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Old 30-08-2013, 10:28   #31
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
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.
You are correct about this, I have walked the USCG pleasurecraft inspector around the factory a couple times. Once he noted that a boat had a non approved anchor light. When I told him the boat was a used boat (factory demo which had sold) he said it was not covered under his requirements....
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Old 30-08-2013, 10:35   #32
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^ 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?


Cannot really convert the tricolour to LED, and a replacement fitting is not on the priority list.
I can use the running lights for sailing if the tricolour fails, fitted a switch to the power supply cable to the masthead light so it can be turned off.
In the meantime, I happy that over years, I have not had to change any bulbs.
But your right, it makes sense to convert the tricolour to LED at some point
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Old 30-08-2013, 11:04   #33
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

I've fitted a pair of port and starboard lights that I got from my local chandler and they seem fine but I have not run them for long enough to determine just how good they are.

I have gone though a few anchor lights, including one from a well respected manufacturer that has a couple of the leds a little on the dim side.

What I did find was that when I sealed an anchor light that I got from my chandler it started getting water drops inside and then failed. I brought another but did not seal it and it's still working fine.

So my guess is that the sealing either pulls water into the light as it warms and cools or that sealed lights are unable to get rid of the generated heat.

Now I suspect that one should not seal lights, that some sort of breather that does not bring damp air into contact with the electronics is necessary.
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Old 13-10-2013, 19:08   #34
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

I would be happy to just find an anchor light with a glass globe. I have no issue using a bulb with the same or greater light output as used by the factory. Now I don't mind the crappy plastic lenses on consumer lights most of the time, but this is atop my mast, and for comparison an industrial weatherproof light fixture with a tempered glass globe costs well under $40. Why should it be so difficult to find something like that for a boat when searching online? UV light from the sun beats up plastic something horrible.
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Old 13-10-2013, 23:07   #35
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Originally Posted by carlspackler View Post
I would be happy to just find an anchor light with a glass globe. I have no issue using a bulb with the same or greater light output as used by the factory. Now I don't mind the crappy plastic lenses on consumer lights most of the time, but this is atop my mast, and for comparison an industrial weatherproof light fixture with a tempered glass globe costs well under $40. Why should it be so difficult to find something like that for a boat when searching online? UV light from the sun beats up plastic something horrible.
Here you go, http://www.k2wlights.de glass not plastic
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Old 14-10-2013, 00:17   #36
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Dumb question, but what's a "bow light"? My NavRules book talks about masthead light, side lights, stern light, and a bunch of specialty fishing and towing lights.

I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I have a switch in my boat labelled "bow light" but it really powers the masthead (steaming) light. Was wondering why they called it that.
The bow, aka, steaming, aka masthead light is the one half way up the mast that should only be on when under power.

The lights on the bow and the the light on the stern are collectively known as running lights.

My switch panel has running lights, and bow light.

Calling the red and green lights on the bow "bow lights" is wrong and confusing.
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Old 14-10-2013, 00:24   #37
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Same on my boat; "bow light" is steaming light. Still find it confusing.

My side lights are the combo Aqua Signal unit mounted high on pulpit rail at very front. Contacts doused in dielectric paste and have not had issue for last couple of years. They seem to stay out of water most of the time.

This light is powered by "running lights" breaker. Circuit goes through a selector switch for "bow / masthead", selecting one or the other (impossible to light up both).

Couple of weeks ago I was entering a harbor from sea at about 1:00 AM and met up with a sailboat coming out of channel with both masthead and bow lights illuminated. Red over red heading right for me - sort of freaked me out, didn't know WTF was coming for me. When closer could see was just a sailboat and relaxed.

(Sorry for not helping Evans with his question)
You mean he had a red masthead light? He's an idiot. This is exactly why it's a bad idea to get creative with lighting.
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Old 14-10-2013, 02:33   #38
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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You mean he had a red masthead light? He's an idiot. This is exactly why it's a bad idea to get creative with lighting.
I assumed that he was using a masthead tricolour but yes pretty dumb..... its up there on the dumbness scale with showing a tricolour above your 'steaming' light .....
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Old 14-10-2013, 06:51   #39
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I assumed that he was using a masthead tricolour but yes pretty dumb..... its up there on the dumbness scale with showing a tricolour above your 'steaming' light .....

i believe ARC rules ask for a backup tri color.
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Old 14-10-2013, 15:10   #40
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I am looking for new bow nav lights.
Hi Evans.

The challenge is that most of us have very little comparative information. We know how what we have has worked but we don't have side-by-side data. Even those of us that run deliveries and have a broader perspective can still only provide anecdotal data.

That said, here is my contribution:

On delivery I have had as many failures from LEDs as from incandescents. I've never had RF interference from an incandescent.

On Auspicious I have Aqua Signal Series 50 fittings with incandescent bulbs. The fittings that hold the light fixtures to the bracket are deficient but a couple of wire ties replaced once a year solve that bit. I don't sail as many miles as you but I do sail a lot. Still, my Series 50 have spent a lot of time under water in heavy weather. I have an AS combo tri-color/anchor light at the mast head. I use a Marinebeam light sensitive LED in the anchor light. I still have an incandescent bulb in the tri-color section. I'd love to be at the point where I care about the power consumption of the tri-color offshore but until I stop running refrigeration, freezer, and stop playing on the radio and computer so much offshore I won't worry about it. *grin* For now I frankly think the LED reading lights throughout the boat and the LED courtesy lights in the head make a bigger difference than the tri-color.

As always YMMV.
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Old 14-10-2013, 15:26   #41
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Re: bow navigation lights - what's reliable

I would expect masthead lights to use plastic lenses instead of glass, because the lens is often a Fresnel lens and that it more cheaply cast from plastic, than molded and machined in glass. Money is often the simple reason for material choices.
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