Saturday, 11 August 2012

Fixed the LED switches


In a couple of recent post on his blog Jim (nb Starcross) mentioned he was looking for a new mooring.  Today I read his most recent post where he has decided on Upland Marina which is near the Anderton Lift Bridge.  Out of curiosity I searched for the Upland website <here> to see what facilities they had available.  The mooring rates look reasonable and if we were to ever consider a mooring during winter then Upland might be on our “shortlist”.  However I became rather more excited when I noticed the stainless steel lift up tiller arm in the marina chandlery.  For some time I’d been thinking a lift up tiller arm might be a good idea.  However the cheapest I’d been able to find was made of brass and quite expensive at £80.  We don’t want brass and stainless steel seems a good option.  Even better; the advertised price is £23.99 <here>.

I just hope all my readers don’t race off and purchase all the stock before I place our order! Winking smile

Well I finally worked out how to get the LED’s in the light switches to illuminate when the switch was pressed.  Prior to me resolving the problem the LED’s were very dim and flickered.  Moreover they were always on.  If the system was correctly configured then the LED would only illuminate when the switch was pressed and the consumer switched on.

Very dim LED’s on a three pole light switch

I’ve been corresponding with Mark Zimmerman at Atlantis Marine who are the UK agents for Empirbus.  Mark has been very supportive throughout our build project and even modified the switches from 240v AC to 12v DC.  Anyway, Mark realised I had failed to correctly set the “subscriptions” in the Empirbus system configuration file.  It was configured so that when switch A was pressed light B would illuminate.  This actually made the light activate.  However for the Empirbus system to tell the LED to illuminate I also needed to configure light connection B to tell switch A that they had a relationship.  It might sound complicated but was actually very quick and easy to do.  This eliminated the dim and flickering blue light from the LED.  But the LED still wouldn’t illuminate when the switch was turned on. 

Mark suggested I reverse the polarity of the wiring on the LED’s.  This wasn’t too difficult either.  Then when I pressed the switch this happened……

Trumpet call… the light switch illuminates!

I’ve now rewired all the switch LED’s and everything is working correctly.

This morning Andy cut the circular hole in the roof for the bathroom extractor fan.  It’s actually a combination fan and light fitting.  Once the hole was cut I was able to install the unit.

The light comes on when the bathroom light switch is pressed, whilst the fan runs when the shower pump switch is pressed. 

This got me thinking!.  The Empirbus system is very flexible and one of it’s characteristics is the ability to delay a consumers startup or stopping.  So I should be able to configure the fan to keep running for a predetermined time after the shower pump is turned off (say two minutes).  This would assist with the extraction of mist from the shower cubicle after the occupant has vacated it.

Then I started thinking about other uses for the Empirbus.  There is a spare switch beside our bed.  I could probably connect it into the bow node and configure it as a master switch.  It would be the last switch we pressed before going to sleep at night.  It could be configured to turn everything off in the boat apart from the bilge pumps, water pump, fridge. freezer and toilet.  We would then be certain all the non essential 12v & 240v consumers had been deactivated.  No forgotten lights on or radio left running which would be eating into the domestic battery bank!

Andy did say to me “Once you have that Empirbus interface dongle you’re going to keep playing with the system configuration”.    After four days of playing my reply was “You will have to prise it from my cold dead hand!”  

Somehow I don’t think Jan is going to let me buy an interface!  Winking smile


Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Tom
I had a look at that tiller arm thingy last time we were there. It's solid and well engineered. And if you were thinking of a winter mooring at Uplands, Dave the manager there is a nice guy, very obliging. Just have a look at the site on Google Earth. The way the pontoons are laid out may not be everyone's cup of tea. I like the way the build is progressing, can't wait to see the boat in livery. ot long now, I guess.
Cheers, Geoff

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Geoff,
Thanks for the comment about the build quality of the tiller arm. We might just purchase one! Probably not likely to want a mooring as we are (currently) determined to CC.
Sorry to have missed you when you were moored at Reading. There will be other opportunities!