Lighting a tug - RC Groups
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Mar 12, 2006, 06:49 AM
Tug Nut
meechingman's Avatar

Lighting a tug

Now that the warranty's run out on my 'Southampton' it's time to make some mods. First up is installing lights.

Plan is for P & S navigation lights, all three towing lights [maybe independently switched] and some deck lights. What I want to do is have them at different brightness levels. I have in mind to power them via a small, lightweight9v battery, dropping the 9v to around 5v with a transistor, then creating a few 'voltage rails' with various resistors or even small potentiometers.

1) Am I on the right lines?
2) Can anyone give me suggestions for the transistor and resistor values?
3) Will the fact that the deck light group and the three towing lights group will be connected in parallel [separate groups] make any difference?

Andy G
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Mar 12, 2006, 09:09 AM
CG Bob's Avatar
For the International NavRules, your tug (without a tow) would show at either 4 or 5 nav lights. NavRule 23 is a power driven vessel underway and states:
"a) A power-driven vessel underway shall exhibit:
i. a masthead light forward;
ii. a second masthead light abaft of and higher than the forward one; except that a vessel of less than 50 meters in length shall not be obliged to exhibit such a light but may do so;
iii. sidelights: and
iv. a sternlight. "

NavRule 24 covers towing requirements.
"(a) A power-driven vessel when towing astern [Inld] shall exhibit:
i. Instead of the light prescribed in Rule 23(a)(i) or 23(a)(ii), two masthead lights in a vertical line. When the length of the tow, measuring from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow exceeds 200 meters, three such lights in a vertical line;
ii. sidelights;
iii. a sternlight;
iv. a towing light in a vertical line above the sternlight; and
v. when the length of the tow exceeds 200 meters, a diamond shape where it can best be seen. "

To answer your questions.
1) Yes, you are on the right lines.
2) I can't help you with the transistor/resistor values. I would recommend some 12v light bulbs running off a 9v battery.
3) No, but i would connect them differently, with one lead from the battery going to a small switchboard. Switch #1 = yellow deck lights; with the lights connected is a series-parallel fashion. Switch #2 = masthead light, side lights & stern light. Switch #3 = for towing, second masthead light and yellow stern slight. Switch #4 = for towing, third masthead light.
Mar 12, 2006, 11:48 AM
Tug Nut
meechingman's Avatar
Thanks for the info CGBob. Remember learning the lighting rules many moons ago - helps when your dad is a tug skipper!

Your suggestions about the switching make great sense, that's the way to go. If no-one comes up with suggested values, I think I'll have an experiment with some resistors, making sure not to cook the LED's on the way.

Andy G
Mar 12, 2006, 03:01 PM
3 Blades to the Wind
Shaun Hendricks's Avatar

LED's & Lighting...

There was a good discussion about lighting with LED's over in the aircraft side of things. Planes don't do so well at night without lights!

Here's a link to the discussion and it has the relevant electronics formula's to work with LED's (and small lamps if you know their settings, they just burn more juice than high power LED's).

Lighting Aircraft

A good source for super bright LED's is:
Mar 13, 2006, 01:11 AM
sensitive artsy type
Treetop's Avatar
FlightLites, which is a company started by RCGroups member (JSwayze)has some interesting products, I bought some leds from him a while back, and some 30 gauge wire, he has grown and invented since then, Worth taking a look, there is a thread about these also:
Jun 07, 2006, 04:19 PM
R/C Electro-Gadgeteer
Tomapowa's Avatar
yet another option for LED controls.... "MINIFLASH" Programmable LED controller w/ R/C control...

Click here to see a video of LEDS on a Traxxas Revo... Full R/C controlled and programmable via your PC.

More can be read about it here...
Nov 27, 2006, 12:36 PM
Sea Dragon-Lover
Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
CGbob, or anyone,

What are the red and clear marking lights used for on the Yardarms of this mast?
Nov 27, 2006, 12:59 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
Means "stay out of my way, I can't change my course!"
See rule 27 (links above):

(b) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, ..., shall exhibit:

three all-round lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen. The highest and lowest of these lights shall be red and the middle light shall be white;

"Restricted" includes: A power-driven vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course

And the example has double lamps... the double just being a spare, iiuc.

Pat M
Nov 27, 2006, 01:03 PM
no wings any more, just dust!
Ghost 2501's Avatar
meech, replace the models lights with grain of rice bulbs ya cant go far wrong then
Nov 27, 2006, 01:31 PM
CG Bob's Avatar
The red lights on the upper yard could also be used as aircraft warning lights. Aircraft warning lights are energized (turned on) at night in port, usually two red lights at or near the highest point of the vessel.
Nov 27, 2006, 05:38 PM
no wings any more, just dust!
Ghost 2501's Avatar
CG would such a light be used at sea in open ocean?
Nov 27, 2006, 07:38 PM
CG Bob's Avatar
Originally Posted by Ghost 2501
CG would such a light be used at sea in open ocean?
As aircraft warning lights, not likely. However a vessel not under command or restricted in her ability to manuever is possible in the open ocean. A cable vessel working a cable in the open ocean has restricted manueverability. A buoy tender servicing a NOAA weather buoy would also have restircted manueverability.
Nov 27, 2006, 11:23 PM
Sea Dragon-Lover
Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
Excellent answers Gentlemen.


Dec 02, 2006, 08:09 AM
Tug Nut
meechingman's Avatar
Ghost - the LED's are working fine for now, but on the next overhaul, things way well change!

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