1. Welcome to Nitro & Tracker Owners! Join today, registration is easy!

    You can register using your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account, just click here.

Who's Running An I-pilot?

Thread in 'Marine Electronics' started by rbstern, May 20, 2017.

  1. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    What do you think of it?

    I've been pondering one as a replacement for my Powerdrive. I have the older Powerdrive with co-pilot, so the upgrade is out. Pricey stuff.

    I don't tourney fish, so this is purely for the ease of staying on spot and enjoying fishing, or following a track so I can fish while trying to keep my guests in optimal position for casting.
     
  2. Carl S

    Carl S Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    I have Terrova I-pilot and been using it for the last few years. Even though I do not get out to fish that much any more, I will give you my pros and cons.

    Pros:
    I definitely like the hand held remote. Big plus in my opinion.
    Built in transducer is convenient also as long as you do not have side or down imaging.
    I always was partial to electric steer over cable steer. Always easier for me to control plus the low profile foot pedal. The foot pedal also has a lot of the same functions as the remote does.
    Never used the tracking yet so I can not comment on that function.

    Cons:
    I had a Motorguide Excel before I got the Terrova. It was also electric steer. This unit had functions that I really liked that the Terrova
    does not. 1) The Excel had positive stops both to the left and to the right. The Terrova does not, so you can keep spinning the motor
    around and around and the cables get all twisted on the shaft and possibly rip up a cable. You will need to pay close attention to this.
    2) The Excel had a "stow" position button which would rotate the motor to the proper position so when you pulled on the rope to stow the motor would stay position and it easily loaded into the mounting bracket. With the Terrova when you hit the release handle and lift it by the head to stow (there is no lift or deploy rope so both are done by holding on to the head of the motor by standing up and bending over) the heavy side of the motor swings down and when lifting you have to turn and hold motor parallel, pull back and get it to lock in. I tied a rope around the shaft by the head to help in loading and unloading. Now i can ease the motor down and pull it up without bending over so far. Keep in mind I'm not as young and fit as I used to be.
    3) If you have side or down imaging you have to mount the transducer to the motor and route to cable up thru the coiled cable that operates the motor. You can not secure the cable to the shaft because the shaft slides thru the drive mechanism that turns the motor.
    So the cable just hangs there. Need to be careful going into brush to fish or retrieve a lure so it doesn't get hung up on something and rip the cable.
    4) Again, you have to keep on eye out so you do not way overturn the motor, remember there are no positive stops left or right. My friend
    ripped his transducer cable apart by not watching what was going on. An expensive mistake. Note: There are videos on YouTube on how to secure the xducer cable to the recessed slot on the drive shaft. I finally did this and it was pretty easy. It helps because the cable is secure to the shaft but you till have to watch so you do not over steer because it still may rip the cable apart if it binds up to much.
    5) As far as the Anchor Lock goes, you better hope it ain't windy out. You always need to try and anchor into the wind not against it. The anchor lock will only try to keep the front of the boat in position. In other words if it is windy and you want to fish parallel to shore chances
    are you will eventually end up with the front of the boat facing the shore. It all depends on wind condition and direction. Also, when setting anchor position make sure you are going as slow as possible, almost sitting still. Once you mark the position, if moving to fast, the motor goes crazy trying to get you to go backwards. Motor speeds way up, turning left, turning right, motor speed down. boat all over the place until it settles in. And that may take awhile. In the wind to me, it's a non-stop affair and you really never locked in to your spot.
    6) Same goes for locking into going in a specific forward direction. In the wind, it never seems to stay on track. Always drifting off course then speeds up to get you back on, then it may over shoot and it start all over again. Boat speed has a lot to do with holding the course. The faster you go, the better it is.
    7) The nose of the trolling motor sticks out the bow more, when stowed, than some other trolling motors when properly installed. Take your time and pick a good location or the motor may hit the front bow stop on the trailer when loading the boat. You also need to be careful when pulling into a dock that has a front walkway so you do not plow your motor into the dock. I purchased a Minnkota sliding mount that has 6" of travel toward the rear when stowed so the motor does not stick out the front so much. I also was able to drill and tap holes in the slide so that I gained another 2" of reverse travel for a total of 8". Now the motor stows
    just inside of the boat. Need to have to slide in hand and motor mounted to it to figure out where to best mounting position is when its stowed and deployed. Not complicated , just time consuming and a extra set of hands makes it easier

    Please keep in mind that I do not have a lot of time operating this motor and maybe it can all be corrected with more time on the water.
    These are just my actual experiences with this motor. I know it may sound like I knocked this motor into the dirt, but I do not regret having it since I am partial to electric steer and the hand held controller. Also, in fairly calm conditions the unit works a whole lot better. There maybe more cons or pros but I already took more time than I thought writing this and I need to get my grass cut before it rains again. Hope this may have helped. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask. It may take a little bit for a reply since I do not check the website daily all of the time.
     
    zman and rbstern like this.
  3. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Carl, thanks for the comprehensive write up!
     
  4. Jon  Puhalski

    Jon Puhalski Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2000
    Location:
    Winsted, CT
    I've got the new MK Ulterra with auto deploy and store and though I've only done a dozen trips with it, I am very happy so far. The auto trim is also very cool in that it allows you to get into some pretty skinny water which I had fears I would not be able to do. Auto pilot is very nice also in that I can set it for a constant speed and once on the right compass heading, I can slowly move down a bank pretty easily and not have to keep my foot on the peddle. Spot Lock works really well in the wind. Seems like the harder it is blowing, the better it holds. It is not good under calm (slick) conditions as it tends to over compensate. Still waiting for Humminbird to send me the bluetooth connector so I can run the motor from the Helix 9 dash unit but, for now the remote works fine. I launch and load by myself a lot and the auto deploy is awesome. Launch and tell the motor to get out of the ramp area, then spot lock it while I go park the truck. Same thing when I have to load up. Steer the motor till boat is out of the way then spot lock it till I get the trailer positioned, bring the boat back to dock, hop in and drive it onto the trailer. As mentioned, the motor is still very new to me but so far it has been great. The only drawback so far is the electronic steer is not as fast as a traditional cable steer. Just have to plan out your moves a bit earlier.
     
    rbstern likes this.
  5. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Jon, really interesting how you use it to launch and retrieve.
     
  6. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Location:
    Winneconne, WI
    I've had my Ulterra for 2 seasons now.

    I have no idea how anyone lives without an Ulterra now.

    As previous posters have said, I use it to launch and retrieve my boat, a real time saver if you're alone.

    And I have it networked to my two Helix units. The Ulterra gets a lot of stares, and people even stop me on the river to ask about it.

    I don't carry an anchor anymore (bad habit, I know), since the spot lock is able to hold me anywhere I've ever been.

    Two things to note and be careful about...

    When using spot lock, the motor will spin, it will not pull cords out. It will actually spin so much, that it'll seem like it's tangled, but then the motor will realize this and untangle itself by spinning the opposite way.

    When on open water, if it's windy, don't use spot lock and stand on the front deck and fish. The motor will turn left or right 90 degrees, and then go full power. It can get exciting.
     
  7. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    I just watched a Youtube video of someone solo launching and anchoring with the Ulterra while they parked their truck and trailer.

    Really cool stuff.
     
  8. Major Mark

    Major Mark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI & Adams County, WI
    Zodiac... I believe Wisconsin boating regs require an anchor to be in a boat. I haven't used mine since buying my Terrova Link motor, but still load an 18# navy anchor every spring. Unload it every season end. I also put in an auto-bilge pump, but still carry a minnow "bailing" bucket, because regs say you must have some form of "manual bailing" device.
     
  9. Zodiac

    Zodiac Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Location:
    Winneconne, WI
    http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/LE/LE0301.pdf

    An anchor is not required in Wisconsin, but I'll be the first to admit it's dumb to not have at least one on any boat.

    I do have a couple of minnow buckets, they came with the boat for the livewells, and it's just the easiest place to store them.
     
  10. Major Mark

    Major Mark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI & Adams County, WI
    I stand corrected! Never too old to learn.
     
  11. Bill Hunter

    Bill Hunter New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Location:
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
     
  12. Darryl Stafford

    Darryl Stafford Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    If mine broke today, I would buy another one tomorrow.
    Enough said.
     
  13. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Daryl, that's pretty strong testimony, given how pricey they are. I think there's one in my future.
     
  14. Darryl Stafford

    Darryl Stafford Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Just be aware that I do a Lot of trolling for crappie and spot lock over a lot of brush.
    Check the classifieds on crappie.com and you may find a used unit.
    Good luck
     
  15. Larry Williams

    Larry Williams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Yeah, I've seen enough now to hold me off replacing a really good Fortrex unit that I'm running now. I really need spot lock to work well in fairly calm water with maybe just a little wind. I wouldn't like the jerk starts that I see talked about everywhere. Also the delay in steering could be annoying. Have to react quickly in many areas where we fish here. I appreciate the insight gained from the group.
     
  16. Larry Williams

    Larry Williams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2017
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    I am seeing, after further reviewing the online information, that sudden starts and movements may be mostly related to older versions of Minn Kota's GPS holding systems that were first used. Apparently, there have been some recent improvements that eliminate a lot of the movements. Would love to hear about some recent experiences about Ultrex. I've seen where someone commented on the issue of the foot control of an Ultrex not fitting the recessed tray in a late model Nitro. Can anyone comment on that issue?
     

Share This Page