Electric Paddle Description
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PropEle Electric Boat Motor
Electric Paddle Reviews
This is a review of the…
The EP motor weighs 8 pounds and the Nickel Hydride battery weighs 8 pounds, more or less. Much lighter than any alternative. This is particularly important on a light-weight canoe. I use it on a kevlar Wenonah Spirit II tandem canoe, and on a kevlar Wenonah Vagabond Solo canoe, but it can be used on any small craft. (Depending on expected conditions and we are fishing, I will often use Spring Creek stabilizers along with the EP on the tandem.)
The EP is designed for maximum efficiency on a displacement hull like a canoe (as opposed to a planing hull on a speed boat). It gives the power of one or two strong paddlers, at about 3 mph. You can paddle along with it while it is running, to increase speed and range. It is quiet enough that we could have extended conversation and other boats often were unaware we had a motor.
The range of one battery is 2-5 hours, depending on throttle speed settings. I have two batteries. The batteries charge fast, in a couple of hours. Both the motor and battery are water-proof, but obviously not designed for any prolonged immersion.
I used the EP for a week of day trips in the Adirondacks (upstate New York) with the Spirit II. We tackled some of the larger lakes which we had avoided in past trips because they allow motors, like Tupper Lake and Raquette Lake and River. We did a day trip from the Town of Long Lake north to the outlet of Long Lake and back. Even when we were younger and more in shape, this would have been at the outer limits of our capability. A few pictures here:
This summer (2014), I have done a number of trips on the Sassafras and Chester Rivers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and on the Chesapeake Bay. Pictures (with captions) and several short videos can be seen here, showing the EP in action:
For the Spirit II, I used an Essex Industries mount, and the Canadian-made mount available through LL Bean. Both worked equally well. For the Vagabond, I could not find a motor mount that was wide enough, and fashioned my own using the widely-available plastic clamps that are used for removable yokes. These worked fine on aluminum gunwales, but some modifications may be needed for wooden gunwales.
Like any motor, the prop will pick up thick underwater vegetation and jam, so you have to be aware of this and plan accordingly. It is easy enough to raise the motor and clear the prop, usually.
The motor uses brushless motor technology, which is the same technology used in model airplanes and electric toothbrushes, for example. The battery is a nickel–metal hydride battery, abbreviated NiMH. NiMH cells haver more charge capacity than the same-sized NiCd, and they do not pose as much of a disposal problem as other types. NiMH are more user-friendly than NiCd when it comes to memory and loss of capacity. NIMH will run down after months in storage but it is easy to get the capacity back. In short, this is the best type of battery for this application.
Propele has spontaneously sent me spare O- rings, and newly-developed end caps, which shows they continue with on-going product development. I am very satisfied with the warranty and customer service.
I have no affiliation whatsoever with Propele and am merely a very satisfied customer who wants to get the word out about this highly-developed technology and super product.