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Old 19-04-2015, 12:03   #16
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

Just another WAG but have you measured the voltage at the supply point - circuit breaker / fuse (i.e. before the switches).

Presumably there is separate circuit protection for both circuits (anchor & nav) and presumably they are both on the 24V bus.

Quite possibly a PO has "rewired" one of these breakers or fuses to a 12V bus for whatever reasons - perhaps he had to replace a lamp and only could source a 12V lamp or suchlike and now you enjoy the legacy of the "quick fix". Such a "rewire" may be obvious on inspection behind the circuit protection panel!
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Old 19-04-2015, 12:15   #17
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tadger View Post
I ran into the same problem installing an Aqua Signal masthead/anchor light. It turned out to be a wiring assumption (error) on my part. Have a very close look at the wiring pin assignment in the Mfg's datasheet for your specific lamp model. It is not a simple 1,2,3,4 layout. The common ground must have the DC negatives together and each positive lead has to go to the correct light. If you mess this up, you get feedback paths back through the fuse panel. The lights will do weird things and the panel indicators may be lighted even when the breakers are open (off).

I assume that your LED's are not polarity sensitive and can handle 24 volts. If the LED' are polarity sensitive, triple check the plus and minus at the masthead. The continuity of colors in the boat wiring may have been ignored somewhere during installation.

Good luck!
Interesting thanks. Climbing the mast again yahoo.

Wish I could understand what is going on. I'll dig out the wiring diagram.
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Old 19-04-2015, 12:17   #18
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Just another WAG but have you measured the voltage at the supply point - circuit breaker / fuse (i.e. before the switches).

Presumably there is separate circuit protection for both circuits (anchor & nav) and presumably they are both on the 24V bus.

Quite possibly a PO has "rewired" one of these breakers or fuses to a 12V bus for whatever reasons - perhaps he had to replace a lamp and only could source a 12V lamp or suchlike and now you enjoy the legacy of the "quick fix". Such a "rewire" may be obvious on inspection behind the circuit protection panel!
I checked those suggestions. All is 24v. All circuits appear good.
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Old 19-04-2015, 12:30   #19
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

You don't have to climb the mast to figure out if the wiring is right. If there are 3 wires it is harmless to connect any one of these wires to ground and the other 2 to the power switches. If you have the wrong one connected to ground then the problem you describe will happen. If the right one is grounded then the lights should work normally. As a test try connecting each of the 3 wires to ground and see if the lights work right or not. If one of the 3 wires connected to ground makes the lights work right you have found the correct ground wire. Then it is just a matter of whether the other 2 are right or not. Swap them if not.
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Old 19-04-2015, 12:36   #20
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

First you need to understand that LEDs only illuminate with reverse polarity. That is to say that when the diode's anode is negative and its' cathode positive, it won't conduct but rather illuminate. Reverse the polarity and it conducts like a regular diode. With this in mind, you can test your installation with a simple Volt Ohm meter. I would suggest that you may need to run a fourth conductor to the mast head. Either that or add a blocking diode to one circuit. Your mystery is not a mystery at all. One LED when forward biased is supplying A+ to the other LED. Individual grounds eliminate the problem. Your supplier should be able to confirm this. FYI, I am an electronic tech, and I do hope that this helps. Let me know.
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Old 19-04-2015, 13:07   #21
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil A View Post
First you need to understand that LEDs only illuminate with reverse polarity. That is to say that when the diode's anode is negative and its' cathode positive, it won't conduct but rather illuminate. Reverse the polarity and it conducts like a regular diode. With this in mind, you can test your installation with a simple Volt Ohm meter. I would suggest that you may need to run a fourth conductor to the mast head. Either that or add a blocking diode to one circuit. Your mystery is not a mystery at all. One LED when forward biased is supplying A+ to the other LED. Individual grounds eliminate the problem. Your supplier should be able to confirm this. FYI, I am an electronic tech, and I do hope that this helps. Let me know.
Then you need to know this is incorrect

LEDs act as normal diodes. They emit light when forward biased and block current when reversed biased. No current, no light.
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Old 19-04-2015, 14:04   #22
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

You need to disconnect the light fixture and test the voltage at the wires at the top of the mast. If you don't have any voltage you know its a problem with the fixture (most likely) If you get voltage on both positives when one switch is off you know it's not the fixture
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Old 19-04-2015, 14:29   #23
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

The comments about diode and LED conductivity is interesting but of little concern to most boaters. The Aqua Signal uses a large Bay_15d base and the LED bulbs used in this style housing have many small led elements making up the lamp. These led elements are wired in series/parallel arrays to make up the whole LED bulb.

To avoid polarity problems, a diode bridge is employed in the bulb base to flip the polarity around to what's needed inside. This makes trouble shooting with a VOM a challenge. Additionally, there is usually a small IC voltage regulator after the diode bridge to keep the LED voltages to be what's needed inside. Thus LED bulb design avoids the polarity issue and is capable of a wide variance in voltages (10 to 40 VDC typically).

Many Aqua Signal bases have four terminal screws for wiring; often not all of them are actually wired to the two bulb sockets (e.g. navigation/anchor) and, not in the order that you would guess. If you get the wiring order wrong, the results will be very confusing.

Check the wiring first!
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Old 19-04-2015, 15:19   #24
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Then you need to know this is incorrect

LEDs act as normal diodes. They emit light when forward biased and block current when reversed biased. No current, no light.
OK Einstein, then you really need to simply Google the basics of LEDs. When you do, you'll find out that they emit light when reverse biased and act as a normal diode when forward biased. If you don't know what you're talking about, perhaps you shouldn't chime in. Your assumption is incorrect, other than the "No current, no light" is actually correct. In the reverse bias on an LED, when you reach avalanche (rating of the diode) there is that stray current which causes it to light. Again, in the three wire configuration reported, the one diode forward biased is causing the other LED to light. Oh and the VOM is useful to determine if you had corrosion up top as well as other problems.
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Old 19-04-2015, 16:02   #25
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

The LED emits light when it is forward biased.
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Old 19-04-2015, 16:23   #26
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil A View Post
OK Einstein, then you really need to simply Google the basics of LEDs. When you do, you'll find out that they emit light when reverse biased and act as a normal diode when forward biased. If you don't know what you're talking about, perhaps you shouldn't chime in. Your assumption is incorrect, other than the "No current, no light" is actually correct. In the reverse bias on an LED, when you reach avalanche (rating of the diode) there is that stray current which causes it to light. Again, in the three wire configuration reported, the one diode forward biased is causing the other LED to light. Oh and the VOM is useful to determine if you had corrosion up top as well as other problems.
Thanks Phil A, it's been a long time since I have had to use google for any electronic information, I usually just use my own learned knowledge but I took your suggestion and guess what, the first three suggests your statement is wrong - as in "incorrect".

After that, I stopped reading but somehow I reckon the rest of them will agree.

To save you having to read them, here is a short extract form the third one
"A Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) is a P-N junction device (diode) that gives off light radiation when biased in the forward direction."

But perhaps you might still like to read more so here are some links so you can brush up on your knowledge of LEDs.

Basics about how LEDs work, how manufacturers characterize them, and how they are driven. | Components content from Electronic Design
Light-emitting diode - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://www.quantumdev.com/pdf/qf2-01.pdf
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Old 19-04-2015, 16:40   #27
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

As the 'new' owner of a 'used' sailboat (years ago), it was a quick lesson to never trust the previous owner's ability to screw things up, electrical as well as mechanical. Being somewhat accustomed to working with things electronic, I made one very serious mistake -- assuming that a red wire going into hidden section of the hull was connected to a red wire coming out the other end. Turned out to be the black wire coming out was spliced to the red wire going in somewhere in the hidden section.

What first clued me in was a green wire going in mysteriously was purple coming out.

Moral of this story ... never trust a wire by its color.
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Old 19-04-2015, 17:09   #28
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skuzzlebutt View Post
As the 'new' owner of a 'used' sailboat (years ago), it was a quick lesson to never trust the previous owner's ability to screw things up, electrical as well as mechanical. Being somewhat accustomed to working with things electronic, I made one very serious mistake -- assuming that a red wire going into hidden section of the hull was connected to a red wire coming out the other end. Turned out to be the black wire coming out was spliced to the red wire going in somewhere in the hidden section.

What first clued me in was a green wire going in mysteriously was purple coming out.

Moral of this story ... never trust a wire by its color.
How true!

Once chasing a wiring problem and one white wire went behind some trim and one white wire can out the other side. I could tug the wire back and forth but it was open circuit. After removing the trim, I found the wire had been cut and tied back together with a knot but the insulation was never removed.
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Old 19-04-2015, 18:23   #29
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle

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Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
You don't have to climb the mast to figure out if the wiring is right. If there are 3 wires it is harmless to connect any one of these wires to ground and the other 2 to the power switches. If you have the wrong one connected to ground then the problem you describe will happen. If the right one is grounded then the lights should work normally. As a test try connecting each of the 3 wires to ground and see if the lights work right or not. If one of the 3 wires connected to ground makes the lights work right you have found the correct ground wire. Then it is just a matter of whether the other 2 are right or not. Swap them if not.
SORTED!

This did the trick. I tried every possible combination and one just happened to work normally.

Wires are now re-labelled and this hopefully shouldn't happen again.

Thanks a lot for this suggestion and to everyone for their help and suggestions.

I still haven't a clue what could cause those funny voltages.
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Old 19-04-2015, 20:02   #30
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Re: LED Anchor/nav light puzzle


Glad it worked out!
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