After I purchased my portable ice shack, I was looking for an easy, cheap, and effective way to light it up at night. I found a few ideas while searching online, and came up with a solution that works great.
For $10 I was able to fill my ice shack with light, and it was super easy to do. The lighting set up consists of LED strip lights from Amazon, a homemade power cord, and the use of my fish finder battery. Keep reading to see exactly how I set this up to make it work properly.
First thing you need to do is purchase LED Strip lights. When you search for this on Amazon, many choices will come up. You are looking for ones that are 12 volt and waterproof. They normally come in 16 foot lengths, which is enough to run lights all the way across the shack and back again. You can also choose between daylight or soft white colors. I got the daylight ones, and I like how it looks.
The strip lights come with adhesive backing so you can stick them directly to the top middle frame piece. The adhesive backing wasn’t the best, but I see now they do make some with stronger 3M tape, which is suppose to have much better holding strength.
To make sure they didn’t fall down, I secured them with tie straps. So far I haven’t had any issues.
Be careful when you make the turn to double back. It’s a tight corner and it is the only place I’ve had a problem. The strip light started to tear right where the tight loop was made. I made a repair by putting a splice there, so now its just the wires making the loop instead of the light strip.
These lights are made to be cut or spliced every 3 lights. I believe they come with a couple of splices, otherwise you can always purchase a pack of them.
The LED lights will come with a power connector already attached to one end and a spare connector to use however you want. I attached this end to my battery in my fish finder. This is the idea I have not seen anyone do yet.
Normally you would have to bring along a separate battery to operate the lights. Using your fish finder battery makes this a simpler process. You always have it with you and its most likely been charged up before going fishing. The LED strip lights use such little power that your battery will be able to power both your fish finder and the lights all night long if needed.
I cut the plastic clip off the end to expose the two wires inside. Then simply connected it to the positive and negative terminals on the battery.
I did install an in line fuse to protect it. As you can see from the picture above, I have two adapters connected to the battery. One is for charging the battery, and the other is for the lights. I was hoping to just use the same adapter for both applications, but the battery charger and the lights used different sizes.
Now for the part I really like. I made a power cord to that will plug into the battery adapter and will also plug into the adapter on the lights.
For this I used a couple of old power cords from previous electronics. I think one might have been from my laptop that no longer works. I cut the plug ends off and spliced the two cords back to back, so each end had an adapter that would plug into either the battery or the lights. The tricky part was finding the right size adapter ends that would fit my lighting set up. I had a whole box full of old cords and managed to find two that worked.
You can roll up the power cord and keep it in a small zip lock bag. I keep mine in the bucket I always bring ice fishing that holds a small tackle box and other ice fishing supplies. This way you don’t have to deal with cords or batteries until you need some light. Then just pull out the cord and plug it in.
I do most of my fishing in the day, but usually stay about an hour after it gets dark, so this is a perfect solution for some quick light when I need it. The amount of light is perfect too. The daylight color of the lights make it feel like the sun is shining in.
Watch the video demonstration below
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Thanks for reading, and good luck out on the lake.