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Old 29-01-2012, 05:33   #1
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No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

OK..we have an Aqua Signal Tricolor and I want to replace the lights with LED lights. If I am reading this right Aqua Signal is saying I can't do this because their Aqua Signal 40 lights "are not designed for use with LED bulbs." Why is it that with every other fixture I can just replace the incandescent with an LED, but there is all this "complication" to it on my expensive Tricolor?

Should I disregard their comments as commercial interest protection (ie; "buy a new led tricolor so we make more money"), or is it totally valid? I need some informed opinions and advice on what to do. Replace the relatively new Tricolor with one "designed for use with LEDs" or just replace the bulbs and move on?

This is from Aqua Sgnal's website:

Quote:
15. S-40 and LED bulb inserts
We know that there are LED replacement bulbs out there, but their claims that they meet USCG requirements are not accurate. First, you must certify the lights as the manufacturer of the light. They cannot do that since they do not manufacture our lights. They have significant problems with the port and starboard lights meeting any requirement. But the biggest problem is the RFI interference issue. This is not mentioned but can be an issue with your VHF radio when the lights are on.
Aqua Signal Series 40 lights are not designed for use with LED bulbs. We have tested LED bulbs in our fixtures and the bulbs do not meet USCG compliance. In addition, there are other problems with LED bulbs in incandescent fixtures. The life expectancy of the bulbs is in question even though they are rated for 50,000 hours. LED diodes are very susceptible to voltage spikes and drops. If you do not have any type of voltage or amperage regulators, they may fail prematurely. Our LED specific fixtures incorporate all of the latest technology not found in LED bulbs.
The use of these bulbs would also void any warranty with the fixtures. It is our recommendation not to use these LED bulbs.
Aqua Signal developed these lights to meet the requirements using an incandescent bulb. We have been testing and working on an LED insert for our Series 40 product and have yet to build one that is satisfactory to our engineers in Germany.
We do realize the benefits of significantly reduced amp hours with LED lights. However, other than in full sail mode, if you are running your engine, the benefits of LED technology are completely eliminated.
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Old 29-01-2012, 06:13   #2
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

No, this advice is not "bogus".

A LED “lamp” should be the same colour as the fixture lens. A “white” LED used with coloured lenses, will neither produce good colour, nor high output.
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Old 29-01-2012, 06:38   #3
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
OK..we have an Aqua Signal Tricolor and I want to replace the lights with LED lights. If I am reading this right Aqua Signal is saying I can't do this because their Aqua Signal 40 lights "are not designed for use with LED bulbs." Why is it that with every other fixture I can just replace the incandescent with an LED, but there is all this "complication" to it on my expensive Tricolor?

Should I disregard their comments as commercial interest protection (ie; "buy a new led tricolor so we make more money"), or is it totally valid? I need some informed opinions and advice on what to do. Replace the relatively new Tricolor with one "designed for use with LEDs" or just replace the bulbs and move on?

This is from Aqua Sgnal's website:



Despite what they claim Dr. LED has three bulbs "certified" in Aquasignal Series 40 fixtures (none in series 25). They have not been able to get a certification behind the tri-color or bi-color lens only single color or all-round Series 40. I keep my anchor light certification in my file cabinet with the receipt for the bulb purchase. Their points about RF interfernance are SPOT on..

With "every other fixture" you can't just replace incandescent with LED because you have no idea whether it meets the standards for a "nav" light. You can do it, physically, just as you can with the AS tri-color, but if there were an accident you may open yourself to the liability. You would need to prove your self created "nav" light met horizontal, vertical, color and distance requirements for it to be considered a "nav" light. I would guess you'd need to send your new "fixture" to a company like Imana Labs and pay the cost of testing. But, we already know Dr. LED has not been able to get this certification so why risk it.. The PolarStar 40 will work in your anchor light and does have a "certification" but not in the tri-color.

Dedicated and already certified nav lights have dropped dramatically in price so they now tend to make more sense than a $40.00 to $50.00 bulb...
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Old 29-01-2012, 06:48   #4
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

I'd agree that it's at least mostly truth. The USCG requirements are for color, direction, and distance visibility. LEDs put out a much narrower band (as in light frequency) of light that reacts differently with the white, red, and green lenses in the light fixture. This can change the amount of light that actually makes it through the whole assembly to create visible light at the required color and distance. LEDs are also highly directional (think spot light versus flood light). Some bulbs benefit from this, but others (like an 360 deg anchor light) suffer. LED bulb manufacturers compensate by placing multiple LEDs around the bulb so it shines out in all directions. But the lighting is not uniform across 360 deg like an incandescent bulb, and this can cause some interaction issues with lenses as well.

Their statements are also self-serving since it drives customers towards complete replacement of fixtures with proprietary, expensive LED fixtures.

I've got a power boat so running incandescent running lights isn't an issue, but I changed my anchor light over to LED, along with all my cabin lights. It makes a huge difference.
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Old 29-01-2012, 06:59   #5
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

The Bebi Electronics site makes interesting reading,especially the development of the ''Masina Malosi'' tricolor light. I have a Bebi anchor light which I like.
I may purchase more from them as my refit progresses. Regards Bruce.
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Old 29-01-2012, 13:29   #6
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
The PolarStar 40 will work in your anchor light and does have a "certification" but not in the tri-color.
SO when I go to West Marine for the PolarStar 40 it definitely isn't clear when you read it. It makes it sound like plug and play, but I guess the Tricolor lights they show aren't certified.

Quote:
2nm navigation light LED replacement bulbs. Specially designed as direct replacements for most of the incandescent navigation lights available including Aqua Signal (series 40, 41, 42, 50, 55), Attwood, Hella, Perko and more. Consumes only 1W. A great way to reduce energy consumption aboard. Satisfy all USCG requirements for brightness, 2nm distance and arc for vessels less than 50m (165') in length.
Application: Replacement bulbs for most 2nm navigation lights
Amps: 0.1A
Watts: 1W
Volts: 11–15V DC
Also..Mainsail re:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainsail
Dedicated and already certified nav lights have dropped dramatically in price so they now tend to make more sense than a $40.00 to $50.00 bulb...
What would be a good durable replacement LED fixture? I also like the strobe in the AS. It seems like a good thing to have, and I guess it would never be LED.



Thanks all for the great comments and suggestions... Keep 'em coming. Like all of us, I'm just trying to do it the right way...
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Old 29-01-2012, 13:34   #7
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

PamlicoTraveler

We have had LEDs in ours for a while. They work great.
LED's for Aqua Signal Series 40 Tri-Color / Anchor Light at the top of the mast

Lighting and LEDs

Defender carries them also.

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...592&id=1787398
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Old 29-01-2012, 13:48   #8
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

In terms of certified LED bi-color or tri-color fixtures, I don't see any cheap solutions out there. OGM, Aqua Signal 43 series, Lopolight.... they all cost a few hundred dollars and up.
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Old 29-01-2012, 14:29   #9
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Bebi Electronics - Search Results

Here is a link to BIBI conversions of various nav lights. I have one of these kits for my Aqua SIgnal as a back-up.

Replacement LED bulbs for your existing boat fixtures Marine beam has replacemnet bulbs that are drop-in. They have more than the narrow spectrum wavelength and work well in my fixture.

Both sites have good primmers on current regulation and LEDs for beginners etc.

You may want to add a thin divider between the red & green so that the port-starboard shift is abrupt. With the LED bulb, the emmitter is quite wide so there is a soft shift from port to starboard. The CG does not rate or test fixtures or lights. Anyone who says they are certified or CG approved is pasting the label on themselves or with assistance from a third party testing outfit.

There was discussion regarding underwriters & LEDs on another site. Noone ever heard of the typ of bulb comming up in any litigation or denyal of service. If you have one of those certifications noted above, fine, tuck it in your boat documents.

I have noticed that our Aquasignal is the brightest light in the marina. (Marine beam replacements)

Most replacements use surface mount modern LEDs. These are not especially directional and they are too bright to look at.

I also added deck level Signalmate fixtures (with 'certification') These come in red, green and white emmitters. This means there is no colored lense required. LED 3NM Anchor 360 degree White led navigation lights [3NM360W] - $249.00 : MISEA Group!, Marine Safety Energy Affiliates My concern is that the AquaSignal is great off-shore but you might not be seen in a harbor or busy marina.

I replaced all interior lights with IMTRA. I replaced my 4-1/2 inch sealed beam deck lights (50 watt; 200 lumen) with the Marine Beam SOLO deck light LED Spreader Lights and LED Deck Lights 800 lumen, 10 watt. THese are like little mercury vapor lights. Each has a single dime-sized power LED.

There has been a long discussion of this on "Mixed Feelings About LED cabin lights Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting
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Old 29-01-2012, 15:06   #10
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

I've been running a Dr. LED red/green LED bulb in our Aquasignal Series 41 bi-color bow light for several years, and one of their plain white LEDs in the stern light. The bi-color LED is a red/green bulb designed specifically for it. It's very noticeably brighter that the incandescent was, and the brightest on the dock. Same with the stern light. I have not had any RFI issues, but then you wouldn't expect much of anything from deck level lights.

Out of curiosity, I plugged the white light into the bow fixture when I was installing them, just to see what it looked like. The answer: Almost nothing. The white LEDs emit a very narrow set of frequencies, and the red/green filter housing filtered that down to barely visible.

I've seen the same warning for years from Aquasignal. I have no idea if there's much truth behind it, but it's certainly self serving (especially when you see the cost of their LED lights). It is true that the USCG publishes standards (e.g. 2 mile visibility) that the manufacturers are supposed to test against, although Practical Sailor did a test a couple years ago and found that most of the "2 mile" lights weren't very visible at 2 miles, if at all.
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Old 30-01-2012, 06:33   #11
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Now I'm really confused...

Quote:
A great way to reduce energy consumption aboard. Satisfy all USCG requirements for brightness, 2nm distance and arc for vessels less than 50m (165') in length
West Marine

Quote:
Anyone who says they are certified or CG approved is pasting the label on themselves or with assistance from a third party testing outfit.
Nicholson58

Quote:
Despite what they claim Dr. LED has three bulbs "certified" in Aquasignal Series 40 fixtures (none in series 25). They have not been able to get a certification behind the tri-color or bi-color lens only single color or all-round Series 40.
MainSail
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Old 30-01-2012, 07:19   #12
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
Now I'm really confused...



MainSail
I will be glad to email you the Imana labs certifications for the Dr. LED bulbs...

All manufacturers use a "third party" for certification. The USCG does not "certify" anything just as the NFPA does not, or ABYC does not. UL is another "third party" testing organization. The third party testers, like Imana Labs, are testing to the "standard" and then certifying that the fixture meets this. At that point it is safe for a manufacturer to emboss the fixture as meeting USCG or ABYC A-16 requirements..

Lights that meet the standards will have a USCG or ABYC A-16 wording embossed the fixture. It will say something like ABYC A-16 2NM, 1NM etc. or USCG 2NM, 1NM etc. etc.. (See below)


There are also many incandescent fixtures that do not carry or meet the nav light standards, which can be found in the CFR. The Davis "Mega Light" is but one example. Many of the cheap "Sea Dog" incandescent nav lights also do not have a "certification"... All US boat builders must only install "certified" navigation lights. They are also supposed to be installed "properly" which they often are not..

This is an interesting article written by the US Coast Guard Short Range Aids to Navigation Division (G-NSR). While it deals with "installation errors" the same could be said of installing some aftermarket bulbs in existing fixtures. How do you know you've met the "standards" and your lights meet the parameters of the CFR for navigation lights?

Navigation Lights

Considering what boating costs in general, for us anyway, it's the middle of the winter and I have bills on my desk for $2200.00 for our habit, the cost of navigation lights that I know meet the "standards" is of little concern and amounts to a drop in the bucket to know I have covered my butt.

Having been personally connected to boating accident where death was involved, best friends father was run over and killed, and the nav lights were called into question during the trial, I now take it pretty seriously. At least a lot more seriously than I otherwise would have. I've lost the "won't happen to me" mentality when it comes to nav lights having sat through some rather intense testimony...

I would not want to leave any wiggle room for a sleaze bag lawyer to wiggle through regarding our navigation lighting.

That being said you probably have a 99.7+% chance of never having an issue. So, if this is a gamble you're personally comfortable with, any nav lights that are used are ALWAYS better than NONE used.....


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Old 30-01-2012, 10:02   #13
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

Since I like the strobe on the AS 40, and it is not appropriate to use LEDs for the Tricolor portion of the light, I am going to order an LED for the anchor light portion of the AS 40.
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Old 30-01-2012, 10:57   #14
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

We've used the Marinebeam drop-in replacement bulb in our aqua signal tricolor for a couple of years now, and it works fine. Its bright, and the colors are definitely recognizable as red, green, and white.

I ran around the boat in the dinghy from half a mile, and got pretty well defined shifts between the colors as I changed sectors. Not quite as defined as the original vertical filament bulb, but good enough for any seaman to recognize my heading. Maybe I'm ahead of my time, but I'm not going to let the lawyers, bureaucrats, and insurance companies run my life.
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Old 30-01-2012, 19:29   #15
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Re: No LED in Aqua Signal 40 Tricolor - Is this Advice Bogus ?

I have Dr LED tricolor in my AS40 and love it. The anchor light is the brightest around. You have to use the green red white LED in the tricolor.
I know it may not be legal, But you can only use the tricolor while under sail and at night. Neither I would do in harbor. I would use my Bow, stern and steaming lights. Off shore under sail motor off, I will use the Tricolor.
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