Sunday, November 28, 2010

Project: Engine Room Lighting

First Project, First Prototype

For the first project, I am starting out with something relatively simple: lighting for the engine room. What I learn here will be used for subsequent lighting projects on the boat.

Some basic requirements
  • low power
  • lights the entire engine room, including dark corners, as best as possible
  • dimmable
  • color selectable between "night vision red" and "white"
An obvious choice for this is RGB LED strip lighting. For a starting platform, the SparkFun Arduino Inventors Kit helped me get going. The nice thing is one of the basic "starter projects" included in the kit can easily be extended to achieve some of these requirements.

In the picture, the row of red LEDs are placeholders for the "red" portion of the RGB strips. The yellow LEDs are placeholders for the green and blue portion of the strips. Both rows of LEDs turned on will give white light, just the red turned on will give red light.

Still under consideration is the best way to switch the "color" modes. From the Arduino point of view, the easiest would be using one input pin. If it goes high then we go into "red mode", otherwise "white mode". Seeing as "red mode" is intended to preserve your night vision, maybe I should consider how to incorporate a photoresistor.

to be continued...

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