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Old 17-07-2010, 17:51   #46
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I have the LED Lopo lights all around. They too are sealed and are high cost too. The first mast head tricolor failed before launch but they gave me another. These low power lights are nice and bright and meet the COLREGS.
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Old 22-07-2010, 07:19   #47
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I don't understand why so many boaters are so down on LED lighting. LEDs are the future of electric lighting. We see them in car and truck lighting, traffic lights, emergency lighting in commercial buildings, and we are beginning to see them in residential and commercial general purpose lighting.

LEDs typically use on tenth the power of incandescent lights for the same light output. I won't go into the "green" thing about energy use, but on a boat, and especially on a boat with no engine running, this reduced power consumption is significant.

There are differences between the two in color and angle of illumination that have to be understood and dealt with but the manufacturer should be doing this.

I have converted all my interior lighting to LED as well as my anchor light. Running lights will be converted at some point, but since the engine is running and the alternator is supplying current when I am underway, this is a change that can wait a while.

Check back in a few years and I predict virtually all lighting will be LED unless something better comes along.
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Old 22-07-2010, 07:31   #48
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I don't understand why so many boaters are so down on LED lighting...
What makes you think "so many" are?
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Old 22-07-2010, 07:51   #49
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What makes you think "so many" are?
Posts on this and other boating forums.
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Old 22-07-2010, 08:25   #50
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I don't understand why so many boaters are so down on LED lighting. LEDs are the future of electric lighting. We see them in car and truck lighting, traffic lights, emergency lighting in commercial buildings, and we are beginning to see them in residential and commercial general purpose lighting.

LEDs typically use on tenth the power of incandescent lights for the same light output. I won't go into the "green" thing about energy use, but on a boat, and especially on a boat with no engine running, this reduced power consumption is significant.
I don't think anyone argues the usefulness of LEDs when it come to 'green'.

My number 1 objection has been price. As with any new technology, early adopters have to pay for the innovation. I think we're now seeing the price curve start to point down in this space. I just purchased the new series 33 Aquasignal nav lights for ~$44 US each, a big difference from models/prices 1 year ago.

Number 2 is the vast amount of confusion/mis-information from vendors over the certification of replacing nav lights with just the bulb vs. the whole unit. This is why I bought the whole unit vs. just the bulb.

As always, time will solve both issues. I do think LEDs will be the predominant source of lighting in the future.
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Old 22-07-2010, 08:43   #51
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The stuff below is straught from AquaSignal one of the largest nav light makers in the world.



Because the USCG only approves light fixtures for OEM markets where the fixtures are being sold to and installed directly by the OEM, aftermarket bulb manufacturers and fixture manufacturers are not able to attain USCG approval for their offerings.

Did anyone happen to catch this statement from Maine Sail's quote from AquaSignal. If this is true then all of these discussions of USCG certification would seem to be moot. It would seem that if you ever replace the bulb in your fixture and don't have it done by the vessel manufacturer you are no longer certified. If you ever have to replace your fixtures with an aftermarket solution you would seem to be screwed as well, even an AquaSignal LED fixture would be uncertified if it was not installed and certified by the original manufacturer of the boat. I can easily see that a mount that was made for one fixture might not provide proper alignment for another brand or even another model. Since I've not seen a fixture yet that would last as long as the hull I guess that unless one can get a new fixture installed an certified by the original manufacturer then when the fixture goes bad it will be time to scrap the boat.

My inflatable did not come with installed lights. I have portable lights that clamp on, so if it's clear that these can never be certified. I certainly can't determine if my side lights cover 0-112.5 or 1-113.5. Should I not use nav lights on my dink or not use it at night? On my cat my side lights are mounted on stanchions. Did the coast guard inspector stand over the builder and ensure these stanchions were installed to and accuracy of .1 degree? I doubt it.

Is anyone actually aware of a case where an insurance claim was not paid because someone was not using OEM lights installed by the manufacturer or is this just a lot of speculation?
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Old 22-07-2010, 09:56   #52
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Did anyone happen to catch this statement from Maine Sail's quote from AquaSignal. If this is true then all of these discussions of USCG certification would seem to be moot. It would seem that if you ever replace the bulb in your fixture and don't have it done by the vessel manufacturer you are no longer certified. If you ever have to replace your fixtures with an aftermarket solution you would seem to be screwed as well, even an AquaSignal LED fixture would be uncertified if it was not installed and certified by the original manufacturer of the boat. I can easily see that a mount that was made for one fixture might not provide proper alignment for another brand or even another model. Since I've not seen a fixture yet that would last as long as the hull I guess that unless one can get a new fixture installed an certified by the original manufacturer then when the fixture goes bad it will be time to scrap the boat.

My inflatable did not come with installed lights. I have portable lights that clamp on, so if it's clear that these can never be certified. I certainly can't determine if my side lights cover 0-112.5 or 1-113.5. Should I not use nav lights on my dink or not use it at night? On my cat my side lights are mounted on stanchions. Did the coast guard inspector stand over the builder and ensure these stanchions were installed to and accuracy of .1 degree? I doubt it.

Is anyone actually aware of a case where an insurance claim was not paid because someone was not using OEM lights installed by the manufacturer or is this just a lot of speculation?
If your dink is less than 7m in length and operates at less than 7kts, you only need a white all around. Just go slow after dark!

But your overall point is a very good topic.

First, I would question the wisdom of nav lights that came from the factory on my boat. They mounted a bi-color light on the gull striker on the front beam. That seems OK until they installed a bowsprit and I hang the genaker on it, in front of the bi-color light. Should I not run the genaker at night? That implies I have to take it down and store it at night as it sits <2 feet in front of the light and certainly blocks part of the 0-112.5 degree coverage of each color in that light even when the genaker is furled. That's against the regs the way I read them.

Also, the masthead light is mounted below the fore stay (fractional rig), which translates to the masthead light being blocked by any head sail that I run while motor-sailing. Actually, even a furled sail being ~6 feet from the light will block some of the coverage.

My interpretation of the regs is they are very adamant about the coverage of the light. They want to make sure that all lights are exactly aligned with the keel. So, I'm sailing at night in 20kts of wind on the beam, my autopilot is running 2 degrees of crab to keep the crosstrack error in check (vs. me sheeting out the weather helm). My lights are now off by 2 degrees. Is that illegal?

I would certainly hope that any witch hunt after an incident for infractions of the regs would look for gross infractions like no lights, mounted on the wrong side, etc. vs. looking for a light projection being off by 1 or 2 degrees. But, then I'm an engineer, not a lawyer.

Interesting topic.
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Old 22-07-2010, 12:55   #53
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Unless I sped-read too fast and missed it, the point of using original USCG approved versus equivalent "un-approved" is solely related to "insurance" coverage. There are a lot of LED and other manufacturers that make replacement bulbs that are functionally equivalent to the original manufacturers bulb. However, since the "USCG certification" is done on the whole unit - fixture and bulb - changing to another bulb invalidates the USCG certification as has be repeatedly said by others.
- - So it boils down to - will the insurance company pay off in an incident directly related to navigation where "lights" are a direct factor? Some companies will, but a the "bargain" insurance companies will probably be very reluctant to pay off if they can cite a violation of USCG certification on a navigation light.
- - Bottom line, if you are not insured you can use anything you want and hopefully something that meets Colreg's and USCG lighting standards. If you are insured you had best stay with the original manufacturers replacement bulbs - - For my tricolor I am looking at $40-60 incandescent bulb whereas other manufacturers sell an equivalent bulb for $10. It's a "gotcha."
Why just insurance? Aren't you worried about whether a ship sees you? They are not subject to certification just for no reason; there is logic in the process.

LED light has some peculiar properties which makes it work badly with colored lenses. If you want LED nav lights, you really have to buy the complete fixtures, like the LOPO lights. I don't sail enough at night for it to be worth the cost.
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:23   #54
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.............LED light has some peculiar properties which makes it work badly with colored lenses. If you want LED nav lights, you really have to buy the complete fixtures, like the LOPO lights. .
A red LED will work fine with a red lense. A green LED will work fine with a green lense. And a white LED? Use a clear lense.

For red and green navigation lights, you do have do consider the angle of illumination so you can't just take any replacement bulb and pop it in the socket. You can buy LED replacement bulbs that are designed to be used as marine navigation lights. Dr LED is one brand and they are available from West Marine.
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Old 24-07-2010, 05:03   #55
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Just as a wrap up to this conversation. I ended up going with an owl anchor light from Bebi electronics. It is indeed the brightest light in the anchorage. I tried to put Dr LED bulbs into my Wilcox Crittendon lights to know avail so the stern and port light are now in my dome light in my cabin, sipping electricity.
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Old 24-07-2010, 06:35   #56
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I replaced the bulbs in my Hella Nav lights with LunaSea LED bulbs. They had stock bulbs at about $60 each. They work well. Very bright and the color is good.
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