Downrigger counter

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tamarack, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. tamarack

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    Hi: I am working on a project that will allow my fishing downrigger to operate from the boats drivers seat. The downrigger is essentially a winch that raises and lowers a lead cannon ball to which the fishing lure is attached.
    I can buy a very sophisticated unit to do it but it’s very expensive.
    I have no problem running the wires to raise and lower it but I need to see how deep the ball is.
    I purchased a cheap 3 digit up/down counter that works by an electric pulse for up counting and another for down that I hope to mount on the dash.
    Does any one know of a switch I can use that can be mounted on the drum or beside it, that will give a pulse for up counting when the drum is turning it in one direction and different one when turning in the other.
    I can think of something like a SPDT switch that will flip one way when hit by something on the drum and the other way when turning in the opposite direction.
    Luckily the drum circumference is exactly one foot. The cable is only 1/16” dia. so I need not worry about the layering since accuracy is not critical. Right now it’s a simple mechanical counter.
    I am only semi- literate in electronics so simplicity is important.
  2. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I assume there is one signal to command the winch to go up and another signal to go down.
    If so, you could use that to control a relay to direct the winch pulses to go to either the "up" input or the "down" input on the counter.
    Edit: If the winch direction is controlled by a SPDT switch, you could change to a DPDT switch and use one set of poles to direct the signal to the desired counter input.

    Since the drum switch is likely subject to a lot of moisture and water, you could use either an optical interrupter type of switch, or a sealed reed relay, such as used for alarm door/window monitors, with a small magnet on the winch to close the relay contacts as it passes by.

    Any of that sound feasible to you?
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  3. dl324

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 30, 2015
    How many feet of cable are we talking about? If it's many layers of cable on the drum, counting drum rotations might not be as accurate as you'd like.
  4. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Can you provide some detail about that counter? I'm hopeful that you need to mount just a single counter on the dash. It will know to count up or count down based on the position of the winch switch. No interaction required, except maybe to reset it to zero now and then if it gets out of synch.
  5. ddrdan

    New Member

    Mar 3, 2019
    Did the same thing to my downrigger. You didn't give part/model info on your counter, or your downrigger. So you'll have to figure out how to regulate the 12vdc from the downrigger switch to the counter's pulse power requirements. Luckily, my counter took 12vdc.

    If the spool shaft won't accept a bolt on, you'll have to configure a different bracket. I centered the switches both sides in the middle of the spool line area to get a better average of line in or out. You can use an 'L' bracket and put both bumpers and switches on the same side if need be.

    Power the pulse signal from your up/down downrigger switch to two micro momentary switches, then back to your counter. I put a diode in the line to be safe. I sprayed them with plastisol to waterproof them. The momentary action works fine through the plastisol. Just don't go too heavy over the switch button. Shim the rubber pads to get them just right for the momentary switch.

    Your counter may have a switch pulse duration limit? You'll have to experiment with bumper size if that's an issue..

    I salvaged the momentary switches from an old board used on an exterior weatherproof product.
  6. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    Ask yourself what that might be. Well for one it probably is a fairly rare device which drives up the cost. You can't exactly buy it at wallmart right? But most impotantly (and I should not need to tell you), marine environments are very harsh to electronics. First there is the obvious salt air, water etc. But there is alos a lot of noise from engines, motors etc.

    This isn't going to be an easy project if you want it to operate reliably. But matbe the poster above has some ideas on how you can make the thing work.

    Also what are the chances that two newbies come to the same forum to post on such an unusual subject for an electronics forum?