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Old 19-02-2006, 23:45   #16
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But why don't you simply make your own. They are so simple. Just requires a soldering iron and some patience.
Current regulation is the important point. The big difficulty with LED modules, it that every one of them has to be current regulated. "Cheap" (not neccessarily cheap in cost) ones use resistors, the better designs use a real McCoy regulator. This makes an LED module bulky, harder to make and thus expensive. So OK, here is a simple solution when you make your own LED lights. Back at your switchboard, ensure that the supply line that connects to all your LED lighting circuits is "common" to all the circuits. Did that make sense?? OK, that common supply rail can now be regulated by an off the shelf regulator. It doesn't need to be big so it will be cheap. Just needs to be able to handle all the current required by all the LED lighting system. This enables you to introduce other lighting circuits to the system by routing them to the common rail. You don't need circuit breakers on any of the circuits as the regulator will most likely be short circuit protected and the aother advantage is hat a vey low voltage is now going to be fed through all your lighting circuits that are supplying any LEDs.

Personaly, I still am not a fan of LED modules. Although to be fair, I am still to view one of these new LED anchor modules in action. The one beef I really have is the very high number of boats using those LED garden lights that go on and off with the day/night. Those things are almost impossible to see from even close up and most definately look like stars. They have that same blue'ish tinge to them that the stars have. My anchor light is bright and easily seen and unless The Three Wise Men are still around, no one should be able to mistake it for a star.
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Old 19-02-2006, 23:52   #17
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Sorry Wheels.

That last post just gave me a headache!!
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Old 19-02-2006, 23:53   #18
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I've been having a lot of discussion with a guy I work with about LEDs. He's a sort of Bob Lee Swagger, ultimate survivalist type and is into self suffiency in a big way. My biggest problem with this "new" technology is the unecessary frills that go with it. LED flashlights are a case in point. I want one that switches on and off, I do not want one that pulses, flashes, dims, discos or makes coffee. I have said it before on here I think, we used to say "do you want it to be reliable or do you want to use elctronics?". This is a bit harsh on electronics as it is usually the engineering protecting the gizmos inside that lets you down.
Alan, as the mast head is the furthest point from the switch panel, wouldn't it make sense to have the regulation at the unit rather than 80' back down the wire? Not making a contention as I don't have any experience and want to make any new systems I fit as reliable and efficient as possible.
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Old 20-02-2006, 00:59   #19
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on the LED front the Benato (spelling) yacht that I race on a farr 44.7 has a LED tri light from Hella marine and it is very bright. Not cheap though but I was at the masthead the other day and took the opportunity to check it out - looks pretty well like a flash home built on the inside. All I can say is that I didn't have the time to home build one due to my dammed work making me work around the clock but next time I'll be doing the home build thing. I'm real happy with my version. If anyone here in NZ want to order one I can add it to my next order for some cabin and P/S motorsailing lights.
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Old 20-02-2006, 01:22   #20
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Glad to see hellamarine have finally gone LED, I had a real sh#t fight with them about the reliability and price of their 25W long bulbs a few years back. It was costing us over $2k a year in replacements, in sheltered waters and very little night work. They said as recently as 2004 that the technology wasn't available yet but I went into a Westmarine store in April of that year and saw other brands available, approved by USCG. Southernman, I'd be happy to tag onto an order if the timing works. I won't have a chance to see what I need until late next week.

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Old 20-02-2006, 11:25   #21
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To answer your first question Pete. No it doesn't matter about the distance, because the over all current draw is so low. If it were a high load like that of a traditional bulb, then yes.
The "traditional" bulbs are still stupid expensive Pete. The last two I bought cost me NZ$27 each for a 10W and a 25W. I thought at first it was the supplier ripping me off till I asked around. Eveyone was within a coupla bucks of each other.
But I also have an issue with Hella's LED price. Their mast head unit is like (can't remember exactly) up in the three hundred dollar region. That's a hell of a lot of regular bulbs.
Personally, for cabin light, I just don't like the light that I have seen from LED so far. I want to "see" at night. I want decent cabin light to read with and see my guests with and so on. Lets face it, with the exception of the anchor light, other lights are not on for that long each night. So the overall current draw is not huge in the bigger scheme of things. If your house supply can't cope with a light or two, it needs seriuose attention.
But if I am know behind times with LED lighting and it IS producing decent readable light, then please correct me.
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Old 20-02-2006, 12:12   #22
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I agree with you Alan. I planned to replace my regular cabin lights with LED light from Innovative Lighting and was mildly disappointed in the amount (or lack thereof) of light they produce. I will now only replace the 'out-of-way' lights and keep the regular lights for the main areas. The LED lights are good for finding your way around the cabin but definitely not for reading.
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Old 20-02-2006, 14:30   #23
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anchor light options

From our experiences there are a few different ways you can go:

- 'traditional' oil lamp -- these work great and a good one is visible for 2 nm. Hang it in the fore triangle off the forestay to comply with int'l maritime law.

- LED anchor light at top of mast -- I installed a combo tri-color anchor light before we departed seattle. I picked this one up from Ocra maine for around $200. Expensive but I never think twice about battery consumption and it is very bright. The install was easy since I'd just rewired the mast the previous week and left three wires at the top for the unit. You need to select a special mounting bracket and tap a few holes at the top of the mast depending on your application.

- Davis 'mega' light -- I keep one of these down in the cockpit as well. It's just plugged into the 12v cigarette plug down below -- it has a photo switch to come on at dusk. There are two bulbs, one is much brighter and draws slightly more juice. In Mexico many people try to get away with using just these for their anchor lights (when they use a light at all) but I don't recommend doing so unless you hang it very high or in the foretriangle.

I think so kind of combo where you have one light at the top of the mast and one for yourself in the cockpit works well. When you inevitably 'must' come into an anchorage in the dark it's comforting to see those mast head lights bobbing around to help you find a place to put the hook.
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Old 20-02-2006, 22:48   #24
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I hear what your saying Alan and I was discussing this recently down here. I am unhappy with the light quality with LED for accommodation but thought there might have been advancement in this area with diffusers etc. I am comfortable with night sailing as I have done most of my navigation at night when fishing so I plan to covert all nav lights to LED and also some deck lighting but with floods as a supplement. Cabin currently has fluoros and as they fall over I will research option. We get issued with LED headlamps down here in winter and they aren't even close to the quality of halo for working.
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Old 20-02-2006, 23:37   #25
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No those headlamps a horrible and that is just what the LED modules for the nav lights are like. I know they are supposed to be legal for the distance and vessel size, but I just don't know how. The Red and Green are OK. I think it is because they are putting out a "pure" light in those colours. It is not being derived via a filter over white light. It is the White LEDs I have the issue with. It just seems a "ghostly" white if you can understand what I am trying to say.And the white just doesn't seem to carry well. You may see it from a distance, but there is no..ummm... "focus"(maybe not the right word) about it.
I have two fluro's in the pilot house for genral lighting and love them. Good light output and low current draw.
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Old 20-02-2006, 23:45   #26
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A possible problem with LED modification of existing nav light units is not getting the dioptics right. Very important and the reason why we're held hostage to buying the hideously expensive and unreliable long bulbs, as no other bulbs allows the correct "focus" in these units.
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Old 20-02-2006, 23:48   #27
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How do you two "Kiwi's" view oil lamps?
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Old 21-02-2006, 01:26   #28
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well can say that LED's are used in very few boats right now but they are the way of the future. If you get a chance read the article in the latest Cruising mag - the Aussie version. If I can get my scanner working on the weekend you never know it might appear on a web link if the weather is rubbish that is. Allan we checked our LED from 2nm in the dingy and it works fine in good weather that is - the white looks a little more 'blue' than the yellow light of a bulb. Saying that, isn't it safer than being at sea with a bulb that may blow at any moment and leave you with a mast climb?
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Old 05-03-2006, 07:11   #29
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Thumbs up Lights at night

I just want to say thanks to all for this illuminating discussion of anchor lights. That's why I turn to the forum. The collective knowledge gets me so much further down the Sound.

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