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Fixing tunnel light


Chris T
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I'm trying to avoid drilling holes into our new cratch to fit the tunnel light and wondering if we can get / make a bracket that fits over the top of the cratch frame (unclipping the cover at the top) to temporarily hold the light when going through tunnels.  This isn't likely to be frequently, so the light could be stored away when not in use and attached with a terminal block or bullet connectors when needed.

 

Has anyone done anything similar or have other suggestions? 

 

 

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Can't envisage what you are considering without a picture, or diagram. One thing I would say is not to let the light be the highest thing on the boat. Generally, the top of the cratch board is the highest point on a boat that has one. If the light is higher, then that is the thing that will be destroyed in a low tunnel. Your location says Cheshire, so you have Harecastle Tunnel not far from you, which is low in places and there are lower tunnels elsewhere.

I only fit the tunnel light if that days travel plans involve a tunnel. It is made of copper, so lives inside the boat most of the time. I use crimp bullet connectors to wire it in when required. I use a female bullet for the positive wire. which is shielded with plastic, so there is no risk of shorting to the hull, if the wire is energised with no light plugged in. They seem to last longer than the supposedly waterproof connectors I used at first. The problem was, the connectors are only waterproof when connected, so the one permanently outside corroded badly, being open ended for almost all the time. The lamp has a bracket it slots on to when required, but no cratch board, so different from your situation.

Jen

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Thank you for your comments.

 

A few boats in our marina have a similar set up to yours (although permanently attached) but the cratch makes this seem more complicated. 

 

Yes, Harecastle will be the most used tunnel for us and although our cratch isn't as high as many, I was thinking I could have the bracket to which the light is attached dropped down from the top of the cratch board so that it isn't the highest point.

 

I appreciate that it is difficult to explain clearly/ envisage, I will post some photos when I have worked out how to reduce the file size.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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Pics hopefully now attached. I thought that if I could attach the vertical part of the pictured bracket to another bracket that hooks over the top of the wooden cratch frame (after unfastening the cover) the light would then be hanging just below the top of the frame. 

 

 

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Get an led rechargeable work light (only around £20) a couple of magnets from eBay bolted to the base and you can mount it anywhere steel - they last a couple of hours on a charge so more than enough for any tunnel on the system. And no holes drilled on the boat! Go mad, get two.

  • Greenie 1
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23 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

Get an led rechargeable work light (only around £20) a couple of magnets from eBay bolted to the base and you can mount it anywhere steel - they last a couple of hours on a charge so more than enough for any tunnel on the system. And no holes drilled on the boat! Go mad, get two.

Thanks for your reply. We did consider magnets, but didn't want to have the light up on the roof in case of low headroom, and thought that on top of the gas locker on the front would be a bit low down. Not sure where else it could go. 

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8 hours ago, Mike Tee said:

Get an led rechargeable work light (only around £20) a couple of magnets from eBay bolted to the base and you can mount it anywhere steel - they last a couple of hours on a charge so more than enough for any tunnel on the system. And no holes drilled on the boat! Go mad, get two.

This is an excellent idea. The low power usage of LED's and the high capacity of modern rechargable batteries give a lot of options for external boat lighting that weren't previously available. If I was doing a boat from scratch, I'd seriously consider using magnet held battery LED lights for the headlight and also navigation lights. Lots of advantages:

  • Saves having to run a lot of cables around the boat, plus their fusing and switches.
  • Not having to drill holes in the cabin for wires and fixing screw holes for nav lights.
  • Lights only need fitting when they are to be used. Saves them rusting and getting filled with spiders while outside in all weathers.
  • Nav lights could be borrowed from a friend when required, if you rarely boat on a waterway that require them. Same goes for a tunnel light, if your usual weekend boat trip to the pub doesn't include a tunnel.
  • Nav lights can be kept inside when boating somewhere where they are vulnurable to damage, like Standedge Tunnel.

I've not investigated what's on the market at all, as I already have a set of conventional lights on my boat. A quick google search shows a few that are marketed to lumpy water boaters. There may not be entirely suitable magnetic mount, battery powered, LED lights available yet to suit inland steel shell canal boats, so this could be a market for someone. For now, perhaps a home made solution.

 

I wouldn't agree with "Go mad, get two.", as two tunnel lamps can be confusing to oncoming boaters, who are used to just seeing one lamp on a boat.

 

8 hours ago, Chris T said:

Thanks for your reply. We did consider magnets, but didn't want to have the light up on the roof in case of low headroom, and thought that on top of the gas locker on the front would be a bit low down. Not sure where else it could go. 

Magnet held on top of the gas locker is a great idea. Tunnel lamps should ideally be pointing a little up, towards the roof. Straight ahead just dazzles oncoming boaters, so they can't see and crash in to you. It is very anti-social. Pointing at an angle to illuminate the roof ahead clues you in to changes in tunnel profile and direction. This could work with your existing lamp and wiring just fine, or use a magnetic battery work lamp as @Col_T suggests.

Jen

 

Are @Col_T and @Chris T related?

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29 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

This is an excellent idea. The low power usage of LED's and the high capacity of modern rechargable batteries give a lot of options for external boat lighting that weren't previously available. 

 

I'm not so sure. I find a lot of internal battery powered led lights actually eat through the batteries pretty quickly. I wouldn't want to rely on battery powered nav lights at night on a big river. It's hard enough to comply with the colregs as it is on a canal boat without adding feeble lights into the equation.

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9 hours ago, Col_T said:

I always thought that the tunnel lamp is supposed to be pointing upward toward the roof, not horizontally forward, so does it matter how low it is mounted??

 

Perhaps this is why so many people are complaining about being blinded by oncoming boats in tunnels? If it's pointed upwards then at some point it's going to shine straight into the eyes of the oncoming steerer. I would point mine down and to the right, clear the windows and put all the internal cabin lights on.

Edited by blackrose
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12 hours ago, Chris T said:

I'm trying to avoid drilling holes into our new cratch to fit the tunnel light and wondering if we can get / make a bracket that fits over the top of the cratch frame (unclipping the cover at the top) to temporarily hold the light when going through tunnels.  This isn't likely to be frequently, so the light could be stored away when not in use and attached with a terminal block or bullet connectors when needed.

 

Has anyone done anything similar or have other suggestions?

 

 

 

I don't see what is so hard about bending up a suitable bracket from either steel or aluminum strip and drilling it. I would have thought a Z shaped bracket could be permanently screwed to the top board. However it would need access to a decent vice so a thick enough metal strip could be bent accurately and a suitable drill. It would be best to chamfer the edges of the strip where the fabric would rub so that implies some kind of grinder and file.

 

FWIW I used a long bolt that doubled to secure the lamp bracket and as the top board to cratch board fixing using a nice brass hinge as a bracket. This meant one bolt  and two screws at the base of the cratch bard and it would just lift off for easier access to the fore "deck" area.

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48 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

I'm not so sure. I find a lot of internal battery powered led lights actually eat through the batteries pretty quickly. I wouldn't want to rely on battery powered nav lights at night on a big river. It's hard enough to comply with the colregs as it is on a canal boat without adding feeble lights into the equation.

The filament bulbs in my conventional nav lights are 10W each. The equivalent red, green, or white LED's to give the same power will sip a tiny amount of juice in comparison; 125mA for ones suitable for a <12m boat, but I don't know if that is each, or a pair. Won't take a huge battery pack to run all night and in to a foggy day. A pair of 18650 Li cells with 2000mAh at 3.7V could run the equivalent of a 12V 125mA LED light for nearly ten hours through a suitable converter circuit. I use LED lights for caving and these are bright white ones, which give enough for a typical 8 hour trip on four AA NiMH batteries, so making up a self contained battery nav light for a nights use and easily changed batteries shouldn't be beyond the capability of a manufacturer.

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Thanks everyone for all your comments.

 

Bending and drilling an aluminium strip into an upside down U shape to use with the light (and possibly) bracket we've already bought seems to be our favoured option.  It would be great to see a photo of yours if you get the chance next week Tonka.

 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, jacko264 said:

How about using a G clamp  bolted to a bracket  so you can clamp it to the front  of the cratch timber

Graham

Mmmm... That's worth thinking about as we don't need to mount it very often. Thank you. 

 

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