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Can You Add A Spot-Lock To A Trolling Motor?

Ever since its introduction, the spot lock has been a game-changer. Anyone who has interacted with it will attest to its advantages.

Many boating companies have started including the spot lock on their new products. However, you can still add a spot lock to your trolling motor.

Can You Add A Spot-Lock To A Trolling Motor?
Air up an inflatable boat using a foot pump and an electric pump

What is a Spot-Lock?

Spot Lock Function of Trolling Motor
Click the image for more info

A spot lock is an automatic boat anchor that uses GPS to lock a boat when you arrive at your desired fishing spot. It’s like anchoring a boat without necessarily using an anchor.

When you press the spot lock button, the vessel’s computer will coordinate the steering and speed, allowing it to maintain a specific GPS location. Once you anchor the boat, you can now leave it alone and focus your attention on other things, such as fishing.

The freedom that comes with this gadget is like none other; all you need to do is simply press on your remote button, and that’s it.

Can You Add a Spot-Lock to a Trolling Motor?

The answer to this question is yes. Keep reading for the instructions below (for Minn Kota PowerDrive V2)

General Features of the Spot-Lock

Precision Speed Control

The spot lock is precise because it is more accurate when engaging, helping the vessel reliably maintain the movements’ pace.

Different GPS Modes

The spot locks resemble the I-pilot and circle models that allow for boat programming. You achieve this by encircling a spot lock in position within a fixed distance, thus enhancing the navigability of the boat.

Increased Accuracy

Motorguide 8M0092070 Xi Series Pinpoint Plug-and-Play GPS Navigation System with Handheld Remote, Beige,Black

Ever since its introduction, the spot lock features have been undergoing numerous updates. At the moment, the spot lock has updated hardware features and software algorithms that will ensure you maintain a specific location more accurately than ever before.

Spot-Lock Jog

Minn Kota 1866650 Bluetooth i-Pilot Link GPS System Remote
Click the image for more info

Manufacturers over the years have upgraded the i-pilot and i-pilot links. The new heading sensor has an option where you can slightly move your boat from the spot automatically.

Just by the push of a remote button, it lets you move within a radius of five feet.

Distance to Spot

There are some situations where you will get prompted to set a particular location as your spot. The spot lock also has an additional feature that will provide you with a reading on the remote telling you the distance between you and the set spot.

It is important to note that spot locks are specific for certain trolling motors; they can work with freshwater trolling engines and salty water trolling boats.

How To Add a Spot-Lock to Your Trolling Motor?

Do you wish to add a spot lock to your trolling motor? Below are two types of spot lock systems that you can add to your trolling motor.

1. I-Pilot for Minn Kota trolling motors

You can buy an i-Pilot controller from MINN KOTA and add it to your Minn Kota trolling boat. Most Minn Kota trolling motors manufactured after 2007 are compatible with the i-pilot as long as they have a Bluetooth feature.

The i-pilot is a GPS navigation system that has features such as spot-lock, speed, and steering, Jog, i-tunes, Autopilot, and Go To.

Minn Kota i-Pilot controller

Then follow the process below to install an i-Pilot controller on the Minn Kota PowerDriveV2 trolling motor. Before starting, ensure that you have secured your trolling motor is in a clean and dry place. Then disconnect it from any power supply to protect yourself from electrocution and also the electronics from damage.

Here is a list of tools you will need;

  • A screwdriver
  • Uneven nose pliers
  • A heat gun or other source of heat
  • Zip ties

Note: If there is a foot pedal connected to the trolling motor, you must disconnect it too.

So here is the procedure you use when installing a Minn Kota i-pilot

i-Pilot Installation on a PowerDriveV2

  1. Remove the control box cover and the side plates of the trolling motor. Both the side plates and the control box each have two screws holding them in place. Unscrew all of them.
  2. From inside the control box, remove the grommet by firmly pressing down on it until it pops out.
  3. Next, install the I-pilot controller by passing the cable through the hole the grommet was blocking and pass the wire through the center of the coil cord for a cleaner finish.
  4. The next step is to install the new grommet with an allowance of the wire passing through. Install it securely by snapping it firmly into place.
  5. Close the control box by screwing back the four screws into place.
  6. Once you accomplish this, use the zip ties to secure the I-pilot wire to the motor coil and cut the excess cord off the zip ties.
  7. Then proceed to the center housing and remove it by pressing both sides and lifting it to open to detach.
  8. Disconnect the black and white wiring and loosen the cable strain relief, which is usually at the base of the motor.
  9. Next, position the I-pilot steering cable to the open slot, then tighten the strain relief using the screwdriver. The line should slide easily through the hole.
  10. The next step is to connect the I-pilot’s black and white power connectors to the motor’s power cable.
  11. There should be two wires lying dormant. Place a heat shrink on each and apply heat to seal these connectors. Pinch the end of the heat shrink using the uneven plies to create a tight seal. Do the same for both.
  12.  Then reinstall the housing back, then screw back the side plates firmly.
  13. Lastly, connect the I-Pilot cable to the motor cable after verifying the proper orientation and tighten the connector nut.

You must ensure that the device is working before going into the water. There is always an instruction manual that comes with the I-Pilot to take you through the process above. If you do it correctly, the device should work with no problem.

2. Pinpoint GPS for MotorGuide trolling motors

The MotorGuide trolling motors have their own version of spot-lock, known as Virtual Anchor Technology (Pinpoint GPS). The feature helps you lock GPS location as you wish and store perfect positions for recalling later. It’s compatible with the Xi series and comes installed in some models.

However, if your trolling motor doesn’t have an anchor lock, you can buy an upgrade kit for your Xi5 or Xi3 motors. The kit will help you to add a spot-lock feature to your trolling motor. The kit consists of a MotorGuide Pinpoint GPS Module and MotorGuide Pinpoint GPS Remote.

Upgrade kit for Xi5 or Xi3 MotorGuide trolling motor

Features of the Pinpoint GPS

  • Anchor lock (Spot-lock)
  • Cruise control
  • Record and playback the perfect positions/locations/spots.
  • Heading lock

Installation Process

Motorguide Xi5 Unboxing, Pinpoint Module Installation and Testing

  1. Unscrew and open the side covers of the bottom part of your motor. This will release the top LCD cover.
  2. Remove the top LCD cover by gently pressing the motor foot release mechanism.
  3. Locate the Pinpoint module connector inside the control panel.
  4. Place the Pinpoint module with the connectors at the space below the control panels.
  5. Run the cable connecting the top part of the Pinpoint module through the side of the panel and out the side slot.
  6. Wiggle the spiral cable of the top part of the Pinpoint with the thicker motor cable.
  7. Screw the side covers back and ensure the remaining connector is placed correctly on the slot and protruding outside.
  8. Open the head of the motor by unscrewing the bottom cover.
  9. Place the Pinpoint Compass module in the head and screw the cover back.
  10. Add batteries to the remote and test the Pinpoint Achor functions.

Why Should You Add a Spot-Lock to Your Trolling Motor?

Whenever you are out fishing for tightly grouped schools of fish in deep water, one of the critical things that will guarantee success is stability and proficient boat positioning.

You might even find yourself in a situation where the weather is a little bit windy, but you still have to get that catch.

Such cases come with numerous tasks. It might warrant you to re-tie, re-rig, land a fish, or even cull the vessel into the live well. Such tasks will require you to get off the trolling motor, which might give your boat the chance to drift.

Helps Maintain a Stagnant Position

Trolling motor using spot lock

However, the spot lock will ensure that your boat maintains a stagnant and correct position so that you can cast your angles satisfactorily and get that bounty catch.

The spot lock also gives you peace of mind. At the back of your mind, you will always be knowing that your boat is still. This will allow you to focus solely on other activities.

Yes, you might be one of the best when it comes to operating a trolling motor. However, even with such skills, such distractions will inhibit your activities in one way or another. For example, it might get hard for you to lure the school exactly how you want.

Gives You Freedom To Move Around the Boat

MotorGuide X3 trolling motor with Pinpoint GPS
Click the image for more info

If you take your family on a fishing spree, they might not have the essential skill to fish. You will spend half of your time trying to help them with the tasks that come with such an activity.

The spot lock will allow you to move freely around the boat in such a situation, assisting everyone whenever they require help, when they want to untangle the fishing line or when unhooking a catch.

Spot locks also come in handy when you are moving around looking for fish. It can give you the luxury of taking a break, eating, and freshening up before returning to normal activities.

Without the lock, your boat may drift slowly into things you don’t want to or end up a couple of yards towards the lake’s center.

Summary

Adding a spot lock to your trolling motor is an easy task. People who are yet to update their motors with these locks miss out on several benefits.

If you haven’t, it is high time you purchase one and start enjoying smooth fishing sprees.


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