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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2007
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If you go with a conventional fixture, sparingly put silicone grease (sold as "brake grease" and "high temperature vacuum grease") in the sockets to prevent corrosion. And when you rewire...make sure it is fully tinned wire. There's some consideration to be given to using thinner wire (less weight aloft) versus thicker wire (less voltage drop means brighter lights and better visibility) as well. Howeer you make your connections, make them well and tight and then seal then solid and use anti-chafe as needed. This is one wiring job that you want to make bullet-proof!

If the old fixture is made of good metal and isn't corroded, it may just pay to polish up the lens and keep it. There's been a sad trend to using pot metal and cheap innards in a lot of electrical products today.

Really good LEDs, with high brightness, wide beam spread, long life, voltage protection, and good design to meet USCG certification, just ain't cheap. Half the price of what they were five years ago...but still not cheap. At these prices, I guess I'd want to know who's got a solid warranty, too.
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Old 02-04-2007
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Thanks for the tips. I am not sure I understand what fully tinned wire is. The fixture that is on the mast, has gobs of silcone and maybe even 5200 all over it. It isn't worth saving. Any ideas on a good fixture ?
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Old 02-04-2007
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Freesail-

Marine grade wire is tinned—each strand is coated with a thin layer of tin solder to prevent corrosion from contact with the salt-laden humid air found on boats before being assembled into the different wires used. Regular, un-tinned copper wire will corrode fairly quickly, and the corrosion increases the resistance of the wiring and can cause it to heat up and start a fire. Even if it doesn't cause a fire, it can lower the voltage sufficiently that the lights will not work properly...they will be far dimmer than if you had used tinned wire, and will not meet USCG specifications.

The idea of using a good grease to protect the surface contacts of the sockets and bulbs is also a very good one.

I'd also advocate using the LED lighting, even though it is more expensive initially. If you consider that it lasts much longer than incandescent lighting, and requires far less power, it is generally worth it...given that electricity is a scarce and limited resource on most boats. Properly designed and sealed from the elements, the LED lighting can be far more reliable as well.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-15-2007
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Good Lights Please!!

For anchor light, use a Davis automatic on light (like described earlier), but make sure you know where you'll mount it before you buy it. I bought the mast head version and permanently mounted it high on our arch (light sensor on the top). Other's hang them under the boom or in the cockpit (light sensor on the bottom), but sometimes they are hard to see depending on the crap that is in the way. I wouldn't put it all the way at the top of the mast because most people are too busy just trying to get home from the bar to be looking all that way up. DON"T use those solar lights.. they are way too dim to be effective and if you get hit you'll be legally responsible for the accident.

Most LED's give off a bluer white which does not show effectively though the running light lenses, giving off a blue green light instead of green and a weaker red. If you spend the $$ on an LED bulb make sure it is approved for running light use not just anchor (like Dr led's Multi-Colored light). Bebi Electronics makes great lights using special LEDs which give off a much warmer light than standard cheap LED's (for their reading lights series) but I only used them to replace my reading lights (the whole boat lit up for less than 1/2 amp). For running lights we installed two sets one at the mast head and one on the deck. Only one set can be run legally, so we use the mast head at sea and the deck ones if we happen to be moving in port at night.

The last thing you ever want to do is give off unclear, dim or mis-colored running or anchor lights. The confusion could lead to an accident especially in remote places, and certainly isn't worth the extra savings.
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Old 04-15-2007
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I am still looking for a reasonably priced on a good fixture for the mast head.
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I'm confused. This is the second thread I have seen recently where the "masthead light" appears to be discussed as though it is the same thing as the anchor light. My understanding is that the masthead light is the same as a steaming light and is to be used when under power, and despite the way the name sounds, it is NOT placed at the top of the mast (that would be the anchor light, not the masthead light). I would think that a masthead light placed at the top of the mast and used as a steaming light would be asking for trouble since a white light that high up could be mistaken for a boat at anchor (yes, I know that other nav lights should clue someone in, but why create an opportunity for confusion).

Am I misinformed, or is there something I am not getting right? I am new to this whole sailing thing...

Regards,

Leff
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  #17  
Old 04-15-2007
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Leff-

You actually have it right... but we're very accommodating to people who are less precise than you...
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #18  
Old 04-15-2007
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SD,

I'll get myself into trouble if I try to pretend I am too knowledgeable, but with all of the terms in sailing and trying to keep them straight, it is easy to get confused, and I want to make sure I am using the terms correctly. I have learned so much from reading these forums over the past six months, and I reckon that most of the frequent contributors here have forgotten more about sailing than I will ever know. Since I only have a few months of sailing under my belt, I assume I must be missing something about the terminology in a case like this (or maybe I am worrying needlessly about being too precise since I am still fresh from all of the book studying for the ASA tests).

Thanks for the clarification,

Best,

Leff
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Old 04-15-2007
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LOL.... I appreciate your honesty..
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #20  
Old 04-16-2007
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SD, regarding the precision in term usage, I learned it from watching you...



Seriously, one of my biggest fears with sailing is using the terms incorrectly around the more experienced sailors (I might be a noob sailor, but I should be able to at least talk like I know what I am doing, right?).

Like I said, I have learned so much from you all here on Sailnet, and I will keep doing my best to absorb it all.

Leff
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