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  • Post last modified:September 3, 2022
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MotorGuide Xi3 Wireless was released in 2018 and it’s one of the most popular trolling motors on small and medium-sized boats.

There have been reports of problems with the Xi3, some of them unique to this model, such as unintentional self-deployment, battery drain, and the steering freezing up for no apparent reason.

In this article, we discuss the most common problems associated with the Xi3.

Let’s get started!

Motor Self-Deploying

This happened to at least one person on a trailer, but there have been reports of the Xi3 deploying when planing or in rough water.

It is a serious issue, as it can cause damage to the motor, such as a broken shaft.

To prevent this, it’s recommended to install a mount which will keep the motor from bouncing and unintentional deployments as well.

PinPoint GPS Issues

On some units, there are problems with PinPoint GPS reliability.

The head of the motor will rotate in a full circle, but it just won’t get into anchor mode (spot lock) and loses heading.

There have been multiple reports on the spot lock not working consistently.

Foot Pedal Battery Drain

Some owners of the Xi3 report unexplained battery issues.

The foot pedal on the Xi3 tends to run down batteries fast for no apparent reason.

There is no quick solution to this problem. One workaround is to install a switch on the foot pedal and turn it only when it’s in use to limit the battery drain.

Power Loss

By far the most common cause of power-related problems is not enough voltage reaching the trolling motor from your batteries.

The first thing to troubleshoot this is to check is the battery indicator on the trolling motor.

If the battery bank is fine, look for any loose connections and corrosion. Make sure everything is clean and tight, and the wire gauge is sufficient: 6-gauge at minimum.

If your motor loses power suddenly, it’s also worth checking for debris or weeds around the propeller.

A strange problem sometimes occurs when running your Xi3 at full speed for more than 20-30 seconds. The motor can switch itself off, with all the lights disappearing.

The cause here is most likely not the motor, but a faulty auto-resetting breaker, which needs to be replaced.

If your motor loses power and starts making grinding noises, that’s almost certainly a symptom of damaged magnets in the lower unit. It’s fortunately very rare, and if that happens it’s best to contact a MotorGuide service center.

Motor Unresponsive

A very common issue is when your Xi3 stops responding to any input from your wireless remote or foot pedal.

Check is if your battery bank is charged by looking at the battery indicator on your motor.

If the motor doesn’t respond to commands from either the remote or the foot pedal, then you can rule out the main battery bank. Check the battery on the remote/pedal.

The last reason why that happens is that your handheld remote or foot pedal are not activated.

Find the activation steps in the FAQ section at the bottom of this article.

Faulty Electronics

Some owners experienced flashing LED lights simultaneously.

The battery LED and propeller LED would light up with a signal coming from the motor’s head.

This is a sign of a faulty control board. There is not much to do apart from disconnecting your motor from the battery and contacting MotorGuide customer service.

Fishfinder Connectivity

Some users had difficulty setting up a Xi3 to talk to a Lowrance fishfinder. They were not able to use routing and trails, as MotorGuide uses its own GPS unit and not the one on the fish finder.

Different GPS signals on the motor and on the fish finder make it impossible to use them both together. If you set a waypoint on your Lowrance unit, you would be taken to the wrong place.

The first thing to do to fix this is to get the latest software updates for the fish finder. Lowrance was aware of the issue and released an update that addressed connecting to the trolling motor.

Learn more about MotorGuide compatibility with popular fish finders.

Design Issues

You can’t change direction at full speed. MotorGuide Xi3 will simply keep going straight in the same direction and won’t take steering inputs.

Steering sometimes freezes up. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to lubricate or repair it on your own.

The direction pointer is not lighted. That means you can’t see it at night or in low light.

MotorGuide Xi3 FAQ

How to activate the Xi3 handheld remote?

  1. Disconnect the trolling motor from the battery bank.
  2. Deploy your Xi3.
  3. Connect the battery cables.
  4. Within 10 seconds, press the LEFT and RIGHT ARROW buttons on the remote at the same time.

How to activate the Xi3 wireless foot pedal?

  1. Disconnect the trolling motor from the battery bank.
  2. Deploy your Xi3.
  3. Connect the battery cables.
  4. Within 10 seconds, press the PROPELLER and ANCHOR buttons on the remote at the same time.