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Old 11-11-2011, 04:07   #1
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Switching Masthead from Standard to LED Lighting

I just bought an LED bulb to replace the normal light in a conventional Aqua Signal light fixture. It seems to me that an LED light unit from Aqua Signal is very expensive and a conventional lighting unit is reasonable. You can buy a LED bulb and replace the normal none LED bulb with an LED bulb for much less. Am I missing something? The normal bulb was 12 V / 10 W / .83 Amps and the LED is 12 V / 3.5 W / .29 Amps. The bulb is an LED replacement bulb manufactured by Mast Products, all around white light. There must be something with my reasoning that is incorrect, yes?
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:02   #2
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Re: Switching Masthead from standard to LED lighting

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I just bought an LED bulb to replace the normal light in a conventional Aqua Signal light fixture. It seems to me that an LED light unit from Aqua Signal is very expensive and a conventional lighting unit is reasonable. You can buy a LED bulb and replace the normal none LED bulb with an LED bulb for much less. Am I missing something? The normal bulb was 12 V / 10 W / .83 Amps and the LED is 12 V / 3.5 W / .29 Amps. The bulb is an LED replacement bulb manufactured by Mast Products, all around white light. There must be something with my reasoning that is incorrect, yes?
Possibly a couple of things that you should check.

1. Is the replacement bulb tested and certified to meet the legal requirements for navigation lights by USCG or other agency? The bulb must meet requirements for brightness and correct color. If not tested and certified it may meet the standards but in case of a collision, insurance claim, etc you may have a problem.

2. LED bulbs are sensitive to voltage and power surges that can significantly shorten their life. The better LED systems have built in circuits to feed stable current and voltage to the bulb which adds to the cost. Does your replacement bulb include this.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:48   #3
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Re: Switching Masthead from standard to LED lighting

The bulb is certified, but I belive does not have anything to control the voltage. having that would make sense it would cost more. I will observe the life of the bulb. Thanks
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:05   #4
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Re: Switching Masthead from standard to LED lighting

Just looked up on the internet about the light that I used. It is Mast Products light, Bay15D 50 LED's Replacement Bulb, from the web site - Mast Products

it would seem that the LED light is made to be a replacement for a conventional to LED. Stating they expect 50,000 hours of use. This being the case, there might be circuitry installed to protect the light. At $150EC or $56US per light, I hope this is the case. Again time will tell although if it works, in the long run I have saved money. Thanks for your commmets
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:06   #5
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Re: Switching Masthead from standard to LED lighting

My Orca Green masthead tricolor and anchor light has been used daily for almost 4 yrs...worth the money not to go up and change bulbs.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:27   #6
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Re: Switching Masthead from standard to LED lighting

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Possibly a couple of things that you should check.

1. Is the replacement bulb tested and certified to meet the legal requirements for navigation lights by USCG or other agency? . . .
Close but not totally Hoyle. . . First, is your boat insured? If not, you can use whatever you want so long as it meets the brightness/distance requirements.

- - If your boat is insured then you have to purchase a whole unit (e.g., masthead tricolor) that carries a USCG certification. The enclosure around the bulb including color filters can and does affect the brightness and visible range.
Certified LED navigation lights are available. http://www.sailboatstuff.com/lt_LED_...hor_light.html

- - Navigation lights are "certified" as a whole unit, that is, the bulb and the enclosure. Therefore, the bulb that came with the unit must be replaced with the same bulb that was in the unit originally or a manufacturer's authorized substitute. No mixing and matching.

- - Again, this is merely a quirk with having insurance on the boat. There are some insurance companies that will grab any little irregularity to disqualify a claim and have reportedly done so with "mix and match" replacement bulbs. So to "protect" your ability to satisfy a claim with some insurance companies, you need to buy the very expensive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement bulb.

- - If you are not carrying insurance then you can do what you wish with only the need to meet the brightness and distance requirements set out in COLREGs, etc.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:38   #7
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Re: Switching Masthead from Standard to LED Lighting

There is an additional factor here:

In a tricolor lamp, the original design uses a vertical filament bulb so that the light source is in the form of a thin vertical line. This matches the vertical divider between the red, green and white sectors of the lamp, and thus provides fairly sharp cutoffs in the observed colors.

When you substitute a "bulb" which has a large number of small light sources, the color separation is very badly compromised. EG, when viewed from straight ahead one doesn't see a red and a green side by side, one sees a sort of blurred greyish mess. This color (whatever its real name may be) will be observed for quite a ways beyond straight ahead... perhaps as much as 15 degrees to either side... before the true red or green hue comes through. This most surely does not meet SOLAS standards.

We have seen this in increasing numbers along the Australian coast over the past couple of years as folks try to gain the real advantages of low power drain LED nav lights on the cheap. Hopefully the Mfgrs will let competition drive the price of well designed lamps down to a more reasonable level.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:07   #8
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Re: Switching Masthead from Standard to LED Lighting

Personally I spend the big buck on navigation lighting, or lighting that is difficult to replace, like the anchor light, or the mast head light. The better lights cost about triple the cheaper lights, but they are sealed and weather resistant. As to the talk about light ratings: lights don't maintain their output over time anyway. IMHO you should match or exceed the lumens of the stock lights with a recognized brand and beyond that don't sweat it. Incandescents put out about 10 lumens/watt, and anecdotally LEDs do about ten times better, though some numbers I see appear closer to six if you want to be conservative.

My biggest concern, at least with remotely located lights, is the possibility of corrosion. These bulbs seem to often have dozens of exposed solder pads that would be prone to exposure to salt water. I prefer bulbs which are sealed, either in epoxy or glass.
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