more than meets the eye

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Update 2009 December 21

After approximately 15 months of hard labor, the decks which include the bridge, helicopter deck, tower and lower decks are finished. All lighting and wiring are done, the helicopter deck is additionally suited with smd leds which can either simulate a rotating circular light or light up simulteously. Around the deck 14 led simulate outdoor lighting. A nice feature are the controllights on the bridge, using optical fibers, making very small peaks of lights, smaller even when using smd leds.

A sum up of all features in the upper decks:

Full navigational lighting

2 working radar with 24 resp. 42 rotations

controllights on the bridge using optic fibers

EL-sheet light on the bridge

outdoor lights

rotating rotor on the helicopter

anti-collision light on the helicopter

helicopter has onboard lights

seperate helicopter deck lights, marking the deck

EL-sheet light in the upper decks

2 smoke generators type extreme

chimneys have fans built in


All these features can be switched on/off using the software described further below.

Now lets focus on the hull.

Update 2009 December 21


Summercamp is over, gone are the warm sunny days making it easy to recline, do nothing and be lazy. Well, finally. I thought the day would never come !!!! Now i can work on my boat again. :-)

I started with soldering tiny white light smd led for outside lighting. I have positioned 4 lights under the heli deck plus 8 more around the upper deck. To supply the voltage for the smd led, i made some more led drivers to provide the nessecary stable 3 volts. I can easily light 2 rows of 4 led each with a single supply, could probably do even more.  Still that makes 1 led driver for 8 smd led, and with the additional 10 drivers i just made, i can do: 10 x 8 = 80 smd leds. But that is just theoretical...

Many wires can now be found within the hull. I never thought a hull this large could be filled up with electronics and mechanics. Adequate lighting have been fitted inside the hull to provide enough light once the deck is mounted.

Update 2009 June 03

Major Update this time: I have done some work on the davits to make them work smoothly, actually i underestimated the workload to get this done. Everytime i come up with something i had overlooked the last time, and so by now i have put in many many hours on the davits only.But i am getting there. The main problem are the 2 side bars to make them move simultaniously and smooth. Going up is no problem, got that worked out. Making the bars go down while keeping the lifecrafts in the upper position until it the bar rests on deck, is very tricky. I am now trying a solution with a counterweigh pulling the bars downward so as to prevent the bars from stopping along the way, before they reached the deck. I looks promising, but still needs refinements.

Also our prototype program needs a bit of work to get rid of some bugs. Like if i make a very short impuls on the direct crane control buttons on the right as seen on the picture below (see update 2009 April 27), it causes the relay to latch instead of falling off again after i released that button. And some minor bugs with the picturebox needs some fixing too.

The e-motors have been installed, 4 pcs of type 600BB Turbo. Also the 2 controllers have been added and wired. The 2 servos for steering are done too.

And i build in a homemade water breach detector throughout the ship! The ship is split up in 5 segments, like 1)bow, 2) the area where the cruise controllers are installed, 3) and 4) both the left and right side of the moonpool and 5) the electronics compartment (where the crane is mounted). The sensors are very sensitive, a few drops of water and the  detectors "feel" the water and trigger an alarm. Notification will be done by a sirene, an additional waterpump to suck out any water will not be made, for all 5 sensors trigger one I/O Relay. And i wouldn´t know where the waterdetection physically happened, so i would actually need 5 seperate I/O relays, and also 5 pumps to ensure that water is sucked out of the ship.

The 2 water pumps for the fire monitors are positioned also. I got them from Kavan GmbH, a german manufactorer, they run on 12V and use 1.5 Amps each. But they have a capacity of 1.8 liters (60 oz) per minute, each. That easily make the fire monitors cast the water at least 5 meters (15ft) away. I set up a trial-configuration today and it did as expected.

I made an electric print with buttons and relays on it to be able to show some, if not all, functions without the need of a remote control or computer. It is situated in the electric compartment just underneath the deck. It has slides on both sides, so when needed i can pull it out from under the deck to use it. At the moment the crane can be fully operated with it, as well as the helicopter lights, rotor and anti collision light.

In the compartment where the cruise controllers are positioned, also 2 relay boards are situated. They are positioned upright, with the serial and USB connector pointing upwards for easy removal and accessibility. That way i can connect a computer directly to the relay boards if needed, but also if any work is to be done inside the hull, i can just slide out the boards.

Some questions concerning the software and the how-abouts are answered here:

The software runs on a laptop which remains on shore, so it stays with me the whole time. Using a self-made wireless serial transmitter/receiver, data is sent to the ship and picked up by the receiver, which in turn uses a wired serial connection to sent the command directly to the relay boards. That way the need for a onboard computer is eliminated, since all processing is done on the laptop, and it just sends processed data to the ship, much like a wireless printer in many offices. Processing is done on the computer and then the printer only has to receive the package and print it. Or in my case execute the commands.


Update 2009 April 27

Together with a colleague of mine we wrote a prototype program to control the ship using a notebook. We used Visual Basic 2008 Express for writing the software, and the hardware is off the shelf. The Conrad 8 way relay board is just about perfect for the job, it has 8 relays on each board, and up to 255 boards can be operated with only one interface. This means we do not need a computer onboard, all data is transferred from my laptop to the ship. Onboard we have the relay boards and a receiver. Data transmission is wireless RS232, and for the transmission we use a self-made wireless transmitter/receiver going up to 200 meters.The relay board also transmits, so these data is used for confirmation. The switches are latching, meaning they hold their position. To access the correct relay board, a click on a combi-box gives you a list of all available boards with their functions. When changing boards, the text on the buttons for switching the relays change names to show their new appropiate function. The crane also have an extra set of buttons for direct control (switches are momentary).

There are still some features missing, like the crane you see in the picturebox. The Picturebox will be a 2-Way display. First: It is planned to have a picture of the whole ship posted here, but soon as a function is carried out, it shows that position by displaying the appropiate layer. E.g. a click on a switch to turn the crane shows a picture of the crane. Second: the picture in the box will be divided by zones. A click on a particular zone in the picturebox will provide you with a detail of that part of the ship you clicked on. Then you have the possibility to switch a function by clicking on it in the picturebox, e.g. a click on the bridge in the picturebox will turn on the lights on the bridge. Also an all-off button is missing, just in case. To shutdown all relays when it is nessecary. So all controls will be handled by our software, except for the cruise control. I  rather have that seperately (for the moment).



Update 2009 April 20.

The 2 smoke generators i built in really "smoke. The amount of smoke produced is very impressive, it is also thick and hangs around long enough to create a smoke curtain. I didn´t get the extreme edition, just the super smoker from Graupner. The store i get my things, didn´t have the extreme, and i didn´t want to wait again for some order. This last weekend i sure got some things done. Installed the 2 super smokers, and the work very well. Also the 2 life crafts are done, only the davit still needs some work. But the idea with the davit works, i got it going. I made the 2 life crafts heavy enough so it actually pulls itself down untill it hangs along side.


Update 2009.April 10

Good news.  The ordered goods have arrived and and have been build into the crane now. I have noticed that the drum for the hook touches the crane arm before it reaches its lowest position. Do not know yet what i did wrong, but for now another todo for the list. Also the microswitch which stops the hook when it reaches it highest position, is constantly being triggered when lifting something. The finger or extender on the switch wasn´t long enough, so when the arm is horizontal, the rope pushes against the trigger, which in turn triggers the switch. Solution was easy enough by making a longer extender or trigger. I have found a way to make the davit for the life crafts work. The life crafts are filled with lead to led gravity do the work, just like on the real ship. Soon as the crafts are being lowered, the top of the large S-bar makes an outward movement. As the motion continues, the S-bar as a whole starts to slide outwards while the top continues moving slightly downwards, untill the craft is leaning over the edge, then the craft is lowered untill it reaches the water.


Update 2009.March.24

The crane is now nearly finished, only things missing are the cabin and the 2 micro t 05 electric motor with gearbox. The dealer doesn´t have them on stock, but will deliver them any time soon. The other motor for rotating the crane is already sitting in the right place. I have finished the work on the helicopter, which includes working rotor, cabin lights and anti collision light. The 2 speed controllers are watercooled, this is done by a water pump which gets its water through an inlet installed right behind the 2nd forward propeller propulsion drive. After cooling the controllers, it exits just above the waterline to simulate coolingwater. The water pump runs on 3V to maintain low noise level. Also i am trying to make the davit for the lifecrafts work. On the model, they are static, unmovable. But with wooden models i try to make it work. My idea is to make the davit swing outward, and then lower the lifecraft. Let´s see if that works. I have searched the internet for ideas about it, but haven´t seen any. So i guess i have to brainstorm this one out myself.


Update 2009.February.23

Both the forward and rear deck are nearly completed. But i will wait with the final step, namely glue them into the hull and make it very hard for myself to do some remaining workleft inside the hull. The openings in the deck are not that big, and you probably need the hands of a physician to get things done. Stick to the outline as written in the manual, and consult the drawings often, and you save a lot of work in the end. The main supports in the hull should very nicely line up with the supports glued under the deck. Work accurately, and the result looks great. It should look like there is only a large one.



A lot of work have gone into the hull, and its supports. All wooden parts have been cut and treated to ensure it is waterproof, in the unlikely event of leakage. Also the plastic molds were cut out which form the support for the electric motors and the ruder propeller unit. Important is to read the manual as well as to check the drawings!! I made the mistake of assembling the support for the rear ruder propeller without the unit attached to it and drilled the 4 holes for its mount. Of course, when assembling the whole thing, it didn´t match. Therefore assemble the whole unit, from unit to support and all, then drill the holes.



i have now started with assembling the single pieces like bridge, housing and tower together. Also the first railguards have been made, started with those on the bridge and working my way down. To ensure they would well follow the contures of the ship, i made the whole length of a rail out of a single wire. First i stretched the wire to make it look straight. After that i formed it to match the drillholes on the ship. The results is a much smoother railguard. The work on the watercannons is also nearly finished, the railguard still needs to be made. Photo's will be added soon as it's done.


This weekend i added the missing lights on the tower. Also i gave it an extra paintjob, as a finishing touch. And with that the tower is ready, well, almost ready. The radar still needs to be made, i will use the ones supplied. Each radar will be driven by a motor, the larger one will rotate at a speed of 23 rotation per minute, and the smaller one will do 42 rotations per minute. All i need is the motor with the right gear. These will be mounted directly under the bridge.


The seperate parts making up the upper housing, bridge and tower are slowly getting their right shapes and colors. After long considering, i ordered the tiny SMD LED's as shown on the pictures. Soldering them is painstaking, but end result is satisfying. The led's have a 140° lightcone angle, so i used 2 led's with their backs together to get as close to 360° as possible. It projects a very nice round lighting. For the tower 8 such lights are needed (4 red and 4 green), making a totall of 16 led's.

I have decided to use led's throughout the ship instead of small lightbulbs. And that for several reasons:
1) The led's are smaller, maing them nearly invisible if not turned on. Still they are bright enough to be seen in daylight.
2) I can use thinner wires, making it easier to hide them.
3) LED's can be build into almost anything (because of their size)
4) I will be using many (~60) led's, and they cost considerbly less than mini-bulbs.
5) Life-expectancy: LED's are nearly immune against vibrations and shocks, and these happen on a modelship all the time.
6) They are true energie-savers.


Much time is spend on doing the bridge, its controllights and adding some details. Making the fire extinguishers is a bit harder than i thought, and also the workers are not on scale. Though that should not really be noticed by someone :-)

Some mini bulbs have been installed on the ship, right by the watercannons to be exact. To be able to work on deck when it gets dark, the workers will need light. So i put a light on the front side right by the watercannons to do just that. Take a closer look on the added pictures to see it. After the paintwork is done, it will be sealed of by a small piece of clear plastic.


I got myself a helicopter to be placed on the Seabex One instead of the original one. It has so much more detail, and i will fit it with a working rotor and nav lights. Maybe i put some controllights in the cockpit too.

Though the machine is a military, it will be paint in civil off-shore colors.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2009 21:44  

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