The new MotorGuide Xi5 wireless trolling motor is obviously designed to take on Minn Kota’s successful Terrova, and MotorGuide took the time and trouble to do it right.
The term “wireless” applies to the motor’s remote controls; the motor, of course, must be hardwired to its battery system with an appropriate circuit breaker.
A wireless foot pedal comes standard with freshwater models and a compact remote that you can wear on a neck lanyard is optional. Saltwater models are just the opposite: They come with the compact handheld remote, and the foot control is optional. Additional handheld remotes and foot pedals can both be added to fresh and saltwater Xi5 motors.
MotorGuide beefed up potential trouble spots on the new motor, and did it with limiting noise, vibration and harshness in mind. A noisy electric steering system can be an annoying distraction, and the one used in the Xi5 has quiet, high-precision gears in the steering transmission; rigid shaft support to eliminate slack-induced clunks while making steering changes; and a low-vibration steering motor, low-friction transmission bearings. And the component interfaces where parts meet were carefully designed with noise reduction in mind.
Quiet steering doesn’t mean slow steering; MotorGuide says its wireless foot pedal uses a traditional heel-toe steering operation that’s 50 percent faster than the competition. Left and right arrow keys steer the motor when using the handheld remote.
The motor’s electronics are encapsulated in a high-tech coating impervious to water and dust. A special circuit prevents lower-unit damage if the motor’s prop is stalled.
And the new digital speed-controlling electronics are 50 percent more efficient and cooler running.
A new composite shaft with a lifetime warranty flexes instead of breaking or bending permanently when the motor collides with unseen submerged objects like stumps.
The low-profile bow mount features a base made of anodized aluminum with stainless steel hardware to resist corrosion. A rear dash board panel on the mount includes LED status indicators that show when power is on, when the prop is turning and when GPS is engaged (with Pinpoint GPS installed), and there is a three-color battery power level indicator.
Xi5 motors are offered in 12-, 24- and 36-volt models with 55, 80 and 105 pounds of thrust, respectively. Shaft lengths of 48, 54 and 60 inches are available.
Models with built-in transducers are compatible with most leading sonar brands.
Like Minn Kota’s iPilot, MotorGuide’s Pinpoint GPS comes either built into motors as a factory option, or it can be added to an existing Xi5 motor as an easy upgrade.
Motors equipped with Pinpoint GPS are controlled by a compact remote that bears a few extra keys to operate their additional features. Press the Anchor key and the motor will hold you at a fixed GPS coordinate. No matter how carefully you set your position you may find yourself not quite in exactly the best place to fish your target area. And, even if you hit the spot dead-on, the fish may move slightly. No problem: While holding in an electronically anchored position, you can use the remote’s directional arrow buttons to move your boat in 5-foot increments.
You can store and recall up to eight anchor positions.
Press the Heading Lock key, and the feature will hold you on a specific compass heading. A Route key lets you record and “playback” up to eight routes that can each be up to four miles long.
Press the Cruise Control key while you are navigating a heading lock or route, and the motor will hold your current GPS speed just like your tow vehicle’s cruise control holds your speed down the highway.
A couple of months back, I covered the iPilot Link that can link Minn Kota’s Terrova iPilot motors with select Humminbird sonar/chart plotters. Well, Lowrance has partnered with MotorGuide to launch an interface called Pinpoint Connect that will allow the new MotorGuide Xi5 to interface with Lowrance HDS Gen2 and Gen2 Touch sonar/chart plotters.
In addition to using a Pinpoint GPS-equipped motor’s factory handheld remote, you will also be able to operate the motor’s navigational features right from your Lowrance unit. Early information indicates the motor will be able to navigate to waypoints, follow routes shown on the chart plotter screen and even navigate to the screen cursor position.
All Xi5 trolling motors will be compatible with MotorGuide’s Pinpoint GPS accessory and the Pinpoint Connect interface. Both will be available from authorized MotorGuide dealers, and both will be available either factory-installed or as an easy-to-install option.
To use the Pinpoint Connect interface, your Lowrance HDS Gen2 or Gen2 Touch unit will need to be connected through an appropriate NMEA 2000 network and have a free software update onboard that is scheduled for release in spring 2014.
MotorGuide Xi5 motors were scheduled to be available in August 2013, and suggested retail prices range from $700 to $1,399 depending on the model selected.
The separate Pinpoint GPS add-on accessory for Xi5 motors that come from the factory without that component will retail for $499, and the Pinpoint Connect interface will retail for $249.