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Old 11-10-2011, 14:24   #1
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Light Question

I am trying to avoid the cost of FLIR but need substantial visability for a Gulf of AK crossing this spring. I crossed the G of AK on a Gulfstar 50 in the dark of winter with only recessed bow lights and it was very tough on the nerves. Has anyone tried HID lights on the bow rail or even on the pilothouse? Is there a better option? I want to avoid anything that requires the genny to be run.
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Old 11-10-2011, 14:41   #2
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More information...

If you could expand your abbreviations we may be able to form some idea of what you are asking.
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Old 11-10-2011, 14:52   #3
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Re: Light question

Running the Gulf of Alaska and you need FLIR or constant ahead lighting???

May I ask why? You can't stare at a FLIR screen that long without going looney (best used for entering unknown harbors and such) and constant lighting ahead (except when running the intracoastal fast) is pretty unusual.

As far as bright enough to run and not hit anything....better figure on something like quartz-halogen or similar and running a genny...you either got to go super bright...of you asre just deluding yourself that you'll see everything well enough to avoid.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:14   #4
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Re: Light question

I am also puzzled by this. I don't know why you would want to shine lights ahead of the boat unless you are, perhaps, trying to avoid crab pots? For everything else: (a) dark adapted eyes and starlight; (b) radar; (c) a hand-held spotlight at the ready in case of some close-quarters situation.

Shining lights ahead will do nothing but ruin your night vision, IMHO. Sailing at night requires accepting and adapting to the dark, even reveling in it, not blasting at it with lights. I love sailing at night.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:29   #5
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Re: Light question

There isn't much to run into out there. The fishing boats all have huge sodium lights, and when they are working they aren't moving fast. If you don't speak Korean they probably won't answer the radio. I would be far more concerned about the weather routing. Standard navigation lights for your size vessel, should sufficient for others to see you, as previous posters have noted, you can see far more with the lights off, than on.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:31   #6
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Re: More information...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
If you could expand your abbreviations we may be able to form some idea of what you are asking.
I am taking the liberty of decoding it myself, as I'm pretty sure I understand them all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larmex View Post
I am trying to avoid the cost of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar) but need substantial visability for a Gulf of AK (Alaska) crossing this spring. I crossed the G of AK (Gulf of Alaska) on a Gulfstar 50 in the dark of winter with only recessed bow lights and it was very tough on the nerves. Has anyone tried HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights on the bow rail or even on the pilothouse? Is there a better option? I want to avoid anything that requires the genny to be run.
I know you got the G of AK stuff, but included them anyway, because ... well .. because I'm a smart-ass.

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Old 11-10-2011, 15:34   #7
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Re: Light question

Guys, i am not going to be under sail (this is the power boat forum,right?)and unless you are travelling in moon light you can't see anything crossing the gulf, which is loaded with logs and assorted debris. There are even occassional submerged containers. I would not ever consider crossing it without some type of forward vision. The commercial fishermen that I know use their operating lights, but maybe others choose not to......can't say for sure. BTW, there are no crab pots, no SeaTow, no ports and no Coast Guard arrivals in 10 minutes. I wasn't asking your opinion about forward vision, just light options. HID stands for high intensity discharge and hopefully you know what flir is. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:51   #8
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Re: Light question

Will forward looking infrared pick up floating logs and debris that has been in the water long enough to be of the same temperature as the water itself? I could see it being useful in avoiding sea mammals perhaps and boats with any heat source operating, but not really dangerous debris.
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Old 11-10-2011, 15:59   #9
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Re: Light question

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Will forward looking infrared pick up floating logs and debris that has been in the water long enough to be of the same temperature as the water itself? I could see it being useful in avoiding sea mammals perhaps and boats with any heat source operating, but not really dangerous debris.
FLIR returns a detailed image. Just like regular light reflects differently off surfaces, FLIR picks up different off different surfaces.

You can see ripples on the water, even though the temperature of the ripples is theoretically the same as the rest of the water.

So, depending on the water conditions, you can pick out a pretty small object in the water.

EDIT: Color FLIR can be even more discerning, but because it is a false color, can take more practice to easily read it when looking for small objects (IMO, anyway).
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Old 11-10-2011, 16:04   #10
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Re: Light question

We have been playing with HID lights for diving now for about 15 years and things have moved on from the early builds. However, they require the greatest of care, not something I would want on a yacht, I prefer the KISS approach.

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Old 11-10-2011, 16:20   #11
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Re: Light question

Pete, I had one on a Pacific Trawler 10 years ago and the only issue that made it not worth the cost was that the beam, while very bright, was not narrow enough to be useful beyond about 50 ft. At that time it came only in flood version. Has anyone set up a 110v light bright enough to work and having a low enough draw to be able to use the inverter and not requiring the genny?
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Old 11-10-2011, 16:23   #12
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Re: Light question

FLIR is useless on a powerboat, as soon as there is a bit waves it will be impossible to make sense of what rushes over the screen, unless you go for the more expensive stabilized versions.
FLIR is good under calm conditions. Useless in rain and snow.
Also as mentioned earlier in this thread, you will end up in the loonybin by staring at the FLIR for a period.

You would be better off with a good broadband radar or HID lights fitted overhead without iluminating the deck, somehow I doubt that this will be a possible solution...
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Old 11-10-2011, 16:39   #13
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Re: Light question

Maybe a few of these mounted looking forward, or some larger ones?

9W 7000K 500-Lumen 3-LED White Light Bulb (DC 8~26V) - Free Shipping - DealExtreme

They have a very low power consumption - not unlike LED's. We are going to run some on the targa of our Zodiac shortly for night ops. A single 300 lumen light (such as that on a bicycle) reflects off objects up to 300 metres away so several of these would be impressive.
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Old 11-10-2011, 16:58   #14
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Re: Light question

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Pete, I had one on a Pacific Trawler 10 years ago and the only issue that made it not worth the cost was that the beam, while very bright, was not narrow enough to be useful beyond about 50 ft. At that time it came only in flood version. Has anyone set up a 110v light bright enough to work and having a low enough draw to be able to use the inverter and not requiring the genny?
Those properties made them good for underwater work, if the bulbs weren't so fragile and needed to warm up and shut down.

They are now appearing in car headlights, so 12v but it is a very intense white light as you have seen. It penetrates darkness underwater well, but outside the beam you can't see anything, particularly as the eyes focus on the beams target whilst at sea you want to be looking all around on watch.

What happens to FLIRs if it is pointed at a bright light? the early systems we used to spot Chinese illegal immigrants entering Hong Kong would shut down rapidly and leave you guessing what was happening next.

Pete
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Old 11-10-2011, 18:31   #15
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Re: Light Question

I was recently on a Flemming that had the latest stabilized frir and it was great even performimg fairly well in 6' chop. It was useless with any close light, even lights on shore distorted the image and made it uncomfortable to view. It did have an alarm which you could set the parameters on but our voyage was very uneventful. The captain only viewed the flir as a backup to visual when needed, but left the alarm on all the time.

I like the idea of the low watt lcd's with multiple units. Lots of light with low draw and redundancy too. I am going to try to fabricate a base that will mount on the bow and hold 6 lights at slightly varied angles. May work.
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