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By Neumie
#2295277
Since all the cool kids are building their own DIY 360 kayak light with LED car bulbs, I've decided to follow suit and make my own as well; with my own twist. Ideas were gathered from this TKF Thread and the battery supply from this Facebook Post.

Basic build is a s follows. I took 1 1/4" to 1/2" reducing coupling and slightly cut them down. I then used my Dremal to wallowed out the inside of 1/2" PVC pipe to allow for the light build to slip in. I then added grooves to either side to allow room for the wire to pass either side.

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The 1 1/4" to 1/2" reducer had an outside diameter of 1 1/2" which allowed me to buy 1 1/2" inside diameter acrylic tube for the outside of the light. I sanded it down with sand paper inside and out to diffuse the LED light. The acrylic tube is attached to the PVC pipe using small stainless steel screws so I can remove it and access the bulbs if I need to.

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My own twist was I added a second LED to act as a strobe, so a dual LED light setup. It took awhile but I found the right strobe controller which gave me about 300 pulses per minute. I wanted to added the strobe feature for crossing waters in high traffic areas such as the Aransas Shrimp Channel or paddling across Estes Flats. I used a DPDT toggle switch to let me choose either just the constant burning bulb or the constant burning bulb with the strobing bulb.

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The power supply is a 5V/2A 5000mAh power bank ran through a 5V to 12V step up converter. Both LED's with strobe controller pull about 700mAh (the single constant LED is about 300mAh), and I'm not smart enough to do the math on the power loss from the 5V to 12 V converter. I'll report back after this weekend to see what kind of battery life I get.

This all fits in a 12" long 1 1/2" PVC pipe, and then I used a reducer to glue in my 1/2" PVC light pole. Because the switch was so wide I used my heat gun to flatten out the PVC tube so the waterproof switch could sit flat and be sealed.

Here's a schematic of everything without the wires connecting everything.

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I finished the tops around the acrylic light tube with rubber caps. Here's the finished product with paint.

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A video with both bulbs on from about 40 yards: https://youtu.be/pdro0qHbBLA

I made two of these and they each came out to about $50-$55 per light. I made most of my purchases on Amazon: LED Bulbs, 5V Power Bank, 5V to 12V converter, Pulse Controller, Switch, 2' of Acrylic Tube, and Rubber Caps.
By WC53
#2295296
Love all these projects, couple questions for you,

1- Curious what battery life is like with the draw

2- on the LED bulbs, could you wire one wire to tailight nub and the other to brake light nub? I don’t know if they have separate leds or just use aN internal voltage change To increase brightness.

3- I noticed nightcore makes white cone wands to fit different diameter flashlights, I wonder if these would work or limit light too much

Now we just need 5v led tail lights so we can use on voltage :)

Thanks for the how to!
By impulse
#2295312
shoffer wrote:Well done, Neumie. I like the idea of a strobe for high traffic areas.


I'd be real careful using the strobe, because that could be confused as an indicator of distress. Which could cause problems on a couple of levels.
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By Neumie
#2295341
WC53 wrote:Love all these projects, couple questions for you,

1- Curious what battery life is like with the draw

2- on the LED bulbs, could you wire one wire to tailight nub and the other to brake light nub? I don’t know if they have separate leds or just use aN internal voltage change To increase brightness.

3- I noticed nightcore makes white cone wands to fit different diameter flashlights, I wonder if these would work or limit light too much

Now we just need 5v led tail lights so we can use on voltage :)

Thanks for the how to!

1-Not sure. I'm down in Rockport right now but we haven't been out before sunrise. I'm not smart enough to figure the math, but I only need it to last an hour or tow since I don't night fish .

2-Didn't think of that I guess it could work. Again., not familiar enough with electrical but I would question if the input voltage were the same there wouldn't be any difference. I don't know, may order some and see.

3-I think those would work for single bulb applications, but it wasn't an option for for my build.

impulse wrote:I'd be real careful using the strobe, because that could be confused as an indicator of distress. Which could cause problems on a couple of levels.

That crossed my mind as well. According to USCG it's a flashing white light between 50 and 70 pulses per minute for a distress signal. Mine does 300 pulses in a minute. I think I'm OK, and I only plan on using the strobe function briefly in higher danger situations.
By SWFinatic
#2295388
impulse wrote:
shoffer wrote:Well done, Neumie. I like the idea of a strobe for high traffic areas.


I'd be real careful using the strobe, because that could be confused as an indicator of distress. Which could cause problems on a couple of levels.


Impulse I hear what you're saying but I personally think it's a great idea. I'm all for a kayak being as visible to others as possible in the dark.
By impulse
#2295424
SWFinatic wrote:
impulse wrote:
shoffer wrote:Well done, Neumie. I like the idea of a strobe for high traffic areas.


I'd be real careful using the strobe, because that could be confused as an indicator of distress. Which could cause problems on a couple of levels.


Impulse I hear what you're saying but I personally think it's a great idea. I'm all for a kayak being as visible to others as possible in the dark.


I think it's a great idea, too. But I'm reluctant to give a GW or Coastie having a bad day an excuse to fine me.

I still remember 25+ years ago when a GW on Lake Houston fined my brother for having perfectly legible fancy TX boat numbers when the law specified they had to be block numbers. Just a guy having a bad day, but it still cost my brother -in college at the time- a hefty fine that he really couldn't afford.

I guess the issue is whether the risk of a fine outweighs the benefit of being more visible. It shouldn't be that way, but each of us has to make that decision for ourselves. My intent was to post up information that allows folks to make an informed choice. I appreciate your input and certainly don't begrudge the choice you made.
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By Neumie
#2295438
impulse wrote:I think it's a great idea, too. But I'm reluctant to give a GW or Coastie having a bad day an excuse to fine me.

I still remember 25+ years ago when a GW on Lake Houston fined my brother for having perfectly legible fancy TX boat numbers when the law specified they had to be block numbers. Just a guy having a bad day, but it still cost my brother -in college at the time- a hefty fine that he really couldn't afford.

I guess the issue is whether the risk of a fine outweighs the benefit of being more visible. It shouldn't be that way, but each of us has to make that decision for ourselves. My intent was to post up information that allows folks to make an informed choice. I appreciate your input and certainly don't begrudge the choice you made.


Impulse,

The thought of potential fine from a GW or Coastie crossed my mind as well for having a pulsing light on for periods of time. In my 16 years of kayak fishing the coast I've only encountered a GW while kayaking once, and that was this past July. The next day after the GW check I was paddling across Estes before sunrise with my 360 light on (Tektite, similar to the YakAttack) I got lit up by a power boater's LED light bar. I don't believe I was in danger of being run over, but it's still an unpleasant feeling getting lit up like that.

After that morning and seeing other posts about using LED car lights I wanted to make myself more visible on the water. I decided to add a pulsing light as a way make myself more visible in higher traffic/dangerous situations. By using an essentially three-way switch I can choose when to have the strobe light on in addition to the constant burn 360. Will the 300 pulses per minute be confused for the 60 pulses per minute of a distress signal? I don't know, but I'll risk the potential fine for making myself more visible on the water.
By SWFinatic
#2295440
Yep agree. Also IMO you're more likely to get questioned on the potential distress signal from the CG than a GW. The chances of being stopped by the CG while in a kayak are pretty slim unless especially given the amount of time you'll being using the light in strobe mode.
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By TexasJim
#2295446
Nice work, Josh. Have you determined whether the 360 light can be seen for 2 miles, per the TPWD requirements? If so, the GW and CG should be satisfied. The Coasties would like you to have a USCG-approved light, but TPWD doesn't require that. Maybe, if you were going off-shore(BTB), a USCG-approved light might be advisable. I'll never need one! TexasJim
User avatar
By Neumie
#2295449
TexasJim wrote:Nice work, Josh. Have you determined whether the 360 light can be seen for 2 miles, per the TPWD requirements? If so, the GW and CG should be satisfied. The Coasties would like you to have a USCG-approved light, but TPWD doesn't require that. Maybe, if you were going off-shore(BTB), a USCG-approved light might be advisable. I'll never need one! TexasJim

I will next time I'm at the coast. From our cabin to the north side of the Copano Bay Causeway is almost exactly 2 miles (1.97 miles), so I'll run over there and have who ever's with me look to see if they could see it.
By impulse
#2295469
Neumie wrote:
impulse wrote:I think it's a great idea, too. But I'm reluctant to give a GW or Coastie having a bad day an excuse to fine me.

I still remember 25+ years ago when a GW on Lake Houston fined my brother for having perfectly legible fancy TX boat numbers when the law specified they had to be block numbers. Just a guy having a bad day, but it still cost my brother -in college at the time- a hefty fine that he really couldn't afford.

I guess the issue is whether the risk of a fine outweighs the benefit of being more visible. It shouldn't be that way, but each of us has to make that decision for ourselves. My intent was to post up information that allows folks to make an informed choice. I appreciate your input and certainly don't begrudge the choice you made.


Impulse,

The thought of potential fine from a GW or Coastie crossed my mind as well for having a pulsing light on for periods of time. In my 16 years of kayak fishing the coast I've only encountered a GW while kayaking once, and that was this past July. The next day after the GW check I was paddling across Estes before sunrise with my 360 light on (Tektite, similar to the YakAttack) I got lit up by a power boater's LED light bar. I don't believe I was in danger of being run over, but it's still an unpleasant feeling getting lit up like that.

After that morning and seeing other posts about using LED car lights I wanted to make myself more visible on the water. I decided to add a pulsing light as a way make myself more visible in higher traffic/dangerous situations. By using an essentially three-way switch I can choose when to have the strobe light on in addition to the constant burn 360. Will the 300 pulses per minute be confused for the 60 pulses per minute of a distress signal? I don't know, but I'll risk the potential fine for making myself more visible on the water.


Usually, I'd agree with you. In fact, I have "bandit lights" on my kayak for the very same reason- visibility. But a strobe?

Let's recap 2 facts... 1) A flashing white light is an accepted signal for distress. 2) The law says that anyone seeing a boat in distress is obligated to offer assistance.

Basically, you're flashing a distress signal to everyone within line of sight- even guys a mile or 2 away who can't possibly see that you're fine. What could possibly go wrong? I realize that your strobes flash at a higher frequency than the accepted rate, but what percentage of boaters do you figure would know that?

FYI, my "bandit lights" are LED strips (so not USCG approved) mounted 3 on a side so that none of them lie in my field of view, yet they offer 360 degree visibility. I fully acknowledge that they don't meet USCG requirements, but I can't think of any situation where someone would confuse them and come to offer assistance to me.
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