Those sound pretty cool, espeacially for the ones with the built in transducers,
We use digital drive on cnc machines, big difference from the older ones with analog drive, one of them being noise(which would help built in transducers)
digital drives very rarely go out in the cnc machine world, I dont know how the would do with impact and the abuse a trolling motor gets in normall everyday operation. one thing if they do go out they are 3 times the price of an analog board(should be the same on a trolling motor) they will regulate the power very precise to the motor and make it run much more efficiant. Another problem might be the power source(your batteries) I dont know what will happen when it gets low or a tad to high(this would have to be programmed into the PLC chip in the digital drive)
I know on the spindle drives for cnc machines they are very finacy when it comes to input power souces and you have to run a transformer to keep the power regulated before it enters the drive.
but the out put power(going to the motor) is some of the cleanest burning power around(looking at it with a scope), brushes will probally be eliminated if they are not already, if they do use them they will last alot longer than they do now.
If they do the digital drives correctly they can make it so you can put a mmc card into it and and load different PArameters( Ie making a 36 volt motor from a 24 volt motor) which would be cool if you decided to upgrade your trolling motor.
They could also have it so you can keep your boat at one speed (preset) even if the wind is blowing or current change(it would work of boat speed) which would be very benificial to a fisherman,
Sounds like a great long over due improvement with alot of possibilites.
There is a 3 year warranty on them and most new boats are being equipped with them, more curious to see if anybody has had a problems with them. They can be checked out on the website. Motor guide trolling motors.
I went to the Patent Office site and searched for their patents.. One of the problems with TMs is when you get the blade fouled in weeds or stuck on a rock the motor draws too much current which harms the windings. The only protection before this invention was a circuit breaker. The breaker will prevent a fire, but you still send too much current thru the windings for a short period of time. There are also other conditions which put too much of a load on the TM. The patent mentions changing the prop on the TM to get more thrust. That will reduce the life of your TM because the motor is running hotter and drawing more current than the motor was designed for.
The patented design solves these problems by sensing the current to the motor and comparing it to a safe value. If the current to the motor exceeds the safe operating value the digital controller make an adjustment to bring the current down instantly to the safe level so the motor won't be damaged. This is good.
They also have other patents to implement a multi-port communication bus to the trolling motor. I'd have to assume they are using that patent to communicate to their digital controller in the TM business end. And there is a patent for a digitally controlled sonar transducer where the power output of the transducer could be changed by the controller and all communication between the transducer and the sonar display would travel over the communication bus. That would eliminate all electrical interferance on the sonar display as well as allowing variable power settings on the sonar so you don't bang out 3000 watts in 10 feet of water when you don't need it. I don't think the new units use this patent yet but it could be around the corner. What I like about that concept is once you have the sonar echo returns digitally encoded you could have your sonar unit software running on a laptop PC or a PDA. Then you'd have the processing power to analyze the incoming signal, compare it against a database of known "things", and display in real time that the arch next to a "rock" is a "carp" and not a big bass! 8)