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Old 24-01-2015, 23:24   #1
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Dinghy nav lights burn out often

Anybody have any experience with nav lights burning out frequently? We have a center console Caribe with a 20hp honda with a nav light on the console and outboard. They are horribly unreliable, burning out way too frequently. Any idea how to fix this? I'm thinking about trying to retrofit them with LEDs, but don't want those to burn out as well.
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Old 25-01-2015, 02:32   #2
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

My bet too high voltage output from the engine. A voltage regulator in the running light circuit perhaps?
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Old 25-01-2015, 02:51   #3
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

Only two things kill lamps prematurely; over voltage and vibration.
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Old 25-01-2015, 05:58   #4
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

Wotname is right... over voltage and vibration are the most likely problems. Luckily LEDs are not affected by vibration and many LED assemblies can operate at a wide voltage tolerance. For example many of the LED replacement bulbs on the www.superbrightleds.com website will operate from 10-30 or 12-24 volts dc. I think if you switch to LEDs you will probably solve your problems. They may seem expensive compared to incandescent bulbs.... but they probably will still be working when you, I, and the dinghy are all dead.
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Old 25-01-2015, 06:13   #5
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

The Honda BF25 is supposed to have a Regulated Charging System.
“... A 4-amp charging system is standard on manual-start models, and a 10-amp on the electric-start models.
Each system is equipped with a solid-state regulator/rectifier for easy hook-up ...”

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Old 25-01-2015, 07:36   #6
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

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The Honda BF25 is supposed to have a Regulated Charging System.
... A 4-amp charging system is standard on manual-start models, and a 10-amp on the electric-start models.
Each system is equipped with a solid-state regulator/rectifier for easy hook-up ...

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As I understand it's a charging regulator.. a couple of volt's less increases the life expectancy considerably, Let's say from 14.4 to 11.5 increases the bulb life 4 times..
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Old 25-01-2015, 08:16   #7
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

Unless you're cooking batteries with a bad regulator...

Changing to LED as recommended will all but eliminate high voltage and vibration failure....
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Old 25-01-2015, 09:01   #8
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

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.......... Changing to LED as recommended will all but eliminate high voltage and vibration failure....
Only if the LED fixture has built in current or voltage regulation. The "cheap" way of regulating current through the LEDs with dropping resistors will not protect them against over voltage damage.

If the LED assembly is rated for a wide range of voltages such as nine to thirty volts it will be fine. If it just says twelve volts, probably not.
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Old 25-01-2015, 09:06   #9
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

I do have some vibration... so I guess it's LEDs for me then. Thanks all for the tips.
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Old 25-01-2015, 13:16   #10
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Re: Dinghy nav lights burn out often

Just in case of bad luck, you might want to put a zener diode (a large value diode only costs a couple of bucks and is available most everywhere) to reduce voltage spikes. Most Icom VHF radios uses them on the DC power inputs for this reason (and to blow the fuse in case of reversing the power leads).
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