Minn Kota Spot-Lock Issues – Fix Problems when Its Not Working

It is well known that Minn Kota Spot-Lock Motors enjoy a large following. It’s deserved, too. They’re great units.

However, as with anything designed to make life easier, they are subject to bugs and issues.

By and large the Kota suffers no more issues than any other brand, and these issues are far from widespread.

However, knowing a few common issues makes it easier to identify, resolve, and return to fishing. 

Let’s look at some of the main minn kota spot lock problems

What Are The Most Common Minn Kota Spot-Lock Problems?

Most of us are familiar with electric boat motor problems involving software, hardware, and peripherals. 

They seem to happen at the worst times. Just about anything can happen. 

From a broken remote control or a bent prop shaft, to a bad electrical connection.

While the latter is rare and tricky to fix, most Minn Kota problems are straightforward to identify when you know what to look for.

The list below captures the most likely issues you’ll face.

No GPS Signal

In my experience, this is probably the most common Issue. When you lose the GPS signal, you’ll drift off your chosen location.

Here are the main reasons your GPS stops working.


Tall buildings, trees, and mountains can obstruct a signal. Sometimes, you may have to move around until you find a better connection.


In remote locations, satellite coverage is often limited. Weak signals can drop out. 

The only option may be to move to a better location or use the anchor in your anchor well.


Fishfinders, radios, or other electronic devices could cause electromagnetic interference. 

Make sure your motor and fishfinder are running on separate batteries. 

Also, ensure there’s no metal or heavy obstruction that can interfere with the signal.

Other Common Signal Issues

The issues above are the most common. Other Signal issues can come from extreme weather, low battery, or external interference, such as nearby radio transmitters.

Software and firmware can cause problems, but if you remain up to date, there shouldn’t be an issue.

Less common are technical issues with the receiver. 

The receiver may be damaged if you have tried everything to get your signal going in a good coverage area. 

This needs professional diagnosis and repair or replacement.

Minn Kota I-Pilot Remote Problems

Here are some of the common Minn Kota I-Pilot Remote Issues:


The most common Minn Kota I-Pilot Remote issues are batteries – even amongst the most tech-savvy users. 

Ensure they’re new, charged (if rechargeable), inserted correctly, and the battery contacts are clean and corrosion-free.


Pairing, or an inability to pair, is the next most common issue, and it can be enough to make you throw the remote in the water.

You can solve this problem by turning off the remote and the motor and rebooting them both.

You should reconnect sitting next to the motor, with full batteries, and a fully charged motor battery to eliminate low voltage as a cause.

The remote app for your phone is fantastic. 

If you have it, it can be good to pair it up with the motor to test if it pairs. If both the remote and phone won’t pair, the problem is likely with the motor.

Poor Battery Contact

Sometimes the batteries sit poorly in their position, losing contact intermittently. 

A tap on the back can reposition them, or you may have to open the cover and reposition them.

Water Ingress

Water ingress can get in. Careful as you are, it’s a wet environment, and it is very possible.

This can be tricky as water can play havoc with electronics causing complete breakdowns or strange behavior.

When the remote suddenly gets a mind of its own, open it up and check for moisture inside. 

Sometimes, leaving the cover off will dry out circuits, and it will work again as if nothing ever happened. 

However, water ingress often requires a replacement.

Low Trolling Motor Thrust Power

two anglers fishing from a boat in the middle of the lake

Firstly, check for obstructions and physical damage to the propeller and shaft. Often, this is the cause, but when it’s not, it’s usually electrical.

When using Lithium Ion batteries, you must have enough continuous discharge amperage to run the motor at max amp draw. 

Make sure you have the appropriate Li batteries for your setup.

Poor connections deliver a poor spark. When the power’s down and you’ve checked the obvious stuff, go through all the connections. 

They should be firm, clean, and free from corrosion.

Always have a multi-meter on board. It’s the only way you can check charges and loads. It’s a critical diagnosis tool.

Incorrect Battery Voltage

The best way to avoid this issue is to have a dedicated Minn Kota power supply and use the battery specified by the manufacturer.

An incorrect battery voltage can result from competing interests of other boat accessories on a battery.

An excellent tip for battery management is to keep setups as simple as possible. With so much tech on board, this can be difficult.

Isolating systems or linking with compatible systems with dedicated batteries can simplify troubleshooting. It can also invite far fewer problems.

Weeds Wrapped Around Propeller

A propeller wrapped in weeds kills thrust performance. You’ll be going slow, and the boat may well be wandering.

You could stay out of the weeds or check and clear weeds periodically when fishing weedy waters.

Spot-Lock Keeps Turning Off

This will inevitably happen to you since there are various user- and environment-related factors.

Firstly, check to see the GPS connection. Spot lock won’t know where to hold you if you’ve lost the signal.

Check your battery charge. Spot-lock may switch off to conserve power if the battery is at a low charge. The fix is simple. Charge the battery. 

The shutdown will occur at different times or charges depending on the battery setup.

Heavy currents and wind can be too powerful for the motor to keep you planted. 

If the motor works too hard and gets too hot, Spot-lock will switch off to avert catastrophic damage.

When you’ve run these common diagnostics with no answer, it may well be signal interference. 

Go to a different location and test it.

Spot-Lock Jog Issues

Always check the battery level when these things play up. A poor charge can result in poor responsiveness.

Check the connection. GPS may have dropped out, or you may have interference between the remote and the motor.

Check pairing. For mysterious reasons unknown to man, the remote can un-pair. 

Move close to the motor and re-pair.

On larger boats, sometimes the remote can be too far from the receiver on the motor to get a signal.

Check the sensitivity settings on the remote. Often it’s set, and forget having initially adjusted them to your preference.

Consider the conditions. You may want to adjust based on the current and wind. In calm, and low-current conditions, reduce sensitivity.

Final Notes on the Minn Kota Spot-Lock

Most of the time, your Minn Kota runs smoothly. They’re great units and will enhance your fishing experience. 

But the reality is that technology bugs and issues are inevitable.

Since this tech is used outside in the elements, exposed to saltwater, rain, and overenthusiastic anglers, it’s pretty robust.

Often, any issue will be a simple fix – clear a propeller, tighten a connection or replace a battery.

The list above covers the most common Minn Kota Spot Lock issues most likely to occur. 

Commit them to memory, and you’ll be able to identify and fix them, returning to your fishing in a flash.

Also Read: What Are The 5 Best Spot Lock Trolling Motors?

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