By Captain Larry Jarboe
After all the excitement of the S4 introduction, it is great to see people posting their W500 and W700 pics and modifications.
The narrow twin hulls make these the ideal stable paddle vessels. Also, the W500 and W700 kayaks are easy to convert to electric power with a simple bolt on transom mount available from Wavewalk..
However, most batteries are too wide for the W500 (and some extent, the W700) to fit down into the hulls.
My solution is to put two 35 AH 12 volt U1 deep cycle batteries end to end in a custom made tapered housing that slips down into the hull. These are batteries that are often used to power electric wheelchairs.
70 amps of 12 volt power will run a 30 lb. thrust Minnkota electric trolling motor at top speed setting (4-5 kts.) for a couple hours. Or, troll at half speed all day. Figure about $160 cost for the under 40 lb. battery pack. Compare with the weight and cost of any other 70 Amp Hour battery that will not fit into the streamlined hulls.
I made my battery box from a plastic planter tray and some PVC decking material. It fits perfectly and works wonderfully in my white W500 that was my original Wavewalk investment.
The only issue was the conducting material at the battery terminals. Stainless steel does not transfer electricity very well. It was hard to find anyone in the Upper Keys on a Sunday afternoon who had a pair of brass nuts.
Try asking for that commodity, anywhere.
Yes, I scored on the 5/16×18 nuts.
And, the 70 AH battery box combo carried me offshore for a post-hurricane exploration of the Atlantic Ocean.
But, that is another story…