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Old 25-10-2008, 10:53   #1
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Lightbulb Masthead light and other fun stuff

I finally got tired of running my batteries down with the masthead light or forgetting to turn off the masthead light during the day so I decided to add an LED photosensor light to the masthead. After I looked at a few on line ($$$$) I decided I would build my own (yes I am cheap but I also like the adventure). I have done most of my own LED work in replacing inside lights and I know how potting compound works so what the heck. I ordered the LEDs from Besthongkong - Eastern LED Source Shop: Loose LED, High Power LED, Car Auto LED, LED Light Bulbs, LED Strips, LED Flashlight, LED Module (you have to poke around a little but they seem to have the least expensive LEDs around). I got a 3" PVC cap and cut down the height for the body of the light. I then went in search of a 12V DC photosensor (lots of 12V AC ones for sprinkler systems). To my suprise I could not find one. Even in the venerable McMaster Carr catalog. I have a friend that tinkers with things like this so I asked him to make me one. He agreed and it is on the way to me. While we were talking about it he suggested that the photosensor allow the unit to come on for about 10 seconds when it is first swiched on so I could tell everything was ok before going to shore. Before you hit the reply button - I know you can't see the masthead light from the deck. That is why I am putting one blue down facing LED on the unit. I plan on overhanging the masthead light a little off of the back of the mast so I can see the blue LED from the deck and make sure the unit is switched on and working properly. Also, my thinking is the blue hugh on the top of the mast will help me in locating the boat in a crowded harbor (not that I have had that problem before - yea right). My friend has done all of the design work on the photosensor and asked me if he should productize it for others. He could even make the complete masthead light. Probably less than $100. He is not a sailor and I told him I would ask to see what others thought. He likes to dabble in these types of things.

Also, the same friend is making me a unit that goes on the top of my mast that can share power between two different items. In essence it will split the 12V masthead power supply into two different supplies. The way it will work is if I turn on the 12V mast head switch once it will provide power to the first item only, if I turn the switch on and off it will provide power to the second item only, if I turn it on-off-on-off-on it will provide power to both units at the same time.


Currently I plan on using this box to power the masthead light and two downward facing blue LED accent lights that I will mount on each side of the mast. I can see uses for this type of device for wireless masthead wind sensors, access point / cellular repeaters mounted on the masthead, or even a wireless camera mounted on the mast head (I would love to have an eagle eye view of the coral heads when I am going through a tricky passage or even a high angle view of the channel and a lot of the Chartplotters are incorporating video input - I have the 4212). He also wants to know if he should productize the unit. Thoughts, ideas, suggestions, have you seen this type of item before, how should he market this?
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:37   #2
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Somewhere in one of my notebooks, I have a schematic of a photocell anchor light. It had all the RadioShack part numbers. Total part cost was a few bucks.
We used to but them inside a clear salt shaker.
Someone here must have the schematic.....and be able to find it!
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Old 04-12-2008, 14:42   #3
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Bear in mind that there are quite specific legal requirements for boat lights, specifically to visibility range (depending on boat size).
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Old 04-12-2008, 22:44   #4
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FYI for future reference - an array of 12V photosensors can be found at just about any 'Robotics' parts dealer and are very inexpensive. They can be purchased in combination with relays ready for use as-is. Another source is a replacement part from just about any Car Dealer. These are convenient sense they come prepackaged in a sealed 'button' and are already preset for precisely the light/darkness transitioning you seek....
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:24   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
Bear in mind that there are quite specific legal requirements for boat lights, specifically to visibility range (depending on boat size).
Weylan -- I don't think Peter is talking about the light, per se, as the novel element. But rather, using a CDS cell to determine if is dark outside. Current won't flow in daylight if you set the circuit up correctly.

Peter -- Weylan is of course right about the required visibility from a certain distance. There are other firms that account for aging LEDs, etc. Your friend would do well to examine the competition further.
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Old 05-12-2008, 12:18   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterroach View Post
I finally got tired of running my batteries down with the masthead light or forgetting to turn off the masthead light during the day so I decided to add an LED photosensor light to the masthead. After I looked at a few on line ($$$$) I decided I would build my own
I would love to hear some more details.When I looked at designing a photosensor to control my LED anchor light the power consumption of the photosensor and associated circuit although low made it hardly worthwhile given the low power consumption of the LED light it was controlling, but given my limited knowledge of electronics I am sure there is a better solution that would make it worthwhile.
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Old 07-12-2008, 18:26   #7
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try this
Weekend Project: Automatic Anchor Light!

Peter, love the name. We must be related.
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Old 10-12-2008, 21:01   #8
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I knew I had it. here is the only one I could find.
https://www.aqualarm.net/store/comer...?idProduct=130

I have not installed mine yet. It is on the list

Hope this helps.
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