Welcome to our site!

Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

  • Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Large scale LED controller for boat

Status
Not open for further replies.

heygreg

New Member
Hi,

I sure could use some help on this project, also would be willing to pay for high quality professional services. (must prove you are qualified)

Here's the project: We have 50 - 20ma high output LED's that will be installed in the boat transom, approx. 2" spacing. Need to have these led's scroll, chase, dim. Power supply is 12v (not 24v)

Where do I start? I'm not an electrical engineer, I am a test engineer stuck with this project for a show boat to be displayed at an annual convention.

Thanks.

Greg
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
You can buy 50' LED rope light with 8 function controller for <$50, see ebay. May require dropping the 12V down to whatever the unit uses.
 

heygreg

New Member
No rope light stuff for this boat! These are high output stainless led designed for marine environment were using. Were looking for a high end custom install, not a store bought, off the shelf screw on or glue on. Thanks though.
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
Well, if you want to make it yourself and have flexibility in the patterns and timing, you will likely want to use a microcontroller and drive the LEDs using multiplexing.

For a standard multiplex, there will be 15 wires that you will have to route to the LEDs. If you would like to elaborate on what you require, including customisation features, I can design or at least help you design a unit.
 

dougy83

Well-Known Member
Well, what do you require?
* Individual control of brightness for each LED?
* User programmable patterns?
* Pattern-change triggered by external input? (or just internally timed?)
 

heygreg

New Member
User progamable...dimming all, screoll, sequence, etc.

If the guys like the transom, then they want me to do the sides, which will be 125 LED's per side.
 

birdman0_o

Active Member
No rope light stuff for this boat! These are high output stainless led designed for marine environment were using. Were looking for a high end custom install, not a store bought, off the shelf screw on or glue on. Thanks though.

How will you find someone to come install if you haven't specified a location!
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
How will you find someone to come install if you haven't specified a location!

Well he said he was a test engineer and his people had given him this project. It would be logical to assume that he can do the electrical install itself but wants someone else to do the microcontroller module design.
 

heygreg

New Member
Well he said he was a test engineer and his people had given him this project. It would be logical to assume that he can do the electrical install itself but wants someone else to do the microcontroller module design.

Yes, this is correct. No problems installing it, just need design help.
Since it's going on a boat, they don't want do-it-yourslef cricuit boats.

So, what's next?
 

Mike - K8LH

Well-Known Member
hi heygreg,

I would recommend something simple and hefty on the display side with full brightness and PWM brightness control. You should get an idea from the crude drawing below for the 15-pin LED wiring harness. You might consider four push buttons in a "diamond" pattern and a 2x16 LCD display for the user interface or perhaps something as simple as lighted push buttons switches. Power budget for the display below would be a maximum of 960-ma.

Let me know if you need help on this project.

Kind regards, Mike McLaren, K8LH (Westland, MI, USA)

boat-png.34255

boat-switches-png.34256
 

Attachments

  • boat.PNG
    boat.PNG
    28.3 KB · Views: 250
  • boat switches.PNG
    boat switches.PNG
    7.5 KB · Views: 252
Last edited:

Mike - K8LH

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys.

If the OP comes back, let's try to convince him to go with 48 LEDs instead of 50 (for reasons that are more obvious to us hardware/software types, LOL)...

Say, I wonder if an "SOS" effect would be nice to have (and hopefully never used)...

Kind regards, Mike
 
Last edited:

heygreg

New Member
Thanks guys.

If the OP comes back, let's try to convince him to go with 48 LEDs instead of 50 (for reasons that are more obvious to us hardware/software types, LOL)...

Say, I wonder if an "SOS" effect would be nice to have (and hopefully never used)...

Kind regards, Mike

Looking at the transom, yes 48 would be perfect. As for port or starboard...would need a minimum 140 per side. That's another day.
Need to stay on the transom task first.

Thanks.

Greg
 

Oznog

Active Member
Clarification- are all these LEDs controlled independently, or are there lights with clusters of red, green, and blue which are switched together? The larger power packages initially appear more expensive, but come out better in the long run.

What type of LED is an important question. See most on eBay are tightly focused, and don't show much light at all unless you're in the beam path, where it's blinding. The "rope" effect may not show up then without diffusers. There's the less common "strawhat" LED with much wider viewing range, and the "inverted cone" which mainly spreads light in a lateral plane all around the body.

Is efficiency important? The current draw of a linear design with many LEDs can get quite substantial.
 

ronsimpson

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
There are many different types of LEDs. I attached two pictures of viewing angle. 150 and 7 degrees.

This project needs a switching power supply. It will save many watts.
 

Attachments

  • ViewingAngle.jpg
    ViewingAngle.jpg
    83.7 KB · Views: 64
  • viewingAngle2.jpg
    viewingAngle2.jpg
    51.3 KB · Views: 70

Oznog

Active Member
This project needs a switching power supply. It will save many watts.
Yeah, but when addressing LEDs individually, if you use current drivers, they'll EACH need their own driver. That's cost prohibitive.
You could determine the minimum voltage and ballast for each color, and make a supply for each one. That could easily triple the efficiency at considerably less cost and complexity. But, the regulation for each LED becomes somewhat less consistent. If you chose a 4v source voltage for each green LED (3.6v nominal) with a 20ohm resistance, then the variations of a +/- 0.1v Vf, you get a +25%/-33% variation in current. Might be a good idea to use a switcher to generate 4v-5v and then you can direct-drive the LEDs without external transistors as long as it's under 20mA. That's a good choice for the 3.6v greens and blues. The reds may only need 2v, but that's only 1/3 the power usage anyways. With a 5v source, you might be able to replace each red LED with two reds in series, running on half the current. Makes a 4v Vf which is closer to the others.

If we DO drop the requirement to fewer, more powerful emitters, then we can use constant-current switchers which are the gold standard. But again, you can only drive so many lights controlled independently before the number of drivers becomes impractical.
 

Mike - K8LH

Well-Known Member
140 LEDs per side, oh my. A modular approach might work. Below, a slightly different controller with a 9-pin buss to multiple "driver" boards, each "driver" with 16-pin connectors for wiring harness to 64 LEDs (8x8 column/row).

You'd use one driver board for the 48 or 50 LEDs on the transom and three driver boards (up to 192 LEDs) for each side of the boat.

LEDs are multiplexed at 12.5% duty cycle so current budget for seven driver boards should be something like 5.6 amps but that's off the 13.8 vdc buss. The regulated 5 volts that the controller and driver boards need should be handled easily by a single 5v/1a linear regulator.

The hardware is easy. It's the software that will take the most effort.

Good luck with your project.

Mike, K8LH

Regards, Mike

boat-2-png.34380
 

Attachments

  • boat #2.PNG
    boat #2.PNG
    69.8 KB · Views: 170
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest threads

EE World Online Articles

Loading
Top