Electric Trolling Motor

I'm relatively new to the Arduino but thought I might be able to get it to control an electric trolling motor for a small fishing boat. There must be some type of speed controller in the motor and i'm sure I could come up with some sort of motor and pulley to turn the motor.

Has anyone tried this or have any tips?

I'd love to be able to have it drive the boat so I can concentrate on the fishing!

This is a neat idea. Here is something I found while researching the subject of steering a simple trolling motor. http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/simpson/steering/ElectricSteering.pdf This guy made his own steering system from scratch. You could use a motor shield on an arduino to drive it without any trouble. It shouldn't be much trouble to hack the controls in the top end of your trolling motor. Keep in mind that you will likely need to use relays so that you don't burn up your arduino with an overvoltage. You could use a small thumb joystick for the steering, and a 3 position switch for the forward/reverse/off. You should be able to find lots of instructions for driving motors and servos with joysticks and switches. I'd be curious to see this project if you choose to pursue it. I'm sure some other people would too.

You could even add in something like this. http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,145197.0.html If you changed the way it is laid out, you could potentially do something like mount it to your fishing rod.

The two (older model) trolling motors I've messed with both had a third wire leading to the motor. Never figured out what it was for. But ignoring that third wire they behaved like a basic, brushed DC motor; I added my own speed controller to it (controlled by a potentiometer -- not good for Arduino interfacing) and it works fine.