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Trolling motor wiring may seem difficult if you’ve never installed a motor before but it can be easily done if you have the right tools and a set of instructions.
We have compiled a quick guide with some tips on how you can wire a trolling motor so that it can work safely and correctly on your boat.
Before You Start
Before you get started it can be important to consider the safety of your set-up. Remember to use a suitable battery or batteries for the trolling motor you have. Don’t use a higher voltage of battery than what’s required for your motor.
You may want to use a circuit breaker in your set-up, which can be even more important if you’re using more than one battery. This can help to cut the power in the event of an accident or fault with your trolling motor.
What You’ll Need
- Trolling motor kit such as this one
- At least one 12 volt battery
- Trolling motor connector kit like this one
- Jumper wires, like these, if you need to link more than one battery
- Wire stripper like this
- Ring terminal connectors like these
- Liquid electrical tape such as this
How To Wire 12-Volt Trolling Motors
Step 1: Attach Your Connector Kit To Your Battery
Your connector kit should usually include two sets of wires, red and black, with a connector plug on each set of wires that can be plugged in to each other. One set should be connected to your battery and the other set will be attached to your motor.
Using your ring terminal connectors attach your connector kit wires to the corresponding terminals on your battery. You can use liquid electrical tape to seal and protect the terminals and wires.
The red positive cable should connect to the positive terminal on the battery and the black negative cable to the negative terminal. Tighten the connections. You may need to use a wrench for this.
Step 2: Attach Your Motor Cables To Your Connector Cables
Grab the cables that are attached to your motor. They may already have connectors on them. In order to install the other end of your connector kit you will need to remove these connectors.
To do this, use your wire strippers to cut both the red and black wires so that the standard connectors are removed.
Now that you’ve done this you can connect the motor’s cables to the cables that came with your connector kit. Make sure you connect the positive cable from the motor to the corresponding positive cable on the connector kit, for example, red to red and black to black.
Video: How To Install Trolling Motor And Battery Plugs
You may need to strip back the cable to expose enough wire that you can then connect to the connector kit cable. You may also need to twist the exposed wires before connecting them to the connector cables.
Clamp down gently on the connection. You may need to use a hairdryer or heat gun to carefully heat-seal the connection.
You should now be able to plug in your motor to your battery using the connector plug and socket that are on the connector kit that you’ve just installed.
How To Wire 24-Volt Trolling Motors
In order to wire a 24 volt trolling motor, you will usually need two 12 volt batteries. This means you will need to connect the two batteries together to then link into your connection to power the trolling motor.
You may want to use a circuit breaker when you’re using more than one battery. This can help to protect your motor in case, for example, it gets stuck on something underwater.
The circuit breaker should be linked directly to your trolling motor, connecting the positive (red) lead from the motor to the positive terminal on the circuit breaker.
The circuit breaker should then be connected to your first battery from its negative terminal to the positive terminal on the battery. You will then need to link your second battery to the first. The negative terminal on your first battery (the one that’s linked to your circuit breaker) should be linked to the positive terminal on the second battery.
You can then connect the second battery directly to the trolling motor using the negative terminal on the battery to connect to the negative (black) lead on your motor.
To use a 36 volt system you can simply add a third 12 volt battery into your link.
Knowing how to wire your trolling motor can be useful if things ever go wrong or you need to switch to a new system. It can also let you attach new plug systems to make switching between batteries and electronics even easier, meaning you only have to wire your gear up once for each item you use.
Remember to think about safety before you attempt to wire your own motor. If you’re in any doubt about your power connections it may be best to get advice from a professional.
Have you successfully wired a trolling motor by yourself? Tell us how easy it was. Feel free to share this guide to help others.