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Vol 46 | Num 6 | Jun 9, 2021

The Offshore Report Delaware Report Chum Lines Ocean City Report Ship to Shore The Galley Issue Photos
Ship to Shore

Article by Capt. Steve Katz

Poco Loco

You may have heard of the Poco, a product from Lumitec, the marine lighting company in Delray Beach, Florida and wondered what it was, what can it do, and do I need it?

I first learned about the Poco hardware during my unique experience as part of the Poco beta team, working with the product before it was officially released in 2019. The original product has evolved into the current version, Poco 3 and now includes Pico C-4 and Pico S-8 expansion products. I discovered that the Poco was the most cost effective and simplest way to control, customize and synchronize the boat's lights, along with offering remote control from the MFD or smartphone. While the 3” x 5” white plastic encased Poco device looks plain and simple, there is a lot going on under the hood. In simplest terms, it is a central controller for Lumitec LED lights. If you are thinking other companies have this, you are correct BUT the Poco device is unique in its low cost and ability to be used for just about any type or brand of lighting, not just Lumitec, and allows control from many sources.

The Poco device and its optional add-on modules serve as a central “hub” where Lumitec and now other lights are joined together for centralized control. In addition to using a traditional switch to control the operation of lights, a boater can also connect the Poco device to the boats’ Multifunction display (MFD), currently compatible with the newest Garmin, Simrad, Lowrance and Raymarine products. Using the boats MFD as a control hub for the boats lighting gives the captain an easily accessible centralized control of the lighting, without the need to run all the lights’ wires to the helm, just a single network cable from the remotely mounted Poco. When light control is desired, but you are at the dock, a built-in wireless connection to the Poco is available that allows most modern smartphones to use an app to communicate with the Poco on your boat, controlling the lights from your smartphone. For the traditionalists, the Poco also allows a traditional rocker type switch or toggle switch to control your lights, with the advantage of the Poco features.

The Poco features are varied and flexible, depending on the lights you have or want to control.

Many of the Lumitec lights are controlled through the existing power wiring pair (traditional positive and negative circuit) without the need to rewire the boat or add special modules, a traditional switch can control the color selection and or brightness of the light fixture. This ability is called TTP or Timed Toggle Protocol and uses a traditional switch to control the lights. These TTP lights work wonderfully with the Poco.

One step above the TTP is the Power Line Instruction or PLI, a way to digitally control lighting using the same pair of wiring to provide the electricity to transport the communication from a controller to the light. This PLI feature is also available to integrate with the Poco.

For those who are not aware, in the past many LED lighting systems needed additional and or proprietary wiring to control the lights making upgrades or retrofits very time consuming and expensive compared to reusing the existing boat wiring. Most Lumitec lighting now can re-use existing wiring to modernize a boat lighting system with or without the optional Poco and offer modern features, such as dimming and color change.

The Poco device can now also control third party lights, lighting accessories and devices, including the trending speaker lights and multicolor strip lights.

One of the most creative aspects of the Poco is the ability to create and save color schemes for any or all the compatible Lumitec lights.

I have seen combinations of above the water line and below the waterline lights synchronized and saved as a pre-set Poco “button” for a red, white and blue scheme, or a button for an evening cruise scheme, or a button programmed with your favorite sports team colors and more.

The Poco digital lighting controller module is a simple two wire installation per circuit that can replace up to 4 conventional on/off switches or dimmer modules. The Poco module controls up to 4 channels and up to 32 “virtual circuits” and requires no additional command wires run to the lights. Set up and configuration can be completed from your MFD or smartphone app. Here are the detailed specifications for our technical readers: each of the four channels can control up to 10 Amps of lighting between 10 and 30 volts DC, the Poco contains built-in Wifi for Smartphone connection and RJ45 connection for MFD.

The Poco is a great device to add on to your existing lighting or new LED lighting to create a modern system that can be controlled from numerous sources and allow your boat's lighting to be custom tailored to your desires.§

Until next time...
Stay Grounded!

Coastal Fisherman Merch
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