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Old 04-10-2019, 03:38   #1
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DIY anchor light - components?

So..... previously I made a little anchor light which was a great success for night after night, see this thread over on ybw >
DIY anchor light

So now for V2 - draw it up in easyeda, order the PCBs with some surface mount components already assembled and at the same time order the rest of the components from lcsc, cree 503dwan LEDs from elsewhere as lcsc don't do them. Then for not that many dollars you get a handful of PCBs and all the bits needed to make a *really* bright anchor light with auto on off, no RF. Solder it up, mount in some pvc pipe then fill with epoxy or something.
This link work? > https://easyeda.com/paddyb/anchorlightmaster

Problem is I don't actually know that much about what I'm doing so big question is >>>>>> where do I ask and what do i ask
Thinking of joining https://www.eevblog.com/forum/ but is that the best place for what will be mostly easyeda/jlcpcb related? There is quite a bit of knowledge on here but don't think this is really the place.

More specific for the moment , components - mainly the power in transistor and control mosfet, best suited for the job? Pretty sure the light sensor could be better but I know it works and is stable, watched it many times from happy hour




And zooming out a bit, I really think this route could be an excellent source of cheap sensor circuits, general bits n bobs etc with the ability to source good components cheaply - example, esp32 with a barometer, voltage sensors, current sensors, thermometers etc - bit of soldering and download some code for the esp and non geeks can have sophisticated boat monitoring with the esp sending to signalk over wifi.
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:40   #2
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

An auto anchor light has had a lot of appeal to me. So many times I have forgotten to turn it on at dusk. Other times, I have been on another boat enjoying sundowner drinks that begin in the sunshine and turn into dinner so that it is well past anchor light time when I get back to my boat.

Unfortunately, an auto light is not easily available here.

However, I have recently realised that the easiest way to deal with the situation is just to leave the light on!
As an LED, it uses next to no current, and has almost unlimited life. Any current it does draw when not required (during the day) is more than covered by the solar charger. If I am sailing (not anchored) during the day, the light is not visible anyway. The only time it becomes incorrect is sailing/motoring after dusk or before dawn, when only the nav lights should be on. On these occasions, I turn it off.
Theoretically... illegal, but in practice... effective.
Simple.
Safe.
No more guilt!

Tim
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:50   #3
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

The OP’s light could be made into a dinghy light maybe?
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:59   #4
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
An auto anchor light has had a lot of appeal to me. So many times I have forgotten to turn it on at dusk. Other times, I have been on another boat enjoying sundowner drinks that begin in the sunshine and turn into dinner so that it is well past anchor light time when I get back to my boat.

Unfortunately, an auto light is not easily available here.

However, I have recently realised that the easiest way to deal with the situation is just to leave the light on!
As an LED, it uses next to no current, and has almost unlimited life. Any current it does draw when not required (during the day) is more than covered by the solar charger. If I am sailing (not anchored) during the day, the light is not visible anyway. The only time it becomes incorrect is sailing/motoring after dusk or before dawn, when only the nav lights should be on. On these occasions, I turn it off.
Theoretically... illegal, but in practice... effective.
Simple.
Safe.
No more guilt!

Tim
In this circuit it's easy to leave the auto on/off bit out, just solder the power input to a different place. V1 worked great, as bright as any others in the anchorage or often brighter - that was with 15 LEDs, 5 strings of 3, V2 has 24. Running at just over 60% of rated max.
V1 lived in an old oil lamp which never worked for more than a few minutes




Might be a bit fiddly to build, we'll see This is a bit old with lots of little PCBs, before putting everything on one.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:08   #5
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Fun stuff Conachair! It's been a while since I used EDA software.


On my boat I have anchor and nav on an on-off-on switch so neither runs together.
I was thinking about adding the same for sail or steam tied to the nav circuit but have yet to order lights and wire mast to suit.
Auto-on anchor would be nice. I have thought about the little solar lights from the home and garden stores as a backup.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:21   #6
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Hummmm. There's the issue of the Coast Guard. They finally came to an operational definition of the extremely vague "visible two miles" and it involves a laboratory test by the manufacturer, followed by labelling the light as being in compliance. That pretty well puts human ingenuity in the name of a brighter light out of bounds legally.

I say this having two personal positions. First, noting that it is very easy to get a "two mile" light confused with shore lights, I replaced the incandescent bulbs in it and the forward white nav light with honking big LEDs. I left them on by mistake with the boat sitting in front of our house. We woke up the next morning before dawn, and concluded that those bright lights in the sky must be military flare, which are fairly common here. I'm not about to remove those lights in order to comply with the law.

The second is noting that an anchor light is not an adequate anchor light. Determining distance to one is devilishly difficult when that is your only clue, as in our thinking those lights were flares miles away. Our answer is to outline part of the boat (the deck above the wheelhouse) with LED rope light. It's not visible all that far, but supplies depth perception to any boat approaching. The Coast Guard does not like rope light, because they claim it can disguise standard nav and anchor lights, but that is not part of the law, just their concern.

Go for it. Just be sure that what you make is an order of magnitude brighter than a "two mile light."
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:07   #7
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
Hummmm. There's the issue of the Coast Guard. They finally came to an operational definition of the extremely vague "visible two miles" and it involves a laboratory test by the manufacturer, followed by labelling the light as being in compliance. That pretty well puts human ingenuity in the name of a brighter light out of bounds legally.
Not my problem - don't sail in such waters

Though the IRPCS state the range which a light must be visible, not that you need an expensive piece of paper proving this..
Same LEDs & current as the stalled Frankenbebi project,
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post1383213
they did some calcs with 15 LEDs, not 24 >

Quote:
3. Using the values specified in CFR33 84.15 Table 84.15(b) and the absolute minimum bin output value at the 21.5mA drive level we are using will be in excess of 4 miles (27 candelas) Typical output at 21.5ma is closer to 32000mC per led. Beam-spread overlap at distances exceeding 200 meters should raise perceived intensity to the 45000mC range. In any case, this is twice the required range for recreational vessels up to 50 Meters.
so well bright enough

This comes up now and again, pretty sure no one has come up with a case where someone with a bright enough light had to prove in court this.

Anyway, down to each individual the risk.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:21   #8
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

a lot of work considering that an APPROVED LED anchor light can be brought for less that $14

https://www.amazon.com/Pactrade-Mari...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:31   #9
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
a lot of work considering that an APPROVED LED anchor light can be brought for less that $14

https://www.amazon.com/Pactrade-Mari...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
Of course welcome to your opinion and being the Web you can post what you want, but the thread was actually a request for technical information, not personal opinions about if it's worth the effort.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:34   #10
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Hey you are welcome!

It's always most productive to as an electronic question to a boat forum.
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:42   #11
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
An auto anchor light has had a lot of appeal to me. So many times I have forgotten to turn it on at dusk. Other times, I have been on another boat enjoying sundowner drinks that begin in the sunshine and turn into dinner so that it is well past anchor light time when I get back to my boat.

Unfortunately, an auto light is not easily available here.

However, I have recently realised that the easiest way to deal with the situation is just to leave the light on!
As an LED, it uses next to no current, and has almost unlimited life. Any current it does draw when not required (during the day) is more than covered by the solar charger. If I am sailing (not anchored) during the day, the light is not visible anyway. The only time it becomes incorrect is sailing/motoring after dusk or before dawn, when only the nav lights should be on. On these occasions, I turn it off.
Theoretically... illegal, but in practice... effective.
Simple.
Safe.
No more guilt!

Tim
An auto-on circuit can be purchased from Amazon and incorporated into your existing anchor light. Just wire it into the +12v lead going from the anchor light breaker to the light and position it in a port light (you can stick it to the glass with a glob of silicone). Here's the one I use: https://www.amazon.com/Solu-Photosen...207185&sr=8-13
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:52   #12
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

While I love to do DIY projects, including electronics, Marinebeam sells an automatic anchor light bulb for $21. At that price it is hardly worth the effort to make one yourself. That just leaves you to make a housing and either get a socket or just solder the wires to the bulb.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:05   #13
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

One thing to be conscious of is the potential RF interference with your VHF and/or SSB radios. The LEDs themselves don't generate any noise, but the power supply circuitry can create loads of RF noise. One of the tests that "approved" nav lights goes through is to address this very concern.

-David
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:34   #14
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

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Originally Posted by stormalong View Post
While I love to do DIY projects, including electronics, Marinebeam sells an automatic anchor light bulb for $21. At that price it is hardly worth the effort to make one yourself. That just leaves you to make a housing and either get a socket or just solder the wires to the bulb.
Lot to be said for that - buy a few, though this came about from a long term cruising perspective on the hook every night a long way fro the led shop, a bright very reliable anchor light must up the top of the day to day must have list. The bebi lights were very popular among cruisers. Plus the leds can be completely waterproofed, not just behind a case with a socket to corrode. Plus it's fun and good experience with the design software and Suppliers, more projects on the back burner. Might as well share it if anyone is interested. Quick glance at the specs looks like the design above is about 50% brighter, about half the price and 2/3 current draw. But for most you're probably right, 20 bucks plus a spare is nothing to many boat budgets
I'd Probably do the same if this wasn't fun and very satisfying.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:35   #15
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Re: DIY anchor light - components?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
One thing to be conscious of is the potential RF interference with your VHF and/or SSB radios. The LEDs themselves don't generate any noise, but the power supply circuitry can create loads of RF noise. One of the tests that "approved" nav lights goes through is to address this very concern.

-David
The constant current control on the circuit above works in a completely different way, no RF so no filtering required.
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