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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-14-2007
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Solar Navigation Lights

I've been thinking of ways to conserve power on my boat while on the hook and at my mooring. Currently, the only way my batteries get charged is if I bring one home with me after use to charge it. This spring I will likely be installing a solar panel on my boat to keep the batteries charged up.

Anyway...

Is anyone aware of navigation lights (anchor/mooring/running) that are solar powered individually? I was thinking it might be cool to have the stern light and bow lights be solar powered without any wiring running to them. I've found a few places online that sell single white navigation lights that might work for a stern light, but I have yet to find lights purpose-built for my needs.

Or maybe it's a foolish idea and I should just get with the program and re-wire the boat, run my lights off batteries and get an electric start outboard?
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Old 12-14-2007
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No one makes solar powered navigation lights AFAIK. This is mainly for two reasons I can see.... one, how would you control them in terms of on/off if they are solar powered... you'd have to switch them individually, or run wiring for a switch back to the nav console. If you switch them individually, turning on the nav lights is a serious PITA, if you run wire, why bother with solar at that point—since it isn't saving you any work?
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Old 12-14-2007
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Good points SD. I've thought of the switching issue and don't see it as problem since we are rarely out after dusk and would probably only end up running to the bow to switch on the lights a couple of times per season. I agree, it is somewhat of a goofy idea. I'm just thinking of ways to keep my electricity needs and draw from my batteries to a minimum.
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Old 12-14-2007
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Adding solar panels to keep your batteries up is an OK idea.
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Old 12-14-2007
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A small solar panel, about the size of the plam of your hand, is barely adequate to power a pair of AA cells for a solar "garden path" lamp with one low power LED in it. A full day of bright sunlight will run one of those maybe 6-8 hours, dimming as it goes.

So, until there's a revolution in solar panel power, you'll have to either wire up a real panel to the lamps, or find some other way.
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Old 12-15-2007
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If you go with LED navigation lights, you will draw so little that you will never miss the amps from your house bank.
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