Learning, Wiring,

How to Wire a 36 Volt Trolling Motor 9 (3 Steps and Tips)

If you need to wire a 36V trolling motor, this article will show you how to do it.

You will need to connect a single 36-volt battery using a power cable or three 12V batteries in series using a power cable and two larger connector/jumper cables.

If you want to add power to your boat or fishing rig, a 336-volt trolling motor is a perfect choice. Here’s how to wire one!

I will also help you to choose the right battery, which size wire to use, and tell you how long you can expect the 36V motor to run.

Trolling Motors

A trolling motor is a tool used in a fishing boat without an outboard engine to maneuver it.

The trolling motor is usually either 12V, 24V, or 36V. The 36V motor gives you a higher voltage and, therefore, more power (at the same current) for the motor and other electrical appliances in the boat.

a trolling motor with battery cables
A trolling motor with battery cables


Before Wiring for a 36V Trolling Motor

Battery Size and Arrangement

The power supply for a 36V trolling motor can be arranged in either of two ways:

  • Three deep cycle 12V marine batteries connected in series (not in parallel). This arrangement triples the voltage to provide the needed 36V.
  • A single deep-cycle 36-volt marine battery.

Whichever you choose, the wiring is simple without hiring an electrician.

Also, you will need the following items for the wiring:

  • One power cable.
  • Two connector cables (aka jumper wires; only if you will connect three batteries).

You should do a few more things before starting to wire for the 36V trolling motor:

  • Battery/-ies – Check all the batteries to ensure they have sufficient charge and can provide the required voltage. They should be roughly or close to 12V each. Usually, the red wire is connected to the battery’s positive terminal and the black wire to the negative terminal.
  • Circuit Breaker (optional) – The circuit breaker is designed to protect the motor, wiring, and the boat.

Make sure the trolling motor is disconnected before wiring the batteries to them.


Wiring for a 36V Trolling Motor by Connecting Three 12-Volt Batteries in Series

The first method I describe here uses three 12-volt batteries in series.

connector cable
Connecting three 12V batteries in series for a trolling motor

Step 1: Place the Batteries

Put the three batteries next to each other.

Step 2: Connect the Connector Cables

Barring the two end terminals, connect the two connector cables from one battery’s positive terminal to the other battery’s negative terminal, as shown in the wiring diagram above.

Step 3: Connect the Power Cable

Connect the positive lead from the motor to the end battery’s remaining positive terminal and the negative lead to the other end battery’s negative terminal, as shown above.


Wiring for a 36V Trolling Motor Using One 36-Volt Battery

We will use a single 36-volt battery in this simpler, alternative method.

There is only one battery, so there are only two terminals to connect. Simply connect the battery’s positive terminal to the motor’s positive (red) lead and the battery’s negative terminal to the motor’s negative (black) lead.

That’s it. The battery is now connected to your trolling motor, so you can start using it.


Choosing the Right Battery and Arrangement

You might be wondering what type of battery to use and whether to use one or connect three in parallel.

Type of Battery

Anglers generally recommend two types of batteries for a trolling motor: Flooded lead-acid batteries and AGM batteries.

The two types differ in quality, price, and maintenance requirements. Most anglers use the former type because they are more common and cheaper, but if you can afford it, the latter has enhanced battery life and are fully-sealed and maintenance-free.

warning sign iconSince you’re going to connect multiple batteries (three), make sure they are of the SAME type. Mixing different batteries is not recommended. It can damage them. Use either three lead-acid or three AGM batteries in series for best results.

Another option is now possible – using lithium batteries. They are generally more stable, safer, lighter, and have a longer lifespan. They are available as either 12, 24, or 336-volt batteries.

One or Three Batteries?

Which is better – one 36-volt battery or three 12-volt batteries?

Using a single 36-volt battery will give you a more compact setup to save you a lot of space. It is also simpler to arrange, as you don’t need to use any connector cables. So, if you want a simple arrangement and save space, you can use just one battery, as long as it’s 36 volts. But note that it will be a very heavy battery if it’s the lead-acid type!

However, I detailed the three-battery method first because it offers some advantages. It is more reliable than using a single battery. If any one battery fails, you will only have to replace that, not all three, and they are more easily available. Also, it is lighter, and you can charge each battery separately. Another advantage is that chargers are more readily available for 12 than 36 volts. For all these reasons, three 12-volt batteries in a series is a more common setup.

Take Care of Your Batteries

Polarity: To ensure your batteries last long, never connect their two terminals. They are of opposite polarity, so connecting them will create a short circuit. It could also damage the batteries and lead to a fire if they are connected for a long time.

Circuit Breaker: I highly recommend using a circuit breaker (or fuse connected to the battery’s positive terminal).



Video Reference

Fishing With Salty

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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