I have this pipe dream now of getting a 4 bank onboard charger and running a generator to keep them charged while i fish. I realize that the generator might spook the fish, i m have one to run on the boat to test whether it would or not otherwise i would test it before trying this plan lol.

    Thanks for the help, Mark

  • #2
    Originally posted by Markofboxaw View Post
    I have a question for anyone who might know the answer. I have a boat that stays in the water year round and is a pain to trailer. It has a minn kota terrova 112 on it i use to troll for striper etc... I have a solar panel + trollbridge 36v system now that charges the batteries onboard, but it takes a day or two with good sunlight to get them charged generally. The problem im running into is that when its cloudy and i want to fish a lot the engine running plus the solar panel cant keep up.

    Have yall seen/heard some of the honda or yamaha 1kw or 2kw generators? there almost wisper quiet. Ive confirmed with minn kota that they will be fine to power an onboard 3 or 4 bank charger, and charge the batteries when they arnt in use, but they say not to use the trolling motor while the batteries are charging. They cant tell me why, so i feel like its just something they say to cover any possible situation where the charger failed and delivered a voltage spike that might mess up the trolling motor, but that barring any charger failure it would work fine. Why is that? When i run my main engine and my trolling motor simultaneously there has never been a problem, and its putting out dc power that i thought would be the same or similar to an onboard charger. The solar panel has been charging the battery bank for the past 6 months with no issues, and ive never disconnected my trolling motor to charge on any boat, on-board charger or not. I realize that even the nicest 4 bank chargers only output 10-15 amps per bank, so i wouldn't be able to run my trolling motor full blast without just killing the batteries anyway, but generally im running the trolling motor between 1.5-3 on a 10 scale power-wise, depending on wind. Oh and if I could do shore power and plug it in I would, but its at a dock in a common area so no luck there.

    Does anyone know the actual reason you cant be charging the batteries with an on-board charger and run the trolling motor simultaneously? I have this pipe dream now of getting a 4 bank onboard charger and running a generator to keep them charged while i fish. I realize that the generator might spook the fish, i m have one to run on the boat to test whether it would or not otherwise i would test it before trying this plan lol.

    Thanks for the help, Mark
    http://www.stealth1charging.com/Data.html or

    https://minnkotamotors.johnsonoutdoo...ard-alternator
    lots of bass boat guys run with these. They use the large motors to top off the cranking battery, then direct the current to the TM batteries. So, if you run around a bit, you charge your TM batteries while doing so AND reduce the time it takes for the solar system to recharge them.....other than that, consider lithium....they charge faster, last longer and can be discharged much lower while still giving good performance.....(you can get them now for around 600 dollars each...
    cheers,
    Steve

    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

    sigpic

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply; yeah i have a trollbridge 36, its pretty similar to minn kota's product so im charging all 4 batteries once the house battery gets above 13v now. My motor is just an old 110 johnson two stroke that puts out about 10 amps lol, so not getting a ton of charging there. I talked with a rep from NOCO (they make 4 bank chargers) who said the reason i cant charge and run simultaneously is that i would fry the batteries, although my thought was that the trolling motor would just consume the dc power from the charger and supplement from the battery for higher amp draw settings. I think im just going to upgrade my solar panel setup and see how that goes, i got a good deal on a couple 300w residential panels, so on a sunny day i think it will theoretically do 600w x .8 for efficiency loss x 5 usable hours of light in va = 2400 watts a day, divided by 36v = 66 amp hours per day per battery to my 3 trolling motor batteries, which i think is a lot, especially since i usually only need to run the motor at the 2-3 thrust setting. I want to get an amp meter and see what im actually using but i haven't yet.I just know it doesnt quite keep up on cloudy days. (with the one 150watt panel). Id do a solar panel roof over the whole dang boat but i want to be able to cast to fish still some lol.

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      • #4
        Oh and as for the lithium batteries id love to have them, there just not in the cards for me right now, i only paid 500$ for my main engine lol. If i had lithium i could just carry them back to the house and charge them too as ive heard there pretty lightweight.

        Thanks again for the reply.

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        • #5
          Why not just charge the batteries with the generator while it is at the dock?
          Kirk
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          • #6
            The dock is in a common area, it would probably be fine but i wouldnt really want to leave it running when im not down there.

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            • #7
              my last thoughts on this, since you have obviously done alot of thinking and math on it, are get a larger lithium jump box like a weego. You can use them to recharge batteries, so on those days you have no sunshine to help recharge, you have some backup power. They are good for several things, charging electronics, flashlight and jumpstarting as well....I have one and like it alot....

              https://myweego.com/product-category...jump-starters/
              cheers,
              Steve

              2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
              Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the idea; those are pretty cool. I ended up coming across these things that are apparently common with people who bowfish to recharge on the water, there called dc converters, and they go to pretty high amperage, but there also pretty expensive. I think id have to have one for each battery, so maybe not cost effective. I decided to pull the plug and bought two 300w solar panels that were leftovers i got an awesome deal on; im working on the install now. I think its gonna be about a 6 or 7 on a scale of nice to goofy looking. heres some pics of the install so far; the panels are actually pretty sturdy, but im still going to fab up a brace for the back side because it hangs about 2' from the back of the cabin, and im afraid if the boat was beating around in the waves it might be an issue. Im excited about it, im hoping it will make enough power to run the trolling motor plus charge the batteries while im trolling at low power settings when its bright out, ill know soon enough. Click image for larger version

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                • #9
                  that looks pretty cool. Please let us know how it works......
                  cheers,
                  Steve

                  2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
                  Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Yep, will do! i should be around the boat during daylight tomorrow some so i can see what its putting out, but the real test wont be till i can get back on the water and fish for a few days and see if it keeps up.

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                    • #11
                      also in case anyone is interested here is a website i found: https://powermaxconverters.com/bowfishing-gear/

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                      • #12
                        I got in touch with them and its actually more affordable than i thought; here is a copy of the email exchange from the rep from powermax:

                        Mark,

                        Yes the PowerMax can be used to charge the batteries while you're running your trolling motor. 3 of the 55A are $349 shipped

                        Graham

                        On Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 7:27 PM Mark Cunningham <[email protected]> wrote:
                        Ok thank for the quick reply; Just to confirm, if the batteries diddnt need to be charged but I was running the generator powering the converters it would be fine to run the trolling motor off it while its running? How much are the 55 amp 12v units?

                        Thanks, Mark.

                        So with 349$ plus the cost of the generator and some fab work to install everything i think its definitely a doable option, for now im hoping the solar panels work enough to keep with everything. im not trying to sell the system to anyone and i have no idea if that brand is any good or anything, just wanted to share the info, when i went on google and searched for "run trolling motor off generator" mostly all that comes up is people saying it cant be done.

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                        • #13
                          Finally got it back in the water today; not finished but done enough for now. I went out around 4pm and it was mostly sunny with occasional clouds; it was putting out enough power i could run it at 4-5 on the power settings before it seemed to start using the batteries, im kind of just guessing because the amp output kept increasing on the solar panel controller until that point, maxing out at about 7 or 8 amps at around 44 volts! Im pretty happy with it i think, time will tell. How low do yall let your trolling batteries get when trolling with a 36v trolling motor before calling it quits? Im thinking somewhere between 34-36v? Or can i run them lower? Click image for larger version

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