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Old 23-04-2014, 20:03   #1
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LED Running lights advice

I am a new boat owner (I'm new, not the boat, lol). I have a 45' Hunter and it needs new running lights, fore, aft and atop the mast. Does anyone have any good advice on inexpensive, quality LED light fixtures? Looking at Defender and West Marine and also doing Google searches I am more confused than informed. If you have thoughts of brands, where to buy, cost and what to look for and what to avoid...that would be greatly appreciated. Also, what exactly is required by the USCG in order to comply? Thanks in advance.
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Old 23-04-2014, 20:07   #2
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Re: LED Running lights advice

Coast Guard running light requirements

I decided not to cheap out and went with Hella Marine ordered through Fisheries Supply.
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Old 23-04-2014, 20:12   #3
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Re: LED Running lights advice

Meeting the details (found in the annexes) of the COLREGS is all that is required.

USCG certified lights are only required to be put on the boat by the manufacturer (if they install lights at all).

However, many will say that if you have an accident, proving that your lights meet standards is much easier if you have certified lights.

Some of the LED navigation lights are certified others are not, you have to look at the advertising carefully to find out.
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Old 23-04-2014, 20:21   #4
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Re: LED Running lights advice

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Also, what exactly is required by the USCG in order to comply?
Straight from the horse's mouth: Navigation Rules Online
And since you might use your engine, add a masthead light (rule 23), and you might want to anchor so add an all-round white light (rule 30).
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Old 23-04-2014, 20:48   #5
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Re: LED Running lights advice

I haven't figured out what I'm going to do when my current nav lights quit but this anchor light is going on my mast as soon as they become available. (Which should be this spring.)
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Old 26-04-2014, 08:12   #6
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Re: LED Running lights advice

I used these for tricolor and steaming/foredeck:

MISEA Signal Mate LED TriAnchor w/ Wind Indicator Illumumination [TRIANC]
MISEA Signal Mate Combination 3NM Masthead/ White Deck Light [3NMMHDKW]

And these for the running lights on the bow and stern:

LED Navigation Lights

Not inexpensive, but very high quality and no VHF interference.

Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:39   #7
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Re: LED Running lights advice

Screw the rules! Brighter is better. LEDs use minimal amperage compared to their incandescent cousins. Their are several companies that make the full assembly or just replacement bulbs.
Also keep in mind that, if using a tricolor, you will need another set of running lights when you're motoring as the red and green must be BELOW the steaming light. Personally, I prefer being seen (ie, not getting run over) to having the right-of-way and always fly the steaming light, so removed the tricolor and extraneous wiring. But I'm under 12 meters and have combined the steaming light with the stern light (same as anchor light) and wired it to a different switch from "running lights".
Full LED assemblies are water proof and can be mounted about anywhere that's convenient, complying with sectors and vertical spacing. The masthead and anchor are farther from the water and LED replacement bulbs are made my Dr LED, Hellas, and a few other companies. Take the incandescent with you and match the base. You will see terms like one or two contact, and indexed and non-indexed base. (Non-indexed means the two prongs, not screw in base, are offset so the bulb must face a certain direction.)
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:05   #8
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Re: LED Running lights advice

The COLREGS state minimum range and intensity, so you're not exactly breaking the rules with brighter lights. They do recommend not causing undue glare though, from Annex 1:

Note: The maximum luminous intensity of navigation lights should be limited to avoid undue glare. This shall not be achieved by a variable control of the luminous intensity.

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Originally Posted by selkirksghost View Post
Screw the rules! Brighter is better. LEDs use minimal amperage compared to their incandescent cousins. Their are several companies that make the full assembly or just replacement bulbs.
Also keep in mind that, if using a tricolor, you will need another set of running lights when you're motoring as the red and green must be BELOW the steaming light. Personally, I prefer being seen (ie, not getting run over) to having the right-of-way and always fly the steaming light, so removed the tricolor and extraneous wiring. But I'm under 12 meters and have combined the steaming light with the stern light (same as anchor light) and wired it to a different switch from "running lights".
Full LED assemblies are water proof and can be mounted about anywhere that's convenient, complying with sectors and vertical spacing. The masthead and anchor are farther from the water and LED replacement bulbs are made my Dr LED, Hellas, and a few other companies. Take the incandescent with you and match the base. You will see terms like one or two contact, and indexed and non-indexed base. (Non-indexed means the two prongs, not screw in base, are offset so the bulb must face a certain direction.)
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:41   #9
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Re: LED Running lights advice

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The COLREGS state minimum range and intensity, so you're not exactly breaking the rules with brighter lights. They do recommend not causing undue glare though, from Annex 1:



Note: The maximum luminous intensity of navigation lights should be limited to avoid undue glare. This shall not be achieved by a variable control of the luminous intensity.

While not "breaking the rules", many lights are advertised as meeting the minimum. THAT is what I would ignore. Boats in general, and sailboats in particular, are hard enough to see from the bridge of a ship without a boater adhering strictly to a 1 NM "requirement".
Try taking a freighter down the coast off of Miami at sunset in the summer with a fleet of poorly lit boats with no useful radar signature. You can have your lawyer on speed dial, but your phone better float.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:43   #10
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Re: LED Running lights advice

"Undue glare" should also dictate position of lights, not just intensity.
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Old 24-05-2014, 01:25   #11
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Re: LED Running lights advice

This is one area where cheap may be a big mistake... I fitted Hella NaviLED pros and a year later am still very happy with them.
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Old 24-05-2014, 02:51   #12
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LED Running lights advice

Given the lower power budget, that led lights bring. I'm surprised we don't see more all round red over green sailing lights. ( usually two each side , near mast top. ) would significantly enhance identification at night over the lower side lights.( or the rather silly tricolour )

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Old 24-05-2014, 07:36   #13
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Re: LED Running lights advice

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Given the lower power budget, that led lights bring. I'm surprised we don't see more all round red over green sailing lights. ( usually two each side , near mast top. ) would significantly enhance identification at night over the lower side lights.( or the rather silly tricolour )

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Seems to me that red over green mounted on the mast would be obscured over about half their arc by the sails, unless you're gaff or square rigged.
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Old 24-05-2014, 07:51   #14
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LED Running lights advice

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Seems to me that red over green mounted on the mast would be obscured over about half their arc by the sails, unless you're gaff or square rigged.

How come, 2 lights on either side within a foot or two of the top of the mast. Few headsails obscure that

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Old 24-05-2014, 07:53   #15
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Re: LED Running lights advice

"obscured over about half their arc by the sails,"
Finally, a justification for fractional rigs.(G)

But seriously, with the low mass of LED lighting, it would be simple enough to put the lighting on a stick and have that extend clear above the entire mast anyway. Integrate with a VHF antenna, all sorts of options.
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