I used a small lawn tractor battery from Lowes, and found a small battery box from West Marine. I put the box underneath the rear hiking strap at the transom. The Minn Kota has 5 forward speed and 3 reverse speeds. The faster you run it the faster you'll run out of juice on the small battery.
My main goal was to get something lightweight for racing, so I can get in-out of the marina. I picked a day where there was virtually no wind blowing when I went out and ran the motor a whole lot longer than I would have expected. Typically, I can start sailing once I get out of the marina, while this day I had to motor nearly 1 mile out. The motor stopped running on my return about 100' away from the boat ramp, I couldn't have asked for any more from the small battery.
Overall, this trolling motor working perfectly for my needs. It's lightweight for racing, and provides just enough thrust to move the boat where I want to go. The price was $120 or so and didn't break the bank. A full sized battery would increase the range, but also increase the weight. If weight is not a factor, then I would recommend the larger battery.
Robert, thank you for your information. That is exactly what I have in mind. A small trolling motor just to use on occasions. I will use a larger battery, since I won't use the trolling motor during any race days.
I used a small lawn tractor battery from Lowes, and found a small battery box from West Marine. I put the box underneath the rear hiking strap at the transom.
1989 Catalina Capri Mod2
1984 Catalina 22
Altoona - Curious how that battery works out. I too am looking for a small battery but was told the starter batteries like the one you have aren’t built for charge/discharge operation and that I would need to use a deep cycle which a small one is hard to find. A few years back I purchased a U1 size at Wal-Mart but can't find them now. I'm looking at Wheelchair/scooter SLAs as an alternative right now.
The small lawn tractor batter worked fine for the one time I used it. I made sure it had a full charge before using. The thrust was not very strong, it sure beats using a paddle inside the marina around boat traffic where is not much wind.
I have no experience with trolling motors, so I can't say if the power is an issue of the 30 lbs thrust just weak or the small battery doesn't have much juice(although, 12 volts is still 12 volts right?) --- probably both. With the 5 forward speed settings, I kept switching between 3 and 5, trying to extend the battery power and get a little more speed.
If I had to guess, I ran the battery for 40-50 minutes total. On the trailer, I found one wire had pulled off a battery terminal. I suspect it happened when I put pulling the rudder/tiller out and not while I was running the motor. The manual suggested a 60 amp reset breaker switch, I couldn't find one. I found and used a 40 amp inline fuse... something about water and electricity made me nervous.
I made the mistake of leaving the motor attached to the transom. It didn't cause a problem until I was going downwind and had to tack and the mainsheet got hung up a couple of times. I have the MOD2 with the closed box up front, so there isn't much room up front for storage with my other gear.
When I use it again, I can give another report on the life of the battery.
I also got the battery box and charger, and mounted the box on the transom opposite the motor mount so everything is out of the cockpit. This battery pushes a Minn Kota 40lb thrust, 36" shaft Riptide very well for about 40 minutes. The only time it struggles is against a heavy headwind. Otherwise it's
pretty zippy. I got the motor at Cabelas but see they're a LOT MORE EXPENSIVE now.
I prefer a small gasoline trolling motor. No battery to keep up with or go dead out on the lake just when you need it. Any you always have full power as long as you have gas. I got an old 1.5 hp and went through it and made an aluminum mount so it stays outside the traveler and then I shut it off and kick it up out of the water when not in use. It has the gas tank built in and weighs less than 20 pounds.
Unfortunately these gel cell batteries require a special charger which uses a different charging algorithm. I bought the Battery Tender Plus along with the battery. Two years now without a hitch so I can't complain.