I have the great fortune of living on a small private lake and being the proud new owner of a very old, but partially restored 24’ pontoon boat. The lake and the boat are about cruising and enjoying time with up to a dozen of our closest friends. It is essentially a floating backyard deck. The lake is restricted to electric only, but this does not mean we are immune to one-ups-man-ship. Many of the Jones’ have brand new boats with electric outboards on 48v systems that total well north of $20k. I plan to compete with size and electronic wizardry where I cannot with dollars. The very sturdy deck of my boat is adorned with lawn chairs and patio furniture, but has plenty of room for fun.
Propulsion is a single, transom mounted, tiller adjusted minn Kota 12v 55lb thrust trolling motor. So far I have piloted from a bench at the back of the boat, but dream of residing behind the helm. Steering is a simple cable drive, but throttle will take more doing. I do plan to add a second matching motor and control setup. This will allow for differential steering.
A “throttle “ will be mounted at the helm that uses a potentiometer to send signals to an Arduino. The Arduino will communicate with a Tic249 driving a very small NEMA 8 stepper mounted in the motor control housing and is connected to the potentiometer the motor uses for speed control. The stepper is dual shaft, so the front can be controlled externally by a knob when the fancy electronics fail.
So far I have all the parts I think I need and have modeled the interior of the control housing in fusion360. The cap that will hold the stepper is nearing workable. I also have most of the raw code done for the Arduino side and have it mostly working on the breadboard.
Future enhancements may include the second motor, a linear actuator to provide motor lift and an electronics upgrade to include gps and Bluetooth for app control or, more interesting, location and heading hold.
Thoughts and comments are welcome.