Minn Kota Terrova Transducer Install

Andy Yu June 20, 2013 0
Minn Kota PowerDrive transducer cable routing

Minn Kota PowerDrive transducer cable routing using a cable clip (blue). Wire is inside plastic corrugated covering.

I just got my new Minn Kota Terrova with iPilot Link last week and installed it in time for the weekend.   Here’s a tip: get the quick release bracket (MK-16-02 for PowerDrive and Terrova) – it makes changing motors a breeze, plus the ability to remove the motor when you don’t need it for during transport. My install wasn’t complete – the down imaging transducer wire is flapping around and I hate that.

At the bow I have a Humminbird 597ci HD DI sonar that has it’s own transducer for the down imaging.  The Terrova has the US2 built in but that transducer does not give the down imaging data.  Which means I have to mount a separate transducer to the motor.

Not a big deal – many of us have done this as I have with my PowerDrive 2 unit.  The challenge has always been the cable routing from the transducer cable up to trolling motor shaft and to the sonar without having it get tangled up with the deployment mechanism and other cables.  Add to that the necessary slack and management for  the iPilot Spotlock when things get nasty – the head often rotates over 360 degrees so you have the cables wrapping around the shaft.  It gets kinda scary too when the cables are tightened up as it keeps on a spot in heavy winds and waves.  A necessary evil, I guess.

On the PowerDrive I put the transducer wire in one of those plastic corrugated tubes, zip-tied it tight to the bottom of the shaft and zipped it at the top of the head loosely so the cable could freely pass through as needed.  The slack cable was fed through a cable loop that I attached to the PowerDrive’s release assist handle. This worked ok but it was always a challenge managing slack and the Spotlock wrap.  Don’t need to be dealing with that when there’s fish to be caught.  But, I lived with it.

Groove on the Terrova shaft.

Groove on the Terrova shaft.

With the Terrova, the shaft has a groove on the backside.  This allows for a cable to be tucked in the groove and pass through the deployment mechanism.  The cable can be secured to the shaft, thus eliminating the slack issue from the motorhead to the motor base. PERFECT!  Even with Spotlock wrapping, I won’t have to worry about the transducer cable being ripped out of the transducer.  The cable management at the motor head alone is easily dealt with.

Luckily there is a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions on doing the install. It does require removing the motorhead and pulling the shaft out of the motor base.  I did this alone, but a second set of hands would definitely help!

So here is the video and my 20 step process for routing a transducer wire on a Terrova.

NOTE: I’ve seen online that thicker wires with the Lowrance units – maybe Structure Scan –  will not work. The fit is very tight and the Humminbird cable just makes it.  The clearance is so small that even a single wrap of electrical tape around the shaft will not pass through.  You’ve been warned!

At this point I will assume you already have the transducer mounted to the bottom of the motor.

What’s needed:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Marine adhesive like Marine Goop
  • Electrical or masking tape
  • Patience
  • Buddy (optional)
Transducer wire zip-tied at the bottom of the shaft.

Transducer wire zip-tied at the bottom of the shaft.

1. Remove the 4 screws under the motor head.  The top portion is the iPilot unit.  Inside you will see wires and we have to disconnect some of these.  Take a mental photograph of how things are laid out inside.

2. Disconnect the US2 cable. That’s the thicker cable with the screw-together connector.

3. Disconnect the power connectors (red & black) each of which are covered by a shield.   Do not lose these you have to put them back on.

4. Disconnect the brown ground wire. The wire is connected to an inline fuse holder.  Disconnect at the wire closest to the shaft. The connector is in shrink tubing.

5. Under the motorhead there is a bolt that goes through the shaft. Unscrew this. The otherside is a locknut so be ready to catch it.  Take the bolt out.

6. The head can now be removed.  Gently pull it off guiding the wires through. Set the head aside.

7. Remove the clasp on the shaft by loosening it and sliding it off.  Take note of how it goes on – stepped edge towards the motor. Say out loud “DO NOT FORGET TO PUT THE CLASP BACK ON”.

8. Unlock the motor support and gently slide the shaft out of the base by holding and pulling at the motor end.

9. Zip-tie the transducer wire at the bottom of the shaft. Remove any stickers or tags that are stuck on the cable. NOTHING can be on the cable.

10. Pass the connector end of the transducer cable through the mounting base where the shaft goes in and pull all the cable through.

In the video they glue the wire to the groove and let it dry before putting the shaft back through the base. I did not do this as I did not have all night for this to dry outside. I put the shaft through, then glued the cable:

11. Here’s where a friend helps – You now have to pass the shaft through the base, but you must ensure the transducer cable is in the groove as you do this.  Keep the cable as centred in the groove as you can and gently slide the shaft back through ensuring the wire does not get caught.  If it does, back it out carefully and try again.  The cable should pass freely within the groove.  You should not have to force anything – if you do, something will get cut or broken.  Put the motor up into the mount and lock it in place.

12. Put the clasp back on by passing the shaft wires and the transducer connector/wire through and sliding the clasp onto the shaft, taking note that the stepped end goes towards the motor!!! The transducer wire must be in the groove  DO NOT FORGET TO PUT THE CLASP BACK ON.

12. Put the bottom of the motor head back on. It only goes on one way and is indexed to the shaft groove.  Make sure the wires you disconnected pass through freely without getting stuck.  The transducer cable DOES NOT go inside the motor head.

13. Put the bolt that holds the head through the shaft under the motor head.  Looking at the top of the shaft you should see the bolt pass through, ensure it is not pushing on the internal wires of the shaft.  Put the nut in on the other side – it is molded to the nut – and tighten the bolt.

14. Reconnect the brown ground wire, red and black power  connectors and the US2 connector.  Do not forget the blue shields for the power cables.  If you have to , seal up that ground wire if you demolished the shrink tubing.  Route the wires nicely, as close to the way you found them.

15. Put the top of the motorhead back on, making sure nothing is being forced or caught on anything.  Put the 4 screws back on securing the top of the motorhead

16. Set the clasp up high on the shaft. Make sure the transducer wire is in the centre of the shaft groove and slowly and carefully deploy the motor. As you slide the motor down, line up the wire in the groove ensuring it does not get caught as it passes through.  If it does, back up slowly and go again. Do not force or something will get shredded or cut.

17. With the motor deployed, pull the wire from the top of the clasp, taking up some of the slack.  The wire should pass freely within the shaft groove.

Stop gluing when you get here.  Continue after the glue can hold the wire without tape and the motor is in the stowed position.

Stop gluing when you get here. Continue after the glue can hold the wire without tape and the motor is in the stowed position.

18. Starting at the bottom of the shaft, put a 2 inch long dab of Marine Goop or other waterproof sealant/adhesive in the centre of the groove. Push the wire onto the goop.  Tape the wire in place.  Repeat this every 6-8 inches up the shaft – centering the wire and taking up slack before securing the wire to the adhesive. Make sure nothing gets on the top-side of the wire (remember, tight tolerance). Stop when you get to the bottom of the motor base.

19. Take a rest while the adhesive cures a bit.  When the adhesive has cured enough to hold the wire in place without the tape, begin removing the tape starting at the bottom. Check to make sure the wire will not come off the adhesive before removing the tape.  Once all the tape has been removed, stow the motor slowly ensure nothing gets caught as it slides up – it shouldn’t.

20. Continue securing the wire up the shaft, stopping about 8 inches before the motorhead.  You will zip-tie the wire at the top of the shaft – no glue.

Now, chill out and let the adhesive cure according to the instructions.

At this point you can decide if you want to run the cable through the coil and to your sonar or not.  I did.

The slack you’ll need will be between the motorhead zip-tie and the sonar unit.  I set the slack on it to match the slack of the US2 wire that runs through the coil.  You will need this slack for when the motor is stowed (stretching), deployed (compressed), and for the Spotlock wrap (stretch and slack).  I’ll leave the slack amount to your trial and error.  You should not get interference on the sonar with the cable through the coil.  Trail and error.

So, there it is. If you’ve got a Terrova and a DI or SI transducer you want to use at the bow, this is how you can get that wire secured and out of the way on your trolling motor and keeping the look clean and pro.  Yes, I forgot to put the clasp back on.


The fruits of your labour!

The fruits of your labour!

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave A Response »