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Old 03-05-2019, 15:26   #1
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LED for Nav Lights - USCG Approved?

I have replaced all lights but my steaming, bow red/green, and stern white with LED. Are there any USCG or insurance issues associated with selecting replacement bulbs? Is there a certification standard with which we need to be concerned?
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Old 03-05-2019, 16:47   #2
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Re: LED for Nav Lights - USCG Approved?

Using LED bulb units works -- sort of -- in fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs, provided you use a red bulb unit in the port sidelight unit and not white, and green for the stb one. But they only work "sort of" because they are designed for the filament to be in one place, but LED bulb units don't have filaments.

Much better practice is to buy entire LED nav lights. Then you get the enormous advantage of those being completely sealed and watertight. LED bulb units in old type nav lights are much more susceptible to being drowned as they have electronics in them. I think it's not a very good idea, on the whole.
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Old 03-05-2019, 18:18   #3
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Re: LED for Nav Lights - USCG Approved?

The lights have to meet the standards published in the CFR. They don't have to be "certified" by anyone, but if something bad happens and someone questions whether or not they meet the standards, you're in for a rough time.

Any given fixture is only certified to work with a very specific bulb type. Color spectrum of the light, brightness, and as Dockhead says, the location, shape and size of the filament are all very specific. Put in a different bulb, and it's no longer certified. Put in an LED and it's almost guaranteed not to be compliant with the standards. The exception may be the all-around white light, if you use a much brighter, white LED than what's required.

New LED fixtures are some of the best investments you can make on a boat. No more contacts to corrode or fixtures to take apart, plus huge energy savings. And you're sure to be legal.
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