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Old 29-08-2013, 10:53   #16
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

Wow, I thought the Lopo's were the top of the crop. We have an OGM LED tricolor masthead that has had no problem in many years, but others have had water intrusion in them. OGM has a bad reputation for water intrusion in their bow lights.

Maybe a Bebi light in the AquaSignal housing? Marine LED Running Light Bulb Replacement Assembly

This doesn't seem like a difficult problem to solve, but apparently it is.

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Old 29-08-2013, 11:13   #17
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

LED lighting is supposedly very simple.... I'm surprised more cruisers arent just making their own light clusters and installing in existing housings....? Seems like the DIY crowd has shied away from this...?
or there's this option if you dont like to solder: http://www.harborfreight.com/automot...kit-98933.html
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Old 29-08-2013, 11:47   #18
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

Um, the regulations generally frown on running lights consisting of 12 amber units.

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Old 29-08-2013, 12:01   #19
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Um, the regulations generally frown on running lights consisting of 12 amber units.

Mark
haha... yeah right... I'm thinking take them apart and use the guts. There are all kinds of this stuff out there in various brightness etc... from $5 and up...
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Old 29-08-2013, 12:48   #20
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
haha... yeah right... I'm thinking take them apart and use the guts. There are all kinds of this stuff out there in various brightness etc... from $5 and up...
The Coast Guard approves nav lights as a unit comprising both the fixture and its light source. If you monkey with the fixture or use a different light source, it's no longer an approved nav light. If you did as you suggest, it's likely no-one would know. Until there was an incident. Then everyone would know and you would likely be found at fault for the incident regardless of what actually happened. Some things it just doesn't pay to DIY.
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Old 29-08-2013, 12:57   #21
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

yeah, alot of things are "approved". I would hate to start looking there on the average cruising boat! Insurance? Proper Valves? PVC fittings? is that medium vest right for that visitor? "patently unsafe voyage"... you're liable for even going out! masthead tri color on wrong size boat? Didnt have your VHF on? (required) I mean what are the odds? Would you only buy an Aqua Signal bulb for an Aqua Signal housing? It could come down to that in your example. I just dont think it's a realistic concern. But some people do I 'spose!
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Old 29-08-2013, 13:19   #22
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
yeah, alot of things are "approved". I would hate to start looking there on the average cruising boat! Insurance? Proper Valves? PVC fittings? is that medium vest right for that visitor? "patently unsafe voyage"... you're liable for even going out! masthead tri color on wrong size boat? Didnt have your VHF on? (required) I mean what are the odds? Would you only buy an Aqua Signal bulb for an Aqua Signal housing? It could come down to that in your example. I just dont think it's a realistic concern. But some people do I 'spose!
I'd buy a bulb that's "approved" for the fixture. The lawyer for the drunk power boater that T-boned you at speed in a no-wake zone will argue (successfully) that you, with disregard of Coast Guard regulations, used unapproved navigation lights, and are therefore at least partially at fault. The rest of your examples are not part of CG regs (excepting the vest example).
Wag more bark less --totally agree
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Old 29-08-2013, 14:42   #23
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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I'd buy a bulb that's "approved" for the fixture. The lawyer for the drunk power boater that T-boned you at speed in a no-wake zone will argue (successfully) that you, with disregard of Coast Guard regulations, used unapproved navigation lights, and are therefore at least partially at fault. The rest of your examples are not part of CG regs (excepting the vest example).
Wag more bark less --totally agree
I see a lot of people speculating about loosing this type of suit if you use an unapproved bulb in a fixture, but can you actually cite an example where this has actually happened. If you read the regs running lights are only coast guard certified when the fixture and the bulb are installed by the manufacturer of the boat. Does this mean that every boat must be taken back to the factory every time a bulb burns out. I don't think so but that is how the regulation reads. How else can you be assured that the the light zones are lined up to the .5 degree specification and that they meet all of the requirements for vertical visibility. Does that mean that everyone who owns a boat where the manufacturer has gone out of busness and the lights needs replaced is now hoplessly liable for any accident or are they just not able to use their boat after dark and only can use approved anchorages where anchor lights are not required?

As far as reliability is concerned, I bought a full set of Dr LED bulbs for my Aquasignal 40 fixtures (side light, stern light and anchor) In less than 2 years I've lost the anchor light and one side light). I replaced the anchor light because I want the power conservation, but I won't be replacing the side bulb. At nearly $50 a piece I can go through a lot incandescent bulbs. By the way I put my 11 year old original incandescent bulb back in the side light. My guess is that there are too many high voltage spikes on a boat and these LEDs are not protected from them.
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Old 29-08-2013, 14:50   #24
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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<snip>

As far as reliability is concerned, I bought a full set of Dr LED bulbs for my Aquasignal 40 fixtures (side light, stern light and anchor) In less than 2 years I've lost the anchor light and one side light). I replaced the anchor light because I want the power conservation, but I won't be replacing the side bulb. At nearly $50 a piece I can go through a lot incandescent bulbs. By the way I put my 11 year old original incandescent bulb back in the side light. My guess is that there are too many high voltage spikes on a boat and these LEDs are not protected from them.
Actually, the Dr LED bulb for the Aquasignal 40 is one of the few (maybe only) LED replacement for that fixture that really *is* approved. So no worries

I think you're right about spikes and noise on the the power being at least part of the problem.
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Old 29-08-2013, 15:02   #25
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

^^ regarding spikes and noise . . . . I have all sorts of led lights inside the boat (at least 4 different brands/makes) and none seem to have trouble with the power.

The LOPO guys did ask if I had an electric windless near the bow lights. I do, a great big one, but I believe it has never been on when the bow led lights have been running. I know for certain it was not on when the starboard light died.
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Old 29-08-2013, 16:26   #26
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

I've got the Aqua Signal 40s bow lights too. Replaced 4 then got sick of it.

It's do or die you &!?(@!/. I fitted after market LEDs coated every contact in grease and sealed them up for good including the pressure equalisation vents with giant gobs of 3M 5200. No leaks and no problems for 2 years.

Heard bad reports of the Lopo too, but good warranty support like you report.
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Old 30-08-2013, 08:28   #27
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

My 'solution' for now:

1. LOPO is sending me a 'transient filter' along with the replacement stb light. I am a bit skeptical the filter will accomplish much because none of my internal led lights have any problem with my power supply. But I really like the LOPO design and want them to work, so am going to give it a try.

2. If the LOPO's fail again I will try a sealed set of lights from Cruising Solutions . These guys are owned/run by a 'real' cruiser who knows what our environment is like and has always been straight with me.

3. Cruising solutions also has a new/different led bulb for my masthead tricolor aqua signal that they say is much lower RF noise than the one I am current using.
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Old 30-08-2013, 08:51   #28
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After much thought, I chose the 40 series LED Aqua Signals. They are very different from the 40 series incandescent - very solid, and totally sealed - potted. Half the price of the Lopos and optically superior, according to the reviews (Practical Boat Owner, last year).

N.B. That a different model is recommended for boats <20 meters. I bought these first and didn't like them; like little toys. The 40 series is rated for much bigger vessels, and looks the part - proper ship's equipment. Incredibly bright. I am very pleased so far.

Edit: my lights are Series 43. The toy-like ones were Series 34. The old ones were Series 40, incandescent, and not very impressive - not well sealed. I would get them underwater from time to time (by burying the bow in the back of a big wave in rough weather) and had trouble with them. The large LED lights from Aqua Signal are really nice - incomparably much more solid and substantial than the incandescent series 40 ones were. I also installed an LED anchor/tricolor - equally impressive.

The Lopos are works of art, lovely to look at, but far too troublesome. Everyone I know who bought them has regretted it. Nav lights are one of those things which should "just work".

As to putting LED bulbs in incandescent lights - you lose the advantage of fully sealed, potted lights, plus the optics will never be as good as real LED nav lights. That being said, I did go this route for my steaming and stern lights, which unlike my side lights, don't get submerged.
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:20   #29
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

I have the Aquasignal Series 41 fixtures. 3 years ago, fitted coloured LED bulbs to the port and stbd side lights, and white to the stern and masthead light. The tricolour I left with the incandescent bulb.
The LED bulbs cost $15 each, and all still working OK. Couple of years ago, I lost the lens of the port side light in bad weather when reefing down the genoa, reckon the a sheet caught the fixture. I only noticed a couple of days later when going into a marina and switched from sailing lights to the steaming lights, nearly blinded by the port side light as it was no longer shielded when seen from astern.
Quite impressed that the bulb still worked after being exposed to seawater for a couple of days
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:26   #30
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

^^ seems a bit odd? LED's for the running lights when motor is on with an incandescent bulb for the tricolor when the motor is off? What am I missing?
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