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Old 12-09-2014, 10:16   #1
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Need Lighting Advice

Hello everyone, I am new to this site but i have a few questions, looking for advice and this site looks to be the most helpful.

I have been looking for a few lighting options for my boat. I can't decide on which lights are the most reliable with the best lumens light output?

I also am replacing some halogen lights with LED's, G4 type i am thinking, i saw some converters, any suggestions?
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:38   #2
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Re: need lighting advice

Go with the most powerful bulbs or light you can get for your nav lights, not perhaps the most expensive. I don't use any converter for our G-4 bulbs, just a plug in LED module. If you care, get one with a warranty. I have had problems with some G4 plug in LED's.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:04   #3
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Re: need lighting advice

I agree with Guy, for Nav lights more lumens is better. I want to be seen as far away as possible. Since you run your nav lights constantly when underway after dark...LEDs are pretty useful. That's my next lighting upgrade.

I am of the opinion that MarineBeam is the best source of LED bulbs. They actually have several versions of G4 bulbs for different uses. I've had good luck with some other suppliers but recently became convinced that MarineBeam bulbs have more light output. Also, they have very good power supplies and that is important because cheaper bulbs put out a lot of radio frequency interference. I have seen interior lights with LEDs that put a lot of noise into the boat's stereo...making in almost unusable.

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Old 12-09-2014, 11:15   #4
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Re: need lighting advice

I replaced all my interior lights with Marine beam, after ordering several from another source only to find out they were reverse polarity for some reason. They work well, but I didn't want to re-wire my lighting circuits to make them work.
I haven't done my position and anchor light yet, but am led to understand that you must be very careful of the color temp if your replacing an incandescent bulb with LED in position lights
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:29   #5
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Re: need lighting advice

Right on about color temperature. That's another reason to go with MarineBeam. Jeff can give all of the advice you need and actually knows about color temperature, colored lenses, etc.

Unfortunately Bebi electronics (in Fiji) have closed down. They also made great lighting devices.

Bill
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:36   #6
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Re: need lighting advice

I've found that my nav lights get dunked frequently and this causes early failure. I haven't tried the sealed LED units, but I have found the LED modules fail with just a little bit of water ingress -- incandescent bulbs are a bit more robust. At some point I'll try to replace with sealed units, but until then I carry spares of incandescent bulbs.

Interior lights are a different story...
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:52   #7
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Re: need lighting advice

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Originally Posted by Ladycitrus View Post

I also am replacing some halogen lights with LED's, G4 type i am thinking, i saw some converters, any suggestions?

I can't tell if you mean to replace fixtures or bulbs, but in any case the latter is usually possible. I too have had best G4 bi-pin results with LED disc replacements from marinebeam.com.

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Old 12-09-2014, 12:21   #8
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Re: need lighting advice

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I've found that my nav lights get dunked frequently and this causes early failure. I haven't tried the sealed LED units, but I have found the LED modules fail with just a little bit of water ingress --
really? These were proper LED nav lights (which should be sealed tight, I'd expect), or incandescent nav lights with LED replacement bulbs?

Was the failure due to contact corrosion? I can't think of any reason for a good quality LED bulb or fixture to fail when dunked, other than corrosion.

Since LEDs don't run hot, they're easy to waterproof. I've dipped some LED assemblies for my boat trailer in clear urethane to guard against corrosion.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:24   #9
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Re: need lighting advice

I've ordered Marinebeams LED nav light after doing the math on a new fixture and add the price of the LED bulb. It's claimed to be in excess of two miles, and waterproof
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:44   #10
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Re: need lighting advice

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really? These were proper LED nav lights (which should be sealed tight, I'd expect), or incandescent nav lights with LED replacement bulbs?

Was the failure due to contact corrosion? I can't think of any reason for a good quality LED bulb or fixture to fail when dunked, other than corrosion.

Since LEDs don't run hot, they're easy to waterproof. I've dipped some LED assemblies for my boat trailer in clear urethane to guard against corrosion.
These were incandescent fixtures with an LED replacement bulb. I would hope that a sealed LED fixture would be more water-tight. The sea is not a forgiving environment, and although a few feet above deck, the fixtures got dunked thousands of times on a recent passage, and failed.
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Old 13-09-2014, 04:14   #11
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Re: Need Lighting Advice

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ladycitrus.
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Old 13-09-2014, 09:50   #12
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Re: need lighting advice

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These were incandescent fixtures with an LED replacement bulb. I would hope that a sealed LED fixture would be more water-tight. The sea is not a forgiving environment, and although a few feet above deck, the fixtures got dunked thousands of times on a recent passage, and failed.
Just curious about how they failed. Was it something visible - damage to LED bulb or socket, or corrosion, or did they just stop working?

This is a pet topic with me because in playing with LEDs on my boat and other outdoor applications, I've found that they're susceptible to destruction from static and induced voltages, presumably from handling or nearby electrical storm activity. Once I took steps to protect against that, and to prevent corrosion, I haven't had an LED nav light fail again. Caveat - I'm not putting thousands of hours on them, in saltwater.
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Old 13-09-2014, 10:29   #13
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Re: Need Lighting Advice

I've been (slowly) replacing bulbs with LEDs with pretty good success. I've not replaced my nav lights yet but will do so before the end of the year. So...what are you doing to reduce static, stray currents, etc? Just good grounding??

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Old 13-09-2014, 12:49   #14
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Re: need lighting advice

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Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
These were incandescent fixtures with an LED replacement bulb. I would hope that a sealed LED fixture would be more water-tight. The sea is not a forgiving environment, and although a few feet above deck, the fixtures got dunked thousands of times on a recent passage, and failed.
Just replacing the bulbs while workable really doesn't work that well in the long run. You still have exposed contacts that corrode, and poor contact paths increasing resistance. This can cause voltage fluctuations that are deadly to led lighting.

It is vastly superior to go ahead and make the switch to solid state led fixtures at the same time, and for us at least wasn't that much more expensive.
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Old 13-09-2014, 13:52   #15
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Re: Need Lighting Advice

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I've been (slowly) replacing bulbs with LEDs with pretty good success. I've not replaced my nav lights yet but will do so before the end of the year. So...what are you doing to reduce static, stray currents, etc? Just good grounding??
I've been building my own LED lights from raw components, so I have the opportunity to incorporate reverse-biased diodes to protect against induced reverse voltages (LED killer if the reverse voltage exceeds 20 v or so), and capacitors to help absorb transients or induced voltages. More elaborate schemes could also include inductors or active circuitry.

Having done this exercise, I believe every marine LED fixture should already have such protection built-in. There's no excuse for a marine LED unit that get used less than a few hundred hours a year to fail within a minimum of 10 years, except from a lightning strike or hitting a bridge. Even corrosion can be thwarted when the LED assembly is directly wired in - crimps or terminal strip - instead of being a bulb replacement in a socket.

For the current crop of off the shelf LED bulbs or fixtures, I don't have direct experience. At a minimum I believe a reversed diode at the fixture would protect against induced reverse voltages. A contact-protecting compound will help protect from corrosion. Even a thin film of good marine grease will help, as long as the bulb and socket contacts are firm enough to press through the grease film.
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