Thursday, March 8, 2012

DIY YakAttack LED Nav Light

Hey guys, for those who have been interested in how I made my light, here are the details. I primarily have been fishing the HRBT at night and have had many of the same concerns I have heard others discuss. When looking for other yakers that I KNEW were there, I noticed many times their white light blends in with the rest of the lights on the horizon making it hard to pick them out. When the kayak is between pilings it makes it even harder. While I always carried a Visipole 360* light and a headlamp, I felt like I needed something more noticeable on the water from a safety standpoint.


My goal was to create something that was bright, easily recognized, easy to remove, waterproof, and did not require any holes, mods, etc to the yak. I wanted this to be something that stood out as a maritime nav symbol making it easily distinguished from the bridge, cars, and horizon lights etc.


What I came up with was adding RED and GREEN LED strips on the VISIpole. These LEDs strips can be purchased online or can easily be found at any auto parts store. They run on a 12v circuit that is produced by 8 AA- rechargeable batteries. The batteries need to be placed in a series connection (+) to (-) to produce 12v. The batteries are stored in a waterproof cell phone case I found at Walmart for $5 and 8 batteries fit tightly inside. The case had supports running down the outside -side of the of case to support the latch. I used a dremel tool to create a perfect fit for a switch and mounted it into place.

The lights came in packs of two... 2 red 2 green. I wrapped a little gorilla tape around the top of the Visi pole to add some diameter to the pole. From this, I used the adhesive backs of the strips to position them into place.

On the front of the pole I put a red and green close together to mimic an oncoming vessel. The next two strips I put on the side to show only RED or GREEN. From past experience I knew the adhesive strips were not going to hold the lights permanently so I wrapped the light strips several times with thin wire. I did this every couple lights and it made a great hold!

Next I wired all the lights together to one (+) wire and one (–) wire. Each light had its own wire (8 all together) and I felt like this was waiting to get tangled in a rod. I ran a single wire down from the lights at into the battery pack.

The battery pack is connected to the base of the Visipole using the attachment cord that came on the waterproof case. This sits it the middle rod holder of the crate and the switch is easily assessable if needed.

To prevent the light from turning off-center in the rod holder, I used gorilla tape again to increase the diameter of the pole to create a snug fit in the rod holder… about 2 wraps of tape.

When I load my kayak I make sure it is facing forward and it does not take anymore time to load than it did when it was just the Visipole.

The light is VERY bright and easily noticed. I have received a lot of compliments from powerboats and kayakers alike. This was exactly what I was after… being seen on the water.

Because the light shines forward… it also illuminated the paddle blade as you paddle, creating a larger surface area to be seen… especially from behind. Another cool thing is the light actually illuminates the water… when I paddle past the jetty area in 4-5ft of water… I can actually see the boulders on the sandy bottom and tons of needlefish. Green lights are also known to attract bait ☺

Hopefully this will help those who were interested and help the overall safety of many out on the water. I would enjoy hearing any suggestions you guys have or see any recreations. Let me know if you have any questions and Ill try to get more pics.

1 comment:

  1. Nice effects work done by LED light, very impressive.Thanks for sharing such nice information with all.