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Old 19-05-2009, 07:57   #16
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Added a mast head LOPO light 2 years ago. Very happy with it. Very bright, very well made (almost hated to hide it all the way at the top of the mast) very low current draw but they are expensive.
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Old 27-05-2009, 06:56   #17
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[QUOTE]
Does anybody have any tips on mounting the Aqua Signal Series 32 LED sternlight? It's the most astonishingly fragile assembly I've ever seen in this product space, and the instructions are useless.


I mounted one of these as the instructions say, just have to make sure you have the proper size hole drill, which since the instructions and hole sizes are metric, is something you have to watch for. Also, I couldn't stand it and bedded it in 5200 when I mounted. So far, so good, but its only been through 1 hurricane, so who knows. Since you have to replace the entire fixture and not just the bulb, I figure I can destroy it to get it off if necessary.

You have to watch out for correct orientation. It has a "drain groove" that I assume should be pointed down to let any moisture that collects between the gasket and the light body drain away when installed. If you use bedding compound, you probably should be careful not to fill this groove, as it would appear it would trap water between the light body and the gasket.

It is much brighter than my orginal stern light, so visibility is definitely not a problem, nor is light glare upwards into the cockpit. Much better than the orginal equipment in that regard. Appears to be a quality built piece, just a very strange mounting method...why not use two screws instead of this complex piece of junk. Reminds me of some English sportscar engineering...why use 1 piece when 6 will do that have to be manually adjusted by someone with experience.....



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Old 27-05-2009, 19:31   #18
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Jlogan - thanks for the confirmation! I thought I was losing my touch and failing to notice some obvious trick, but I guess it really is a lunatic design. If I had looked beneath the blister pack, I certainly would not have bought these (even though I have had good luck with Aqua Signal before, even retrofitting homebrew Luxeon LED assemblies into them way back in the Microship era... see attached photos). The optics of the Series 32 do look very nice, though I haven't tested for an internal constant-current source that would reveal intelligent electronic design, and a quick touch of 12 volts reveals them to be plenty bright. I have also not tested for RFI, which is the killer on some of these things (especially at the masthead, right next to the VHF whip). But the mounting scheme is simply wrong.

Steve
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Old 30-05-2009, 06:38   #19
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I bought an Aqua Signal series 32 and when I opened the plastic blister pack found that delicate little plastic expansion collar was broken. It is covered by cardboard in the package so there is no way a buyer or seller would know the condition before opening. I agree it's a poor design and recommend it be avoided.

The Hella NaviLED lights have a similar mounting arrangement. They too should be avoided for that reason. They are similar enough to the AquaSignal it makes me wonder if they were both designed/manufactured by the same people.
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Old 30-06-2009, 20:33   #20
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I just had to post a follow-up. The fragile Aqua Signal Series 32 mounting requires additional effort for a marine application, though I'm sure it would be fine for, say, a tabletop science-fair project. One of my two new sidelights (purchased from Defender) came with the little expanding plastic broken... making an already-marginal piece of hardware useless.

I hope the optics, efficiency, and RFI were not the responsibility of the same department that cobbled together the plastic. I trust the Luxeon, but I have no idea what is being used as a constant-current regulator, something that is hard to do quietly.

Anyway, since I needed a bicolor on a vertical mounting plate to replace the old milky incandescent model, I made an aluminum block to do the job. There is a large hole bored through the longitudinal axis, providing a wire channel, and mounting holes 50mm apart take care of sticking the lights to the block. The front one is 6.5mm to pass their wire exit, and the back one is drilled and tapped for 8-32 to allow a slightly turned-down button-head cap screw to apply clamping pressure. Two 1/4-20 threaded holes in the back accept cap screws through the stainless plate welded to the bow pulpit (all with anti-sieze, as well as a rubber gasket).

I'll add a little bead of 4200 or Sikaflex around the front... something about one screw just doesn't inspire confidence.

Oh, that hex-textured surface is an applique of 3M retroreflective material, covering the hole and adding some potential utility in spotting the boat from windward in an anchorage. Technically, there is no reason why the hole needed to go all the way through, but it really helped with deburring.

The photo below includes the broken piece that came in the Aqua Signal package. Sounds like SailFastTri had the same experience. Caveat emptor; if I was starting fresh, knowing what I know now, I'd just build my own or spring for those sexy Lopolights.

Cheers,
Steve
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