I lost the password to the site a while back, but I recently reset the user accounts. This means that all previously registered users are now deleted. Due to issues with spammers I disabled the user registration for the time being. I will be looking into fixing the login and registration soon. As well as finally fixing the e-mail verification.
I have many new plans in the works. I am hoping to start posting some new content soon. Although, most of it may be delayed till the new year.
Here is a time lapse video of me getting my kayak ready for an early morning launch.
The trailer hitch ramp makes launching and landing quick and easy. It only takes me about 15 minutes to load the kayak from stripped down to fully loaded and ready to launch. All I have to do now is back up to the water an slide it down the ramp into the water and mount the motor.
Time to catch some ZZZ’s then hit the water at day break.
Saturday I tried the new ramp out with the kayak, and it works perfectly. With it fully loaded it rides up the ramp, backwards, and as it is within a few inches of the roof, it passes the center of balance and it teeters down level in the back of the truck. Even if the kayak is not fully loaded the bow is only a couple pounds heavy and can be easily lifted with one finger. I set up a few pulleys to give me the leverage on the pulling force, so it doesn’t take much force to pull it up the ramp.
I took it out today to try out the ramp. I was very surprised that the ramp actually performed better than I had anticipated. It slid right out, nice and neat. And when I came back in, it only took me about 5 minutes to load the kayak into the truck. Fully loaded with the trolling motor too. The ramp has saved me at least 30 minutes in launching & landing times.
The kayak is growing in features and weight. It is starting to become difficult to lift it into my truck. Time to remedy that quickly! So I built a quick ramp that the kayak can ride on in the truck. Now I can leave it fully loaded and still get it in and out of the truck with ease.
Welded a hitch receiver to a box beam T-bar with a couple pieces of U-channel welded on top.
Built the ramp out of 2 x 4 and covered it with carpeting. Using 2 x 6 braces to keep it rigid when winching it up the ramp.
Plugs right into my hitch receiver and lays across the bed of the truck.
It is a bit steep. But I have 3 pullies to help winch it up.
Once I get it up it will tilt down and the kayak can slide all the way up inside the truck.
Best of all it fits neatly inside the truck for when I am out on the water.
I needed to load test the kayak with the new motor mount and batteries. So I took it out on a cold morning.
burr! Yes, even for me it was a bit nippy out this morning. But I was undaunted and determined to do some testing and fishing.
But on a beautiful day like this, how can you say no?
It handled beautifully. The batteries are well balanced and the test rig with the single motor works great. I was doing just over 3 mph. With the two batteries I was running around at full throttle for about 2 hours and still had plenty of power left in the batteries at the end of the day.
I traveled around 9 miles total. Fished along the mangroves all the way up the inside. Then cruised down the inter-coastal water way along the beach.
Only problem I found was trying to lift the kayak in to the truck with the batteries still in it. Time to fix that problem!
Here is the breakdown for the brains and the brawn. The water proof enclosure for the micro controller and drive controller. I measured out the space under the seat and bought an exterior water proof enclosure for the electronics. It will fit securely in between the batteries under the seat.
I have a 100 Amp shunt for the main power. It is connected to the Amp meter in the wired controller. It is wired to the ground from the distribution bus in series to the battery ground. This will let me monitor the total amperage usage directly from the batteries. The Volt meter in the wired controller is also tied to this bus. I also have 3 disconnects for the accessories and lights to connect to the box.
I installed the following hardware onto a sheet of Marine StarBoard: a 100 Amp dual H-bridge drive controller for the main motors, a 60Amp H-bridge for the lights, and 4 x 10 Amp relays.
Also installed 4 analog 30 Amp current meters, which are wired into the micro controller. 1 for each motor, 3rd for the main system and lights, 4th for the charging circuit.
Nearly completed with the wiring. Still need to add a charge controller and wire up the 15 pin cable from the joy stick controller.
Every once in a while I have to travel out of town. One of the locations that I travel too is near the west coast of Florida. It happens to be close to one of the best fishing areas in all of South Florida. Just 30 minutes out of my way is ten thousand islands, on the south west coast. Several miles of mangrove islands surrounded by pristine waters, full of all kinds of game fish. It is one of the reasons for my idea of the kayak project.
Every time I come out this way I dream of bringing the kayak, and taking off for a couple days to go fishing there. One day soon, when I have the project near completion, I will take a couple days off to go fishing there with the kayak. It will be ideal for running around all the mangrove islands and channels among ten thousand islands.
Dreams can come true. You only have to belive it them, and strive to make them happen.
Just call me Frankenstein. Do you want to meet my monster?
So what am I going to run this monster with?
I love micro controllers. One of the most flexible and easiest to program micro controllers is from the Arduino family. They have a large user base and support. For prototyping small projects you can’t go wrong with an Arduino.
For this build I am starting with a Arduino Mega 2560. But I may upgrade to the Arduino Due for the final build. I added a few prototype shields to the controller for all the connections and controls. The top shield has a LED bar graph to show the output state to the main drive controller, as well as a few other circuits for various inputs.
OK, so now this is where it starts to get interesting!
I figured out all the hardware requirements and purchased the equipment. To start off with this build, I need a controller that is flexible and waterproof. I designed the controller to have at least a IP65 or higher rating.
As for the joy stick, the best fit for my needs was APEM Components Two Axis w/ Sealed Push button, Hall Effect joystick. As soon as I ordered the joy stick I got a call from the retailer for information pertaining to the use and shipment of the joystick. They wanted to verify that it was not being shipped out of the country. I assured them it was for my own personal use, and that I needed that particular one because of the features and the IP67 waterproof rating. Most importantly I need a fail safe tether kill switch. And with all the data lines it will require I need a 16 pin disconnect for it too.
Ah the fun of soldering and heat shrinking 30 small wires to the connectors.
This was even more fun! Crimping all the wires to the joy stick data cable. Just look how small they are! Four 1/16″ tabs to crimp on each wire. Luckily I only had to redo 1 wire.
Now to start wiring up the wired remote controller box. Lots of meters, displays, switches, potentiometer, and the joy stick.
So what the heck is in there?
2 axis joystick with push button
3 waterproof push buttons
100A digital Amp meter display
3-30V digital Volt meter for the batteries
tethered kill switch
2 wire 128×64 LCD display (0.9″ in picture, 1.28″ in final build)
This is what it will look like. Quickly hooked it up and tested the controller to verify everything was wired correctly and working.
Even the 128×64 LCD display is working. Going to use this for all the menu options, controllable by the 3 buttons on the side of the controller.
The test trolling motor may be in use for a while until the next phase of the project is ready. I might as well make it practical and useful.
I mounted some PVC fittings to the top of the control stand pipe, and extended the wiring. I have sealed all the fittings to make it water tight. I then ran the wiring down a flexible hose to keep it sealed.
I will then connect the motor to a heavy duty 5 pin disconnect.
Added a temporary steering bar. Controllable with my feet. It is spring loaded to bring it back to center. The lines are crossed so that it will turn opposite the side you push on. Like steering a bicycle.
The whole assembly is removable with 5 D-rings (control lines) and 1 stainless steel bolt. Roll up the control lines on the control bar and remove the 1 bolt. Slide it backwards and remove the motor mount from the kayak.