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LEDs produce heat and unfortunately the heat is produced at the back of the diode rather than projected out like incandescent s. Heat build up is one of the common causes of LED failure. Many LED light sources require heatsinking to work when the equivalent light output from a conventional globe would not require a heatsink.
The LED globes used as replacements in masthead lights take the heat generation of the LEDs into account and are safe for the masthead fitting, but if designing an LED light fitting from scratch heat dissipation is one of the problems the manufacturer has to overcome for long life and high output.
LEDs do produce heat. However, NOT as much as incandescent lamps do.
Note that almost EVERY visible radiation light emitting diode made does NOT have a heat sink either (except laser diodes). A very few bright LEDs have some sort of heat sink.
As Noelex states if the design is properly accomplished the heat is taken into account and the LEDs will last for hundreds of thousands of hours, probably longer than most of you will own a boat. On the other hand, LEDs DO fail on occasion.
Rick Donaldson, NØNJY
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