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Old 05-02-2018, 04:17   #16
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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Nothing beats the Owl light. I've still got two new ones which I will be selling after what I think is my final season in the Bahamas.
Making your own is actually quite easy, I'm on Mk2 based on the stalled FrankenBebi project. Driver based on this -


With Cree C503D LEDs in epoxy in a piece of plumbing pipe.
Cheap, really bright, 0.1A draw & should last for years.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:24   #17
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

I am using a NASA marine supernova LED Anchor light and I am replacing my Tricolour with the NASA Marine Supernova LED. Cost is about 60 each and they make a combined unit.
Technical Specifications

  • Supply voltage 10 to 20 volts (For full brightness)
  • Supply current 200 mA @ 12 volts (Typically 90% less than equivalent incandescent lamp)s
  • Night time visibility 2 nautical miles minimum (25 degrees above and below the centerline)
  • Waterproofness IP67 (Submersion)
  • Dimensions 91 mm diameter x 113 mm Height (including mounting)
  • Configuration
  • Anchor light version 360 degrees white
  • tri-colour version 112.5 degrees red, 112.5 degrees green,
  • 135 degrees white.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:37   #18
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

I think that you might find quite a lot of researched answers about anchor lights in the following Yachting Monthly article

Anchor lights test

It dates back to November 2015 so I suspect that the LED technology has only improved since then. And probably got cheaper.

An interesting aspect of the article is the emphasis on a too bright light not only be unnecessary but potentially a pain to others.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:56   #19
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

I have an Aqua Signal 34 tricolor, that is new.
Its not very bright, and surprisingly its yellowish in color like an incandescent, not a bright white like most LEDs.
I have a Signal Mate mounted on my Solar array so that I have a light lower down, it seemingly much brighter, and a very white light.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:01   #20
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Making your own is actually quite easy, I'm on Mk2 based on the stalled FrankenBebi project.

With Cree C503D LEDs in epoxy in a piece of plumbing pipe.
Cheap, really bright, 0.1A draw & should last for years.
I've made my own LED nav lights as well (red/green, anchor, steaming). For our little sailboat, we don't have any charging going while underway at night, so the expected voltage range will be roughly 12 to 13v, so I've just used a dropping resistor for current limiting.

A note to all users of LEDs - they can be killed by relatively low reverse voltage. Even the static from handling the mast on a dry day can kill them. I also suspect that induced voltages from nearby lightning can be enough. I figured this out after all my mast LEDs expired in 6 months to a year. So I built the next set and incorporated a reverse-biased standard diode across the LED to short out reverse voltages, and a capacitor after the current limiting, to eat up transients. This set have lasted over 4 seasons now.

I would hope that the makers of official LED bulbs and fixtures have also incorporated such protection... properly protected, LED lamps should easily last longer than 10,000 hours.

And of course a caveat that homemade LED nav lights do not necessarily meet USCG or other approvals... but it is easy enough to determine whether they're visible a mile or more away, or not.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:25   #21
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

Dr Led makes a us coast guard 2nm anchor light build for the aqua signal 40 series bay15d
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:59   #22
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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An interesting aspect of the article is the emphasis on a too bright light not only be unnecessary but potentially a pain to others.
Not as much of a pain as to dull and poorly placed lights.
I almost ran over a yacht a few months back with a dull bulb.
Never had that issue with boats with legal lights.
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:21   #23
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

Incandescent light is a continuum of wavelengths extending from violet to infrared. The LED lights emit violet-blue light that exposes phosphors, which in turn fluoresce at different wavelengths. The earlier phosphors used in fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and led lights used two phosphors that each fluoresced at a narrow range of wavelength. The fluorescent output of each is combined by your eyes to interpret the light as "white". But in reality, the light reflected gray on some colored surfaces. Thats why museums and anyplace that wanted to display truer colors only used incandescent light, preferably halogen. Significant progress has been made in modern LEDs such that the phosphors used fluoresce at a broader series of wavelengths, trying to simulate incandescent output.

But there is probably less effort trying to optimize the phosphor blend in anchor lights. And brightness might increase if they let more of the original blue through. The blue light would tend to diffract more in your diffusion disc. (You can probably see further in fog with yellow fog lights as opposed to blue fog lights.) This would mean that less blue light would be traveling straight toward your light meter. Also your light meter might be less sensitive to blue light. (Then again your eyes are also less sensitive to blue light.) In short, you test method is suspect. I think physicists would use an internally reflective sphere, which would better collect total light energy.

You might be able to test the color quality of the LED phosphors using a paint chip card from the paint store. If certain colors appear grey, it would be an indication that the phosphor mix is not fluorescing the wavelength in that color range. The more true colors reflected back the better the color balance of the bulb. Failing that, I would opt for the yellow range since you can't go to green, where the eye is most sensitive. This is why the yellow sodium vapor street lamps were used. The illumination power could be lower because the eye was more sensitive to the yellow light.
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Old 05-02-2018, 13:58   #24
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

Locquatious makes a good point. And others have correctly recommended only using LED bulbs which are certified for use in the fixture they're installed in.

Just to summarize, it's not just the brightness. Fixtures for incandescent bulbs were designed (and certified) based on the brightness, wavelength and filament location of a specific bulb type. Put in an LED that doesn't match ALL of those variables, and you're no longer legal. And, by the way, a bank of LEDs will never match the location of the filament.

Maybe you don't care if you're legal. But you may be less visible, and if there's ever an accident, the opposing attorney WILL care when you get to court.

Finally, an LED bulb won't corrode any slower than an incandescent. Probably faster. And in my experience, contact corrosion causes more frustration than burnt-out bulbs. A sealed LED fixture eliminates all these issues.
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Old 05-02-2018, 16:59   #25
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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Locquatious makes a good point. And others have correctly recommended only using LED bulbs which are certified for use in the fixture they're installed in.
Hum. Bulbs are not certified by the coast guard, in any case. Marine lighting manufacturers must certify that their anchor / nav light as a unit, that is bulb and housing, meets Colregs and apply for a CG approval number. That is the unit when new will perform as expected.

Dr. Led imply paid a third party laboratory that said Dr. leds bulb was compliant with colregs. The Laboratory was coast guard accepted. No where in Dr. Leds data do they say the bulb is coastguard approved. The manufacturer will list the coast guard approval number on the housing of the fixture, if it is coast guard approved. The bulb, itself does not have a coast guard approval number. None of them do.
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Old 05-02-2018, 17:37   #26
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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Just to summarize, it's not just the brightness. Fixtures for incandescent bulbs were designed (and certified) based on the brightness, wavelength and filament location of a specific bulb type. Put in an LED that doesn't match ALL of those variables, and you're no longer legal. And, by the way, a bank of LEDs will never match the location of the filament.
If you actually try a white LED in a clear anchorlight housing , very unlikely you'll see much of a difference if any. It almost certainly will be legal if bright enough, but without the expensive lab time to produce data to prove it. You're legal if you meet the parameters no matter if you have paper to prove it or not.

White LED in a tricolour housing is a very different ball game -

This doesn't show up that great on a monitor but is switching between white LEDs (looks a bit blue) and green LEDs(looks green) in a green sector of a tricolour. The green Cree LEDs are just inside to colour parameters set in the IRPCS annex.
White in white there's no visible difference.

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Old 06-02-2018, 04:58   #27
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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Hum. Bulbs are not certified by the coast guard, in any case. Marine lighting manufacturers must certify that their anchor / nav light as a unit, that is bulb and housing, meets Colregs and apply for a CG approval number. That is the unit when new will perform as expected.

Dr. Led imply paid a third party laboratory that said Dr. leds bulb was compliant with colregs. The Laboratory was coast guard accepted. No where in Dr. Leds data do they say the bulb is coastguard approved. The manufacturer will list the coast guard approval number on the housing of the fixture, if it is coast guard approved. The bulb, itself does not have a coast guard approval number. None of them do.
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On this DR Led bulb it says its coastguard and ABYC approved.
It's waterproof too which is an advantage over some of the recommendations.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:12   #28
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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If you actually try a white LED in a clear anchorlight housing , very unlikely you'll see much of a difference if any. It almost certainly will be legal if bright enough, but without the expensive lab time to produce data to prove it.
Probably beating a dead horse here, but for future readers, it's not only the brightness and color (those ARE important) but the FOCUS of the beam.

You'll note that there are Fresnel lenses in the fixtures posted above. They are carefully engineered to focus the light FROM THE FILAMENT of an incandescent bulb. The bulbs are manufactured to ensure the filament is in the exact correct position. Obviously a bank of multiple LEDs, even if bright enough, are not in the right place for that focusing to take place.

The fixtures are certified (by whatever agency) based on using a specific bulb type. Use anything else and you've lost the certification, and probably the functionality.

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On this DR Led bulb it says its coastguard and ABYC approved.
It's waterproof too which is an advantage over some of the recommendations.
True, but the plug part isn't waterproof. Nor is the socket it goes into. Those are the things that I've always found corroded. I've spent too many nights swinging off some handhold with one hand, trying to clean corroded contacts on a running light with the other, for me to want anything like that.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:34   #29
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

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On this DR Led bulb it says its coastguard and ABYC approved.
It's waterproof too which is an advantage over some of the recommendations.
Here's something 'official' from the USCG. Here's ABYC A-16.(outdated version). I guess a bulb is "certified" through it's brightness, colour temperature, some details of construction... though I doubt how any bulb could truly be 'certified' without considering the lighting fixture as well.

I can't imagine how ANY LED bulb that isn't waterproof could be considered 'marine'. On my homemade assemblies, i dip or paint them in a few coats of clear epoxy or outdoor varathane. Some I've potted into clear fixtures using epoxy.

Clear silicone is not great for potting electronics because the acetic acid in it is corrosive.
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Old 06-02-2018, 15:34   #30
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Re: Which anchor light LED bulb can match a 25 watt incandescent?

This does not have anything to do with the lumenosity of the bulb, but I wanted to point out some conflict with what the bulb type indicates. Let's look at the BAY15D. BA means baynet, Y means offset tabs of the baynet, so it only has one way of being inserted. 15 is the size in mm (I believe) and D means it is double posted. Which generally means one post is plus and one is minus. But it could also mean that the base is minus and the two post create the pluses for two different circuits (example, brake light and tail light in a car). I have a Beneteau 473 and for the life of me, I have no idea why they installed ligh fixtures that required BAY15 or more appropriately PAY15S (single post). they should have intalled fixture for BA15S. So when you search for a replacement bulb for BAY15, make sure it is not a "dual function" bulb.
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