As my group planned for our 2020 fly in trip one topic kept coming up: Fish finder power. You see 2 of the members of our group had upgraded their sonar units to fancy portable units with lots of bells and whistles Helix 5 GPS G2 Portable Review On previous trips we had basic units that ran of AA batteries but on our Ogoki trip in 2018 we had 1 of the Helix Units Ogoki Trip Report , it worked great but it definitely used some juice. With 3 units the concern was that we wouldn’t have charging capacity to keep all 3 up and running. We knew there would be a generator on site and a plug in through an inverter off the solar power system but with 3 units it may still be a stretch to keep them up and running. As mentioned in my trip report Lake St Joseph Root Bay Report was a structure fisherman’s dream or nightmare (take your pick) and depth finders would be important. Personally I think a good sonar is a must when fishing for walleye, especially on a fly in fishing trip on a new lake. After scouring trip reports and chatting with a few people we stumbled onto Dakota Lithium batteries. Touted as longer lasting and lighter they were interesting to say the least. Overall people’s opinions were high and so the lads made the jump and upgraded.
Rather than me butcher the specs I have copied and pasted the description of the product directly Cabelas website Dakota Lithium at Cabelas.ca
Built Dakota tough, this 12 volt lithium battery packs a big punch. Engineered with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) technology this battery has twice the power, half the weight, and lasts 4 times longer than a sealed lead acid battery – providing exceptional lifetime value. The #1 battery for fishing electronics, outdoor use, and SLA replacement. LiFePO4 charger recommended. Not designed for use in electric ice augers.
SIZE: 5.94"x 2.55"x 3.78" (151mm x 65mm x 96 mm). Replaces UB1280 battery and many others.
WEIGHT: 2 lb. 14 oz. (1.30 Kg). That's 60% lighter than a SLA battery.
CAPACITY: 10 ampere hours. Dakota Lithium batteries provide consistent power for all 10 amp hours. DL LiFePO4 batteries have a flat voltage curve, which means they have a steady power output as the battery discharges. The power output will not dramatically drop like similar sized SLA batteries. You get all the juice down to the last drop.
OPERATING TEMPERATURE: Ideal for rugged & harsh environments. Much better than SLA or other lithium’s. -20'F min, +120'F max optimal environmental operating temps.
DISCHARGE: 20 A max continuous, 50 A max 300 mS pulse. 9.0 V max discharge, 11.0 V max recommended discharge. For longest lifetime recommended discharge rate 1-5 Amps. The flat discharge voltage curve provides a 75% bigger capacity then a SLA 10Ah battery.
INCLUDES ACTIVE BMS PROTECTION: Contains a circuit that handles cell balancing, low voltage cutoff, high voltage cutoff, short circuit protection and temperature protection for increased performance and longer life.
Note: You will require a separate charger for these units in most cases. For the Helix 5 the lead acid charger was not compatible with the Dakota Lithium.
Excellent The batteries worked great on our trip. No issues with charging or connections.
Excellent! The batteries worked as advertised. On average we got about 3 full days of fishing on one charge even when using all the various features within the units (sonar, GPS, mapping etc.) The guys estimated that was about 1 full day better than they got on the lead acid battery that came with their units. The batteries also charged very quickly, about 40 minutes which was also an improvement over the standard lead acid. They are lighter as well – we didn’t do any scientific measure but the estimate was that they were lighter. Mark has also had good success using the batteries when he is fishing in his kayak or camping – again the weight, charging time and battery life are a big plus when power access is limited or not available at all.
Good to great! Price is always a tricky one – these batteries are not cheap at $140 plus the additional $25 for the charger. In my opinion they are worth the price. On a fly in every lb. counts, you typically don’t have unlimited power sources and a sonar unit is a must. These batteries are lighter, charge faster and last longer which counts for a lot in our book.
Yes – I would totally recommend the Daktota Lithium batteries. Per the above – a quality sonar (loved the GPS function on a Lake as big as St Joseph) on our trips is a must. Being able to operate it with limited power options was awesome.
As a reminder I nor any of my group are affiliated with any of the brands highlighted in this post (Open to it though!)