Title:
Paddle-Drum Propulsion System for Propeller-Based Watercraft Engines
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A watercraft propulsion system is disclosed, including: a mechanical drive assembly capable of coupling to and being driven by a power source element of a propeller-based watercraft engine; and a pair of paddle drums coupled to and driven by the mechanical drive assembly, thereby propelling the watercraft through a body of water. For example, the mechanical drive assembly is adapted to couple to a drive shaft power source element, while or to an electrical wiring power source element within a positioning shaft.

The paddle drums include blades capable of producing thrust via contact with a solid bottom surface containing the body of water, and/or with a top surface of the body of water. When applied to outboard engines, surface drive engines, air cooled marine engines and trolling motors, this system allows for navigation of extremely shallow water without damaging equipment, scarring lake beds or destroying native grasses.




Inventors:
Drinkard, David A. (Beaumont, TX, US)
Application Number:
13/044537
Publication Date:
04/19/2012
Filing Date:
03/09/2011
Assignee:
DRINKARD DAVID A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
440/90
International Classes:
B63H1/04; B63H21/17
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Russ Weinzimmer (614 Nashua Street Suite 53, Milford, NH, 03055, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A watercraft propulsion system, the watercraft propulsion system comprising: a mechanical drive assembly, the mechanical drive assembly being capable of coupling to, and being driven by, a power source element of a propeller-based engine of a watercraft; and a pair of paddle drums, the pair of paddle drums being coupled to, and driven by, the mechanical drive assembly, thereby propelling the watercraft through a body of water.

2. The propulsion system of claim 1, wherein: the power source element of the propeller-based engine is a primary drive shaft; and the mechanical drive assembly includes: a secondary drive shaft capable of turning the paddle drums; and a gear assembly connecting the secondary drive shaft to the primary drive shaft, the gear assembly also capable of transferring torque from the primary drive shaft to the secondary drive shaft, the gear assembly thereby powering the secondary drive shaft to turn the paddle drums.

3. The propulsion system of claim 1, wherein: the power source element of the propeller-based engine is electrical wiring housed within a positioning shaft, the electrical wiring being capable of delivering electrical power; and the mechanical drive assembly includes: an armature assembly capable of turning the paddle drums; and an armature housing connecting the armature assembly to the positioning shaft, the armature housing also providing the electric wiring a path to the armature assembly, so as to enable the electric wiring to deliver power to the armature assembly, the electrical wiring thereby powering the armature assembly to turn the paddle drums.

4. The propulsion system of claim 1, wherein the paddle drum includes blades that are capable of at least one of: producing thrust via interaction with a bottom surface of the body of water; and producing thrust via interaction with a top surface of the body of water.

5. The propulsion system of claim 4, wherein the blades include rods operable to improve engagement on firm sandy lake bed surfaces.

6. The propulsion system of claim 4, wherein the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of the paddle drums, the blades aligned substantially parallel to a center axis of the paddle drums.

7. The propulsion system of claim 4, wherein the blades have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile.

8. The propulsion system of claim 4, wherein the blades are formed of one of: plastic; aluminum; metal; and stainless steel.

9. The propulsion system of claim 1, further comprising: a protective mechanical assembly case, the protective mechanical assembly case protectively housing the mechanical drive assembly.

10. A propulsion system operable to replace a marine propeller system, the propulsion system comprising: a gear assembly housed within a gear case, the gear assembly being operable to receive and be driven by a primary drive shaft; a secondary drive shaft coupled to the gear assembly, the secondary drive shaft being driven by the gear assembly; and a pair of paddle drums, each coupled to the secondary drive shaft, the pair of paddle drums being driven by the secondary drive shaft, each paddle drum having a plurality of mounted blades, each paddle drum being capable of providing thrust upon rotation when partially submerged.

11. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the primary drive shaft couples to and is driven by one of: an outboard marine engine; and an air-cooled marine engine.

12. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the secondary drive is connected to the primary drive in perpendicular relationship.

13. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the blades are capable of producing thrust upon engagement with a bottom surface of a body of water.

14. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the blades include rods operable to improve engagement on sandy bottom surfaces.

15. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of each paddle drum substantially parallel to a center axis of each paddle drum.

16. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the blades have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile.

17. The propulsion system of claim 10, wherein the blades are formed of one of: plastic; aluminum; metal; and stainless steel.

18. A propulsion system operable to replace a marine propeller system, the propulsion system comprising: an armature housing operable to be mounted on a trolling motor positioning shaft; a deflection shield coupled to the armature housing; an armature mounted within the armature housing, the armature being electrically coupled to an electrical source; a field component operable to produce a magnetic flux with which the armature interacts so as to produce an electromotive force to rotate a drive shaft coupled to the armature; and at least one paddle drum coupled to the drive shaft, the at least one paddle drum rotating about the drive shaft, wherein blades are mounted on the at least one paddle drum, the blades being operable to produce thrust when partially submerged, or when engaged with a solid bottom surface of a body of water.

19. The propulsion system of claim 18, wherein the propulsion system can pivot about the positioning shaft.

20. The propulsion system of claim 18, wherein the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of the at least one paddle drum substantially parallel to a center axis of the at least one paddle drum, wherein the blades and deflection shield have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile, and wherein the blades and deflection shield are formed of plastic, aluminum, metal, or stainless steel.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based on the provisional application Ser. No. 61/312,208 filed Mar. 9, 2010, the entire contents of which is herein incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to marine drives that by design use propellers for propulsion. More specifically, embodiments relate to a paddle drum drive propulsion system for outboard motors, air cooled marine engines, surface drive engines, and trolling motors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, the propulsion systems using propellers are outboard motors, air cooled marine engines (GO-DEVIL®, MUD BUDDY HYPERDRIVES, etc.) and Trolling Motor system. These propulsion systems are limited by the depth of water they can operate in without damaging propulsion systems, lake bed or vegetation on the lake bed.

Due to the destructive nature of these propeller based propulsion systems, Conservation Managers have been forced to restrict the use of these propeller driven systems. Conservation managers mark select shallow water flats and estuaries along the gulf coast as no-prop zones. The restricted areas are an attempt to prevent further destruction by the propellers to the native grasses and lake bed itself (called bottom scarring). This damage occurs when propellers come in contact with the bottom as the watercraft traverses across shallow water flats and estuaries. This contact between the propeller, rotating at high RPM's, and the lake bed results in the uprooting of the native grasses and bottom scars. Bottom Scars are narrow trenches that are dug into the lake bed by propellers rotating at high RPM's that dislodge the root systems of native grasses in the process. These bottom scars can sometimes take years to fill in and heal before being able to support new vegetation.

While the structural arrangements of the above-described devices, at first appearance, have similarities with the present invention, they differ in material respects. These differences, which will be described in more detail hereinafter, are essential for the effective use of the invention and which admit of the advantages that are not available with the prior devices.

The features and advantages of the disclosure will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the disclosure without undue experimentation. The features and advantages of the disclosure may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A watercraft propulsion system is claimed and disclosed, for replacing watercraft propellers with paddle drums, so as to provide propulsion having a more environmentally friendly impact, and less bottom-scarring, than is typical in propeller-based systems. The watercraft propulsion system includes: a mechanical drive assembly capable of coupling to and being driven by a power source element of a propeller-based watercraft engine; and a pair of paddle drums coupled to and driven by the mechanical drive assembly, thereby propelling the watercraft through a body of water.

For example, the mechanical drive assembly is adapted to couple to a drive shaft power source element, while or to an electrical wiring power source element within a positioning shaft. The paddle drums include blades capable of producing thrust via contact with a solid bottom surface containing the body of water, and/or with a top surface of the body of water. When applied to outboard engines, surface drive engines, air cooled marine engines and trolling motors, this system allows for navigation of extremely shallow water without damaging equipment, scarring lake beds or destroying native grasses.

One general aspect of the invention is a watercraft propulsion system. The watercraft propulsion system includes: a mechanical drive assembly, the mechanical drive assembly being capable of coupling to, and being driven by, a power source element of a propeller-based engine of a watercraft; and a pair of paddle drums, the pair of paddle drums being coupled to, and driven by, the mechanical drive assembly, thereby propelling the watercraft through a body of water.

In some embodiments, the power source element of the propeller-based engine is a primary drive shaft; and the mechanical drive assembly includes: a secondary drive shaft capable of turning the paddle drums; and a gear assembly connecting the secondary drive shaft to the primary drive shaft, the gear assembly also capable of transferring torque from the primary drive shaft to the secondary drive shaft, the gear assembly thereby powering the secondary drive shaft to turn the paddle drums.

In some embodiments, the power source element of the propeller-based engine is electrical wiring housed within a positioning shaft, the electrical wiring being capable of delivering electrical power; and the mechanical drive assembly includes: an armature assembly capable of turning the paddle drums; and an armature housing connecting the armature assembly to the positioning shaft, the armature housing also providing the electric wiring a path to the armature assembly, so as to enable the electric wiring to deliver power to the armature assembly, the electrical wiring thereby powering the armature assembly to turn the paddle drums.

In some embodiments, wherein the paddle drum includes blades that are capable of at least one of: producing thrust via interaction with a bottom surface of the body of water; and producing thrust via interaction with a top surface of the body of water.

In some embodiments, the blades include rods operable to improve engagement on firm sandy lake bed surfaces.

In some embodiments, the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of the paddle drums, the blades aligned substantially parallel to a center axis of the paddle drums.

In some embodiments, the blades have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile.

In some embodiments, the blades are formed of one of: plastic; aluminum; metal; and stainless steel.

In some embodiments, the watercraft propulsion system further includes a protective mechanical assembly case, the protective mechanical assembly case protectively housing the mechanical drive assembly.

Another general aspect of the invention is a radial drive operable to replace a marine propeller system. The radial drive includes: a gear assembly housed within a gear case, the gear assembly being operable to receive and be driven by a primary drive shaft; a secondary drive shaft coupled to the gear assembly, the secondary drive shaft being driven by the gear assembly; and a pair of paddle drums, each coupled to the secondary drive shaft, the pair of paddle drums being driven by the secondary drive shaft, each paddle drum having a plurality of mounted blades, each paddle drum being capable of providing thrust upon rotation when partially submerged.

In some embodiments, the primary drive shaft couples to and is driven by one of: an outboard marine engine; and an air-cooled marine engine.

In some embodiments, the secondary drive is connected to the primary drive in perpendicular relationship.

In some embodiments, the blades are capable of producing thrust upon engagement with a bottom surface of a body of water.

In some embodiments, the blades include rods operable to improve engagement on sandy bottom surfaces.

In some embodiments, the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of each paddle drum substantially parallel to a center axis of each paddle drum.

In some embodiments, the blades have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile.

In some embodiments, the blades are formed of one of: plastic; aluminum; metal; and stainless steel.

Another general aspect of the invention is a radial drive operable to replace a marine propeller system. The radial drive includes: an armature housing operable to be mounted on a trolling motor positioning shaft; a deflection shield coupled to the armature housing; an armature mounted within the armature housing, the armature being electrically coupled to an electrical source; a field component operable to produce a magnetic flux with which the armature interacts so as to produce an electromotive force to rotate a drive shaft coupled to the armature; and at least one paddle drum coupled to the drive shaft, the at least one paddle drum rotating about the drive shaft, wherein blades are mounted on the at least one paddle drum, the blades being operable to produce thrust when partially submerged, or when engaged with the surface of a body of water.

In some embodiments, the radial drive can pivot about the positioning shaft.

In some embodiments, the blades include a plurality of blades pivotally coupled to an outer surface of the at least one paddle drum substantially parallel to a center axis of the at least one paddle drum, wherein the blades and deflection shield have a predetermined width, height, shape, and profile, and wherein the blades and deflection shield are formed of plastic, aluminum, metal, or stainless steel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals indicate like features and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of an outboard marine engine coupled to a paddle drum drive in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of the paddle drum drive of FIG. 1, displaying major internal parts of the paddle drum in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 is a side view of an air-cooled marine engine coupled to a paddle drum drive system in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 is a rear view of the paddle drum drive of FIG. 3, displaying major internal parts of the paddle drum in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the interaction among the working parts of the paddle drum drive of FIG. 4, in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a paddle drum having a number of blades located thereon in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 7 is a side view of a trolling motor system utilizing a paddle drum drive in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 8 is a side view of FIG. 7, wherein the paddle drum drive is in contact with a bottom surface; and

FIG. 9 is an illustration of one embodiment of a paddle drum drive for a trolling motor, in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of a prior art propeller-based trolling motor, which the invention can modify so as to provide a more environmentally friendly trolling motor; and

FIG. 11 is an oblique view of a modified trolling motor, with a paddle drum drive having replaced the propeller of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Preferred embodiments of the present invention are illustrated in the FIGs., like numerals being used to refer to like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

According to one embodiment of the present disclosure, a propulsion system is provided. This propulsion system, when applied to outboard, surface drive engine, air cooled marine engine and trolling motor systems allow individuals to navigate extremely shallow water without damaging the equipment, lake bed or native grasses. When applied to an outboard, surface drive engine, or air cooled marine engine the system includes a marine engine, a primary drive shaft, and a paddle drum drive. The marine engine may be pivotally mounted at a transom (or in some cases bow) of a water craft. The primary drive shaft receives mechanical output of the marine engine and provides the mechanical output to the paddle drum drive. The paddle drum drive couples to the primary drive shaft and turns one or more paddle drums to provide thrust to the water craft. The paddle drum has a number of blades on its cylindrical surface that provide the propulsive thrust by contacting the water surface or the lake bed. The Paddle drum drive utilizes a deflection shield that protects equipment and person from water spray or debris lifted by the paddle drum blades rotating above the center axis.

The paddle drum drive system provided by embodiments of the present disclosure provides for a greater product life expectancy of the outboard, surface drive engine, air cooled marine engine, or trolling motor and related equipment, access to shallower water areas, and improved environmental conservation from the angler, hunter or enthusiast that frequents shallow water flats, estuaries and backwaters. Embodiments of the present disclosure, when applied to outboard, surface drive engine, air cooled marine engine and trolling motor systems, allow individuals to navigate extremely shallow water without damaging, equipment, scarring the lake bed or harming native grasses. The paddle drums of the paddle drum drive system when applied to the outboard and air cooled marine engines use the water's surface for propulsion, never having to contact the lake bed or native grasses. In typical water craft, the propeller of the original propulsion systems of the outboard, surface drive engine, air cooled marine engine and trolling motor systems typically extend beyond the bottom of the boat to prevent cavitations. However, the paddle drum drive systems for outboards, surface drive engines and air cooled marine engines are designed to propel the vessel with out ever contacting the lake bed due to the fact the paddle drums of the paddle drum drive system need not extend beyond the bottom of the boat, except when applied to the trolling motor.

Embodiments of the present disclosure also provide a paddle drum drive (paddle drive) system for a trolling motor application that may actually use the bottom for propulsion, vessel positioning and holding vessel stationary. However, in this application the paddle drums of the paddle drum drive are designed to crawl along the bottom or lake bed at very low RPM's. This low RPM operation may also prevent bottom scarring and destruction to native vegetation.

Embodiments of the present disclosure innovate beyond existing propulsion systems of electric trolling motor, outboard and air cooled motors (MUD BUDDY, go devils®, MUD BUDDY HYPERDRIVES, etc). Embodiments of the present disclosure may provide a replacement drive or propulsion system for the trolling motor, outboard, surface drive engines and air cooled marine engines. The embodiments when associated with outboards, surface drive engines and air cooled marine engines may use a drive shaft that extends out both sides of the paddle drum drive systems housing or gear case. This enables a paddle drum to be attached to each side of the paddle drum drive system. On electric trolling motor applications the shaft runs through the armature assembly extending out both sides of the armature assembly housing far enough to support a paddle drum on each end. For outboard, surface drive engine and air cooled engine applications; a shaft (primary drive shaft) runs from the engine to the paddle drum drive gear box for power. Embodiments of the present disclosure provide a unique and direct replacement of the original propulsion systems (propeller drive systems) for trolling motors, out boards and air cooled marine motors. The user may simply remove the original drive system with propeller and install the paddle drum drive system and paddle drums provided by embodiments of the present disclosure.

In one example of an outboard application, the existing lower unit may be uncoupled, removed and replaced with the lower unit (gear box) of the self contained paddle drum drive system. The trolling motor application may involve replacing the electric motor housing and armature assembly with the paddle drive systems electric motor housing and armature assembly. On the air cooled marine motor (GO-DEVIL®, MUD BUDDY, MUD BUDDY HYPERDRIVES, etc.) The prop would be replaced with the self contained paddle drum drive system and paddle drums, which in this application is a water proof gear box that would couple straight to the output shaft and supports from the engine.

Embodiments of the present disclosure may use two or more paddle drums, one on each end of a drive shaft that extends laterally from both sides of the paddle drum drive system. The paddle drums include blades (also known as paddles, fins, louvers etc.) Mounted about the cylindrical surface for traction and resistance with the water's surface or the lake bed. The blades on the drums, as well as the diameter and length of the drums themselves, will come in a variety of sizes, length, pitch and angle depending on bottom composition, power of motors, vessel size etc. Rods may also be incorporated within the blades for improved purchase on firm sandy bottoms for the trolling motor applications. Gear sizes and ratios will also vary with different applications. The deflection shield coupled to the paddle drum drive will also vary in size and material for compatibility with paddle drum size and blade lengths. The trolling motor application may involve new control circuitry to allow more torque at lower RPMs.

FIG. 1 is a side view of an outboard marine engine coupled to a paddle drum drive with paddle drums (paddle drum drive) in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. As shown, the outboard 100 is mounted to the stern of a boat 101. Outboard 100 with marine engine 102 is shown with its drive unit extending into the surface of the water 103. The outboard marine engine 102 includes a marine engine 102 having therein a primary drive shaft 104, a lower drive unit (paddle drum drive) 106, and paddle drums 108. The lower drive unit 106 can also include a deflection shield (not shown), for protecting equipment and persons from water spray or debris lifted by the paddle drum blades rotating above the center axis. The marine engine may be pivotally mounted to transom of the water craft on which the outboard 100 is mounted.

FIG. 2 is a rear view of a paddle drum drive 200, such as the paddle drum drive of FIG. 1, displaying major internal parts. Paddle drum drive 200 includes an internal gear assembly 202 containing primary drive shaft 104 as well as a secondary drive shaft 204. The secondary drive shaft 204 includes a mechanical gear 205 which engages with a mechanical gear 206 on the primary drive shaft 104. The secondary drive shaft 204 extends from the gear assembly 202 to couple to paddle drums 208, 209 as shown. At the end of the secondary driveshaft 204 are seals and bearings 210, 211. The gear assembly 202 is housed in a gear case 212. A deflection shield (not shown), as discussed in FIG. 1, can couple to gear case 212. This paddle drum drive may directly replace the lower drive unit or propeller system of a traditional outboard. Blades of the paddle drum produce thrust, as they rotate, via contact with the water at the water's surface.

FIG. 3 is a side view of an air-cooled marine engine coupled to a paddle drum drive system 300 in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure, mounted to a boat 301. Paddle drum drive system 300 includes an air-cooled marine engine 302, exhaust system 304, steering handle 306, transom mount bracket 308, shaft 310, and a paddle drum drive with paddle drums 320. A deflection shield (not shown) can be included, for protecting equipment and persons from water spray or debris generated by the paddle drum blades. This propulsion system 300 may be mounted at a transom of a watercraft 301 by transom mount bracket 308 wherein this allows the outboard marine engine 302 to be pivotally mounted on the boat 301. The primary drive shaft 310 couples to the output of the marine engine 302. This primary drive shaft 310 is then mechanically coupled to the paddle drum drive 320.

FIG. 4 is a rear view of a paddle drum drive, such as the paddle drum drive of FIG. 3, displaying major internal parts. Paddle drum drive 400 includes an internal gear assembly 402 containing a primary drive shaft 310 as well as a secondary drive shaft 404. The secondary drive shaft 404 includes a mechanical gear 405 which engages with a mechanical gear 406 on the primary drive shaft 310. The secondary drive shaft 404 extends from the gear assembly to couple to paddle drums 408, 409 as shown. At the end of the secondary driveshaft 404 are seals and bearings 410, 411. The gear assembly 402 is housed in a gear case 412. A deflection shield (not shown), as discussed in FIG. 3, can couple to gear case 412. This paddle drum drive may directly replace the lower drive unit or propeller system of a traditional air-cooled marine engine. The blades produce thrust as they rotate through contact with the water at the water's surface.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the interaction among the major internal parts of the paddle drum drive of FIG. 4, in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. The primary drive shaft 310 rotates, thereby transmitting mechanical energy to secondary drive shaft 404 via the interaction between internal mechanical gears 405, 406. As the primary drive shaft 310 rotates, the mechanical gear 406 of the primary drive shaft 310 turns the mechanical gear 405 of the secondary drive shaft 410, thereby transmitting its rotational energy to the secondary drive shaft 410, and causing the secondary drive shaft 410 to also rotate. The secondary drive shaft, in turn, rotates the paddle drums 408, 409.

This mechanical energy may be transmitted to a left paddle drum 408 and a right paddle drum 410 via the mechanical gears 405, 406. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, one continuous shaft is used to induce motion in both paddle drums 408, 409. The secondary drive shaft 404 is mechanically coupled to paddle drums 408 and 409. FIG. 5 is a rear view of the paddle drum drive. As is apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, rotation of the primary drive shaft 310 in the direction shown will induce the paddle drums 408, 409 to propel the watercraft in reverse, while rotation of the primary drive shaft 310 in the direction opposite that shown will induce the paddle drums 408, 409 to propel the watercraft forward.

FIG. 6 is a side view of a paddle drum 600 having a number of blades located thereon. Paddle drum 600 includes a drum 602 having eight blades 604. The drum 602 is coupled to and mounted on the secondary drive shaft 606 which, as it rotates, causes the blades 604 to interact with the surface of the water or the lake bed in order to propel the craft to which the propulsion system is attached. Blades 604 can additionally include rods therein which gain purchase on firm sandy bottoms in order to increase the propulsion provided by the unit.

FIG. 7 depicts a trolling motor utilizing a paddle drum drive with paddle drums in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. Trolling system 700 as provided in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure includes a steering system (whether it be hand, foot or remote control) 701, power supply 706, mounting hardware (for transom or bow mount) 704, adjustable positioning shaft 712, troll electronics 702, electrical tether 708, and one or more paddle drums 710 with blades 711 attached thereto. A deflection shield (not shown) can also be included, to shield the watercraft, equipment, and persons from water and/or debris lifted by the paddle drum blades.

The paddle drums can be coupled to reduction gears via a drive shaft , the reduction gears being coupled to an armature or electrical motor. The Paddle drums may also be coupled straight to the armature or electric motor via just a drive shaft (without the need for reduction gears).

In this particular embodiment, power is supplied to the paddle drum drive unit via a power source 706, such as a battery or generator, electrically coupled via circuitry within positioning shaft 712. In this manner, the positioning shaft 712 also serves as a conduit for electrical wiring between the paddle drum drive unit and an external power supply such as a battery or electrical generator.

FIG. 8 is a side view of FIG. 7, wherein the blades 711 of the paddle drums 710 are in contact with a bottom surface 802. In this instance the paddle drums crawl along the lake bed to propel, the watercraft or hold the craft stationary. This may be achieved by having an adjustable mount 704 and positioning shaft 712 which allows the paddle drum to be placed either at the water's surface 804 or on the lake bed. When the paddle drums crawl along the bottom surface to propel the craft or hold it stationary, the blades 711 of the paddle drums 710 may further incorporate rods to gain purchase when used on a firm sandy bottom surface, so as to increase the thrust efficiency of the paddle drums.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of one embodiment of a paddle drum drive for a trolling motor, in accordance with the present disclosure. Trolling motor paddle drum drive 900 includes the positioning shaft 712, an armature housing 902 connected to the positioning shaft 712, an armature assembly 904 including driveshaft with arms 905A, 905B, a mechanical assembly housing 906, and paddle drums 908, 909. The mechanical assembly housing 906 houses the lower portion of the positioning shaft 712 as well as the armature housing 902, and an armature assembly 904 encased within the armature housing 902. In the embodiment shown, the positioning shaft 712 also houses wiring 910 that couples the armature assembly to an external power supply (not shown). A reduction gear assembly (not shown) can be used in some embodiments, as can a deflection shield (also not shown).

The armature assembly 904 may be either the rotor or the stator depending on the configuration of the electric motor of these embodiments. The paddle drums 908, 909 couple to the drive shaft, and the magnetic flux between the rotor and stator creates an electromotive force which in turn causes the rotational motion of the armature in the field. This force converts electrical power to mechanical torque and transfers it to the load (i.e. the paddle drums) via the drive shaft (or, a reduction gear assembly). A deflection shield can substantially cover the paddle drums,.

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of a prior art propeller-based trolling motor, which the invention can modify so as to provide a more environmentally friendly trolling motor. In this figure, a propeller-based trolling motor is shown in an exploded view. An armature assembly 1000 is in communication with a propeller 1002. The armature assembly 1000, with arms 1001A, 1001B, is housed within an armature housing 1004 that includes a female port 1005 for accommodating a positioning shaft (not shown). Other standard equipment for a propeller-based trolling motor is shown, including brush assembly 1006, 1007, shaft seals 1008, 1009, trolling motor cap 1010, pins 1011, 1012, and brush plate assembly 1013. This prior art propeller-based trolling motor can be converted to a paddle-drum propulsion system.

FIG. 11 is an oblique view of a modified trolling motor drive, with a paddle drum drive having replaced the propeller of the prior art propeller-based trolling motor of FIG. 10. A paddle drum 1100 has relaced both the propeller 1002 of FIG. 10, and another paddle drum 1101 has been inserted on the opposite side of the trolling motor drive as well. A second trolling motor cap 1102 has been placed on the outside of the paddle drum 1100 that replaced the propeller 1002. In this figure, the armature assembly 1108 that replaced the armature assembly 1000 of the prior art propeller-based trolling motor now includes two arms 1109A, 1109B of sufficient length to support and drive the paddle drums 1100, 1101.

In summary, a propulsion system that uses a paddle drum drive coupled to a marine engine or trolling motor system for a water craft is provided. This propulsion system, when applied to outboard, surface drive engine, air cooled marine engine and trolling motor systems allow individuals to navigate extremely shallow water without damaging the equipment, native grasses, vegetation or scarring the lake bed. The system when applied to outboards or air cooled marine engines include an outboard, surface drive engine, or air cooled marine engine, a primary drive shaft, and a paddle drum drive with paddle drums. The system when applied to trolling motor systems includes a trolling motor coupled to the paddle drum drive via a positioning shaft. The marine engine or trolling motor may be pivotally mounted at a transom (or in some cases bow) of a water craft. The marine engine provides the mechanical energy output to the primary drive shaft. The paddle drum drive couples to the primary drive shaft and turns one or more paddle drums to provide thrust to the water craft. The paddle drum have a number of blades on its cylindrical surface that provide the propulsive thrust by contacting the water surface or in some cases, as when applied to the trolling motor, the lake bed.

Other modifications and implementations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as claimed. Accordingly, the above description is not intended to limit the invention except as indicated in the following claims.