Monday, May 2, 2022

Lithium Trolling Motor Batteries: Advantages & Compatibility

 Lithium Trolling Motor Batteries: Advantages & Compatibility

If you’ve been in the market for new trolling motor batteries recently you may have noticed some changes to what’s available in the market. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) marine batteries are becoming a more common option for powering trolling motors, fish finders and other accessories.

A wide array of brands have started to offer Lithium-based batteries for fishing boats, and—depending on your budget—the price point of a new lithium setup might scare away price-conscious anglers.

So what makes Lithium marine batteries different and are they worth the extra money?

Are Lithium Trolling Motor Batteries Worth it?

Let’s break down a few of the key advantages of using lithium marine batteries to power your trolling motor.

Weight Reduction

The first thing that will jump out at you when researching LiFePO4 batteries will be the notable reduction in weight.  Anglers continue to add larger motors, more tackle and heavier accessories as a way to get a leg up on the competition and put more fish in the live well. 

When the added ounces start to turn into pounds, however, it might be worthwhile to consider options to shed weight in other areas.  

One option is to make the investment in a set of batteries that can reduce overall weight and help your boat jump out of the hole quicker and maximize top-end speed as well. 

Some anglers have reported weight savings in excess of 100lbs over their old set-ups across three trolling motor batteries, which might be enough to make your boat feel more nimble. 

Another benefit of the reduced weight is the ability to draft in shallower water, potentially into back-water areas with lower fishing pressure.

Longer Run Times and a Faster Charge

Another notable advantage of lithium trolling motor batteries includes longer run times without battery voltage drop and the potential for quicker charging cycles.

Because of the way these batteries store and discharge energy, they are able to sustain higher input and output voltages for longer periods of time than flooded lead-acid batteries.  This means they are able to supply power to accessories for more of your fishing day without a noticeable loss in power.

This also translates to the potential for faster charge times when using a charger with a dedicated lithium charge curve like the 6, 10 and 15 amp Precision (PCL) chargers from Minn Kota.

Longer Lifespan - How long do lithium marine batteries last?

A lifespan of a lithium marine battery can last up to 10 times longer than traditional lead-acid batteries—ultimately saving money in the long run.

The average life of these types of batteries will vary, but anglers can expect between 3,000 and 5,000 charge cycles depending on manufacturer and use.

LiFePO4 battery manufacturers commonly offer longer warranties, with some as long as ten years – making the long-term cost of ownership more palatable.

Can my Minn Kota trolling motor run on Lithium batteries?

After hearing the advantages of lithium batteries for your fishing boat, you might be ready to pull the trigger on a new set already, but will they work with your favorite Minn Kota trolling motor?

The short answer is yes – Minn Kota trolling motors can run on Lithium-Ion batteries.

Charging lithium trolling motor batteries - Will a Minn Kota charger work on lithium marine batteries?

There tends to be a fair amount of mystery around modern battery set-ups and how to charge and maintain them.  If you’ve used a Minn Kota charging system in the past, there’s a good chance you would never want another charger.

If this sounds like you, you will be happy to hear that all Minn Kota Digital and Precision On-Board Chargers are capable of charging 12-volt LiFePO4 batteries.  

Minn Kota Precision (PCL) chargers manufactured in 2021 or later offer a few added benefits as well as a designated lithium charge profile and the ability to wake these battery types from standby in certain conditions.

If you own a Minn Kota Precision charger manufactured before 2021, you can charge LiFePO4 batteries on the AGM bank selection setting but will miss out on the dedicated Lithium charge curve and ability to wake these battery types automatically from standby.

*Before using any charger on lithium (LiFePO4) battery, check the battery manufacturer's charging requirements to ensure a proper charge.

Should I buy lithium marine batteries for my fishing boat?

How much you want to spend and how you use your boat will help to determine which type of batteries to buy for your trolling motor and electronics, but Lithium-based batteries are here to stay.

Budget – There’s no doubt that the up-front cost of Lithium batteries is high, but given their longevity, the total cost of ownership may actually be lower than other battery types if you plan to keep your trolling set-up long term.

Run Time – If you spend long days on the water (+8hrs) or have limited access to an AC power source on multi-day fishing trips, lithium could be a great option for you.

Weight – If you would like to reduce the amount of weight in your boat to gain performance, lithium will help you shed excess pounds from lead batteries.

If you do choose to make the investment you can rest easy knowing that your Minn Kota trolling motor and charger can make your transition easier with out-of-the-box compatibility.


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