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Old 26-10-2006, 07:26   #16
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As others mentioned above, there is a legal reguirement to have your nav lights emit light through a specific angle and at a certain intensity to be seen at a certain distance (2nm). LED bulbs that you can find at online shops are mostly for automobile applications and not marine.

I have tried several aboard Invictus, from marine manufacturers and other sources, including superbrightled's. The results are mixed. I found that the LED replacement bulbs you get on the net can be of poor quality and getting ones bright enough is a hit or miss proposition. I ended up getting my bow combination and stern nav lights from Orca Green Marine. Very happy with those. My anchor light is from Innovative LIghting (?), a product you can get at Boaters World. It is very high quality and does a fantastic job.

Interior LED's for cabin lighting is a different problem. Worst results there. Festoon bulb LED's obtained from places like superbrightleds online were dismal. A cold color of light, not very bright and ...worst of all... individual LED's in the array would go bad, making the bulb even dimmer. A more expensive fixture replacement I got at WM has worked well, though it still lost a couple individual LED's. Since I use those lights over the galley and in the head, it is not that much of an issue.

The best performing LED bulb I have is the Davis 15mm bayonet type LED bulb replacement LED light. It is very bright, works very well and has not lost any of its LED's. I am most pleased with it and using it in a regular light fixture for my reading light (note that 15mm bayonet bulb light fixtures seem to be hard to find...most fixtures seem to be halogen type). In this application, a cheaper bayonet type LED bulb from an online source might work fine, the davis light is $40 at WM.

I am no expert, but from my experience, I think I would caution against using cheap LED bulbs from an online source in your nav lights. I think they may not be reliable enough, possibly not bright enough and may not produce light in the required arc.

Sincerely hope this helps.

My best to all.

John
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lying FL keys
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Old 26-10-2006, 10:14   #17
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John, interesting to hear your experience confirms some of my suspicions/reticence about cheap or unknown sourced LEDs. I'm surprised (well not really, does it say "Made in China"?<G>) the WM fixture lost LEDs as well.

Gord, that new bulb sounds good. I keep thinking, it only took 40 years for the promises of "We've got a flat panel TV screen in development, it should be ready in 5-10 years" to turn into a consumer product. In ten more, it should even be price competitive.<G> These days R&D announcements usually are tied to the "shareholders & investors" button on a company's web page, pardon me if I don't hold off on new bulbs until they ship.
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Old 26-10-2006, 11:21   #18
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The biggest problem with an LED replacement bulb is that the frequency of the light seems to have a problem through the red and green filters, and thus be rather dim.

Purpose designed LED lights are OK
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Old 26-10-2006, 13:24   #19
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http://www.doctorled.com

They have the replacement bulbs for the Aqua Signal Series, festoon bulbs. 190ma.

$47 each.
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Old 26-10-2006, 15:41   #20
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LED bulbs

Their life expectancy is grossly over rated .Its easy to promise ridiculous life expectancy for something which hasn't been around for long. Everyone I know who has used LED s has had failures in the first couple of months. I went thru many in different configurations for anchor lights before I went back to incandescents . No more problems.
LED promotion is like religion. You pray to get over your terminal cancer and ,when you are on your death bed ,the preacher says"You didn't pray hard enough."
Are they buring out due to lack of faith? Duhhh!!!
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Old 26-10-2006, 16:42   #21
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"Its easy to promise ridiculous life expectancy for something which hasn't been around for long"
I have to disagree, Louis. I think the problem is *marketing* people who lie about specs, and cheap poor engineering that is overpowering the LEDs.
I know that LEDs dim over the years, I had a big LED digital clock that I threw out after 20 years of continuous use, because it had gotten too dim. But as I look around, I have LEDs in radios, clocks, chargers, all sorts of "indicator" lights that have used LEDs with a total of *zero* failures.
And every LED manufacturer rates their devices, for power-vs-brightness-vs-life. You can take a standard "12v" bulb, which runs in a standard "14.4v" car or boat, and double or quadruple the brightness by running it at 16V. Push that up to 17-18V, and it burns out in a month or two. LEDs are much the same, a lot of folks are using cheap LEDs and putting too much power on them so they look bright.
Sometimes that is cost effective, i.e. truck and bus marker lights. One "real" bright LED segment (like a Mercedes or Cadillac tail light LED) can cost $10. (OK, they're down to $5 in high volume now.) The combination of both tail/turn/brake lights and a center light can cost over $700 in LEDs alone.
But when a bus or truck needs to change a light bulb--it is off the road and out of service, costing money. So they use cheap LED's in marker lights in our city busses. Six to twelve LEDs per marker light, and you'll often see four of them are burned out because they are running too much power into them to make them bright with cheap LEDs. So what? The unit is still legal, and when half of them are burned out...the bus is going to be in the depot for routine maintenance and they can be replaced anyway. It can be cost effective--compared to using $120 worth of LEDs in each marker.<G>

The LEDs from auto parts stores, and I suspect from a lot of the marine stores, is the same junk that looks pretty and works well enough to get past the warrany--because the real good stuff, with protection devices and proper ratings--simply costs more than we are willing to pay.

If you look at LED mfr specs for brightness, and illumination angle (coverage) you may be surprised at just how many of those $5-10 LEDs you need to make a single 360-degree ring of light--which will only have a 10 to 20 degree vertical spread.
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Old 26-10-2006, 22:42   #22
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OK, there is a lot of really good info here and a little misinformation muddled around in it all. If ya want to do a search, there is some good info somewhere in the archives that some of us added a long time ago. I am not going to go back into it all here.
Firstly the LED it's self.
Actually these are made by a fairly simple process. The process it'self means that the LED is actually a resonably robust device, no matter who makes it and where, PROVIDING the LED is operated within it's correct parameters. At that is the pivoting point of the argument. I will come back to that.
The LED device is a current NOT a voltage dependant device. This is important as well. Without getting to complex here (search to find my complex discription). The light emitted is of a very narrow frequency range. Sunlight for instance is "broad spectrum". How we see colour is due to a surface reflecting that colour frequency from light. For the surface to reflect a colour, the light shining on it must have that colour in the spectrum. LED light being such a narrow wave length is poor at reflecting many colours. As a result, looking into an LED may appear bright, but shining it at something and then trying to use that light to see around, they are very poor. This is because our eyes are using the reflections of light from the sources the LED is shinning onto. Follow so far??
As has also been correctly said, the LED has a very narrow field of focus. So many LED's are needed to cover the required viewing angle. Because the focus range is so narrow, close up the LED appears bright, but the further away you go, the less it's intensity. There is a very complicated mathmatical formulae that relates to that, but I am not going to bother you all with that Brilliance(BS;-)
OK, back to the current device part. This is where ALL LED devices are set apart. ALL LED's must be current limited with some form of regulation. A regulator can a be a very simple Resistor, to a very complex current/voltage pulsing device, with many variations of designs inbetween. As a simple current limited device, an LED has an X amount of Light output. This output is a factor of the compound emitting the light to a point. As technology is improving, new materials that emmit the light more efficinetly are being made. But the amount of light produced is still majorly a factor of the current supplied. The more current, the brighter the LED becomes. But with that comes more heat. In a simple circuit, the LED is simply seen as a resistor. Very simple ohms laws dictates that as we increase the current across the resistance, more energy is produced. That energy will be in making more light but also a direct result is more heat. This a a major detrimental result on the life of the LED. Now this is where the more complex Regulator devices come in. And of course with complexity, comes cost. The regulator is the single most expensive factor in the cost of those LED bulbs. The real flash ones use a pulsing regulator. If you turn the light on and off real fast, our eyes don't see the pulsing, but the turning on and off means the LED is not producing as much heat for as long a period. So the LED can be driven much harder and brighter. It still reduces the life expectancy, but the light output is greatly increased.
In a nut shell, each different colour of LED has a slightly different current requirement and thus also a different life rating. But most LED's operated within the specified current limit will operate for 100,000hrs. They are simply a transitor at the end of the day and should last just as long as any transistor. Of course, we all know that the odd transitor fails, but all in all they are rather reliable. But as soon as the parameters are raised in the operation of a transistor, the reliability greatly reduces. So as current is increased in the LED, the life expectancy greatly reduces as well. Most of these new light devices are rated to last around 10,000hrs for some down to only 2500hrs for the real bright ones. Depends on what is being done to the LED.
I hope that helps a little.
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Old 27-10-2006, 05:33   #23
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I replaced my tri-colour light at the top of the mast with a LED one from:

http://www.orcagreen.com/TriAnchor.cfm

If you reverse the polarity it becomes an anchor light. It is very bright, we could always pick out my boat in a crowded anchorage at night.

Also replaced most of the cabin lights with 36 bulb LEDs only left two halogen reading lights over the bunks. The LEDs didn't provide as much light as would have liked so I replaced the one in the middle of the cabin with a fluorescent light.
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Old 27-10-2006, 06:07   #24
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Was at the Kemah Texas store and they had a low masthead LED that was a tri color. it was 247.00 was maybe 2 in high or maybe little more. this included anchoring light. A switch handled all of the different combos. Liked it will purchase when I restep my mast.
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Old 27-10-2006, 07:26   #25
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Alan, I didn't mean to imply that LEDs were voltage dependent devices like tungsten bulbs are. However, operating voltages and *transient* voltages especially can shorten their lives. Operating voltage will change operating amperage, in the cheap arrays that use resistors to set the operating current based on the supply voltage. The better assemblies will use regulators to deal with that, the cheap ones don't. And, transient/spike protection is simply not on the cheap arrays.
Most of the LED specs I've seen typically show brightness as a curve versus supply current, with a current range typically from 20-40mA and, when you double the operating current, brightness goes up while life goes down. That's partly from something else we didn't mention: Heat. Heaet shortens the life of all components, including transistors and diodes, and the high-brightness LEDs often either ship on heat sinks or require the use of them. (Like the multiple-watt LEDs from CreeX.)

I think we'd agree that the bottom line is that LEDs are just like boats: They're all the same, unless you're a sailor.<G>
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Old 27-10-2006, 07:51   #26
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Originally Posted by irwinsailor
So am I to understand that there is not a direct LED replacment for the regular bulbs that I am now using??
Now you can. It appears that these are simple replacement bulbs... and are $21 to $35 each. You have been able to get LED replacements for 12v lighting for years. I haven't tried the lights I linked too yet... but seems like a good idea.
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Old 27-10-2006, 12:51   #27
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Hellosailor, yes you are kinda right and no, I wasn't saying you had implied that. But I should have been more clear. In complex(expensive) regulators, voltage fluctuations are ruled out. The regulator totaly compensates for that.
In a simple regulator, the current is delt with very differently, being disapated across the resistor. But it depends on the complexity of the controlling device. The LED is "seen" in the circuitpurely as a current using device. No matter what the voltage. An LED will use milliamps of current,( actual depending on the LED. ) If the voltage increases, the LED will not "use" more current to produce more light. Well actually it will try to produce more light, but it is not in a linear fashion. It simply starts to dissapate that excess current as wasted energy called heat which is death to the LED. But if the current being supplied can be reduced as the voltage increases, then the LED will quite happily run on much higher voltages. And this is what they do to make LED's run brighter, they pulse the voltage not the current.
In a very simple circuit, the simplest being a resistor in series, the voltage fluctuation causing more current to be applied across the LED is used up as heat disapated from the resistor. Of course as a Light, the desiners are trying to get the most berightness from there designs, so these devices are being run way beyond there intended limits, so the LED will have a much reduced life. Once they are driven beyond those limits, the life expectancy becomes vary randome across the devices. So you tend to have one or two LED's randomly fail in such devices.
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Old 27-10-2006, 23:17   #28
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So as Brent said, practically speaking they are not nearly as reliable as they are purported to be.
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Old 28-10-2006, 14:09   #29
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"practically speaking "

I don't see anyone saying that. Practically speaking, they are perfectly reliable and will outlive any and all of us.

The problem comes when some idiot applies power to them, in a fairly random manner.<G>

Bottom line, ask yourself "Would you buy a used car from this man?"
And that's not a high-tech problem. Even if you are buying firewood or candles, SOME last a long time, others burn out very quickly. Caveat Emptor isn't news.
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Old 28-10-2006, 16:27   #30
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LEDs

The voltage in a dry cell doesn't fluctuate that much.
The true defintion of an idiot is someone who believes everything marketers tell them because it's the "Trendy' thing to believe.
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