Gone Outdoors

How to Troubleshoot a Minn Kota

by Jay Angel

Minn Kota trolling motors have been around for more than 75 years. Minn Kota makes a complete line of small electric-powered motors that are used on fishing boats to move them around without the disturbance of a gasoline-powered motor. Although these motors are much simpler than their gasoline-powered counterparts, there are still a litany of things than can go wrong. Most problems with these electrical motors are caused by faulty electrical wiring or bad batteries.

Propeller Won't Turn At Any Speed

Check the battery for proper voltage with your voltmeter. There should be between 12.4 and 13.8 volts in a freshly charged battery. If you have 8 volts or less, then you need to either replace the battery or charge it for several days.

Check to ensure that all wing nuts that secure the trolling motor wires to the battery are tightly fastened. A loose wing nut will not conduct electricity.

Check all battery connections for signs of corrosion. Corroded wires will not transmit power. If your wires are seriously corroded, then you will have to cut out the bad part of the wire and splice two good parts with a wire nut. Replace the entire wire if it is bad.

Check the wiring through your boat for signs of wear or burning. If you find any bad spots in the wiring, then you can snip the wires and either splice to a good spot or completely replace the wire.

Unit Won't Steer, But Runs or Speed Control Not Working

Disconnect the foot pedal.

Plug in a foot pedal that is known to work. If you don't have any friends who own a Minn Kota with a foot pedal, go to your local dealer and ask if you can borrow one to do a test.

Plug in the good pedal and test it by moving the head left and right. Run the unit through the entire range of speeds. If the unit will turn and the speed controls are working you have a failed foot pedal. Replace the foot pedal.

Items you will need
  • Voltmeter
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire nuts
  • Wire
  • Known good foot pedal

Tip

  • If you have checked all wires and have a good foot pedal, you probably have a bad circuit board. It is best to have a qualified technician replace the circuit board.

Warning

  • Much of the literature pertaining to the troubleshooting of trolling motors pertains to replacing circuits boards. It is best to allow a qualified technician change yours because small errors in wiring can lead to a circuit board burning up and ruining the entire unit.

About the Author

Jay Angel has been a writer since 1998, specializing in scientific writing, as well as articles about fishing and hunting. He worked as a columnist for the Illinois newspapers, "Daily Chronicle" and "News Tribune." Angel has a Master of Science in fluvial geomorphology from Northern Illinois University.

Photo Credits