Tag Archive: battery

Kayaks outfitted with electric motors require batteries. typically, these are deep-cycle marine batteries, but lithium-Ion batteries are becoming increasingly popular.

Wavewalk 500 Battery Pack

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

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…

 

Choosing an outboard motor for your Wavewalk® 700 skiff

This article is an attempt to answer some questions that Wavewalk skiff owners ask in the process of choosing an outboard motor for it –

Short shaft or long shaft?

We definitely recommend using outboards that feature a long (20″) propeller shaft, and for multiple reasons, which are discussed in this article entitled Outboard motor propeller shaft length for Wavewalk fishing kayaks and boats »
We recommend not to be tempted by the availability and lower price of 15″ short shaft outboard motors, because such motors don’t fit the W700, and using one would never produce optimal results, even for a highly skilled individual with a lot of experience in boat outfitting.

Here is a list of long (L) 20″ shaft outboard motors currently available in the 2 to 6 horsepower range, and their HP rating:

  • Honda 2.3 HP (air cooled), 5 HP
  • Suzuki 6 HP
  • Evinrude 6 HP
  • Tohatsu 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Yamaha 2.5 HP, 4 HP, 6 HP
  • Mercury 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Mariner 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP

Recommended reading –

Air cooled or water cooled?

Water cooled motors are quieter but heavier than comparable air cooled motors.
The only motor featuring on the above list that’s not water cooled is the Honda 2.3 HP. It is very lightweight, and works very well, but being air cooled makes it considerably noisier.

Note: Outboard motor manufacturers recommend flushing the motor’s cooling system with fresh water after every trip in saltwater. It’s possible to flush an outboard with a garden hose outfitted with a special adapter.

4-Cycle or 2-Cycle engine?

Nearly all new small motors on the market are 4-Cycle (4-stroke) and not 2-Cycle (2-stroke).
The advantage of the 4-Cycle system is twofold –

  1. The motor runs on regular fuel, and there is no need to mix it with oil.
  2. A 4-Cycle motor is cleaner, namely it emits far less stinky fumes than 2-cycle motors do.

Some experts argue that for the same displacement of its combustion chamber (cc, volume, size), a 2-Cycle engine in more powerful than 4-Cycle one, but we think that convenience and fresh air are more important.

electric or gas?

Many Wavewalk owners outfit their W500 and W700 with electric motors in the 30 to 50 lbs thrust range, and some go as far as 70 lbs thrust. They use their electric kayaks and skiffs for assisted paddling, recreation, touring, trolling, fishing, snorkeling, etc., but we prefer not to include electric motors in our list of “real” outboard motors for two reasons, which are:

  1. Power – Although some small electric motors are offered as “outboard motors”, just looking at their basic, objective power rating makes us think that they are too weak. Kilowatts to Horsepower conversion: 1 KW = 1.34 HP, and 1 HP = 0.745 KW. Consequently, an electric motor can work well on flat water and at a moderate speed, but not necessarily in adverse conditions, namely strong current, strong wind, etc.
  2. Range of travel – A gallon (3.8 liter) of fuel costs a few dollars, and it’s enough for a typical small outboard motor to run for 4 hours at a high RPM, or an entire day at a lower RPM. You can refuel a small outboard’s built-in fuel tank when you’re on board your Wavewalk®. You can take several gallons of fuel with you on a long camping trip, and you can buy more fuel almost everywhere, while recharging an electric motor’s battery can take half a day. Therefore, gas outboard motors offer a reliable and convenient solution whose price / performance ratio is unbeatable by any electric motor available today.

Weight

All small outboard motors listed above are considered to be Portable. However, between the 29 lbs of the 2.3 HP Honda and the 59 lbs of the 6 HP motors there is a considerable difference, if you need to carry the motor by hand over a distance.

The shallow water position

Most of the small outboard motors listed here offer to lock their propeller shaft in an intermediary position between the vertical (down) and horizontal (up) positions. In this intermediary, slanted position, the propeller drafts less than in the vertical position, and this allows for driving the boat at a moderate speed in very shallow (‘skinny’) water. Therefore, if you’re looking to fish in skinny water, we recommend that you look for this feature.

gear shift lever

Most outboard motors on our list feature a gear shift level, and this is a good thing, because the alternative is a centrifugal clutch that lacks an absolute neutral position. The absence of a full neutral gear can make starting the motor a little tricky, if you’re a beginner.
Our preference goes to the outboard motors that feature the gear shift lever at the front, rather than on their side. The frontal position makes it easier for the driver to access the lever whether the motors points left or right, and even if the driver is facing forward.

built-in fuel tank

All the above listed outboard motors come with a built-in (integrated) fuel tank, and this is a convenient feature considering the alternative is to have a fuel line run from a separate tank to the engine. When you operate such a small craft as a Wavewalk, simplicity becomes increasingly important.

propeller

The propellers that come standard with these outboard motors fit Wavewalk’s kayaks and portable skiffs. Typically, these motors propel much heavier boats, which is why the propeller’s diameter and pitch which determine output in terms of speed and torque are of no real consequence to the owner of a Wavewalk under normal conditions.

price and brand

All the brands listed above are known to produce quality motors, and in fact some of them produce motors for others. For example, Mercury is a Tohatsu brand. This is to say that we see no reason to pay more for a particular name brand, and we recommend to consider only the motor’s technical attributes, and its price.

HP rating – can i overpower my skiff?

6 HP is the absolute maximum for which the W700 is rated, and this is only for its RIB model. Overpowering your Wavewalk can be hazardous, and if you use the wrong motor mount you’d be calling for trouble. This said, if you happen to own a 20″ shaft 5 HP motor and your W700 is rated for a 4.5 HP motor, you can keep your motor, and you won’t necessarily have to get a new one. Similarly, if your W700 is rated for up to 4.5 HP and you found a nice 4 HP that you like, you’d be fine with it.

motor mount

If you choose to make a DIY mount for an electric trolling motor, chances are that you’ll succeed, since these motors are so weak that they’re not likely to cause trouble. But this is not the case with the gas outboard motors in the range that features on the above list.
There are several issues to overcome with motor mounts, and the motor’s weight is the least of them. The main problem is that operating at the end of a 20″ lever, the motor’s propeller generates a great amount of torque, especially at high speed, in rough water and when making sharp turns at high speed. This torque can twist and crack a 4×2 timber, and pull out nails and screws from their place. After having seen motor mounts get broken by outboard motors ranging from 6 to 3.5 HP that were mounted on them, we strongly recommend not to build a DIY motor mount for these motors, and to use only the motor mounts that Wavewalk recommends.

alternator

Some of the more powerful outboard motors listed here can be outfitted with an alternator and an AC to DC converter. Note that such accessories cost hundreds of dollars.
The electric current produced by this system can be used to power lights on board, or to charge a trolling motor’s battery. Such setups are common in bigger boats (e.g. bass boats) that feature much more powerful motors. Although some Wavewalk owners have outfitted their W700 with two motors (a powerful one for driving and a small one for trolling), we don’t know of anyone who’s outfitted their outboard motor with an electric current generation system.

Why an outboard motor?

Skiffs, Jon boats and other small boats sometime come with other motors, among which are air drives or air motors (large diameter propellers) for running marshes and flats, jet drives (similar to personal watercraft, a.k.a. jet-ski), long shaft mud motors for going in shallow water and over obstacles, and outboard motors that run on propane.

While each of these motors offers certain special advantages, and we’d love to see the W700 outfitted with any of them, as well as with other propulsion systems ranging from sails to oars, and even pedal drives… we think the common small outboards such as we listed here offer the optimal mix of price, performance, reliability, versatility, ease of use, and ease of maintenance – Just think how common are boat dealerships and repair shops that service these motors… And if you know how to use your outboard motor and you take care of it, it’s truly a wonderful thing that you’d enjoy for years, and possibly even decades.

Larry The Stable Guy

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Over the weekend, I bow mounted a 30 lb. thrust Minnkota Endura electric trolling motor to my W700. This $99 motor is over 20 years old. Though it is labeled for freshwater use, it works fine in saltwater if it is hosed off after usage

Though I’d like to use a lithium battery, the price is still too high. So, I have an extra marine lead acid battery that slips easily into the forward hull.

With the motor locked in forward, it is easy to steer with a long handled canoe paddle from the stern while standing and even perform some slightly impressive maneuvers. This is wonderfully enjoyable but not too strenuous exercise.

It was too rough on the ocean for the bikini clad paddle boarders to be able to manage the wind and chop but the lone powered paddle cat-a-yakker was able to “Get ‘er done” despite conditions that kept the other yaks and paddle boards on shore.

My other brother, Larry, may be the Cable Guy. With the W700, a little extra thrust, and the plaid sleeveless cotton shirt, I have a new moniker: Larry, The Stable Guy

P.S. – The Wavewalk ball cap and motor bracket are available to purchase on the website.

electric-stand-up-fishing-kayak-Key-Largo-1024 (2) electric-stand-up-fishing-kayak-Key-Largo-1024

 

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »

Review of my Wavewalk 500 outfitted with an electric motor

By Samuel Ramirez

Arizona

I really like my W500 and have been using it a lot lately. I get a lot of comments on it and have let quite a few people ride it. Everyone loves it. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has ordered one from you or will soon as a result of riding it.
I have it rigged up with an electric trolling motor and a smart lithium battery almost exactly like Gary Thorberg did.
I love bass fishing in it with the trolling motor, it really lets me creep up on the locations I want to cast to, and use the trolling motor to stay in my desired position. The only real difference from Gary’s is I have it mounted in the front, in the center space between the hulls. I am very careful not to run the motor so as to hit the hulls when lifting it out of the water. I have quick release plugs and usually unplug it so that cannot happen.
I keep forgetting to take photos of the entire setup but here is a photo that shows the front end of the W500 with the trolling motor at Parker Canyon Lake south of Tucson. Mostly I took the photo to show how beautiful the day was at the lake and caught a small portion of the W500 front end.

As much as I like the W500, being 230 lbs I wish I had the W700 instead, so I could take another person easier.

fishing-for-bass-on-parker-lake-AZ-1024

 

Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing

By Gary Thorberg

 

Fishermen have long known the benefits of having an electric trolling motor. Quiet, clean, and maneuverable, with instant on/off/reverse makes it the perfect choice for fishing. Until recently, the main drawbacks have been limited run-time and battery weight. Enter technology! Various electric trolling motor manufacturers have introduced a new generation of of motors that can offer 4 or 5 times the run-time of previous models! All prior models will drain the battery at a constant rate, regardless of how fast you are going. The new models allow for variable speed with a corresponding variable battery draw. This is very significant in terms of run-time.
Now, enter the lithium-ion battery. At a fraction of the weight and size of a conventional deep-cycle battery, it will provide full power for several times longer than it’s counterpart. Couple this with a Maximizer motor, and you can literally fish ALL DAY on a single charge!
The total weight of the motor and 40ah battery is 30lbs. (A Honda 2hp and a gallon of gas is about 33lbs. in comparison.) This particular motor costs $230, and the battery and charger about $700, for a total of under $1000 (same as the for-mentioned Honda).

Small yet powerful – a lithium-ion battery conveniently located at the bottom of the W kayak’s hull on the side opposite to the motor

A side-mount works well with electric motors. The weight is evenly distributed (battery on one side of the kayak, motor on the other). It is very convenient to have the controls at your side, allowing you to sit in the middle of the kayak, and not have to reach behind you.
I am not an advocate of either gas or electric, as I have both, and will use them for different applications. However, for a day of fishing, my choice is clearly electric!

New generation trolling motor side mounted on a W fishing kayak.

Click images to enlarge:

 

Gary


More northern kayak fishing insight from Gary »