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Old 30-04-2017, 14:57   #1
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Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Hey all,

Curious if you have any input on an appropriate small electric motor for a Takakat lite inflatable dinghy - Takacat Lite - Open bow inflatable catamaran

We currently have a tohatsu 9hp 4 stroke that weighs a zillion pounds. It's also way too powerful - you can make the dinghy do "wheelies" if you floor it. I've had some close calls. This setup came with my boat when I bought her. I don't need that much juice in a motor and I rarely even mount the tohatsu bc it's so heavy - I just row from my mooring to shore. However, it would be nice to not have to row on windy days. Our dinghy rides are never more than from a close anchorage to shore..

I've been looking at torqueedo, but the reviews are mixed and the prices are high.

Now I've been thinking about a cheap trolling motor and setting it up with a pair of 12v batteries in series and a small solar panel. Anyone have any thoughts?

Was thinking something like this, but with a shorter shaft... Minn Kota® Endura™ Max 55 Transom-Mount Trolling Motor : Cabela's

Thanks in advance
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Old 30-04-2017, 15:18   #2
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

We've had a Torqueedo for four years now and, cost aside, can't really fault it. Decided to buy a second battery and take it, rather than the petrol Yamaha ob, when we set off long term cruising in a couple of weeks. When off grid we would have to carry a lot of petrol for the Yamaha whereas we should always be able to charge the Torqueedo battery. Performance is similar to the Yamaha 2.5 but the difference in handlability is huge - can just throw the three component parts round around like a modest bag of groceries rather than the heart in mouth 4 stroke ob wobble. Just done a 4.5 mile round trip at 3 knots - 2 and a bit miles there into a nasty chop and against a 1 - 3 knot current on the return trip and still had 40 something percent of battery left.

No connection, just a convert. But agree there is no ignoring the cost!
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Old 30-04-2017, 15:36   #3
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Thanks very much Nooka. Good to hear a positive experience with torqueedo. Maybe they're worth a second look.
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Old 30-04-2017, 15:53   #4
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

By the way they are now available with quite a bit more battery capacity giving you a lot more range.
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Old 30-04-2017, 15:55   #5
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

I have purchased several of the new Torqueedo motors in the past couple years for my customers. Not a single complaint except for price. The older ones were crap, but the manufacturer learned his lessons. I will be getting one, with spare batteries, when I take off cruising myself. It will be my back up motor should I venture in isolated places. Good units. Be sure to get spare magnetic ignition keys.
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Old 30-04-2017, 17:21   #6
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Thanks Roy. Really appreciate the feedback. Just curious if anyone has had any luck with a trolling motor like this on a dink:

Minn Kota® Endura™ Max 55 Transom-Mount Trolling Motor : Cabela's
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Old 30-04-2017, 17:33   #7
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

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Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
Thanks Roy. Really appreciate the feedback. Just curious if anyone has had any luck with a trolling motor like this on a dink:



Minn Kota Endura Max 55 Transom-Mount Trolling Motor : Cabela's


I used the saltwater version (the Riptide) for several years on my inflatable. Works fine, won't plane, needs battery. I started with one 12 volt dual function battery but since I wanted to be away from a charging source for a couple of weeks at a time I upgraded to a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries. They worked out fine...except they weighed 65 lbs each and were a handful to lift from the boat to the dinghy and back. And trying to haul the dinghy up a steep beach with 130 lbs of batteries was not fun. I switched to a 3.5 hp Tohatsu outboard. I'm happy with that choice.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:04   #8
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

We have a Torqueedo to for our 8 foot dinghy. Works great is quiet and we just charge up while on the Davits. That way we only carry Diesel for engine and generator.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:39   #9
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Thanks Tayana and Tootles. The idea of never worrying again about gas or oil for the dink is really appealing. I'll see how much I get for my old Tohatsu and go from there.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:02   #10
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Guys with Torqueedo - which version do you have (how powerful)?
I heard some old ones had corrosion issues - is this improved?
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:44   #11
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

1003s from 2013. No corrosion issues so far, despite total neglect - no freshwater rinse off, no contact spray, in four years. For us it makes total sense so long as we carry a spare battery. My main reservation is whether the high cost, and great portability, makes them more likely to be stolen - though ours hasn't been yet despite being left unlocked on many a UK beach. A coded electronic kill cord token could reduce that risk quite easily I should think.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:55   #12
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Very close to doing the same thing. Many people will carry on about the dangers of propane, but not many people seem to think twice about storing dinghy gas. Gas fumes, just like propane, are heavier than air and will collect in the bilge. Also having a dinghy motor that doesn't weight 60 lbs would be a huge benefit. I know the battery won't be light, but you can buy multiple smaller sizes, and they are a much easier form factor to handle than an outboard.

Torqeedo's look great, but like others have said, the price is frustrating. Seems they could offer something without the integrated Li-ion battery for a lot less.

So why not trolling motors? A 55 lb thrust salt water Minn Kota MSRP is $380. The Torqeedo 503 (1.5 hp equivalent) is $1,700. The trolling motor is rated at 50 amps @ 12V, so 600W. The 503 is rated at 500W. That matches with thrust, Torqeedo specs say 40 lbs for the 503, but also say it is measured differently than trolling motor thrust, so add 50% to compare, so 60 lbs. The Minn Kota is obviously 55 lbs.

So what is the difference? Seems to come down to the integrated battery and prop. The Torqeedo uses and 8" pitch prop turning at 700 rpm. Minn Kota props are 4" pitch and the motors turn 1500 rpm. Funny enough, that should just about cancel out when it comes to speed (about 4 kts).

For $2,000, you could upgrade to the 1003, which turns that same prop at 1200 rpm for an approximate max speed of 6.5 kts. This seems the more popular route.

This has led me to wonder if I could retrofit an eBay-special gas outboard prop (commonly available in 5" and 6" pitch) to a trolling motor. Seems like for $400 + batteries, you could get the same result as the $2K Torqeedo.

Of course, for most situations 4kts would be fine. I worry about that one time you have to fight a 5 kt tidal current.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:15   #13
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

I've had the 1003 Torqeedo for about 3 years - very pleased with it. Yes its pricey..but the weight, convenience make it worth it.
I only have 1 battery and the range is adequate for my needs. I have played with hooking up a solar panel and if I need a cheap range extender, this will do the job.
After 6 months I went to clean it. Found when taking the prop off that the factory had cross threaded the prop bolt on. Torqeedo took full responsibility and fixed under warranty.
Also noticed that the prop washer was rusting...Why they wouldnt have used a top quality stainless steel washer is beyond me. I replaced with a top quality washer.
If Torqeedo is listening... It would be great to have blank plugs to protect electrical connectors when the motor is dismantled...which is most of the time. To handle this shortcoming, I keep the motor assembled.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:24   #14
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Just purchased a used Torqueedo 1003 and there is a gap in the sleeve. Manuf did not respond to my inquiry. Will take it out next weekend dor the first time.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:37   #15
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Re: Electric motor options for inflatable dinghy

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post
Guys with Torqueedo - which version do you have (how powerful)?
I heard some old ones had corrosion issues - is this improved?
I have a 1003 model. Supposed to be about 2 hp. I also have a $200 Minkota.

My mooring is about 1/4 mile from the dock at the club. I keep the Torqeedo on the boat(its a 19 foot West Wight Potter micro cruiser) as a back up for the 6 HP Tohatsu. I don't use it for the dinghy, but I could. The dinghy has a 2.3 HP air cooled Honda OB because I need to leave it sitting at the dock all the time, and leaving a Torqeedo on the boat would cause it to be stolen. And the Honda does have more power to get it through swells to the mooring. The honda accelerates much faster than the Torqeedo, but they have the same top speed. It does make 5 times as much noise, since the Torqeedo is almost silent.

Last summer I used the minkota 55lb thrust to get out to the mooring in about 1/2 foot seas, in my 10 foot Walker Bay dinghy and by the time I got to the mooring the 12 volt battery was down about 50%. I had to run the Minkota flat out to move more than 1/2 a knot an hour. I used the Torqeedo to get the 19 foot sailboat back to the dock and then back out to the mooring again in 1 foot seas agains a 15 knot breeze, and used about 4% of the battery(pulling the dinghy too). I ran the Torqeedo at about 1/2 power and went 5 times faster. There is no comparison between the Minkota and the Torqeedo.

I actually removed the stern ladder and put in a new motor mount just for the Torqeedo in case i should need it. With two batteries, I can get about an hour at 4 knots, or 2.5 hours at 2.7 knots---on the 19 foot sailboat.

If you can afford the cost, The Torqeedo is head a shoulders above the competition, IMO. The competition's motors in the same category actually cost more than the Torqeedo.

I have three motors for my sailboat( the 6 hp Tohatsu, the 2.3 HP honda, and the 2.3 hp Torqeedo. Sailing(because we are all on a schedule) is 50% very slow motor-boating.
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