Reliability is extremely important for boating, which is why it is essential that we use functional tools and equipment. It is fortunate that there are many well-respected brands that deliver such reliability. That includes Minn Kota, whose motors and boat equipment are among the best available today.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at Minn Kota circuit breaker installation to gain a better understanding of the equipment. If the whole thing is new to you, it’s still worthwhile to learn more about it even if you don’t plan on doing the setup yourself. Keep reading to learn more.
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Circuit Breaker for Boats
We use circuit breakers to protect our electrical circuits and systems from surges and short circuits which can cause irreparable damage to motors. CBs work by cutting off the flow of electricity when things get dangerous. They also protect against overheating, so they’re a necessity on a boat.
While we use circuit breakers in different settings, including our homes, circuit breakers for boats are specialized and designed for use in a boating environment. They can withstand the moisture that comes with being on the water, so only these breakers are recommended to be used for boats.
Using Circuit Breakers on Boats
If you have any electronics on board, then a circuit breaker will benefit you. However, circuit breakers on boats are most often used for the engine or trolling motor. While boat engines are usually powered by fuel, trolling motors are powered by electricity from a battery, though there are gasoline-powered outboard motors used for trolling as well.
Trolling motors can be expensive, reaching up to thousands of dollars or more, depending on the power of the engine. Compared to having to replace an engine worth a few thousand dollars, installing a circuit breaker will be a fraction of the cost of a replacement motor. Electric outboards benefit from circuit breakers as well.
A fuse can be used as an alternative to the circuit breaker. While there is barely any noticeable difference in performance, it is more difficult to replace a blown fuse compared with having to just reset Minn Kota circuit breaker by flipping the switch and being on your way.
Amp for Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers are available in 50 amp and 60 amp. Each type is further subdivided into units based on their VDC capacity. Install 50 amp circuit breaker for trolling motor, and you’ll have support for a maximum of 48VDC.
Refer to Minn Kota’s battery and wiring installation guide for more details about amp draw compatibility to circuit breaker types.
Circuit Breaker Setup
A simple setup will always involve three basic components: the battery, the motor, and the circuit breaker. We’ll also be using a jumper wire. These are general instructions, so you should refer to the official documentation or manual for more detailed steps.
- First, take a look at the motor, which has two wires, one positive and the other negative. Make sure to refer to your manual to identify which is which. Next, take a look at your battery and identify the positive and negative terminals.
- Connect the circuit breaker to the battery’s positive terminal using a jumper wire. Be sure to secure this connection properly. Next, connect the motor’s positive wire to the circuit breaker.
- It doesn’t matter which end of the circuit breaker is used; use one side for the jumper wire to the battery and the other side for the trolling motor’s positive wire.
- Take the negative wire of the motor and connect it to the battery’s negative terminal.
That’s all you need to do for a simple setup, but this applies only if you have a 12V trolling motor. For higher voltage motors, things get a bit more complicated.
Marine batteries are usually 12 volts each, and if we need higher voltages, we use multiple batteries. Motors come with 12, 24, 36, and 48 voltage requirements, and we wire batteries together to accommodate them.
In order to wire batteries together, we use jumper wires. There are two common ways to wire batteries together: the series and the parallel, but we only use a series to increase voltage.
In a battery series, we connect batteries together by wiring the negative terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of the next battery, thereby increasing the voltage that the battery series can accommodate.
If you go to Minn Kota’s official website, you’ll find more detailed resources to guide you through the setup process. The available resources and documentation include setup diagrams for more in-depth references.
One more important thing to note when setting up a trolling motor and hooking it up to the battery is selecting the right size or thickness for your wires.
Wire sizes are identified by gauges using the American Wire Gauge or AWG unit, with lower-numbered units being the larger size. This means that a 10 AWG wire is smaller than a 6 AWG wire, both of which are compatible with a Minn Kota MKR-26 installation.
If you use a wire that is too small, you end up risking a short circuit. While a circuit breaker will be easy to reset when it trips, having to stop often for such an avoidable thing can be disruptive to what should be a nice day out for boating.
You can refer to Minn Kota’s official website for wire gauge requirements for specific trolling motors along with their Minn Kota circuit breaker chart.
Getting yourself through a Minn Kota circuit breaker installation is easier than most people think. Just remember to read the manual or documentation first before trying it out yourself. It’s always a good idea to learn more about the equipment you use.
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Remember to boat safely.