Have any of you upgraded your Minn Kota PD to I-Pilot w/BT? Questions....

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thill

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After selling my Princecraft, I had a little left over, so I decided to upgrade to I-pilot with Bluetooth. This will be the first I-Pilot unit I have owned.

Here is the exact kit I have purchased: Minn Kota Riptide SP I-Pilot Bluetooth Conversion Kit

  1. Do any of you own the newer PowerDrive unit or have any of you upgraded your TM to this?
  2. How did the swap-out go?
  3. Do you feel it was worth it?
  4. How does the spot lock work?
  5. Should I spend the extra money for a heading sensor?
  6. Does it connect to your smart phone?
  7. Do you ever use the screen to navigate, or do you mainly use your phone?

Any comments, suggestions or whatever would be appreciated. I know the Terrova is a better unit, but this is what I have. Thanks.
 
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I have a PowerDrive. I don't have iPilot. I wish I could help you, but hardly even understand it.
I'm not a pro on I-Pilot, but the reason I upgraded was for the spot-lock feature. Just push the anchor button and it holds you in place without anchoring. I think the rest is pretty much the same as the regular co-pilot and Auto-pilot, just a little fancier.

I added ProNav to my PowerDrive. Can't talk to the Minn Kota unit.
I saw those, but didn't find anyone who had one, so shied away.
How do you like it? How much did the ProNav upgrade cost?
 
I'm not a pro on I-Pilot, but the reason I upgraded was for the spot-lock feature. Just push the anchor button and it holds you in place without anchoring. I think the rest is pretty much the same as the regular co-pilot and Auto-pilot, just a little fancier.


I saw those, but didn't find anyone who had one, so shied away.
How do you like it? How much did the ProNav upgrade cost?

I, too, wanted the spot lock feature, and that was the biggest motivator for the purchase. I often fish alone, and this area can be breezy. Anchors are a pain in the neck, and I don't like have to mind the boat while concentrating on fishing.

Expectation management: Successful use of spot lock requires a little learning curve; not bad, but you need to understand what's happening. I've seen users of Minn Kota's product, Lowrance's version, and Pro Nav all complain about "confused" activity when they engage the anchoring feature. In my view, this is largely due to not really understanding what is happening, and how the unit is working with the GPS relative to the motion of the boat. "Pinwheeling" and "herky-jerky" TM activation can occur depending on how the boat is moving when the feature is activated. I find that spot lock operation is smoothest when it's activated with the bow pointed into the wind, and when the forward motion of the boat is nearly or fully stopped.

I like the Pro Nav unit; I don't have any experience with the Minn Kota offering or any others, so I can't make valid comparisons.

I think I paid about $850 for the whole setup in 2022. That includes the basic unit and the fob. The fob is an option. The basic unit is controlled by the user's smart phone, either iOS of Android. I think there have been some price increases since then.

Likes:

- Pro Nav preserves function of the foot pedal controls. Consequently, the fisherman up front can still control the TM with the foot pedal if desired. I don't know if Minn Kota does this or not.

- The App can fully control the TM, and is the method for using lake maps. It can be integrated with Navionics for full functionality such as following bathymetry data around the lake. If you don't need or have Navionics, then the system has the ability to download basic maps from Google and those can be annotated by the user for route plotting or notes and fishing spots. Basic maps also allow for route plotting and navigation.

- The fob (motion controller) can be used while the app is also being used. That will allow multiple fisherman to control the TM via Bluetooth and both can be used to activate or release the anchor function.

- I have had occasion to use Pro Nav's customer service, and they exceeded expectations, in my opinion. A sealed cable connection came loose on one connector last summer. I noticed it on a Thursday afternoon. I dropped a message on their online contact form about 3:30 pm. I uploaded a picture of the problem connector. I had an email response at 5 p.m.; they stated right up front that the loose connector should not have happened and they asked me to send the whole unit back to them by USPS priority. I had that unit in the mail by 9 a.m. on Friday morning. Pro Nav received the package on Monday afternoon. They sent me replacement units immediately, and I had them by Wednesday.

Dislikes:

- The anchoring can be finicky, as discussed above, but I see comments about this from all brands. I've seen videos on Tiny Boat Nation about the Lowrance Ghost; they considered the actions of that unit unsafe.

- My unit works best with a specific startup process to get the unit going at the beginning of the fishing day. I have had occasional Bluetooth connectivity issues.

Overall, would I buy it again? Yes. I don't know how much the Minn Kota upgrade costs today. When I was looking, it was about the same as the Pro Nav. I like having the phone app in addition to the motion controller (fob).
 
I'm not a pro on I-Pilot, but the reason I upgraded was for the spot-lock feature. Just push the anchor button and it holds you in place without anchoring. I think the rest is pretty much the same as the regular co-pilot and Auto-pilot, just a little fancier.

My MK PowerDrive uses the remote. It has autopilot and the anchor function, which I assume is spot lock. At least it holds me in one place if needed. As far as I know the TM has the I-pilot function, but my Helix 7 isn't compatible.
 
My MK PowerDrive uses the remote. It has autopilot and the anchor function, which I assume is spot lock. At least it holds me in one place if needed. As far as I know the TM has the I-pilot function, but my Helix 7 isn't compatible.
The helix would be compatible if the TM had I pilot link. I have Helix 7 and it connects.
I pilot doesn't talk to humminbirds.....just runs on remote/auto pilot and has spot lock. I pilot link, links to humminbirds.
 
The helix would be compatible if the TM had I pilot link. I have Helix 7 and it connects.
I pilot doesn't talk to humminbirds.....just runs on remote/auto pilot and has spot lock. I pilot link, links to humminbirds.

I take it I-Pilot link and I-Pilot are two different things. As far as I know I don't have I-Pilot link. I think it is time for me to dig out my TM's user manual. I'm probably not using the full capabilities.
 
I did the upgrade from I-pilot to I-pilot link, very easy to do. The entire top module comes off with several screws, the actual number I forget. Several small plugs to disconnect and re connect. The entire process only takes minutes not hours and only requires a small screwdriver if memory serves me correctly. As to is it worth it? Depends on the person, I like having the iphone as a backup in the event of a remote failure. The blue tooth allows me to be connected with my Solix 10 and gives me the features I like. I mostly troll for perch and trout and the patterns both canned and custom programmed makes for a pleasant experience. If I spot fished for bass many of the features would not be used, of course there are many I do not use that I guess the bass guys would.
 
I take it I-Pilot link and I-Pilot are two different things. As far as I know I don't have I-Pilot link. I think it is time for me to dig out my TM's user manual. I'm probably not using the full capabilities.
The helix would be compatible if the TM had I pilot link. I have Helix 7 and it connects.
I pilot doesn't talk to humminbirds.....just runs on remote/auto pilot and has spot lock. I pilot link, links to humminbirds.
The Helix is compatible with iPilot link if it has the Ethernet option. If the Helix model number ends with an “N” it has Ethernet enabled. Likewise, the TM model number will have an “IP” in it has the “link” feature.

Link it required for features like following a contour, navigating to a point or circling around a point, to name a few. It also allows FF head control of functions like steer, speed and prop on/off for some control without the remote.
 
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What I initially found confusing after reading and watching all the marketing hype was that “link“ Is a separate option. It is not included with iPilot unless it specifically says iPilot link.
 
Ah, now we are getting some good discussion.

Thanks for that summary, Ray Clark. That was a good, detailed write-up and the ProNav sounds like a nice unit.

I now remember why I didn't go with the Pro Nav- it was the price tag. When I was first looking, it was similar or more than the Minn Kota version and was similar to buying a used trolling motor with I-pilot. Then someone here sent me to Trollingmotorparts.com, and that pushed me over the edge.


This is the I-pilot Bluetooth kit I'm getting for the Spectrum's Terrova:

trollingmotorparts.com/minn-kota-riptide-terrova-i-pilot-upgrade-kit-bluetooth/


And this is the one I already bought for the big Riptide Powerdrive on my center console:

trollingmotorparts.com/minn-kota-riptide-powerdrive-i-pilot-kit-bluetooth/


Both are less than $500 from this site. So I could upgrade TWO of my boats to I-Pilot with bluetooth for less than $1,000. That's definitely worth it. I didn't get the Link version, since I don't run Hummingbirds.

From what I can understand, the Bluetooth feature makes is possible to run from a phone or tablet. This is what I'm interested in learning more about. I haven't installed mine yet, but I've heard that the optional heading sensor is something I want to get to prevent the pinwheeling spot lock.
 
Ah, now we are getting some good discussion.

Thanks for that summary, Ray Clark. That was a good, detailed write-up and the ProNav sounds like a nice unit.

I now remember why I didn't go with the Pro Nav- it was the price tag. When I was first looking, it was similar or more than the Minn Kota version and was similar to buying a used trolling motor with I-pilot. Then someone here sent me to Trollingmotorparts.com, and that pushed me over the edge.


This is the I-pilot Bluetooth kit I'm getting for the Spectrum's Terrova:

trollingmotorparts.com/minn-kota-riptide-terrova-i-pilot-upgrade-kit-bluetooth/


And this is the one I already bought for the big Riptide Powerdrive on my center console:

trollingmotorparts.com/minn-kota-riptide-powerdrive-i-pilot-kit-bluetooth/


Both are less than $500 from this site. So I could upgrade TWO of my boats to I-Pilot with bluetooth for less than $1,000. That's definitely worth it. I didn't get the Link version, since I don't run Hummingbirds.

From what I can understand, the Bluetooth feature makes is possible to run from a phone or tablet. This is what I'm interested in learning more about. I haven't installed mine yet, but I've heard that the optional heading sensor is something I want to get to prevent the pinwheeling spot lock.
I'm selling an upgrade kit to ipilot for Terrova. Check the classifieds here.
 
Going to give anyone considering purchasing a helix a piece of advice. Either wait and save up or just bite the bullet and buy the networkable model right from the jump....because after you purchase the cheaper model, you'll be wishing you bought the networkable unit...even if you don't use it right now...you have it so you can add accessories in the future.
I found myself buying the cheaper and within 8 months I sold it and upgraded...then bought another.....
linking my minnkota to my helix just opens so many options..... ...and same with the minn kota....I bought the ipilot....and in a year I bought the kit to upgrade....I should have just bought the ipilot link right away.
 
Going to give anyone considering purchasing a helix a piece of advice. Either wait and save up or just bite the bullet and buy the networkable model right from the jump....because after you purchase the cheaper model, you'll be wishing you bought the networkable unit...even if you don't use it right now...you have it so you can add accessories in the future.
I found myself buying the cheaper and within 8 months I sold it and upgraded...then bought another.....
linking my minnkota to my helix just opens so many options..... ...and same with the minn kota....I bought the ipilot....and in a year I bought the kit to upgrade....I should have just bought the ipilot link right away.
Been there and done that. The non networked Helix will most likely sell with the boat.

I’m curious, did the remote from a non link Terrova will work after the iPilot link upgrade?
 
I'm selling an upgrade kit to ipilot for Terrova. Check the classifieds here.
Unfortunately, mine is a 2009 Riptide ST that I found on craigslist, still in the unopened box. I'm way ahead financially no matter what I do.

Your kit won't work on mine, but thanks for the heads up. I hope someone buys it to offset some of your upgrade. Should be easy to sell on FB Marketplace, if you use FB.
 
I upgraded my PD to Ipilot. First, it was with the non Bluetooth model, and the remote had limited distance. The bluetooth model is excellent.

I mainly use ipilot for spot lock, in replacement of dropping an anchor.. the lake I fish is as deep as 150', and anchoring to vertical fish striped bass isn't pretty the old fashioned way. Plus, with spotlock, and a heading sensor, you can "jog" your boat forward 10ft at a time in 4 different directions. You don't stay "spot locked" at an exact spot.. it's more of a roaming 10ft area.

I also use it for trolling crankbaits for crappie. I can set it and point it in a direction, and if you use the "N^" button, it'll keep you going in that compass direction, even if the wind or current blows you off your wanted path.

I have Garmin electronics, so can't use the contours feature, but that would be great.

Having the app saved me twice when my remote batteries went dead.. it's a good backup. Tip: don't leave the remote in your storage bin bouncing around... it'll turn itself on and drain the batteries.

Overall, worth the money of an upgrade.. you can quickly move spot to spot if you're vertical fishing or even casting to one spot (tree/bush/etc/) and then can blow out of there quickly or move on to the next spot (using trolling motor) you've previously marked.
 
I upgraded my PD to Ipilot. First, it was with the non Bluetooth model, and the remote had limited distance. The bluetooth model is excellent.

I mainly use ipilot for spot lock, in replacement of dropping an anchor.. the lake I fish is as deep as 150', and anchoring to vertical fish striped bass isn't pretty the old fashioned way. Plus, with spotlock, and a heading sensor, you can "jog" your boat forward 10ft at a time in 4 different directions. You don't stay "spot locked" at an exact spot.. it's more of a roaming 10ft area.

I also use it for trolling crankbaits for crappie. I can set it and point it in a direction, and if you use the "N^" button, it'll keep you going in that compass direction, even if the wind or current blows you off your wanted path.

I have Garmin electronics, so can't use the contours feature, but that would be great.

Having the app saved me twice when my remote batteries went dead.. it's a good backup. Tip: don't leave the remote in your storage bin bouncing around... it'll turn itself on and drain the batteries.

Overall, worth the money of an upgrade.. you can quickly move spot to spot if you're vertical fishing or even casting to one spot (tree/bush/etc/) and then can blow out of there quickly or move on to the next spot (using trolling motor) you've previously marked.

“I have Garmin electronics, so can't use the contours feature, but that would be great”

It’s not that great. The TM tries to follow every little zig and zag. Can you imagine a course like a point that doubles back on itself? Better hang on.
 
Been there and done that. The non networked Helix will most likely sell with the boat.

I’m curious, did the remote from a non link Terrova will work after the iPilot link upgrade?
That's a really good question. I never tried it to see.....but looking at them, they have the exact same buttons but the link remote has the big touch screen with all the ipilot options. I don't see why it wouldn't work the basic operation for the TM....truthfully I like the old remote better....it's half the weight and size...and the touch screen can get touchy.
I always am afraid the remote will take a tumble out of the boat and become bottom structure. ....
 
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