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  #1  
Old 02-09-2014
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LED Navigation lights

I know there are threads about this already but from my snooping on Google most are either from before 2009 or the ones that are more recent are of little value.

I'm looking to change out my navigation lights on my newly purchased Kaufman 47. I have the mast down still from shipping and will be down till it goes in the water at our boatyard. I want to replace the mast lights and wiring now while it's easy. That said, I don't want to have to go up there to change a blown bulb so I'm going with LED.
As a working merchant marine I understand the importance of well lit nav lights on vessels so I am going with the red over green lights as opposed to the tricolor light. I know it needs separation and I'll need a anchor and steaming light, I'll be using the boat for cruising so I want good lights.

So I am having trouble finding information or reviews or some kind of first hand experience with the nice LED nav light brands. I'm looking at OGM, Signal Mate, and Aqua Signal. OGM has some bad credit from their stuff but most of the threads and articles were from 2005 to 2009. Couldn't find much on the new Signal Mate stuff either. I'm looking at these mast head lights right now(I'll link just the red lights for simplicity)

OGM http://www.miseagroup.com/solutions/...&products_id=6

Signal Mate http://www.miseagroup.com/solutions/...roducts_id=163

Aqua Signal http://www.aquasignal.info/ecat/htdo...0&item_id=1417

Has anyone had any experience or have these on their boat, or maybe know someone who does have them? Im looking for quality of them and if they have/are lasting lights without any issues..

Ronnie

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Old 02-09-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

The trouble is, LED nav lights, specifically certified versions, just haven't been around long enough for any real comprehensive data, so we're left with anecdotal opinions.

I can tell you this however, in the "cost is no object" world of refits, I see Hella Marine fixtures used quite often (again, anecdotal). Myself? I cheaped-out and refitted my existing Aqua Signal Fixtures with Dr. LED's certified bulbs at one tenth the cost (more $$ stays in the cruising kitty).
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Old 02-09-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Two years ago I got two sets of a new series from Aquasignal. Byt they havent reappeared in the shops. They were very inexpensive, about $70 instead of $300

I think its this one aqua signal - Recreational boats - Navigation lights - Series 34 - LED navigation lights (Bicolor) - Article number 3863101000

I put a bi colour on the mast head and replaced my bow too.

Work great and extremely bright but the mast head one cuts down the transmitting and receiving range of the AIS. Maybe thats,why mast head lights can be expensive, or why i cant find them in the chandlery.
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Old 02-09-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Best quality Led nav lights I have seen are Lopolight. Haven't found a brand
that comes close to these.
LOPOLIGHT Navigation lights
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

I have had several very bad experiences, including almost running down a sailboat in the Anegada Passage (I was on a freighter) with vessels with tricolor masthead lights, so I applaud your decision to go with the much more intelligent, vertical set up. I think, more than going by manufacturer, you should go with completely sealed lights with good heat sinks. Do some looking around on the web and see who makes a light that has these features.
I've said it before, but perhaps I can save a life or two by saying it again, masthead tricolors are nothing more than a faint disembodied light when one is standing 50 to 80 feet above the water on the bridge of a ship. There is no depth perception and absolutely no way to judge the distance off. If you are sailing with one you are not well lit, quite the opposite. Stick with the traditional on deck running lights and you will be safer.
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Old 02-10-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketScience View Post
The trouble is, LED nav lights, specifically certified versions, just haven't been around long enough for any real comprehensive data, so we're left with anecdotal opinions.

I can tell you this however, in the "cost is no object" world of refits, I see Hella Marine fixtures used quite often (again, anecdotal). Myself? I cheaped-out and refitted my existing Aqua Signal Fixtures with Dr. LED's certified bulbs at one tenth the cost (more $$ stays in the cruising kitty).
Haha yea I know! I just figured since they have been out at least 10 years or close to it, more people may have adopted them.. I think I checked out Hella before, I'll look into them again.






Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Two years ago I got two sets of a new series from Aquasignal. Byt they havent reappeared in the shops. They were very inexpensive, about $70 instead of $300

I think its this one aqua signal - Recreational boats - Navigation lights - Series 34 - LED navigation lights (Bicolor) - Article number 3863101000

I put a bi colour on the mast head and replaced my bow too.

Work great and extremely bright but the mast head one cuts down the transmitting and receiving range of the AIS. Maybe thats,why mast head lights can be expensive, or why i cant find them in the chandlery.
Hmm, Yea not sure about the interference with the vhf/AIS, maybe using shielded wire may help?






Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Best quality Led nav lights I have seen are Lopolight. Haven't found a brand
that comes close to these.
LOPOLIGHT Navigation lights
Thanks, I'll look into those for sure.






Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
I have had several very bad experiences, including almost running down a sailboat in the Anegada Passage (I was on a freighter) with vessels with tricolor masthead lights, so I applaud your decision to go with the much more intelligent, vertical set up. I think, more than going by manufacturer, you should go with completely sealed lights with good heat sinks. Do some looking around on the web and see who makes a light that has these features.
I've said it before, but perhaps I can save a life or two by saying it again, masthead tricolors are nothing more than a faint disembodied light when one is standing 50 to 80 feet above the water on the bridge of a ship. There is no depth perception and absolutely no way to judge the distance off. If you are sailing with one you are not well lit, quite the opposite. Stick with the traditional on deck running lights and you will be safer.
Yea I completely agree, the all in one's are pretty much useless at night from the bridge. I'm pretty sure the Signal Mate lights are sealed, but the OGM are definitely sealed units. I wish I could see them in person but I'm pretty sure West Marine doesn't stock or sell them in stores. I may have to look for a boat show or Expo to see them...


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Old 02-11-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatyardBoy View Post
As a working merchant marine I understand the importance of well lit nav lights on vessels so I am going with the red over green lights as opposed to the tricolor light. I know it needs separation and I'll need a anchor and steaming light, I'll be using the boat for cruising so I want good lights.
I agree with red over green combined with deck level navlights make the boat more visible under changing conditions.
Tricolor light was invented long before LED lights where commonly used in nav lights.

The only company I have found with a red over green solution for smaller boats is lopolight with this product Product details

I asked Lopolight about the experience with two 180° green one meter from the top and a 360° at the masthead on a sailboat with masthead rig.

The answer was that the interference from the sail was not any big concern.

Lopolight is rather expensive, so have been looking for other makes that can be installed the same way.

If anyone have found other products that can be installed like this I'm interested.

I have found that an anchor light at the masthead is not a good solution.
So my anchor light is hoisted on a halyard when I need it.

When it's hoisted to about 5 meters above deck level I feel that I'm more visible that if it was 17 m above deck.

Where I anchor I'm most concerned about other small boats running into us in the rather narrow anchorages we normally use.
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Old 02-11-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by knuterikt View Post
I agree with red over green combined with deck level navlights make the boat more visible under changing conditions.
Tricolor light was invented long before LED lights where commonly used in nav lights.

The only company I have found with a red over green solution for smaller boats is lopolight with this product Product details

I asked Lopolight about the experience with two 180° green one meter from the top and a 360° at the masthead on a sailboat with masthead rig.

The answer was that the interference from the sail was not any big concern.

Lopolight is rather expensive, so have been looking for other makes that can be installed the same way.

If anyone have found other products that can be installed like this I'm interested.

I have found that an anchor light at the masthead is not a good solution.
So my anchor light is hoisted on a halyard when I need it.

When it's hoisted to about 5 meters above deck level I feel that I'm more visible that if it was 17 m above deck.

Where I anchor I'm most concerned about other small boats running into us in the rather narrow anchorages we normally use.
I am going to get lopolight, I have looked more at the OGM and Signal Mate Lights, but the thing that irks me is the single LED in their units. I feel that is silly, I know they are pricey and I'm sure the diode is high quality but one? I mean two or three would be nice just for some redundancy.

As for the two mast head lights I was going to put two all-around lights up top. Have an aluminum pole for them both to sit on and being a meter apart. That way I don't have to wire up two greens and won't have to buy three fixtures instead of two.

I haven't really thought about the anchor light not being low, I guess I figured something else would be on while at anchor, say a deck light or some sort. I'll have to sit on a hoisted on for a bit, the lopolight anchor light isn't one of their cheapest lights..

So far west marine has the best prices, that is if they have them in stock. I'm going to see if my port supply account will be any cheaper.

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Old 02-11-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

Interesting thread. I've been thinking (and semi-shopping) for new nav lights ever since I saw the Hella Pro series on a boat we chartered. We currently have fixtures similar to Aqua Signal Series 40, which I've retrofitted with Dr.Led replacement bulbs - not for amperage but simply longevity - the long vertical filament bulbs were failing due to vibration even when rarely ever used (one lasted under 3 seconds - at $15+ a pop (literally)). I'm aware that the relative thickness of the LED array creates some overlap of of the red/green bow lights, which I'm not thrilled about in principle, legal issues aside. I seldom navigate after dark, and figure that a working light, albeit slightly non-conforming, is better than a failed one (and I do carry spare, but still).

I had considered a tricolour, along the thinking that "higher is better", but now see the logic in keeping the deck lights (thanks to all the experienced posters).

This discussion has me wondering about putting an all-round-red at the masthead, probably stacked sandwiched with the all-round white anchor light, and a pair of 180-degree green on each side of the mast about 1m down. At that height shadowing from the sails would be minimal if at all, and the mechanical aspects would be easier and more robust than adding a post above (and interfering with the VHF antenna).

... or am I just looking for an excuse to use that spare 3-conductor cable that runs up the mast?

Now if only Lopolight fixtures weren't as expensive as they are beautiful.
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Old 02-11-2014
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Re: LED Navigation lights

"Dr. LED's certified bulbs"
Small but important point: The USCG does not certify bulbs. Never.

The bulbs may be certified as part of a specific installation, i.e. "certified compliant when installed according to directions in brand X, Model xxx lamps" but the bulbs themselves are not certified, nor certifiable.

COLREG compliance sets a terribly low bar for nav lights. Any light that isn't also certified (by the maker) to well exceed COLREG small craft specs, is a copout.
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