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Old 23-12-2009, 20:00   #1
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Solar Running Lights

Does anyone know of solar deck-mounted running lights? I've googled but most of what's available seems to be for navigational aids, not vessels.
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Old 23-12-2009, 20:28   #2
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Many barges have solar powered nav lights. I have no idea if they would be too large. I don't know specifically where to find them. I would keep looking.

Edit: I found these but they are far too large for your purposes....but we are getting warmer.

http://www.mcdermottlight.com/catalo...olar_barge.htm

1 mile lights, on left column...
http://www.premiermaterials.com/prem...al/sealite.htm

An option would be to make shades so they cover the correct number of points.
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Old 23-12-2009, 21:02   #3
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Normal nav lights

Most people use normal nav lights and get a solar charger to recharge thier battery. A navigation light has to be pretty bright, so they consume alot of power. To burn through the night they would need to have a large battery, and subsequently a large solar cell to replentish the power used in a day of sunlight. I believe that is the main size limitation.

I believe they make LED nav lights that consume less power than standard filament type bulbs, but even these require some decent power.


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Old 23-12-2009, 21:08   #4
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Instead of the monsters that are meant for barges you might be better off with the flashlight nav lights that use "c" cell batteries. They'll go for several hours and you can charge the batteries at home.

Portable LED Bow Light
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Old 23-12-2009, 21:15   #5
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Remember that, for US vessels, navigation lights must have the correct visible range, be mounted and aligned properly, shaded to provide the correct arc of visibility and they must be USCG approved.
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Old 23-12-2009, 21:19   #6
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Remember that, for US vessels, navigation lights must have the correct visible range, be mounted and aligned properly, shaded to provide the correct arc of visibility and they must be USCG approved.
AND (this is a big one) They must be lit only at the correct time, not just
on in the dark. You need to display the correct lighting for the conditions, i.e motoring, sailing, anchored etc.
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Old 24-12-2009, 04:51   #7
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which means, as I believe senormechanico is pointing out, that there will have to be some wiring done, in order to control them. And if you are going to run wires and switches anyhow, you might as well run power.

Unless someone wants to invent a wireless remote controlled solar charged LED tricolor masthead light.....

I think just buying a solar charger panel for your boat battery is going to work out to make the most sense.
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Old 24-12-2009, 06:51   #8
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Not sure what size boat your talking about. By the Rules some small boats are only required to have very limited lighting such as a flashlight.

On my boat I've converted the masthead anchor light and 90% of interior cabin and Salon lights to LED and I've added Solar panels and additional batteries to store the daytime energy derived. Having a problem replacing the "mushroom" reading lights to an effective LED at reasonable prices and replacement bulbs don't do the job well.

When running at night, even under sail, I'll often kick in the engine to boost both the batteries and help with speed/ direction/ Autopilot use. Truth is I do very little long range running at night just an overnight to island hop around the Caribbean so I keep the standard Running lights which seem to be more visible than LED replacements I've had the occasion to run across, and almost over.

I do have a couple of solar charged lights I often use at anchor for cockpit lighting. Same thing as the standard garden walk type lamps that solar charge and operate at night. Most only last about a season or two but the cost effectiveness is still good unless you go with the same stuff sold by Maine supply companies who double/triple the price. These self charging units would Not be a good selection for running lights as their intensity decreases significantly as the internal batteries discharge. Even at full charge they would probably not meed the requirement on most boats but small dinks, rowboats and the such they may be functional.

Since your running lights are only used in reduced visibility/ conditions and night you would have to have a big battery bank to keep them at correct intensity and it would probably not be cost effective unless you had no other way to do what you need to do.
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Old 24-12-2009, 07:20   #9
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Instead of the monsters that are meant for barges you might be better off with the flashlight nav lights that use "c" cell batteries.

Portable LED Bow Light

Flashing nav lights are illegal for use under the COLREGS. Also none of the LED "nav" lights that Innovative Lighting makes hold any certifications as certified & tested "nav" lights. One of their units does say "European Approvals Pending" but they do not have any real certifications or approvals as far as I could see.

There are many unscroupulous companies out theier claiming they sell "nav" lights but if not tested, certified or approved for use as nav lights they really are not compliant as "nav" lights..

A quick call to your insurance company asking if they think it is ok for you to use non-certified nav lights will tell you quickly how to proceed. If they tell you it is ok to use non-approved/certified nav lights then go for it.

I have asked this question of my own US insurance company and the answer was "if you want to insure coverage nav lights should be installed in accordance with ABYC have USCG certification".... USCG certified is stamped on lights that have the approval. There are a surprising number of nav lights being sold that are not certified/approved so buyer beware.

Insurance companies are in the business of denying claims to keep the profit up. Don't give them any excuses to not pay you in the event of a night time accident.

Just food for thought..
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Old 24-12-2009, 07:50   #10
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These are not "flashing"
for what the op is going to be using nav lights for, these would be suitable. The boat the op has is not going to be overnight passagemaking on the high seas, just returning to the marina after dark.

I'll go ahead and say it now though........yes the lights are not uscg or colregs compliant.

now for a reality check......how many of the runabouts, center console fishing boats, etc.....do you think have certified lights on them either?
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Old 24-12-2009, 07:56   #11
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now for a reality check......how many of the runabouts, center console fishing boats, etc.....do you think have certified lights on them either?
Just the ones that have lights installed by the manufacturer.
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Old 24-12-2009, 08:02   #12
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now for a reality check......how many of the runabouts, center console fishing boats, etc.....do you think have certified lights on them either?
Probably precious few. And if they are involved in some incident after dark there is a VERY good chance that their insurance company is going to take the opportunity to say, "Sorry, we're not paying a dime, because you were not following the regulations and were not using certified lights." Pretty much EVERY insurance policy out there has small print that says they do not have to pay if your claim is the result of some violation of the law, and in the U.S. the Coast Guard regs are the law.

It is important to remember, as MaineSail said, that no matter what their TV advertisements may lead you to believe, insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims. They are in the business of NOT paying claims! Give them any excuse at all and they will disallow your claim. Using non-certified lights on a boat is--to the insurance company--a very good excuse.

If the possibility that you are voiding your insurance by using non-certified lights does not bother you then, by all means, do not worry about it. Do not bother with certified lights. Heck! Don't bother with lights at all, if you don't want to. Just don't pretend to be surprised if something happens and your insurance company uses the excuse of non-certified lights to deny your claim.
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Old 24-12-2009, 10:46   #13
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Flashing nav lights are illegal for use under the COLREGS. .
That's not exactly true. Barges have flashing amber lights when being pushed ahead or alongside. Submarines also have a flashing amber light.

Rule 24: Towing and Pushing
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Old 24-12-2009, 11:49   #14
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That's not exactly true. Barges have flashing amber lights when being pushed ahead or alongside. Submarines also have a flashing amber light.

Rule 24: Towing and Pushing
I did not know the OP had a barge or a sub, my bad.. My answer was in reference to recreational vessels as that is what we were discussing...
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Old 24-12-2009, 11:52   #15
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I did not know the OP had a barge or a sub, my bad.. My answer was in reference to recreational vessels as that is what we were discussing...
Sorry, I just wanted to make it clear to other boaters that a flashing yellow light did not necessarily mean a construction zone at sea. It might mean there is something big, dangerous and dark heading your way.
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