How Long Do Trolling Motor Batteries Last?
Sep 12, 2023
Do you love being on the water? Do you want to learn about trolling batteries for your next lake trip? I've got the information you need! I'll break down how long these batteries last and what impacts their lifespan. By the end, you'll know what to expect, enabling you to plan trips without worrying. Let's get into it!
What Are Trolling Motor Batteries?
Trolling motor batteries are for jobs that need steady power for many hours. They give power to electric motors, keeping boats moving slowly for fishing. These batteries produce current at low speeds for a long time.
Battery Life Overview
Battery Life Range: Trolling motor batteries can last different amounts of time. How long it lasts depends on how you use the battery and take care of it. The power of the motor, the age of the battery, and where it is used all affect the life of the battery
Batteries come in different types, each with its life expectancy. However, taking good care of your battery can help lengthen its usable lifespan. Proper maintenance practices allow you to get more life out of a battery before it needs to be changed
What Factors Impact Battery Life?
How long your trolling motor battery lasts depends on a few key factors:
The size and power of the motor are essential considerations. Motors that produce more thrust draw more power from the battery. A 30 lb thrust motor uses battery power more efficiently than a larger 55 lb or 70 lb motor, which will drain the battery faster when in use.
The capacity of the battery itself also greatly affects runtime. Battery capacity is measured in amp-hours (Ah). A 100-Ah battery, for example, can supply 100 amps of current for one hour. It has nearly double the energy storage of a 55-Ah battery. So, a larger battery will simply be able to run the motor longer before needing a recharge.
The water temperature places extra demands on the battery. Colder water requires more battery power to turn the rotor blades. Batteries work harder in cold conditions. In warmer conditions, they can perform at their peak. This extra strain in colder water means less total runtime from a full charge.
Usage and Care
How the battery is used and maintained also impacts its lifespan. Intermittent or lighter use of the trolling motor extends battery life. To get the longest life out of a battery, follow the manufacturer's guidelines for charging and storage. This helps the battery reach its maximum lifespan.
Several key factors determine how long a trolling motor battery will last on a single charge. Understanding these factors can help you maximize your battery's runtime.
Understanding Battery Types for Trolling Motors
There are a few different rechargeable battery types commonly used for electric trolling motors:
Lead-acid batteries have long been the standard choice. They include flooded lead-acid batteries and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. Though inexpensive and accessible, lead-acid batteries only last 1–3 years before needing a change. They also require regular maintenance, like checking electrolyte levels.
Sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries
This is a lead-based alternative. It is also known as a gel battery. Gel batteries prevent spills since the electrolyte is sealed inside the gel. This makes them more convenient than flooded lead-acid batteries. Gel batteries have shorter cycling lives than AGM or flooded lead-acid batteries. Their lifespan is shorter than other battery types.
Lithium-iron phosphate batteries
This is a newer technology that is gaining popularity. Lithium batteries can cycle two to three times as long as lead-acid batteries, lasting 4–8 years. Though they have a higher initial cost, their longer lifespan reduces replacement expenses. Lithium batteries also maintain their charge better than lead-acid batteries in cold temperatures. However, they require careful monitoring and a battery management system.
Each battery type has its advantages and limitations for powering electric trolling motors. The best choice depends on your needs and budget.
Maximizing Your Battery Life
Following these maintenance practices will help you maximize your battery life.
Use The Recommended Charger
Charge your battery using only the charger that is specified for its type. Follow the charging guidelines to avoid damaging the battery from under-charging or over-charging.
Fully Recharge After Each Use
Partially recharging the battery causes more strain over time from the many shallow charge cycles. For maximum battery life, fully recharge it to 100% capacity after each fishing trip.
Keep It At 50–75% When Storing
When storing the battery for extended periods, maintain the charge level between 50% and 75%. Store it in a cool, dry place away from heat sources, which can degrade the internal components over time.
Monitor The Voltage Regularly
Check the voltage periodically while using the battery. Avoid fully draining it to zero, as this puts unnecessary strain on the battery. Replace it once it can no longer hold an adequate charge for your needs.
Consider A Low-Voltage Disconnect
This device cuts power from the battery when it reaches a certain low level to protect it from over-discharging when not in use.
Keep The Terminals Clean and Tight
Dirty or loose terminals inhibit good electrical contact with your trolling motor. Make sure to keep the terminals and connections clean and tight to ensure a solid connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should my battery run on a charge?
Batteries can run for different amounts of time before needing to be recharged. Lithium batteries usually last the longest, around 6 hours. Lead-acid batteries are more common and usually run for 2–3 hours. The exact time depends on factors like how big the battery is, how powerful the motor is, how fast you go, and what else uses power.
How long should a trolling motor battery last?
Batteries can last a long time if you take good care of them. Lead-acid batteries usually last 1–3 years if you take good care of them. Lithium-iron phosphate batteries can last longer, about 4–8 years or more. Factors like how many times you charge it, how low you let it go before recharging, heat, and charging carefully impact how long a battery lasts.
Should I fully recharge after each use?
Yes, you need to recharge both lead-acid and lithium batteries after each fishing trip. This helps them last longer. If you don't charge them fully, over time the battery won't hold as much power. Partial recharges are not as good for batteries. Fully recharging after each use protects the battery and extends its life.
I hope this guide has provided a good overview of trolling motor batteries. To maximize runtime and lifespan, choose a trusted brand and follow maintenance instructions. GoldenMate Energy specializes in high-quality lithium iron phosphate batteries, perfect for trolling motors.
Our LiFePO₄ batteries are super lightweight for easy boat transport. They also charge incredibly fast, in under an hour, so you can get back on the water quickly. Best of all, our batteries will last for thousands of charge cycles, around 2-3 times longer than lead-acid batteries.