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Trolling Motor Install on R200

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I finally installed a MotorGuide Xi5 trolling motor on my 2018 R200. I tested it in the water today: 20mph wind, 3ft waves. Usually this means my boat will be drifting around 1.5mph and it's impossible to do bottom fishing at 100ft. With the motor deployed in anchor mode, the boat is pinned within a 20ft radius, and my fishing line stays pretty much vertical with an 8 oz sinker.

You definitely need 72" shaft because the R200 has a high bow. Even with that the props would occasionally cavitate in today's condition.

I chose MotorGuide because it works with my Lowrance HDS fish finder. If you have Garmin, Minn Kota is the way to go. It's too bad that they don't inter-operate.

I actually wanted to have someone installed the the trolling motor. However, trolling motors aren't popular at all around here, so I had to do it myself.

I'll post how I did it, in case it might be useful to other R200 owners.

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First - the placement of batteries. The space under the step in the console is just big enough to fit 3 group 31 deep cycle batteries. I bought these battery trays from West Marine. I tried other trays from Amazon but those were too wide so I returned them.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/seafit--battery-hold-down-trays--P009_272_003_003

The trays are screwed onto the floor (plywood wrapped with resin?). I used one inch #10 screws. Don't use anything longer as that would go through the plywood, which sits very close to the bottom of the hull.

I used a lot of 3M 5200 on the screw holes, as this area WILL get wet. 

IMG_0038.jpg.a9c0b6c0a40eb0849ef86e299b99bcce.jpgIMG_0039.jpg.dfa40e91c3553dc84b388d89e657d5af.jpg

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Next, I routed the battery cables under the port gunwale to the bow anchor locker. I first pushed a piece of string from the anchor locker to somewhere close to the console. Then, I used a pickup tool (from Harbor Freight) and a WiFi snake camera to pick up the string.

 

The existing wirings are on the starboard side, but that's too crowded, so I use the port side:

IMG_9977.jpg.4837b704ea6d23047f8804086f241af3.jpg

 

The opening is too narrow. You can't stick you arm in there.

IMG_9979.jpg.22b5e75a01c9aa8ac5c5e83598c89587.jpg

 

Snake camera from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073ZFC59R/

IMG_9980.jpg.e3e75492575c20768ef232e57ed31d36.jpg

 

Pickup tool ($3-ish)

IMG_9981.jpg.d173c156acca1f64f1006cd2624e191d.jpgIMG_9982.jpg.75fd41b34e1b3dbb0cc4a3e77c94820a.jpg

 

The snake camera displays on my iPad, showing the pick up tool reaching for the string.

IMG_9984.jpg.7b67ac196b8a48467272bc90f717238a.jpg

 

Got the string! I had tied the string to a fiberglass wire running kit (notice the copper screw where the string is tied to) and pushed the string in from the bow locker.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-16-inch-x-11-ft-fiberglass-wire-running-kit-65327.html

IMG_9985.jpg.623a3fcf265469dee0d23fb8d953f943.jpg

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With the string, I pulled the battery cables from the console back to the bow locker. 

I worry that the battery cables may get flopped around inside the gunwale and get scratched, so I put them inside split tubing hoses. I needed to pull each cable separately, so I added a fishing line, which I would use to pull the string back down. 

IMG_0024.jpg.3aa7687f27f3203fcd5477be2d23d95d.jpg

 

Here's a cable pulled into the bow locker.

IMG_0025.jpg.ea4c74f0c259c6ab6e6cbfbf6291e241.jpg

 

I added a 3-bank charger

IMG_0040.jpg.149735d27a481f1c8036246e0d82545d.jpg

 

... and a battery switch just to be safe, and a 50-AMP breaker.

IMG_0045.jpg.590b0b7d81f676c7b098ff7716d09eab.jpg

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Once the wiring is done, it's pretty easy -- that is, unless you have the high bow rail like mine:

IMG_0123.jpg.4278e4632b0e0c738d611a8a0831c057.jpg

 

... which blocks the motor from being deployed.

IMG_0124.jpg.9356aa2dc45b20b3ccffd245e5414231.jpg

 

Not to worry, Rigid stainless pipe cutter from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001P81OK6/

IMG_0128.jpg.72c264df5866045bf2df591b48474f20.jpg

 

Making the second cut .... make sure it's taped, or else the center piece will fall into water!

IMG_0133.jpg.bd6a1c32e4772114f34b212d98d8fcc5.jpg

 

It's open for business!

IMG_0134.jpg.caa0df66a785bf98ac05dd54aedfecdd.jpg

 

The holes are plugged with these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-1-4-INCH-ROUND-TUBING-PLUG-END-CAP-1-1-4-QUANTITY-4/391860184394

 

IMG_0138.jpg.c4cc160fe7fa7722e9f0d5c1c35ce9c4.jpg

 

To cover the missing section temporarily, I used a 1.5 inch stainless pipe that I found in a plumbing store.

 

IMG_0139.jpg.cba0ee5c38b7ee18a6816f65d97c2a5a.jpgIMG_0140.jpg.91661f60dc884cd35f4206f87ca41777.jpg

 

You can see the wall of this plumbing piece is too thin. I'm ordering a thicker 1.5" tube from here:

https://www.metalsdepot.com/stainless-steel-products/polished-stainless-products/polished-stainless-round-tube

 

IMG_0145.jpg.2db228ca7618768599477128ea46e918.jpg

 

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Thanks for the extra effort you put into producing this nicely documented tutorial of your trolling motor project.

Good luck!

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Well done!!    I'm looking at purchasing a 202 explorer and was wondering about battery placement (I have kids so a porta potty would be nice but their are other options), you answered that question for me.    

I'm moving to this style of boat for the first time, how do you find the responsiveness of the trolling motor for trolling (if you do that).    I might be trolling up to 2-2.5 MPH with mine and I'm wondering about boat control, does the motor drift off course easily?    Lastly, does the trolling motor impact anyone sitting in the bow when it is stowed?   I noticed it may be right in the way of passengers if they are up front.   thx for info.

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I didn't see any covers over your batteries, it is required by the Coast Guard that the batteries have covers over them by the way.

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It's difficult to find the exact regulations, but it would seem that batteries for outboard motors only require a 'box' to contain electrolyte spillage and post covers to avoid metal contact. My Albemarle had enclosed boxes and it was an inboard. My Robalo and Sailfish came from the manufacturer with spillage boxes only.

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36 minutes ago, FullThrottle said:

It's difficult to find the exact regulations, but it would seem that batteries for outboard motors only require a 'box' to contain electrolyte spillage and post covers to avoid metal contact. My Albemarle had enclosed boxes and it was an inboard. My Robalo and Sailfish came from the manufacturer with spillage boxes only.

I have a spill box under the batteries. I also covered each terminal with these terminal covers https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A3I23NQ/ so hopefully they'll be OK.

As an aside, the batteries under the jump seats didn't have a top cover coming out of the factory, but they do have rubber terminal covers like the ones I bought.

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5 hours ago, mwg2019 said:

I'm moving to this style of boat for the first time, how do you find the responsiveness of the trolling motor for trolling (if you do that).    I might be trolling up to 2-2.5 MPH with mine and I'm wondering about boat control, does the motor drift off course easily?    Lastly, does the trolling motor impact anyone sitting in the bow when it is stowed?   I noticed it may be right in the way of passengers if they are up front.   thx for info.

The motor seems to be pretty easy to control with a remote control. It can also be follow routes programmed inside your fish finder. I'll test the top speed next time I go fishing, but it can go as slow as 0.1 mph, or make the boat stationary using GPS signals.

I mount the motor across the front seats due to my high bow rail. If you don't have high rails, I've seen others that mount the motor on top of the gunwale with minimum interference with the front passengers. For me, it doesn't matter because I fish 4-5 people and no one sits on the front seats. If I go out cruising with the family I just remove the motor (it has a quick-release mechanism) and put the motor in my truck. 

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Here's a new piece of proper stainless steel tubing (0.065 inch walls)  to cover the opening in the rail. It's secured by 2 bicycle post clamps. The web site that sold the tubing said it was "polished" but it turned out to be pretty rough, so I spend a couple of hours polishing it with #100 ~ #3000 sand papers while watching TV.

After I cut the railing, it had become pretty flappy if you pushed against it. Now it feels almost as sturdy as before.

IMG_0230.jpg.75b5ab8b6ce951f8093ded299d93a61a.jpg

 

IMG_0232.jpg.a28ce21d63dbb91cdc57ab920efff8e1.jpg

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Hello,

Thanks for the awesome thread. I will be following these steps for my R200.I noticed almost all installs have the trolling motor at the furthest tip of the bow. 

How would you say yours performed in its current postion?  I aslo would not want to cover the anchor locker. You said the black end caps you bought were 1 1/4".  Is it safe to say that 1 1/4" is the diameter of the bow rails?   Any review on the run time?

Thanks

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Yes, the outer diameter of the bow rail is 1 1/4”

overall I am very happy about the performance. It holds the boat still in 2-3ft seas with 15+ mph wind with less than 100% output. I’m sure it can do more but I can’t :-)

trolling speed can be up to 4 mph, I believe, but I’ve never needed to troll that fast.

my only problem is controlling the motor via my lowrance unit. I never got it to work. I can see information on the lowrance, such as power output percentage, etc, but if I use the lowrance to try to move the boat, sometimes it goes the opposite direction. So I just use the hand held remote control instead.

if I were to do it again I would have bought a minn kota instead.

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Thanks so much for the info. Sounds like the performance with this set up will be perfect for me. Hopefully I wont regret not getting the Minn Kota. I never had either to compare but after reading some forums I went with the Xi5. The new Motorguide upgrade is now compatible with my Simrad and now other devices. But won't try that do the whole network thing  untill next season.

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I shared this video in a different post, but I thought I should also include it here so people can see how the trolling motor works in action under rough weather :

 

 

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Have you pounded around in the water pretty good and if so how are the battery supports in the front console holding up. I want to put my accessory house battery up front. Are they coming loose? Did you put any waterproof adhesive caulk under the trays to hold them down? Did you end up putting a crossbar from Stringer to Stringer to keep them from sliding? Or did the screws into the deck hold just fine? Thanks

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ABYC requires that batteries sit in an acid proof tray and secured to resist a specified force without moving. I forget the ft lb spec. There is no requirement that the batteries be inclosed but the positive terminal has to have some kind of protective boot.

To the OP... All of the lugs on the ends of your battery cables need to be sealed with adhesive lined heat shrink to insure they are water proof or the salt, even just the air,  will eat you up.

One suggestion. I've done a ton of marine wiring so I speak from experience. Get rid of the cheapie resettable circuit breaker and go with a Blue Sea panel mount breaker. The cheapies will fail at the most convenient time

Over all, a very nice job.

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Partial ABYC Standard E-10, Storage Batteries...

10.7.4 Batteries, as installed shall be restrained to not move more than one inch (25mm) in any direction when a pulling force of twice the battery weight is applied through the center of gravity of the battery as follows:
10.7.4.1 vertically for a duration of one minute, and
10.7.4.2 horizontally and parallel to the boat's centerline, for a duration of one minute fore and one minute aft, and
10.7.4.3 horizontally and perpendicular to the boat's centerline for a duration of one minute to starboard and one minute to port.

Good luck!

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On 6/11/2019 at 4:01 PM, Bob Landry said:

ABYC requires that batteries sit in an acid proof tray and secured to resist a specified force without moving. I forget the ft lb spec. There is no requirement that the batteries be inclosed but the positive terminal has to have some kind of protective boot.

To the OP... All of the lugs on the ends of your battery cables need to be sealed with adhesive lined heat shrink to insure they are water proof or the salt, even just the air,  will eat you up.

One suggestion. I've done a ton of marine wiring so I speak from experience. Get rid of the cheapie resettable circuit breaker and go with a Blue Sea panel mount breaker. The cheapies will fail at the most convenient time

Over all, a very nice job.

Hi Bob, thanks for the tips!

After I finished the installation, I added heat shrinks to seal the cables. But since you mentioned it, I checked again today and found one cable not sealed, so I'll seal it ASAP.

IMG_1509.jpg.17ab4de2cab9aee771d7f05d3b9871df.jpg

BTW, here is how I protect the battery terminals:

IMG_1498.jpg.dec81f8bef6e4db5292dd61612f3ed6f.jpg

 

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On 6/11/2019 at 7:07 AM, kingrex said:

Have you pounded around in the water pretty good and if so how are the battery supports in the front console holding up. I want to put my accessory house battery up front. Are they coming loose? Did you put any waterproof adhesive caulk under the trays to hold them down? Did you end up putting a crossbar from Stringer to Stringer to keep them from sliding? Or did the screws into the deck hold just fine? Thanks

I am in the San Francisco area so most of my trips are choppy. I usually drive nice and slow -- about 20mph in a head sea and 25mph in a following sea, but once in a while the boat will jump and make a big splash. I checked the floor today and it seemed pretty solid. I tried rocking the battery trays and didn't feel any movement, so I guess they are still good. Does it meet the ABYC standard (hanging sideways with 2x the weight??), probably not. But I am pretty happy about it.

I put 3M 5200 under the trays for water proofing. I probably didn't put enough for fastening purposes. I don't know if it would stick to the plastic tray anyway.

If you're curios, you can unscrew the stainless "feet" of the console step and see what kind of fastener is used by the factory.

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In all of my reading of online boating discussions over the past six years, I have viewed many photos of supplemental battery installations in various Robalo models which are essentially identical to the above photo, and I've not ever heard an owner complain that a battery broke loose from its mount.

The console compartment floor of our R180 is 3/8" to 1/2" Perma Panel that provided very solid bite to the #12 screws securing the three aluminum trays containing strapped-in Group 31 AGMs in a slightly different arrangement, with one on either side of the porta-potti and one transverse beneath the console step, if only because I need more leg room when I am 'seated'...

 48052086723_ff0a08e50e_o.jpg

Good luck!

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With the battery tray arrangement and mounting hole pattern that was fully internal to the trays' footprint, every hole I drilled went to air space beneath the console floor.

I used 3/4" long screws that no doubt protrude into that air space, ensuring the full thickness of the Perma Panel is utilized by the full height of the screw thread.

I'm curious why, with a F150 on your R180, you're not mounting your second battery in the vacant stern jump seat compartment, consistent with Robalo's two-battery option?

Good luck!

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