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Author Topic:   Electric Downrigger power requirements
DeeVee posted 01-05-2006 02:20 PM ET (US)   Profile for DeeVee   Send Email to DeeVee  
I am entertaining the idea of electric downriggers. I will be using my kicker motor for trolling and was curious as if I may be overtaxing my batteries without the main engine alternator charging. Of course, other items such as depth sounder, GPS, lights, etc would be in use also.

I have two batteries connected to a simple off, battery 1, both, battery 2, switch. I would really like to keep the electrical system as simple as possible. If the electric downriggers would overtax my batteries the way I am currently configured, I would probably just go with manual downriggers (especially since they are much less expensive).

Your comments and experiences would be welcomed.

Thank you,
Doug Vazquez

Jerry Townsend posted 01-05-2006 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Doug - you do not have a problem - as the downriggers are basically taking power from the battery(ies) and the alternators are simply recharging the battery(ies) as necessary. You do not state the size of the alternator on your kicker - but unless you are very frequently using the downriggers, you should be alright.

Your instrumentation (fishfinder, GPS, radio in standby) is not going to be drawing a significant amount of power. Big power users are electric motors, stereo systems, radio transmissions, heaters, coffee pots,

I would run the downriggers from one battery and have the other battery aligned for your main engine starter.

I use manual downriggers which work well for inland lakes, etc. - but the professional guides I have used in B.C. use electric downriggers - which are VERY, VERY NICE when fishing for salmon as you are looking at.

Off the subject - we have a daughter in Shelton and the last time we were there (last September - October) I drove down 2nd street but didn't see a Whaler. The next time I will look you up. ----- Jerry/Idaho

JMARTIN posted 01-05-2006 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
How about if the kicker does not have an alternator? Old school, you pull it to start, push kill button to stop. Same battery set up as DeeVee. John
deepwater posted 01-05-2006 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
you can add up the amp draw for all your equip and see how much is left in your battery so many amps draw continious x total hours on water or as suggested isolate one battery for electronics and one to start the big moter you can charge up the equipment battery on the way home btw isolating all your electroincs from your charging moter gets rid of lots of interferance
JMARTIN posted 01-05-2006 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
Well, an electric down rigger does not have a continous draw down, only when you are bringing up the line and weight. How many times can you retrieve your line on a fully charged battery is the question. I bet that different brands have different amps. The amount of weight and the depth you are at will also be a factor. John
DeeVee posted 01-05-2006 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     
Good evening,


My kicker has no alternator, so I can't get any help there. I have fished on boats with electric downriggers a couple of times and they are nice (and expensive). While I was on the boats with the electric downriggers I did not think to ask the owners how their electrical system held up to the load of the downriggers.

Off topic, I don't think you will see too many Whalers parked down on 2nd Street. I know of four others in or around Shelton (three of whom I know personally). I bet there are a few more that I am not aware of.


I will do a little more research concerning the load versus available amp hours as you suggest. I am guessing that if the battery is in good shape, I should be alright.

Others feel free to chime in.

Doug Vazquez

JMARTIN posted 01-06-2006 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
Doug, sounds like we are in the same boat, fishing the same waters.

When I get electrics which will make it sooo much easier to fish solo and to fish deep, here is what I am going to try.

I have the same battery switch as you do. I am going to hook up the downriggers directly to battery 2. My fish finder is on a panel switch and will work regardless of which battery I am on. I will catch many large fish and then head in. I will try to start up Old Smokey on batt 2, the discharged one. If she starts, I am good. If she doesn't, I will try the "both" setting, if she starts I am good. Battery 1 is my last option to start.

There has been many discussions on this forum about the battery switches like we got. I think it boils down to the type of electrical system your motor has. I used to run off the "both" setting every time I fired up Old Smokey and I would never move the switch with the motor running. I had the same switch on my sailboat with an Atomic 4 engine and moving the switch when running was a big no no.

This is what I have heard since those days:

1. You do not get enough poop from you motor to charge both batteries at once. Run on 1 or 2.

2. If 2 is discharged, start on 1 then switch to 2 to charge it up.

3. Never move your switch when running. I had heard that one before.

4. It is OK to move youe switch when running if you do not move through the "OFF" posistion, Move from 1 to Both to 2.

I am chicken to try moving my switch when the motor is running. I have been looking at my Navmans amp display with the switch on 1, then looking at it with the switch on 2 and picking the weakest battery to run on.

By the way, my electrical system looks a bird on speed was trying to build a nest. There are 2 grounds other than the main ground on batt 2. I have no idea what they do, but everything works like it should. John

DeeVee posted 01-07-2006 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     

That sounds like a reasonable plan to me. Now, the hard part, finding enough cash to upgrade to the electrics.


JMARTIN posted 01-07-2006 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
I already have the swivel base, was quoted up here in Burlington WA, $299.95 for 24" long, 1" diameter Scotty. The other one with base was 378.95, 30" long 1 1/4" diameter. 5% disc for buying 2 and free balls, I assume these are the weights, ha ha.

I wonder what they cost in Canada? John

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