Power your kayak, DIY Article

Discussion in 'Kayaker and Canoe Fishing' started by jeremiad, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    I wanted an inexpensive and decent power supply for my kayak that would provide enough power for my fishfinder as well as a few lights for night fishing. I have the fishfinder installed, but am still deciding about what lighting I want to install.

    Anyway, I decided on two 6 V, 7 Ahr alarm/safety batteries that are available from Home Depot. These are sealed gel batteries that are fully rechargeable and provide a consistent power output for the length of their discharge life. Two can easily be connected in series to provide 12 V.

    Now, how would I securely fasten the batteries to the kayak and connect safely to them? I came up with this idea:

    [​IMG]

    The battery box is an inexpensive container that you can purchase at Wal-Mart. It is shown here strapped to the kayak using a 1/4" nylon cord tied around the scupper "pillars." The batteries are tucked inside, surrounded with a foam cushion that I cut in layers to fit. Notice how I cut through the container lid to connect the batteries in series.

    The fishfinder transducer is mounted directly in front, firmly to the hull using marine goop in a 3" PVC protective shielding.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the terminal strip attached to the front, the power switch on the side (to prevent charger power from reaching the fishfinder), the 1 A fuse, and charger plug (on right top). I modified a 12 V battery charger to have a polarized connecting end that will plug directly into the charger plug on the battery box for a quick recharge.

    Notice that the terminal strip provides enough connectors that I can easily add a lighting circuit separate from the fishfinder circuit. This way, I can either add another in-line fuse of a different value, or skip the fuse for the lighting circuit altogether.

    [​IMG]

    This view provides perspective on the location of the battery box in the hatch. Hatch still provide plenty of room for storing cart wheels, waders, and other cargo.
     
  2. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

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    Looks good. Great photos.
     

  3. ChannelCatBen

    ChannelCatBen New Member

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    That's pretty slick. I might have to do something similar with my canoe.
     
  4. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments. The next time I pull the battery box, I will take more detailed pictures, and perhaps add construction detail, if anyone is interested.
     
  5. CatHunterSteve

    CatHunterSteve New Member

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    Excellant idea and job and putting it all together! Love to have a yak to fish in, just trying to decide which would meet my needs. Thanks for the post, good job!
     
  6. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Steve. I float a Heritage Redfish 12' Angler; that's what is pictured here. I couldn't be more happy, although a Native Watercraft Ultimate is an excellent kayak/canoe hybrid that is worth checking out.

    I couldn't beat the price on the Heritage kayak, and it arrived ready to fish. With the comfortable seat, large front hatch, excellent cargo space, three rod holders, and anchor system ready to go...it was heaven from the start. With an excellent KFS (KayakFishingStuff) starter package (I didn't buy the kayak from them), I was able to get the PFD, graphite paddle, cart, paddle tether, and a kayak cover (not part of the package)--the entire investment was around $1,200 for everything.

    Find a boat demo day if you can, Steve. This is what I did, even though I knew what I wanted. Not only did I get to try several models before I made my decision, I even got a better discount for buying on the spot!
     
  7. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    I began eyeing a Schumacher Battery Charger [1.5 A, 24 to 30, 12 V] at Tractor Supply Company for around $20. This extremely compact charger comes complete with a choice of pigtail and aligator clips.

    The pigtail has spade clips that fit directly to the terminal strip on the battery box. The other end is keyed to fit the charger output. The aligator clips connect to the output wire using the same keyed connector.

    This is a perfect solution for battery charging needs. I plugged it in, and the LED lit red to indicate that the battery was charging. In a couple of hours, the LED turned green, showing that the battery is at full capacity.

    Unplug it when you are ready to go fishing, and you leave with a full charge in the batteries. Small price for a great solution! :wink:
     
  8. CatHunterSteve

    CatHunterSteve New Member

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    Thanks for the information Joel, gonna check that one out!
     
  9. MiseryMike

    MiseryMike New Member

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    lol i read the title was thinking someone was puttin some type of trollin motor on a kayak <thinking to myself that takes away all the fun of being in a kayak> but read the thread Awsome idea fish finder and some low vol lighting :smile2: Wonder if my brother would let me do that to his kayak
     
  10. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    Some final points about the battery box:

    First, I found a 3"-to-2" rubber adapter in the plumbing section at Home Depot. This big rubber boot fits perfectly over the 3" pipe around the transducer and locks down with a pipe clamp. This rubber boot provides great protection to the transducer so that I can throw kayak cart wheels and other stuff in the storage well without having to worry about damaging the transducer.

    Secondly, the batteries are able to power the fishfinder for days without recharging. I was somewhat surprised because I computed amp-hours based on the fishfinder specifications and expected the batteries to run down fairly quickly. Obviously, the fishfinder specifications state peak power draw, not continuous power requirements. This is why many kayakers successfully power their fishfinders with AA cells.