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Pedal Pontoon Project
After seeing some pedal Kayaks up at Strawberry this year I knew a pedal craft was in my future.

I'm not a Kayak fan, so a Pedal Pontoon is in the works.

I'm starting with a Hobie Mirage Drive:



I found a used one in great condition on eBay and it just arrived today!

For the past couple weeks I've been shopping for a medium-sized used pontoon -- preferably 7-8'. Something small enough that the pedal drive and oars may be all the power I need to get from point A to point B quickly... and the drive being all I need to troll or move while near the fish.

But the toon should be big enough to stick my MinnKota 30 and some Lithium batteries (5lbs for 16Ahr) if necessary.

The first phase of the project will be constructing a rigid mount out of aluminum tubing (no welding) that attaches to the Pontoon's foot rest booms.

I will be mounting the Mirage drive so that pedaling pushes backward. I prefer fishing this way and it will allow for both pedals and oars to be used simultaneously (and motor if included).

A simple steering rudder will also be added -- probably made from an old paddle.

Assuming I can achieve approx 2MPH trolling speed with sustainable pedal effort and 5MPH-ish top speed, I'll probably forgo the electric motor (and the registration hassles). Given the performance of the Kayaks, I think these are reasonable expectations.

If successful, Part II will be constructing a more complex "swivel" mount that will allow the Mirage drive to act as both thrust and rudder -- hopefully removing the need for fins without sacrificing fishing agility.

With snow about to fly and ice appearing on my favorite lakes (I'm no Ice fisherman) this winter project will keep me warm until Ice Off.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
(This post was edited by MasterDaad on Nov 13, 2013, 5:41 PM)
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Keep us updated with reports and photos. I'm very interested to see how this project turns out.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Back in the Angler's Inn days, Dave Scadden had a gentleman that made a pedal power for his pontoons. You pedaled like a bike. It was pricie however.
Kevin, you might want to ask Dave about thatSmile

I too am interested in what you come up with. But will this make you go forward too?.



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Re: [flygoddess] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
The Mirage drive is easy to flip around to go forward or backward -- but you do have to flip it around. It's not like the pedal system that can go either way.

The only hitch is the pedals are going to be a little awkward in the direction they are not set up for.

I'm going to set the pedals up to push the pontoon, but I will be able to flip the unit and go forward if necessary -- though I'd probably just row if I needed to move forward a bit to, say, go unsnag my popper from the shore while bass fishing.

I went and looked at mounting material and decided to go with 1" square aluminum instead of round tubing as my mounting material. I bought an 8' piece for $14 at metal mart.

I think the square stuff will be easier to work with and the mirage drive wants flat mounting surfaces front and back anyway.

I think the single 8' section will be enough aluminum to complete the mount.

Now to find a pontoon.....

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
My Cardiac Canyon had square aluminum tubing. Hard part is if you need to bend itTongue
Good Luck



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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Cool project. Can't wait to see the craft In action.

Albinotrout
Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
MD, don't know if you have any plans to or not but just some FYI, you can GLUE things to PVC coated pontoons with LOCTITE



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Re: [flygoddess] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
I've seen some of the things you've done with glue and accessories. I will keep that in mind if necessary.

That does bring up a question though,... would you strongly recommend going with 100% PVC instead of Nylon with PVC runners?

My first go will be mounting a frame between the metal foot rests.

At this point all my pontoon candidates are framed.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
(This post was edited by MasterDaad on Nov 14, 2013, 7:10 PM)
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
My yellow X5 has a frame and I understand. You can do more with a frame. I don't recommend drilling in one.
I do think an inflatable is only as good as it's outer cover. Sun isn't as hard on PVC as cloth.



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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Hi, MD,

The average FIT human can produce only about 100 watts of sustained power for several hours, the MK 30# troll motor maybe 300 watts. So the general idea is to keep losses as low as possible. Long and narrow rowing shell shape pontoons would make for the lowest losses. Mirage flappers are considerably less efficient than the propeller drives. Mirage drives do have advantages in weedy water, though. There was a prop and fin power kit that would convert most inflatable pontoon boats to pedal power a few years back. http://www.prophish.com/ They went out of business years ago in Utah, but still list contact numbers. They may still have in inventory around to look at or even for sale, maybe can give you ideas on how to build. If you have a lot of time for reading, this long comparison may give you some ideas. http://wavewalk.com/...mmon-fishing-kayaks/ Some good stuff, but they are somewhat biased toward their own product.

Hope this helps,

Pon

MasterDaad wrote:
After seeing some pedal Kayaks up at Strawberry this year I knew a pedal craft was in my future.

I'm not a Kayak fan, so a Pedal Pontoon is in the works.

I'm starting with a Hobie Mirage Drive:

[img]http://cdn-products.austinkayak.com/p_254_260.jpg[/img]

I found a used one in great condition on eBay and it just arrived today!

For the past couple weeks I've been shopping for a medium-sized used pontoon -- preferably 7-8'. Something small enough that the pedal drive and oars may be all the power I need to get from point A to point B quickly... and the drive being all I need to troll or move while near the fish.

But the toon should be big enough to stick my MinnKota 30 and some Lithium batteries (5lbs for 16Ahr) if necessary.

The first phase of the project will be constructing a rigid mount out of aluminum tubing (no welding) that attaches to the Pontoon's foot rest booms.

I will be mounting the Mirage drive so that pedaling pushes backward. I prefer fishing this way and it will allow for both pedals and oars to be used simultaneously (and motor if included).

A simple steering rudder will also be added -- probably made from an old paddle.

Assuming I can achieve approx 2MPH trolling speed with sustainable pedal effort and 5MPH-ish top speed, I'll probably forgo the electric motor (and the registration hassles). Given the performance of the Kayaks, I think these are reasonable expectations.

If successful, Part II will be constructing a more complex "swivel" mount that will allow the Mirage drive to act as both thrust and rudder -- hopefully removing the need for fins without sacrificing fishing agility.

With snow about to fly and ice appearing on my favorite lakes (I'm no Ice fisherman) this winter project will keep me warm until Ice Off.
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Re: [pontoonman] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Mirage flappers are considerably less efficient than the propeller drives.

This contradicts everything I have read and seen published about at least the Propel prop drive and the Mirage drive. While in theory this may be correct, cavitation of the shallow prop in practice is very lossy.

Although to be perfectly honest, I would have rather used a Propel drive for the forward and backward pedal motion (plus it looked easier to mount to a tube).

I just couldn't find one for sale as a separate unit.

And the Mirage drive, from all accounts, appears to be more efficient in a single direction.

The MinnKotas are not very efficient at all on small craft. Their propellers are purposefully large with low pitch to produce high thrust to maintain constant speeds in a variety of situations.

With the low drag of a pontoon or kayak, they are rather wasteful.

Mirage powered Kayaks with the V2 drive clock in around 7.2MPH full speed and 3MPH with a comfortable pedal (and reducing those for a slightly more draggy pontoon is where I come up with my guestimates).

A MinnKota 30 will draw ~30A at 12V (360W) and never go over 5MPH due to the prop speed limitations.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
That propeller set up made in Utah was probably what Dave had. As I said they were very pricy. More than the boat it's self for sure, but then so is a GAS motor, all in what you want.
You are right about drag of pontoons and tubes, or SOME. Some pontoons are more efficient than others.
My Cardiac Canyon has 12" diameter pontoons although 11' long, it could run all day on a Minn 30. The X5 not so much.
I ran the Minn 30 on my 14 lb Predator for 7 hours using 2 and 3 often. So weight matters too, but that is part of drag.
I have been using a motor on a Pontoon/tube for over 25 years and the prop sign has changed on newer models. The Prop on my Endura 45 is much smaller than my older 36. Not sure it is a good thing.
I did run the Minn 30 last weekend on my 8' Assault and it cruised FAST on 1. I was surprised.
Pedal power is a way cool concept, and I for one am excited to see what happens. Thank you for doing this.



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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
MD:
Hope my references below are of some help.


MasterDaad wrote:
Mirage flappers are considerably less efficient than the propeller drives.

This contradicts everything I have read and seen published about at least the Propel prop drive and the Mirage drive. While in theory this may be correct, cavitation of the shallow prop in practice is very lossy.

PON: You may be correct that the Propel/Native boat is not efficient, as it is made for the general, unfit paddler comfort. The most efficient systems used for setting records of different types are all prop drives, for example:
http://www.rickwill.bigpondhosting.com/V11.htm

Using recycled bike components would make this a very lightweight pedal drive unit, though it is not for fishing...



Although to be perfectly honest, I would have rather used a Propel drive for the forward and backward pedal motion (plus it looked easier to mount to a tube).

I just couldn't find one for sale as a separate unit.

PON: Here's one that is too heavy and too expensive, but it might be possible to make one lighter from bike parts:
http://www.sea-cycle.com/...ea-cycle-drive-units
Look at the Waterbike Sportsman on this site, it is completely hands free- steers by slightly tilting your postition in the seat!

And the Mirage drive, from all accounts, appears to be more efficient in a single direction.

The MinnKotas are not very efficient at all on small craft. Their propellers are purposefully large with low pitch to produce high thrust to maintain constant speeds in a variety of situations.

PON: Yes, the MKs are designed for postitioning large bass boats, not powering small craft. They can be converted to high efficiency by using a model airplane prop, but then will not be weedless.

With the low drag of a pontoon or kayak, they are rather wasteful.

Mirage powered Kayaks with the V2 drive clock in around 7.2MPH full speed and 3MPH with a comfortable pedal (and reducing those for a slightly more draggy pontoon is where I come up with my guestimates).

A MinnKota 30 will draw ~30A at 12V (360W) and never go over 5MPH due to the prop speed limitations.

Pon
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Re: [pontoonman] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Hey Pon --

I started laughing when I read the "model airplane" prop bit. I am a model airplane guy and I cannot tell you how many times I've considered replacing the big, nasty MinnKota prop with one from my planes.

I'm definitely going to do that for the Toon.

Is there a link to a discussion about diameter/Pitch/Brand of props being used on the MinnKotas?

But to reset, my passion and purpose here is FISHING, not pedal boats. I'm looking to create a fishing craft that can troll around all day without an electric trolling motor --- not break speed records.

My Project 1 Boat is going to have a Mirage drive. I came to that decision by the following reasoning (in order of importance):

1) I found a used, great condition Mirage Drive for sale, CHEAP.
2) All the people I've spoken to who have used Mirage Drives, love them. "All" being about 5 individuals.
3) It looks pretty easy to adapt the Mirage Drive to fit on a Pontoon.
4) The performance numbers on the Kayaks lead me to believe there is a good chance the project will be successful.

Perhaps after spending a season fishing with a pedal boat I'll get more ambitions about creating "the better pedal drive". That actually is something within my "wheelhouse" of hobby ability. But it's outside what I'm willing to spend time and $$$ on today.

Heaven knows after spending last season fishing from a tube I've become much more passionate about individual fishing craft.

FlyGoddess -- yeah, power systems are expensive. No matter the size of the craft, a good power system is going to at least double the cost.

Really, that isn't any different with this project. A new Mirage drive is $500+. That's a dang nice toon.

This entire project started with the base "want" for an "all day capable" power system for a tube.

I looked a the little 2.5-3.5HP gas engines, MinnKota systems with LOTS of battery capacity, and finally settled on wanting to try the pedal drive (although I will be beefing up my supply of lithium batteries for the electric motor too).

The pedal drive has the added advantage of providing some additional physical exercise as well. For me that is a plus, not a minus.

I'm still a real newbie to personal watercraft fishing. In hindsight, I'm really glad I went with a cheap-ish tube for my first adventure last year because as much as I love it, it probably won't get used much if the Pontoon project works.

And I'm looking for an inexpensive, used Pontoon for the same reason.

At this point I figure no matter what I buy I'm going to learn a lot this season and want something different/better next season.

No work is going to happen this weekend as Scofield is calling an I found another soul crazy enough to brave the storm and head after the BIG one up there.

Thanks for all the encouragement and advise!

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
MD:

The Mirage drive makes a lot of sense with the conditions you have described. It is more user friendly and smaller than just about any prop drive. I am very excited to see what you come up with, so keep us posted!

Good luck.

Pon

PS. Here is a lightweight troll motor that uses a model prop: http://www.electricpaddle.com/index.html
Another pictured at 252: http://www.boatdesign.net/...c-boat-27996-17.html
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Re: [pontoonman] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Just posting to say I'm another lover of the Mirage. My ProAngler 14 constantly draws attention on the water, and curiosity invariably turns to envy in the lookers.

The biggest advantage I see is the silence. I think fish soon learn that the hum of an electric motor passing overhead is not a good thing. The rhythmic pulse of Mirage fins, on the other hand, may sound like just another fish to them. I don't know that, obviously, but I can vouch that you can pedal right up to visible fish and they don't panic. I've actually bumped slurping carp before they bolt.

Do beware that a number of Mirage drives were stolen from a Hobie trailer this summer in SoCal. They are serial numbered, so it might be simple to learn if a unit is "hot" or not.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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Re: [RockyRaab] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
RockyRaab wrote:
Just posting to say I'm another lover of the Mirage. My ProAngler 14 constantly draws attention on the water, and curiosity invariably turns to envy in the lookers.

The biggest advantage I see is the silence. I think fish soon learn that the hum of an electric motor passing overhead is not a good thing. The rhythmic pulse of Mirage fins, on the other hand, may sound like just another fish to them. I don't know that, obviously, but I can vouch that you can pedal right up to visible fish and they don't panic. I've actually bumped slurping carp before they bolt.

Do beware that a number of Mirage drives were stolen from a Hobie trailer this summer in SoCal. They are serial numbered, so it might be simple to learn if a unit is "hot" or not.


Just to elaborate on this, you do not use a Pontoon with and electric motor so you are guessing. I do and everything you can do in your Mirage I can do in my electric powered pontoon. I have noticed I do spook surface fish with the movement of my fin, but the motor have never been an issue if ran under the surface and there is no noise that I am aware of. Just like the wind scooting across the water.
To catch fish under me or next to me, I simple turn the motor off. Not because they can tell the sound, but because I don't want to move out of the area.
With same fish being caught several times, I can't really give them the intelligence to distinguish the hum of an electric motor.

Just the other side to this coin.



(This post was edited by flygoddess on Nov 16, 2013, 7:35 AM)
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Re: [RockyRaab] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Thanks for the heads-up on the "hot" units.

Mine was actually a used unit bought from a reputable online dealer. It's clearly not "new" and "hot". But good advisory for others.

I measured and cut the base aluminum frame today. The Mirage drive plastic mounts are 12" apart. The metal pegs are 5" apart and 2" up from the plastic mounts.

I'll need to buy some wood (or something) to shim up to the metal peg mounts. I then plan to notch the wood and use some gate clasps to latch over the metal pegs to hold the drive in place.

One thing I am wondering about as I've watched the drives functioning on the kayaks.... I am concerned the bottom of the kayak is integral to the provided thrust of the Mirage. It appears to "squeeze" the water between the fins and the bottom of the kayak.

I may lose some performance if I just have an open frame and the fins flapping near the surface of the water.

As a test I'm going to build a cloroplast floor that I can zip-tie on to the bottom of the aluminum frame if necessary. This will add more drag to the pontoon so I'm going to try not to use it if possible.



Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
MD, Mirage fins act a lot like wings. The closer they get to another surface (like the kayak bottom, the less efficient they get. "Squeezing" the water as you put it slows it down due to turbulence, and that lowers thrust.

Flygoddess, while I don't own a powered pontoon these days, I had a bass boat for years. The hum from its trolling motor definitely startled fish. The motor produces a high-pitched whine and the propeller can cavitate, making a high screech. We may not be able to hear it, but fish sure can.



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Re: [RockyRaab] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Quote:
MD, Mirage fins act a lot like wings. The closer they get to another surface (like the kayak bottom, the less efficient they get. "Squeezing" the water as you put it slows it down due to turbulence, and that lowers thrust.

Great information! Thanks!

I've been noodling over the aluminum frame and instead of shimming up to the pegs, I'm going to cut a notch in the lower rail and recess the plastic mounts.

Moving them down an inch should put the pegs right on top of the crossbar.

Then I'll be noodling a bit more on how to grab onto the metal pegs.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [RockyRaab] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
Right under yes, 20 to 50 feet out, doubtful. I catch fish, so can't say I have experienced this. I have had fish swim around my feet while motoring.
I would say pedals cause turbulence and got to be some noise there.

Bass boat? Nice! But far cry from an inflatable, although many have tried to turn their pontoons into bass boatsLaugh


Keep up the great work MD and keep us informed.



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Re: [flygoddess] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
The frame is coming together quickly.

This evening I used my dremel cutter to notch out the polycarbonite hook mounts and wouldn't you believe the luck, the metal pegs now sit right on top of the upper aluminum cross bars.

With the frame just loosely attached, the whole thing twists nicely -- which gave me an idea about how to quickly modify the current design so the Mirage drive twists and acts as a rudder as well as thrust.

When I tighten it down, the Mirage drive is already held snugly. Adding the clips on the metal pegs should secure it firmly.

Hopefully a bid I put in on a pontoon is accepted and I take care of that small problem this week. I'm going to get really busy with work for the rest of the week so probably no more will get done until the weekend.

But, given how quickly this is coming together and the fact that I have a few extra days off around Thanksgiving, this thing may see the water in the next two weeks for the first feasibility test!

Here are some shots of the mount to date:





Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
That looks awesome.



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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
That is sweet looking. I can't wait to see how it all fits together.

Albinotrout
Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......
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Re: [MasterDaad] Pedal Pontoon Project In reply to
MD, I've also bee cogitating about your "backwards pedal" situation because you intend to use the unit to push instead of pull. Looking at my own Mirage drive, it occurs to me that if you remove the large bolt that holds the pedal shaft in, you could just swap the left and right sides. That would effectively face the pedals the correct way for your application.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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