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Old 02-08-2021, 11:44   #1
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Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

I use a 46 pound thrust electric trolling motor on my dinghy powered by a 35ah sealed lead acid battery from Harbor Freight. That works ok but I’d like something lighter and with a little more power. The motor has 5 speeds and apparently needs about 10 watts per speed (1st speed needs 10 watts and 5th speed close to 50 watts). Anyone powering their dinghy trolling motor with a “solar generator”?
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:03   #2
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

Isn't a "solar generator" a combination package of an MPPT charger, battery, and inverter? Seems like you'd be sitting on extra unnecessary weight with that. A simple lithium battery would probably be cheaper and lighter.

I'm curious about having a solar panel awning on a dinghy. If you're only using 50 watts max, you'd be able to power purely from photons for a large portion of the day with even small panels.
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:27   #3
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

Are you sure you don't mean 10-50 amps, rather than watts? 50 watts is less than 1/15th of a horsepower. That really doesn't seem like enough to get a dinghy moving even as fast as you could paddle it with your HANDS!
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:53   #4
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

Definitely not 50 W, I‘d guess 50 A…
Our electric dinghy motor is a 700 W trolling motor and we use it with a 40 Ah/13 V DIY LiFePO4 battery „suitcase“ which is recharged from the main vessel‘s solar charger (425 Wp solar, MPPT).

https://www.entropypool.de/2015/06/0...-battery-pack/
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Old 02-08-2021, 17:16   #5
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

Yep around 500W for a 46lb thrust trolling motor. (Unit confusion yet again, or just a missing "0" ? )

And we've discussed those "solar generators" a few times here. There are mis-named for marketing purposes (they sound nice and green )
Basically, they are just an extremely over-priced MPPT controller, battery pack and inverter in a box.
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Old 05-08-2021, 11:13   #6
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
Isn't a "solar generator" a combination package of an MPPT charger, battery, and inverter? Seems like you'd be sitting on extra unnecessary weight with that. A simple lithium battery would probably be cheaper and lighter.

I'm curious about having a solar panel awning on a dinghy. If you're only using 50 watts max, you'd be able to power purely from photons for a large portion of the day with even small panels.
Unless you build it yourself, those off the shelf Lithium batteries are expensive though. The best deal I found was a 100ah lithium on Amazon for $400.00. (That’s actually a really good deal!) I could power from the sun but I’m often leaving the boat at night in the dark. Other problem is that anything not welded down gets stolen from the dinghy dock here so I need to be able to take the motor and power source with me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Are you sure you don't mean 10-50 amps, rather than watts? 50 watts is less than 1/15th of a horsepower. That really doesn't seem like enough to get a dinghy moving even as fast as you could paddle it with your HANDS!
Oops, I guess I did mean 10 to 50 amps! I’m dumb when it comes to electronics!



Quote:
Originally Posted by mbartosch View Post
Definitely not 50 W, I‘d guess 50 A…
Our electric dinghy motor is a 700 W trolling motor and we use it with a 40 Ah/13 V DIY LiFePO4 battery „suitcase“ which is recharged from the main vessel‘s solar charger (425 Wp solar, MPPT).

https://www.entropypool.de/2015/06/0...-battery-pack/
Nice job you did with building that battery pack!



Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Yep around 500W for a 46lb thrust trolling motor. (Unit confusion yet again, or just a missing "0" ? )

And we've discussed those "solar generators" a few times here. There are mis-named for marketing purposes (they sound nice and green )
Basically, they are just an extremely over-priced MPPT controller, battery pack and inverter in a box.
Yup, yup. Yes, I know “solar generator” is BS which is why I always wrap it in quotes.🤪 Thing is, I can use the “solar generator” for other stuff like as a backup for my Ecoflow Delta 1300 “solar generator” to power my fridge/freezer on cloudy days when 200 watts of solar isn’t enough. (I need to add another 100 watt panel.)


——————————————————————————————-

So, I have tried two small lithium power sources so far and neither could produce anything close to 50 amps DC. That’s what I’ll be looking for.
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Old 05-08-2021, 12:21   #7
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

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Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
Unless you build it yourself, those off the shelf Lithium batteries are expensive though. The best deal I found was a 100ah lithium on Amazon for $400.00. (That’s actually a really good deal!) I could power from the sun but I’m often leaving the boat at night in the dark. Other problem is that anything not welded down gets stolen from the dinghy dock here so I need to be able to take the motor and power source with me.
Well, how much is a 100ah "solar generator" ?
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:35   #8
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

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Well, how much is a 100ah "solar generator" ?
Not sure yet but I bought this Ecoflow Delta 1300 for about $1100. It’s about 1260ah. Not cheap but I needed something compact for my mini camper so went the all in one route.

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station DELTA, UPS Power Supply 1260Wh Battery Pack with 6 1800W (3300W Surge) AC Outlets, Solar Battery Generator for Outdoor Camping RV https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083FR3762/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_72R319809CXDJC6FM23N
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Old 06-08-2021, 11:07   #9
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

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Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
Not sure yet but I bought this Ecoflow Delta 1300 for about $1100. It’s about 1260ah. Not cheap but I needed something compact for my mini camper so went the all in one route.

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station DELTA, UPS Power Supply 1260Wh Battery Pack with 6 1800W (3300W Surge) AC Outlets, Solar Battery Generator for Outdoor Camping RV https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083FR3762...809CXDJC6FM23N
No no no, that's 1260Wh capacity. WH, not AH. Divide by volts to get the amps. At 12 volts it's only 105Ah.

I think there's some electrical research and education needed here.
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Old 15-08-2021, 10:22   #10
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

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No no no, that's 1260Wh capacity. WH, not AH. Divide by volts to get the amps. At 12 volts it's only 105Ah.

I think there's some electrical research and education needed here.
Well there I go again! There is definitely “some electrical research and education needed here” which is why I’m here.🤪 Thank you!

Question for anyone…

What do you think about powering my 46lb thrust trolling motor with a 178Wh “solar generator” that I already have? The DC output isn’t enough to power the motor but what if plugged a 110 AC to 12 volt DC 50 amp converter into the AC receptacle on the “solar generator” and then connect the positive and negative wires from the trolling motor to the converter?
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Old 15-08-2021, 14:47   #11
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

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Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
Well there I go again! There is definitely “some electrical research and education needed here” which is why I’m here.�� Thank you!
You may like to peruse:
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post1933764


Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
What do you think about powering my 46lb thrust trolling motor with a 178Wh “solar generator” that I already have? The DC output isn’t enough to power the motor but what if plugged a 110 AC to 12 volt DC 50 amp converter into the AC receptacle on the “solar generator” and then connect the positive and negative wires from the trolling motor to the converter?
178Wh? That's about 14Ah at a nominal 12V - which is enough to drive your motor for maybe 10 - 20 minutes on a full charge if you take it real slow.
Plugging another device into the circit (AC/DC converter) will not get you any more energy. It will give you less available since no such device is anywhere near 100% efficient. (And it's another electrical device - this time using 110VAC which is not a good idea as close to water as it will need to be to operate your motor.)
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Old 15-08-2021, 23:25   #12
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

I checked out the link and description of this „solar generator“.
I am an EE and I would not want to have such a device on my boat, let alone in my dinghy.
1. it almost certainly contains LiPo or similar chemistry cells which can suffer thermal runaway aka start a really bad fire on your boat (you would like LiFePO4 or LTO chemistry in that device, but these are more expensive and provide less energy density)
2. it looks like the primary purpose of the device is to provide AC power, so I suspect the AC inverter of the device cannot be switched off. You definitely do not want live 110 V receptacles in a dinghy where sea water ingress is likely (unless the point is to find a complicated way to end your own and others lifes)
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Old 18-09-2021, 15:11   #13
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Re: Anyone powering an electric trolling motor w/ “solar generator”?

UPDATE: I returned the 35ah lead acid battery and charger to Harbor Freight because I was only getting about 4 round trips to my boat and back and was draining the battery below 50%, plus, I couldn’t go past the third speed. I bought a $400 cheapo 12 volt 100ah Lifepo4 battery off of Amazon that came with a free charger. Brand is Jita. I’ve been using it for 3 or 4 weeks now and even after 5 round trips at full speed the battery still has about 70% left at the end of the week.

I have tried 3 different battery meters from Amazon (to see how much energy is left in the battery) but had to return 2 so far. Does anyone have a suggestion for a small simple and inexpensive gauge / meter I can buy that shows the percentage that’s available? Preferably from Amazon so I can return it if I need to.
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