Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-12-2008, 15:18   #1
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,398
Images: 115
Strobe problems....?

Sent this of the Aqua Signal customer service.
(Perhaps some of you guys know the answer: Do the strobe "bulbs" go intermittent before the fail completly, and how long should they last?)

Hello from Florida.
My series 40 strobe light on top of the mast has been more and more intermittent lately:
Once I week I turn all the lights on my sailboat ON to make sure they work.
The strobe has been reliable, but lately I have noticed it sometimes work and sometimes not.
Today I went into the wireing for troubleshooting, but found everything good all the way to the foot of the mast, where I measured 13.1 volt at the connection.
When I turn the switch to ON, I get an initial current draw of about 0.8 amps or so, then no current.
If the bulb was simlpy burned out I would suspect there would be no indication of current through the circuit?
Am I perhaps looking at a moisture somewhere in the system leading to a short..?(The breaker does not pop. All other lights in the mast works good, no water intrusion in the main panel)
Sctratching my head on this one, but I would be happy to change the strobe/bulb if I knew it was indeed burned out. Total time on the bulb since I installed it 8 years ago is probably 3 hours..Not sure how long they should last?
(No power surge or lighting stike on the boat, operation normal and a healthy electrical AC and DC system, new batteries, etc)
Any ideas?
__________________

__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 15:34   #2
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,618
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
When I turn the switch to ON, I get an initial current draw of about 0.8 amps or so, then no current.
If the bulb was simply burned out I would suspect there would be no indication of current through the circuit?
I would assume the 0.8 amps you are measuring is the current used to charge the capacitor. This stored energy is then fired through the "bulb".
I would therefore expect a "bulb" failure would produce the symptoms you describe.
The capacitor charges but the stored energy is not fired.

Was the 13.1V under load? If not before you replace anything however check the voltage at the masthead under load.
__________________

__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 15:39   #3
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,022
A strobe "bulb" consists of a high voltage flash tube itself, plus the electronics to make the voltage. There's going to be a power capacitor and other discrete electronics, and all of them are subject to failure. Could also be a bad connection between some of them, or moisture getting into the system.

But the strobe tube itself? Usually just keeps working till it burns out and stops. If you can access the electronics, check for moisture, cold solder joints, or a bad power capacitor. If not--odds are you're looking at replacing the whole thing.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 16:18   #4
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
You say you found it good at the base of the mast. Did you start from the top down or just checked the wiring in the boat to the base?
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 20:18   #5
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,398
Images: 115
Yes to all of the above

12345


Quote:
You say you found it good at the base of the mast. Did you start from the top down or just checked the wiring in the boat to the base?

Yes and no....

Had a guy up the mast yesterday to put in an LED Tricolor ligth.
Told him I have had strobe problems and to check for bad or corroded terminals/connections up there. He said it looked good and the strobe worked as he was up there.

Next day the strobe does not work at all, not a big surprise as it has been intermittent for a long time..

Quote:
There's going to be a power capacitor and other discrete electronics, and all of them are subject to failure. Could also be a bad connection between some of them, or moisture getting into the system.
Yup, good point. Wonder if the capacitor is built-in in the bulb or the bulb base, OR if I have to chase it down and replace it by itself.

Here is a picture of the strobe light...with the photographer in focus instead of the bulb of course..


__________________
__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 20:25   #6
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
well he said it looked good. And what does that mean? I would start from the top and check that you have good voltage and contacts at the bulb are tight and clean. Many times the problem is in the attachment for the bulb. If that is good then you need to check components. A new bulb will tell you if that is an issue. They are expensive but if that does not make the problem go away you can return it.
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-12-2008, 20:56   #7
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,022
usually the strobe tube is mounted directly to an electronics board, and the high voltage bits and capacitor are connected very closely to it. I can't tell from the picture, but would expect the strobe tube to be sitting above/below the electronic board, in the same section of the entire housing.

Although the strobe tube and electronics can be replaced individually--they are usually designed to be replaced as one module rather than paying for a tech to do the soldering. The strobe tube's "contacts" are usually wires, soldered to the electronics board, so the only exposed/vulnerable connections should be for the entire strobe assembly to the switched 12-volt supply line.

Which reminds me of the EPIRB with strobe on top that I saw in the bracket of a commercial charter fishing boat one day. As it swung back and forth, you could see the strobe housing was literally 1/2 full of water. Hmmmmm......
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2008, 04:27   #8
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,398
Images: 115
Quote:
well he said it looked good. And what does that mean?
No corrosion, no signs of water intrusion, no loose connections..In other words: It looked good....

Quote:
Although the strobe tube and electronics can be replaced individually--they are usually designed to be replaced as one module rather than paying for a tech to do the soldering.
Aye, I can see head-aces trying to replace the pieces up there....
__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2008, 05:32   #9
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
 
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,330
FWIW, we repair high end aviation strobe units. I can't remember the last time we replaced a strobe bulb but they do fail very occasionally. Usually the capacitor(s) fail or less often the PCB develops physical problems like cracks, dry joints etc. Occasionally discrete components fail but again rarely (except the high voltage caps).

Just make sure you are getting 12+ volts right at the terminals of the strobe power supply unit while it is turned on. If so and no light, then the power unit is faulty. Remove, fix or replace .
__________________
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-12-2008, 07:07   #10
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
My point is the same as Wotname. If the voltage at the power supply in the masthead unit was not checked then looks good does not help you.
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-12-2008, 12:47   #11
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,398
Images: 115
Okay thanks guys.

been traveling the last few days and have not had any time to deal with the problem. Will send a guy up the mast to measure voltage as the next step and will look for a place to get parts if the voltage uh, looks good.

Aqua Signal never got back to me, will post their response as soon as I get it.
__________________

__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Volvo D2-40 Problem robbie_d Engines and Propulsion Systems 35 12-02-2012 13:07
Atomic 4 Problems Melekai Engines and Propulsion Systems 7 18-10-2008 02:37
Force 10 Problems JusDreaming Provisioning: Food & Drink 5 24-08-2007 08:07
Problems with a new boat Talbot Powered Boats 10 26-11-2006 02:57
repatriation problems sealevel101 The Sailor's Confessional 1 14-08-2003 02:28



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:58.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.