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Publication numberUS3797448 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 19, 1974
Filing dateMar 19, 1973
Priority dateMar 27, 1972
Publication numberUS 3797448 A, US 3797448A, US-A-3797448, US3797448 A, US3797448A
InventorsCramer H
Original AssigneeLowrance Electronics Mfg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Trolling motor with steering means
US 3797448 A
Abstract
This disclosure describes an improved electric trolling motor system for driving small boats. The motor which drives the propeller also drives a gear train through electrical clutches. Gears are provided to separately cooperate with a third gear means to rotate the trolling motor with respect to a fixed support tube fastened to the boat. By connecting one or the other clutch to a battery, the direction of the motor axis can be rotated to the right or to the left.
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United States Patent [191 Cramer TROLLING MOTOR WITH STEERING MEANS [75] Inventor: Howard A. Cramer, Tulsa, Okla.

[73] Assignee: Lowrance Electronics, Inc., Tulsa,

Okla.

221 Filed: Mar. 19, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 342,411

Related U.S. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 238,327, March 27,

1972, Pat. No. 3,723,839.

[52] U.S. Cl 115/18 E, 115/35. 318/15, 318/588 [51] Int. Cl B63h 21/26 [58] Field of Search 115/18 R, 18 E, 34 R, 35; 114/144 R; 318/12,15, 588, 589

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3.602.181 8/1971 Harris 115/18 E X 3.598.947 8/1971 Osborn 115/18 R X 3.052.204 9/1962 Scivally "115/18 E 2.877.733 3/1959 Harris 115/18 E 2.804.838 9/1957 Moser 115/18 E 2.372.247 3/1945 Billing 115/35 51 Mar. 19, 1974 Primary Examiner-Duane A. Reger Assistant E.raminerRandolph A. Reese Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Head & Johnson 5 7] ABSTRACT This disclosure describes an improved electric trolling motor system for driving small boats. The motor which drives the propeller also drives a gear train through electrical clutches. Gears are provided to separately cooperate with a third gear means to rotate the trolling motor with respect to a fixed support tube fastened to the boat. By connecting one or the other clutch to a battery, the direction of the motor axis can be rotated to the right or to the left.

Included also is a solenoid operated brake which locks the drive means between the support tube and the motor so that when the clutches are not energized'the motor is locked in direction with respect to the support tube. A second smaller tube is positioned axially in the longitudinal bore through the support tube. The lower end of the small tube is attached to the motor assembly, and the upper end carries a radial arm, by means of which the direction of the motor axis can be indicated.

10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures TROLLING MOTOR WITH STEERING MEANS CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of the copending application Ser. No. 238,327, now US. Pat. No. 3,723,839 entitled TROLLING MOTOR WITH STEERING MEANS, filed Mar. 27, 1972, the applicant of which is the same as the applicant of this invention. The two applications are owned by the same assignee. Application Ser. No. 238,327 is included in this application by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention lies in the field of propulsion systems for small boats. More particularly, it isconcerned with electrical power units for slow speed trolling of small boats such as fishing boats.

In the prior art outboard propulsion systems have been used for small fishing boats. Generally these are controlled by means of a rudder arm which rotates the entire motor and propeller assembly. The arm is controlled by the operator who must be seated nearby. The prior art also includes the use of cables or levers so that an operator stationed at another selected point in the boat may remotely control the direction of the motor shaft by means of the cords and levers. In addition, electric motors separate from those which drive the propeller have been used to rotatably position the trolling motor. I

Such prior art systems have serious disadvantages. The most important is that it requires the operator to be seated in one fixed position at the stern of the boat and to use at least one of his hands to control the steering of the boat, leaving only one hand for the manipulation of the fishing equipment. The second method is disadvantageous because levers and cords are complicated and expensive and it is necessary to select a second position which is generally fixed on the boat. This does not provide freedom for the operator to move around to various parts of the boat while still having full control of the trolling motor and its direction of orientation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is a primary object of this invention to provide a trolling motor system which uses an electric motor to drive the propeller and also utilizes the same motor, by remote electrical control, to change the orientation of the motor and propeller system so as to drive the boat in different selected directions.

This objective is accomplished and the limitations of the prior art are overcome by this invention in which the electric motor which is used to drive the propeller is utilized also to drive clutch and gear mechanisms by which, remotely, the motor and propeller can be rotated about a vertical axis so as to change the direction of travel of the boat. Two electrically controlled clutches are mounted on the motor shaft. These carry first and second gear means which individually cooperate with third gear means which rotates about a vertical axis. The third gear means is fastened to a support tube by which the trolling motor system is supported from the boat. This support tube rotates relative to the housing of the motor, in bearings in the housing. Drive means are provided between the clutches and the third gear means so that by engaging one or the other of the two clutches, the support tube can be rotated relative to the housing in one direction or the other. The support tube is clamped to the boat. Therefore, rotation between the support tube and the motor housing means that the housing will rotate about the axis of the support tube changing its direction with respect to the boat and changing the direction in which the boat is propelled.

Since the clutches are operated electrically, all that is required is a pair of switches such that only one or the other can be closed at the same time. These switches can be incorporated in a hand controlled device. Preferably, they are in a foot operated control de vice, so that while the operator is using both hands for his fishing equipment his foot can be used to close one switch or the other to control the direction of the boat. Since the switches can be carried on long conductors the operator is free to assume a position at any point in the boat and still control the boat while having his hands free for other duties.

This invention encompasses also an improvement which includes a remote controlled operating means, such as an electrical solenoid which operates a brake, which when the solenoid is de-energized locks the motor assembly to the support tube.

This means that when the clutches are de-energized there will be no change in direction between the trolling motor axis and the support tube. When it is desired to change direction, the solenoid is first operated, which removes the brake and then one or the other of the clutch mechanisms are energized to cause the housing to rotate, and so on. An additional improvement of this invention includes a small diameter vertical tube passing through the center of the support tube. The inner tube is fastened at its lower end to the housing, and rotates with the housing. At its upper end it is fastened to a radial arm, which is preferably aligned in a vertical plane through the motor axis. Thus the direc tion of the arm with respect to the boat axis is an indication of the direction of the motor axis with respect to the boat axis. A

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows in vertical cross section one embodiment of this invention. Numeral 10 indicates generally the motor and submerged housing of the trolling motor system. It comprises a drive motor 12 inside of a water tight housing 14. The housing may be made in two or more parts, adequately sealed together, though not shown but well known in the art. The motor shaft 24 is supported in bearings 18 and 22 in the housing. End 25 of the shaft 24 is in a blind opening on one end wall of the housing. The

other end of the shaft 24 passes through the wall of the housing and is sealed against moisture by sealing means in the housing. The propeller 16 is fastened to the outer end of the motor shaft.

There is a vertical tube 26 which is welded or otherwise sealably attached by means 28, to the top of the housing 14. Supported inside of the tube 26 is a support tube 30 which is supported in bearings 27, 29 and is sealed against moisture entry between the tube 26 and the support tube 30 by sealing means 31. The support tube 30 has a flange 90 at its upper end which is adapted to rest on and be fastened to a portion of the deck 92 of the fishing boat, and locked thereto in fixed direction with respect to the axis of the boat. The support tube 30 extends into the housing and has a collar 32 fastened to it which provides a stop to prevent the housing from moving lower along the support tube 30. Near the low end of the support tube is a bevel gear 34 and below that, near the lower end of the support tube is a plurality of slip rings 58. A plurality of conductors 33 passes down inside of the support tube 30 and are attached separately to the slip rings 58.

Inside the housing the extension of the motor shaft 24 carries two clutches 42 and 44 which are fastened by means 41 and rotate with shaft 25. These clutches are electrically operated to control discs 43 and 45, respectively, either to slip on the shaft or to rotate with their corresponding clutches. Each of the discs 43 and 45 carries a gear, such as 46 and 48 respectively. Gear 46 meshes with gear 39 on shaft 36, which is supported in bearings 37 and 38. Thus when the clutch is energized disc 43 rotates with the clutch 42 and with it drives the gear 46, which correspondingly drives the gear 39, to rotate the shaft 36, and with it a bevel gear 56, which meshes with the bevel gear 34 to rotate the support tube with respect to ,the housing 14. The disc carries a gear 48 which meshes with a gear 50 supported on shaft 52, which is supported in bearings 54. This gear 50 meshes with another gear 40 supported on shaft 36. The gear train composed of gears 48, 50 and 40 causes the shaft 36 to rotate in an opposite direction to the rotation of shaft 36 when the gear trains 46 and 39 are operating. Therefore, by energizing either clutch 42 or 44 the shaft 36 can be rotated in one direction or the other and therefore the support tube 30 can be rotated in one direction or the other with respect to the housing 14. Conversely, since the support tube is held fixed to the boat, operation of one or the other of the clutches causes the motor housing to be rotated with respect to the support tube. Full control of the rotation of the housing with respect to the support tube is handled by the two clutches.

Brushes are supported on the post 95 which contact the plurality of slip rings 58. Wires 60 are brought down from the slip rings to a connection board which is also fastened to the housing. Clutch 42 has two leads 66 and 67 one of which 66 goes to terminal 62 of the terminal board 55. The other lead 67 goes by way of lead 81 to a terminal 76 which will be described presently. Similarly, the leads from clutch 44, namely lead 69 goes to terminal 61, and the other lead 68 joins with lead 67 to go to the terminal 76. Motor leads 82 and 83 are connected respectively to terminals 64 and 65.

There is a hinged arm 71, hinged at axis 85 which is supported by the housing. This arm is attached in one direction by a spring 86 fastened to the arm 71 at point 87. The other end of the arm 71 is adapted to lock precisely into the teeth of the bevel gear 34 so that under the influence of the spring 86 the arm 71 is held in contact with the bevel gear 34 and locks it and the support tube against relative rotation between the housing and the support tube 30.

A solenoid 70 is supported by the housing. The plunger 72 is attached by means 73 at point 84 at the lower end of the arm 71 so that when the solenoid is energized the plunger 72 is drawn in and the arm '71 is pulled away from the gear 34. Thus the brake is removed and the relative rotation of the housing and the support tube is permitted. There is an insulated arm 74 attached to the plunger 72. It carries a contact 75 which, when the solenoid 70 is energized, contacts the fixed contact 76 and closes the electrical circuit between them. It is thus seen that whenever the solenoid is energized lead 81, going to contact 76, contacts the contact 75 and is therefore connected by means of leads 79 to the terminal 65. Terminal 65, as shown in FIG. 2, goes to one post of the battery 100. Lead 75 also goes to terminal 77 of the solenoid 70 while the second terminal 78 of the solenoid goes by lead 80 to the terminal 63 on the board 55. It is clear, therefore, that the motor and solenoid and the two clutches 32 and 34 each have one lead attached to a terminal on the terminal board, and the other lead from each of the four elements are connected together to terminal and to one terminal of the battery 100 on the boat.

Referring now to FIG. 2 a complete layout of the connection between the clutches 42 and 44 is shown. The solenoid and motor 12 and battery 100 are shown. Terminal 65 is shown to be a common terminal for the motor at lead 83, for the solenoid at lead 79, and through the contact and 76 (when the solenoid is energized) to leads 67 and 68 of the two clutches. The other lead of clutch 42 goes to terminal 61 and from clutch 44 goes to terminal 62. The solenoid lead goes to terminal 63 and the other motor lead goes to terminal 64.

At the boat these four terminals 61, 62, 63, 64 go to separate switches 102, 104, 106 and 108, so that they can be independently closed and opened. The motor switch 108 is conveniently a switch that can be closed and it will stay closed. The other switches, to the clutches and the solenoid, are preferably switches which must be held closed if they are to'remain closed.

In operation, to change the direction of the trolling motor, switch 106 would be closed to operate the sole noid 70 to remove the brake arm 71 and close the contacts 75, 76. This enables the clutches 42 and 44 to be operated and therefore switch 102 or switch 104 can be closed as needed to cause rotation of the motor housing with respect to the support tube 30. When the motor housing is in its proper direction the switches controlling the clutches are left open. The solenoid is de-energized by opening switch 106, which locks the housing in direction to the support tube. Since switch 108 is closed, the motor continues to run, propelling the boat in the direction set by the angle between the motor, housing and the support tube.

Referring back to FIG. 1 there is a tube 93 which is inserted down through the center of the support tube 30. It is fastened at its bottom end to an ark 94 which is attached to the post which is attached to the housing. Thus the inner tube 93 is supported along the axis of the support tube 30 and rotates with the housing. At its upper end it is attached to a radial arm 99, preferably positioned in a direction which is in a vertical plane through the motor axis 24. Thus the direction of the arm 99 will indicate, at the boat, the direction in a vertical plane of the motor shaft 24.

A preferred embodiment provides a plurality of small lamps 98A, 9813 which are attached to the radial arm 99 and connected by wires 97 which pass down through the inner tube 93 and are connected in parallel with the motor lead across terminals 64 and 65. Thus whenever the motor leads are energized and the switch 110 is closed, lamps 98A, 988, etc. are illuminated. In the dark the line joining the lamps 98A and 98B indicate the direction of the radial arm 99 and thus the direction of the motor axis. If the color of the light means 98A at the axis of the support tube means 30 is different from the color of the other light means, the direction in which the trolling system is moving can be determined.

Other gear systems or other drive systems such as belts, for example, can be used in place of the system indicated in FIG. 1 which in conjunction with clutches 42 and 44 can be used to control the relative rotation of the housing and the support tube. Also it will be clear that other types of brake mechanisms than that shown in FIG. 1 can likewise be used to lock the relative rotation of the housing and the support tube whenever the operation of the clutches is not desired.

While the invention has been .described with a certain degree of particularity it is manifest that many changes may be made in the details of construction and the arrangement of components. It is understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments set forth herein by way of exemplifying the invention, but the invention is to be limited only by the scope of the attached claim or claims, including the full range of equivalency to which each element or step thereof is entitled.

What is claimed:

1. In an electric trolling system for propelling a boat, said system including drive motor, motor housing, propeller and power supply, the improvement comprising:

a. means to sealably journal a vertical support tube in said housing;

b. means to support said support tube from said boat;

c. first and second clutch means inside said housing,

driven by said drive motor;

d. first drive means responsive to said first clutch means to relatively rotate said support tube in a first direction with respect to said housing;

e. second drive means responsive to said second clutch means to relatively rotate said support tube in a second direction with respect to said housing;

f. means to selectively control the operation of said first or said second clutch means, whereby said housing can be rotated about said support tube means in either direction; and

g. including remotely controlled brake means in said housing to lock said housing to said support tube to prevent relative rotation whenever said clutch means are not energized.

2. The trolling system as in claim 1 in which said remotely controlled brake means includes solenoid means.

3. The trolling system as in claim 2 in which the operation of said first and second clutch means is responsive to the prior operation of said solenoid means to disen' gage said brake means.

4. The trolling system as in claim 1 including tubular means inside said support tube attached at its lower end to said housing and carrying a radial arm at its top end, said arm for the purpose of indicating a function of the direction of the axis of said drive motor.

5. The trolling system as in claim 4 including a plurality of light means spaced along said arm for indicating the direction of said arm.

6. The trolling system as in claim 5 including different colored light means along said arm.

7. The trolling system as in claim 1 in which said drive means comprise gear means.

8. In an electric trolling system for propelling a boat, said system including drive motor, motor housing, propeller and power supply, the improvement comprising:

a. means to sealably journal a vertical support tube in said housing;

b. means to support said support tube from said boat;

c. first and second clutch means inside said housing,

driven by said drive motor;

d. first drive means responsive to said first clutch means to relatively rotate said support tube in a first direction with respect to said housing;

. second drive means responsive to said second clutch means to relatively rotate said support tube in a second direction with respect to said housing;

f. means to selectively control the operation of said first or said second clutch means, whereby said housing can be rotated about said support tube means in either direction; and including tubular means inside said support tube attached at its lower end to said housing and carrying a radial arm at its top end, said arm directed in a vertical plane of known angle to the direction of the axis of said drive motor.

9. The trolling system as in claim 8 including a plurality of light means spaced along said arm for indicating the direction of said arm.

10. The trolling system as in claim 9 including different colored light means along said arm.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2372247 *Aug 21, 1942Mar 27, 1945Billing Noel PembertonPropeller drive for marine vessels
US2804838 *Nov 16, 1955Sep 3, 1957Moser Harold WTrolling outboard motor control
US2877733 *Jan 22, 1957Mar 17, 1959Harris Garrett HElectric steering and power control system for outboard motors
US3052204 *Nov 7, 1960Sep 4, 1962Scivally Herschell RElectric motor-propeller unit mounting and control means
US3598947 *Nov 3, 1969Aug 10, 1971Osborn Engineering CorpPedal operated control for electric fishing motors
US3602181 *Jun 20, 1969Aug 31, 1971Harris Garrett HOutboard motor steering control
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4009677 *Sep 4, 1975Mar 1, 1977Brunswick CorporationRadial thrust apparatus for high thrust trolling motor
US5050519 *Jul 26, 1990Sep 24, 1991Architectural Control Systems, Inc.Boat trolling motor control
US6431928 *Sep 13, 1999Aug 13, 2002Abb Azipod OyArrangement and method for turning a propulsion unit
US6688927Jul 11, 2002Feb 10, 2004Abb OyArrangement and method for turning a propulsion unit
US8430701May 24, 2007Apr 30, 2013Franz Peter JegelDrive device for a watercraft
WO2007137312A1May 24, 2007Dec 6, 2007Franz Peter JegelDrive device for a watercraft
Classifications
U.S. Classification440/6, 440/55, 318/15, 318/588
International ClassificationH02K7/10, H02K7/112, B63H20/00
Cooperative ClassificationH02K7/10, H02K7/1125, B63H20/007
European ClassificationH02K7/10, B63H20/00T, H02K7/112B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 19, 1995ASAssignment
Owner name: LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC., OKLAHOMA
Free format text: RELEASE OF PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:NORWEST BUSINESS CREDIT, INC.;REEL/FRAME:007677/0377
Effective date: 19940121
Oct 19, 1995AS99Other assignments
Free format text: LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC. 12000 EAST SKELLY DRIVE TULSA, OKLAHOMA 74128 * NORWEST BUSINESS CREDIT,INC. : 19940121 OTHER CASES: NONE; RELEASE OF PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT
Oct 6, 1995ASAssignment
Owner name: BARCLAYS BUSINESS CREDIT, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:007696/0308
Effective date: 19931215
Sep 25, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: NORWEST BUSINESS CREDIT, INC., 6600 FRANCE AVENUE
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:005142/0218
Effective date: 19890427
Nov 20, 1987AS06Security interest
Owner name: SECURITY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC., 140 EAST 45
Effective date: 19870703
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT
Nov 20, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: SECURITY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC., 140 EAST 45
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT;REEL/FRAME:004818/0032
Effective date: 19870703
May 27, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT, 12222 MERIT DRIVE, SU
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC. A CORP. OF OK;REEL/FRAME:004561/0871
Effective date: 19860303
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT,TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC. A CORP. OF OK;REEL/FRAME:4561/871
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT, TEXAS
May 27, 1986AS06Security interest
Owner name: LOWRANCE ELECTRONICS, INC. A CORP. OF OK
Owner name: WELLS FARGO BUSINESS CREDIT, 12222 MERIT DRIVE, SU
Effective date: 19860303