DC wiring a Hobie outback to run a watersnake trolling motor

I finally registered my kayak to be able to use the little Watersnake trolling motor I modified to fit into my mirage drive slot. So to make it easier it is time to wire through the hull so that I don’t have wires hanging all over that can get tangled up in a net or a fish. Which happened on my test trolling trip more then once.

Needed materials for the build

For this modification I wanted to make sure that when I am not using the motor that the system has plugs that have a waterproof cap on them. Or if I am using the motor in the rain or heavy swells that it has a tight connection. The best ones I could find were the SAE style of plugs and cables. This entire setup cost me less then $40 to order on Amazon.

My one word of warning on this is that before ever putting holes in a kayak for any reason always make sure that where you cut or drill is where you want them at. Once you cut the holes you cant change your mind to move it around unless you are good at hole patching. For my kayak I wanted a plug in the front that will keep the motor wires away from my feet.

For the first hole I put it up front just below the front hatch. This looked to be a good spot so that the connector from the motor went forward a short distance and should not be in the way to land any fish unless it was a salmon then nothing could be really be out of the way.

One huge thing to keep in mind on using the SAE plugs is to verify that the cord colors match. Going between the two in hull connectors will swap them unless you use an adaptor to swap it back. Which is actually included when you purchase the set of two socket ports.

The second hole that I needed I put just forward of the seat and pointed up. This plug will be used to plug the cable to my pulse modulator and then to my battery. For a watersnake motor it only comes in two speeds and both of those are to fast for trolling. For me high is about 4mph and low is 2mph. But by using a pulse modulator you can turn the motor into a variable speed motor. My original one I built works well, but with the sealed Plano box it is bulky and in the way. So I found one in a metal box that also has an amp meter on one side so you can see the draw coming through. This makes it handy to calculate how long your trolling battery can last. My only worry with the metal box is that it has the vents in the side to keep it cool but that also can let water in. The location I have it setup for is under my leg while fishing but it is something to keep in mind.

Next to find a day where the wind and rain are not to crazy to go out this fall.

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Converting a Watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak part 2

After the first test run using the motor there were several things that needed to be fixed to make it easier to use.

  • The cassette is made to be put in only one direction and not both. Some rubber pads would be helpful to prevent kick up every time the motor starts and stops.
  • Adding a DC controller between the battery and motor to give it a variable speed while trolling.
  • The clamps on the motor made it difficult to hook to the controller box. They should be removed and some circle ones installed so it can be screwed down. Same with my connectors from the battery to the controller
  • Add Volt meter to controller box to see how much power is left in the battery
  • At full speed the motor wanted to shift in the cassette and would have to be held to keep it from angling.
  • Removing the motor from the cassette hole is very difficult if the blade is not straight up and down.

The first thing I adjusted was to make sure the motor is facing the correct way for how the cassette fits into the mirage drive hole and then sealing the top and bottom of where the drive post goes into the cassette with waterproof epoxy. This fixes two of the issues I was having. It prevents some of the kick up of the motor when started, and will keep the motor from shifting sideways at higher speeds.

Top section sealed with Epoxy.
And the bottom sealed up

One thing that I saw other people had issues with is the cassette vibrating and making a bit of noise. I did not notice that to much, but as a preventative I filled the cassette with waterproof expanding foam. This also adds some rigidity to the cassette since it is not very thick plastic. Make sure that the foam you get is outdoor spray foam. The indoor variety tends to break down quickly when exposed to the elements. Once the foam has been added and dried cap the hole with some silicone or epoxy so water cannot enter

A small hole drilled into both sides of the cassette to put the straw from the can of spray into.

And now for the control panel. I did not get any pictures of the build but the box is clear and you can see all the connections. I used a sealed Pelican box to hold the controller so that the electronics parts wouldn’t get wet. To keep it sealed I drilled holes in the sides and put a bolt facing out and then used a wing nut to hold it on with a drop of sealant on the bolt head to keep it sealed. One side the clamps from the motor can go on and on the other side O-clamps for wire terminals that the wingnut holds in place. Once turned on the speed can be adjusted by the just turning the nob up or down

I also added a volt meter just so I could do a quick look to see how the charge is

Now to take it on a test drive to see if there is any other tweaks needed. And maybe a video of the next test run.

Converting a watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak

Lately as I get older it has been a bit more difficult for me to always use the hobie mirage drive for all day. Finishing a day of trolling, and barely being able to walk due to back pain is a bit discouraging. So after some searching I found a build to convert a Watersnake 18 lb motor into a trolling motor that fits into a hobie mirage slot on the kayak. This build looks like it will work on any size of watersnake. But really I cant see the need for a bigger thrust then I currently have. Now for some long ocean trips maybe to deal with the current.

Needed Supplies:

and a couple other links:

Watersnake all ready to start the conversion. Total weight at start is just 8 lbs
First step as with most things is to remove screws. There are 4 screws that hold the top to the bottom part of the control panel
Before removing any wires make sure you take a picture of how it looks. This makes it a lot easier to reassemble after you shorten the shaft. There are only three wires that have to be removed. All three lead into the shaft so it is easy to tell which three they are
After removing the controller from the top you will need to insert a small PVC pipe into the shaft. These will keep you from accidentally cutting the wires as you shorten the shaft.
Before cutting the shaft you will need to get the the cassette plug set up to insert the shaft into it. The easiest way is to use a 1″ spade bit. A hole needs to be made on each side of the cassette so the motor shaft can fit into it.
Once the cassette is seated onto the shaft use a piece of tape to mark where you will cut it off. I put the cassette just above the blades of the motor and then added about 5 inches above to where I cut it off. This is right at 10″ cut off. Do not discard the top. You will need it as a template to cut out guides into the new shortened shaft.
Once the shaft is cut off you will need to cut out the gap and the hole through to reattach the controller. Once you have it cut out reassemble everything.
Once everything is assembled you are ready to go

Once you are done the set up is ready to go as is. There are several other adaptions that are useful in the long run while using this set up. At this stage you are limited to only the two speeds that are set up on the motor. high and just slightly less then high. Good for going from place to place but way to fast for trolling. At least for my trolling.

Some things to note from my first test run:

  • The cassette is made to be put in only one direction and not both. Some rubber pads would be helpful to prevent kick up every time the motor starts and stops.
  • I added a DC controller between the battery and motor to give it a variable speed while trolling. (worked perfect for this)
  • The clamps on the motor made it difficult to hook to the controller box. They should be removed and some circle ones installed so it can be screwed down. Same with my connectors from the battery to the controller
  • Add Volt meter to controller box.
  • 21AH battery lasted just over 4 hours of trolling. A 2nd battery will probably be needed at some point.

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Since there were some tweaks needed I made a part 2 to better stabilize it. Converting a Watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak part 2

After finishing I found I needed less wires by my feet fo did an in hull wire setup https://shanesoutdoorfun.com/2021/10/06/dc-wiring-a-hobie-outback-to-run-a-watersnake-trolling-motor/