In this episode, we transform the Free Boat 2 into the first LED Art boat in the San Francisco bay. Free Boat 2 is a 32-foot sailing Piver trimeran. It was originally acquired from the harbormaster's impound lot by master reuser tim and has undergone many previous instructables projects and adventures.

It's been a year since the last episode of the Free Boat Saga. I'm sure our readers are wondering what has happened in that time. Let me catch you up. Shortly after Chapter 8, a perfect storm of malfunctions befell our Free Boat. The engine wouldn't run, portions of the deck were cracking or rotting, the throttle handle and rudder arm both snapped off, a window leak allowed gallons of rainwater into the boat, and probably some more. We spent most of the fall 07 fixing that stuff. Then magically we were able to go sailing over and over without ever having a catastrophe!

Life was getting boring. what next?

I'd recently been shopping in my favorite store - China - where the streets are paved with LEDs. After some time I returned with a backpack full of semiconductors, and set about - with considerable help from tim and friends to build the first LED art boat in the san francisco bay.

Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:
Chapter 1: How to Get a Free Yacht
Chapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free Yacht
Chapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other Trix
Chapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates Foot
Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.
Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free Yacht
Chapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Chapter 8: Celebrate Freedom
Chapter 9: Technicolor Dreamboat
Chapter 10: Privateer Knot
Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Chapter 12: Kiteboat!
Chapter 13: Mast Raising

Step 1: Parts I Used

- LEDs! I got 10 x 16 foot RGB LED waterproof flexible strips from my favorite store, China. These run off a 12V system.

- RGB drivers. Also from my favorite store, i picked up some cheap RGB lighting controllers. these things have some buttons allowing you to choose one of a few different RGB cycling patterns.

- Batteries - from my local computer recycle center i got lots of used UPS batteries. these are sealed lead-acid batteries. they come from battery power backup units for large computer systems. the companies that use them usually throw them away long before they are dead. a couple of car batteries would be fine also.

- battery charger for 12v gel-cell batteries. i found one on ebay.

- 100 feet of 14/4 wire, 20 feet of 18/4 wire, 50 feet of 10-gauge wire
- a bunch of crimp-on ring terminals
- silicone glue
- Humiseal 1A27 industrial urethane sealant
- some UHMW plastic sheet, 1mm thick.
- cable clamps to fit the wire
- stainless wood screws
- pvc plumbing pipe, 1.5" size various shapes
- 2 pvc waterproof electrical boxes
- wood strips 1" x 1", about 50 feet
<p>Wonder what the Coast guard would say about this? Probably wrong color lights in the wrong location? They do save a lot of lives and it is why you rarely hear of deaths on our waters. I would not worry about hitting that boat though that is as long as all the lights were functioning. Cool thing is they have that reflective tape these days in green and red, I am shocked they are not requesting we stripe the entire side of the boats with these reflectors. According to OSHA you have active and passive lighting. Active would be any light that is powered passive is reflective light. The point of passive is in the event you have flaws in the system delivering power to the active system you still have the passive as a backup.</p>
That is an amazing boat!! Definetly beats our canoe
<p>There is a &quot;light up the night&quot;&nbsp;instructables&nbsp;contest, I didn't see this great instructable listed there!</p>
I vaguely recall that you have to display certain colours when actually sailing at night (port = red, starboard = green?). Is it possible to fulfill those requirements with this system (ie light up each side a single colour and keep it that way), or do you have to switch the fancy stuff off when you hit open water?<br/>
you can just have the normal red and green there as required, but for sure nobody is going to notice them with all the rest on.
You know what would be really awesome - if you connected these to a DMX controller and you could coordinate these lights with some tunes! All you need is some speaks! (try pssl.com or guitarcenter.com)
Use some really big sub-woofers, face-down in the bottom of the boat, cruise along near the beach....<br/><br/>Dah-<em>dum</em>... ... <strong>Dah-<em>dum<em><strong> ... ... </strong></em></em></strong><br/>
Best. Ibles. Comment. Ever.
But think of the fish! You would give some whales some very big headaches.
pure genius 10/10 just for that comment alone
I've just thought - you could trigger reports of the lowest-flying UFOs ever... LOL
UFO -- Unidentified Floating Object.
Hahahaha Is it a bird? is it a plane? No ! its a boat.... :P
That is the most amazing boat I have ever seen.
that is amazng how much has that costed you from begining to end?
I have a 40' piver and am looking forward to doing the same. How much did this cost for a 32?
the led strips are about $15 per meter purchased from the mfr in china.
The quote I finally received was for $32 per meter. care to send me a link? Thanks for the return...
search for 'rgb led flex strip' on alibaba. there are lots of them. i have gotten quotes from signcomplex and illusion
I will get a boat within a year.. I fell in love with your LED idea and it is a must have for my future boat. Can you tell me how much did it cost you? Can you recommend me a store to buy the LEDS? I can't go to China just to buy LEDs.
fun! you can just order them. take a look at my <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Buy-from-the-Greatest-Store-The-World-Has-E/">instructable about buying from china</a>.<br/>
I've read all the free boat 'ibles. I've been keeping an eye out for a free sailboat but its not so easy in Arizona.
Your marina must be very interesting. That's a lot of fun. Sort of "Pimp my freeboat." Are all of the light mods OK with USCG navigational lights?
That is pretty awesome!! You could also run strips along the cables that hold up the mast, but I think that you would have to use a different type of strip or solder LED to a wire which would be a pain.
Electroluminescent wire would work, as long as no sails needed to go up the cables...
sew el wire into the sails, its fexible
Yeah, I think most of those cables are "standing rigging" or just used so that the mast doesn't fall over, but the ones right next to the mast are for the sails and it wouldn't work to put the lighting on those.
this would be great for my homosexual party boat.
Long live the TECHNICOLORED DREAM-BOAT :D (It looks sweet!)
This is even more impressive in person. I'm happy I have access to some good night pictures now that you've published this. :D You guys are amazing.
Very, very impressive!

About This Instructable


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Bio: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products. He also writes a DIY column for ... More »
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