Can You Run a 24V Trolling Motor on One Battery?

Yes, it is possible to run a 24V trolling motor on one 24V battery. It is also possible to run the same motor on a 12V battery, but your performance will be limited.

24-volt batteries aren’t as common as 12V so the popular choice in the industry is to combine 12s into series. 

Over the years I’ve tested both configurations and I’ve found there to be benefits and drawbacks to each. Here’s a quick snapshot of the important points:

  • The ideal battery setup for a 24V trolling motor is the use of two 12V batteries wired in series to achieve optimal performance.
  • Lithium batteries, due to their lightweight nature, extended lifespan, and consistent power output, are recommended for use with trolling motors.
  • The implications of using a single 12V battery for a 24V trolling motor are reduced power, decreased efficiency, and possible motor damage.

Understanding Trolling Motor Voltage

When selecting a trolling motor, understanding the role of voltage in its operation is crucial. Voltage affects both the speed and thrust you’ll get while you’re out on the water.

Difference Between 12V and 24V Trolling Motors

12V trolling motors are designed for smaller, lighter boats and shorter outings. In contrast, 24V trolling motors are suited for larger vessels and longer trips, providing greater power and efficiency. A 24V system requires two 12V batteries wired in series, which doubles the voltage to achieve higher performance levels.

The Impact of Voltage on Performance

Higher voltage contributes to a trolling motor’s improved speed and power capabilities. If you use a 24V trolling motor with a single 12V battery, its performance will be significantly limited—reducing the maximum thrust and potentially overheating the motor.

Voltage and Trolling Motor Thrust

Thrust, measured in pounds, is a key output of a trolling motor, determining how well it can move your boat through the water. A 24V system generally delivers more thrust, allowing for better handling and control of your boat, especially in challenging conditions.

Remember, always match your trolling motor’s voltage requirements with the appropriate battery setup to ensure optimal performance and safety.

How to Run a 24V Trolling Motor on a Single Battery

Running a 24V trolling motor on a single battery is not standard practice, and it requires specific considerations for power and wiring. To ensure safe and effective operation, you need to choose the right battery and understand the wiring schematics involved.

Pros and Cons of a Single Battery Setup

Simplicity: A single battery setup reduces complexity and the need for multiple batteries.Reduced Power: A single 12V battery cannot provide the required voltage for optimal performance of a 24V motor.
Weight Reduction: Carrying one battery instead of two can lighten your load, which is beneficial in small vessels.Limited Run Time: Reduced voltage can lead to shorter operational times and decreased thrust.

Choosing the Right Battery Size and Type for 24V Systems

  • Battery Size: For 24V systems, a Group 27 battery is often recommended for its capacity and physical size, but it must be a 24V battery, not a 12V.
  • Battery Type: Lithium batteries are preferable due to their longer lifespan and consistent voltage output; however, they come at a higher cost.

Wiring Schematics for a Single Battery Setup

  • Wiring Design: For a 24V trolling motor, a single 24V battery setup is technically feasible but not common. A diagram showcasing wiring should be strictly followed to avoid damage.

⚠️ Note: Wiring a 24V trolling motor to a single 12V battery will underpower the motor, potentially causing damage or reduced performance. No reliable method exists to power a 24V motor to its full potential with a single 12V battery. It’s important to have the proper 24V battery to run a 24V trolling motor.

Electrical Basics Relevant to Trolling Motors

Your selections in wiring configurations, knowing how to calculate amp draw, and choosing the appropriate battery type are all foundational pieces for efficient trolling motor operation.

Series vs Parallel Configurations

When connecting your trolling motor, it’s critical to distinguish between series and parallel wiring. For a 24V trolling motor configuration, you will need two 12V batteries connected in series, which means connecting the positive terminal of the first battery to the negative terminal of the second, thereby doubling the voltage to 24V.

  • Series:
    Positive of Battery 1 → Negative of Battery 2
    Voltage: 12V + 12V = 24V
  • Parallel:
    This setup involves connecting the positive terminals together and the negative terminals together, which increases the capacity (amp hours) but keeps the voltage the same. For a 24V system, a parallel connection is not suitable as it would not increase the voltage.

Calculating Amp Draw and Battery Requirements

It’s important to calculate the amp draw to ensure that your batteries can provide enough current for a full outing. The amp draw is how much current your trolling motor uses at different speeds, which directly affects how quickly it will deplete your battery‘s charge.

  1. Amp Draw Calculation: ( \frac{\text{Battery’s Amp-hours (Ah)}}{\text{Motor’s Amp Draw at a given speed}} ) = Runtime (in hours)

For an accurate estimation of runtime, consider the depth of discharge and the efficiency of your motor while using a trolling motor battery chart as a reference.

Battery Types and Their Suitability for Trolling Motors

Selecting the right battery type for your trolling motor is crucial. Deep cycle batteries are specifically designed for applications like trolling motors, where consistent power over a longer period is needed.

  • Lead Acid: These are traditional and cost-effective but tend to be heavier and require regular maintenance.
  • Lithium Batteries: While more expensive upfront, lithium batteries provide a lighter option with longer life spans, higher efficiency, and require virtually no maintenance. When considering a 24V trolling motor, these can offer improved performance and longer run times.

💡 Remember, using a single battery for a 24V trolling motor setup is not recommended as it will not provide the necessary voltage and could potentially damage the motor.

I’m the founder and chief editor here at Kite Ship. The electrification of boating is the most exciting thing to happen to the marine industry in a generation! Welcome, and I hope that we can provide the portal you need to dive into the world of electric propulsion and power.