Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cut Adrift - LineWatch

Well I've been busy working on a prototype and I'm pleased to say that it works.
The black unit is the receiver, which mounts on the boat. It operates from the boats 12-15V DC battery supply.
The white unit is the Wireless Sender Unit. Its splashproof and can be attached to a tent peg in the bank, hung from a low branch etc.
When the boat is moored safely, the Wireless Sender Unit is attached to a fixed point on the towpath or bank and is switched on. It runs from a CR2032 Lithium battery and will last for 160 hours on one battery.
The Receiver Unit is switched on with the little toggle switch and the red light flashes to confirm that it is operating.
The Receiver Unit will chirp a couple of times to confirm that it is communcating with the sender and then it will fall quiet.
If the boat is set adrift, accidently by a passing boat or deliberately, by a towpath yob, intent on cutting you adrift as you sleep, the two units will continue to communicate silently.
Once the boat has started to drift away and reaches a certain distance from the Wireless Sender Unit, the Receiver Unit will start to alarm.
An annoying integral buzzer will wake you up from your slumber, before you drift too far.
You can make your boat secure again. Once the original distance is achieved again, the alarm will stop and the system can continue on watch or you can recover the Wireless Sender Unit and move on to a safer berth.
If you are not on the boat e.g. down the pub enjoying a dinner or at home, the Receiver Unit will output a 12V alarm pulse which can be used to trigger a SMS Messaging Unit, which will text your mobile to tell you that the "boat is adrift".
I've called the system LineWatch and am not really interested in producing the unit commercially - not enough demand, I feel.
It was an interesting technical challenge though and I plan to fit it on my boat to test the system in real life conditions.

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