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Minn Kota FAQ

Minn Kota FAQ

Can my freshwater Minn Kota trolling motor be used in saltwater?
We designed a special line of motors for use in salt or brackish water. The Minn Kota Riptide trolling motors have a number of “saltwater-engineered” enhancements, including stainless steel hardware, sealed electrical connections and an advanced painting process for improved corrosion protection. Using any of our standard Minn Kota motors in saltwater may dramatically reduce the life of the motor and voids manufacturer’s warranty. To extend the life of your Minn Kota Riptide saltwater trolling motor, thoroughly rinse the motor with freshwater after every use in saltwater and store indoors. Never leave the motor submerged in saltwater when the boat is moored. 

What about shaft length selection?
Choosing the correct shaft length is important so that the angler’s electric motor does not cavitate, creating fish-spooking noise. The rule of thumb is that the centre of the motor section should be submerged 9". In general, shaft length selection is more critical with bow-mount motors versus transom-mount motors. Most boat transoms are similar in their distance to the water, and Minn Kota’s standard transom shaft lengths should be adequate. With bow-mounted motors, there is much greater variation in shaft length requirements. Measure down from the mounting surface of the transom or bow to the water level. Add 5" to waterline measurement for fishing in rough water. Add 12" to waterline measurement for steering a hand control motor while standing. Use this measurement and the tables below to find the appropriate shaft length.

Digital Maximizer Analogy
You are driving a car fully accelerated. To slow down, you lift your foot off the pedal to decelerate allowing only the proper amount of gas (power) to be used. This burns less gas than the first analogy and does not heat up the brake system.

Same theory applies to the Maximizer. Only the necessary power to go the desired speed is delivered to the motor providing extreme efficiency and longer running time.

Digital Maximizer Benefits

  • Extended trolling time (up to 5x longer on a single charge).
  • The Digital Maximizer speed control saves valuable power over a conventional speed coil motor.
  • The Digital Maximizer allows more fishing time on your battery charge, up to five times longer run time per battery charge, compared to the 5-speed switch.
  • With variable speed control, the Digital Maximizer allows for proper speeds to be set and maintained while trolling lures for proper presentation.
  • Virtual speed adjustments for changing conditions.
  • The Digital Maximizer allows for fine-tune speed adjustments.
  • The Digital Maximizer allows the user to control boat speed more effectively in changing environments.

Can I put an aftermarket prop on my motor to increase speed?

This is not recommended as it will increase the amp draw of the motor causing it to overheat and will void the warranty.


Can I run my 24-volt motor off of 12 volts?

 This will not hurt the motor, but it will considerably affect the performance of the motor.


Can I shorten or lengthen the shaft on my motor?

Yes, but to maintain the warranty on your motor we recommend it be done by an Authorized Minn Kota Repair Centre.

How do I convert thrust into horsepower?
Many people think that the more pounds of thrust they are getting, the faster the boat will go. This is not exactly true. With trolling motors and outboard motors, boat speed (and acceleration) depends on horsepower and prop pitch. By changing prop pitch, you can trade acceleration for top speed. Our trolling motors have props designed for maximum acceleration. When you hit the power, the boat responds immediately. This also allows you to hold the boat in high wind conditions. Top speed with our motors and props is about 5 mph. Small boats will reach this speed with most of our motors. Larger boats require our largest motors to approach this speed. Comparing our motors to petrol outboards is difficult because most outboard props are designed for much higher speed.

How does thrust compare to horsepower?

  • Horsepower is a measurement of “work” being performed.
  • One horsepower is a unit of measurement equal to 550 foot pounds of “work” per second.
  • There is no direct correlation of thrust to horsepower. Contrary to what you may have been told, fifteen pounds of thrust DOES NOT equal one horsepower.
  • As noted in the previous definition, thrust is simply a static measurement of force.

How does thrust compare to speed?

“My buddy has a 36-lb thrust motor, we have the same size boat yet his motor moves his boat just as fast as my 42-lb thrust unit. Why is this?”

  • Again, thrust is simply a static measurement of pushing or pulling power, and higher thrust does not necessarily mean greater speed.
  • Speed is a factor of prop pitch and motor R.P.M.
  • Given motor R.P.M. under load, and Minn Kota’s 4" prop pitch, the approximate speed that a motor will push/pull a small boat can be calculated.


How important is battery selection for electric motor usage?

The battery is a critical element of your electric motor system. A high-quality deep cycle marine battery should always be used. Unlike automobile batteries, deep cycle marine batteries are designed to be run down to a discharged state and then recharged. (To extend the life of your battery, always recharge after use. Most trolling motor batteries fail due to lack of proper charging.)


 More Powerful Motors

  • Digital Maximizer electronics allow for more control of higher thrust motors.
  • A standard 5-speed switch does not hold up as well under the same conditions.

How Digital Maximizer Works
Since speed coils reduce the power going to the motor, the Digital Maximizer feature was designed to eliminate this inefficient speed control method by using rapid on/off switching. The Digital Maximizer is simply a switch that turns the connection to the battery on and off 20,000 times per second. If “on” time is longer compared to “off,” the motor receives more power. If “off” time is longer, the motor gets less power. Since there is minimal power lost to accomplish this, the overall motor is very efficient.

What are the benefits of a bow-mounted electric motor?
Boats do not tend to go in a straight line. Because of this, it is much easier to pull a boat than to push a boat. It is also easier to move the bow of the boat sideways compared to moving the transom. Therefore, a bow-mounted electric motor allows for much greater boat control and positioning. If quick-response boat control and positioning is what you are looking for, a Minn Kota bow-mount electric motor is a must.

Will the CoPilot work with my cable steer or hand control trolling motor?
No, CoPilot is designed only for electric steer motors.

Can I upgrade my PowerDrive or Riptide SP motor with AutoPilot?
In order to add AutoPilot in an older PowerDrive, in most cases, it will be necessary to replace the main control board, the coil cord, as well as the compass control board...due to the cost of the parts required, such a modification is not cost effective.

Can I get an adapter plug to mate a newer CoPilot up with an older motor?
No, there are no adapter cables for the CoPilot accessory.

How many remotes can be programmed with my CoPilot?
You can program up to 10 remotes with your CoPilot receiver. Programming more than 10 remotes will erase the first remotes that have been programmed.

How long will the batteries in my CoPilot remote and wireless foot pedal last?
 Typically the batteries will last one year or at least two regular fishing seasons.

How do you program and learn a CoPilot remote?

  • The CoPilot kit already has the receiver “learned” to the ID number of the remote it is packaged with. To “learn” the ID number of additional remotes, follow these steps:
    • Press and hold the LEARN button located on the side of the receiver (receiver will emit a continuous tone.)
    • Press any button on the remote (receiver will beep 4 times confirming that it has “learned” the ID number of the remote and that the programming is valid and complete.)
  • “Re-learning” the ID number of the same remote will not overwrite previously “learned” remotes.
  • If the receiver has “learned” the ID number of ten remotes, “learning” an eleventh remote will erase or over write the first “learned” remote.
  • The CoPilot allows the angler to erase all stored remote ID numbers fro the receiver. To do so, follow these steps:
    • Remove power from the receiver by unplugging the receiver from the motor.
    • Press and hold the LEARN button and power up the receiver by plugging it back into the motor. Hold the learn button down for 10 seconds. During this time the receiver audio will emit a warble sound, slowly transitioning to a constant beep, and then shut off.
    • Release the LEARN button and the receiver will reboot. The receiver will chirp 4 times followed by a 1 second long beep indicating memory is empty. This audio pattern will occur each time the receiver powers up until a remote ID number is learned.

How do you change audible modes for CoPilot?


There are three receiver audio modes available. To switch from one audio mode to another, press and hold both the INCREASE and DECREASE speed buttons on the remote down for one second. The receiver will respond with 1, 2, or 3 audible beeps indicating the corresponding receiver audio mode change.

  • Audio Mode 1 = All of the normal audible sounds mentioned in this owners manual.
  • Audio Mode 2 = Same as audio mode 1 plus an audible beep for speed increase / decrease and prop on/off.
  • Audio Mode 3 = Same as audio mode 2 plus the prop on audible click every few seconds.

NOTE: when the corded foot pedal is in control and the propeller is on, the prop on indicator click will be heard if the receiver is set to audio mode 3.


How many remotes can be programmed with my CoPilot?
You can program up to 10 remotes with your CoPilot receiver. Programming more than 10 remotes will erase the first remotes that have been programmed.


What type of battery is required for the CoPilot remote?
Model CR 2032 coin cell battery.


What type of battery is used in the wireless foot pedal?
It requires two AA size non-alkaline batteries.


Why doesn’t the plug on my CoPilot match the plug on my trolling motor?
If the plug from the CoPilot and the trolling motor don’t match, you have purchased the wrong CoPilot.


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