Finally, a cheap project

Don’t worry, I’m still working in the installation of our new MSD.  Work (the kind that pays me money) has been busy, so I’m sorta’ doing boat things on the weekends.  The other day on my way home I stopped at Lowe’s and saw these hanging next to the check out line…

Call it an impulse buy, but one thing that bugs me about the forward hanging lockers in our boat is the lack of illumination.  I’ve pretty much LED’d the shit out of this thing, and we really like the strip lights we’ve installed under most of the side decks.  Especially in the galley.  We use them more for our every day lighting needs than the overhead dome lights that the boat came with (also converted to LED).  Problem is, I’m a bit lazy and pulling new wire to the starboard forward lockers was going to be a bit of a pain in the ass.

Behold: battery powered motion sensing LED lights made by Sylvania.  The package shows a little kid dragging her teddy bear to the bathroom to go pee in the middle of the night.  Awww, how cute.  However, if you’re kid-less with no teddy bears to be had (as are the overwhelming majority of people who decide to make a sailboat their primary residence), you can find many other useful purposes for them.  Powered by 3 AAA batteries (we use  the rechargeables  from Costco), it has ON, OFF, 10 Second, and 60 Second delay modes.  The motion sensor has a 120 degree detection beam and is extremely sensitive.  The light lens also rotates back and forth to direct the beam where you want it (sort of).  Best part is that they turn off automatically when you’re done inside (or stop moving for a few seconds).  We can’t seem to remember to turn off the propane solenoid when were done cooking so this is going to be a big help in simplifying our already complicated lives (note the sarcasm in my typing).

The mounting arrangement includes a removable magnet that mounts to your chosen surface with double stick tape, and they’ve also included a screw which fixes the magnet with a bit more security.  The light fixture then “sticks” to the mounted magnet, but I tend to be a bit skeptical of it’s strength in rough seas.  Guess we’ll just have to see.  If one were inclined, one could add double stick tape between the magnet and the light fixture for a more secure mount.  Problem is that the mount is, of course, located directly over the battery access door (which also provides access to the time delay switch).  If one were to chose a more secure method of adhesion, one might want to consider using 3 AAA Lithium batteries instead of rechargeables.  Longer shelf life, and longer burn time than standard batteries, but without the added benefit to the environment.  Your choice on that one.

I put 2 in Jeni’s hanging locker (she got the big one), and one in mine.  I’ll tell you right now, these little beauties beat the heck out of busting out the headlamp first thing in the morning when you’re trying to get dressed, and they definitely beat dragging yet another 12 volt circuit toward the front of the boat.  More on dragging circuits toward the front of the boat in the very near future, but that’s all I have for now…

Wye not?
Putting a crimp in my style


  1. Another application for this light is the anchor locker. Every now an then when I go to drop the anchor the chain will foul or jam from falling over on its self. This requires running below to free it up. Even during the day the anchor locker is a dark hole. A motion detector light would be a big help. Think I’ll pick one up. thanks for the idea.

    1. Rich, I like the idea of a light in the chain locker. I edited my post to include info on the double stick tape magnet mount, but if one were inclined, one could choose a more secure method of mounting without interfering with the battery door. If it was installed someplace I don’t access frequently (like the chain locker), I’d consider AAA Lithium batteries instead of rechargables. Now you got me thinking of all kinds of places I can stick these things. Although not an overwhelming amount of light, they give at least enough light to make you not regret that you left the flashlight at the other end of the boat.

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