LED Mast Lights? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 06-18-2009 Thread Starter
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LED Mast Lights?

I have to go up the mast to re-attach a mast light and wind indicator that's been damaged over winter storage. Has anyone used LED mast lights, are they recommended and do they prove to work in practice in a way that's compliant with theory? Theoretically, they should last longer and draw far less from the battery.

My thoughts are, if I'm going up the mast, I would like to do any sort of upgrades or PM possible while I'm up there, as heights give me the willies.
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post #2 of Old 06-18-2009
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Chances are that if you try to take on additional projects (especially an install), you could end up going up/down the mast several times. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

There are a few different options for mast nav ligths. I like the LED Combination TriColor/Anchor light


available here. I was originally interested in the one with the strobe, however I think that I read that they are illegal offshore. I am sure no one is going to write you a ticket in a crazy storm because you have your strobe on.

For a "mast light" (steaming light) you don't need an LED because your engine is running and charging your battery already.

Craig

Last edited by KindOfBlue; 06-18-2009 at 08:37 AM.
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post #3 of Old 06-18-2009
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Kindofblue said:
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you could end up going up/down the mast several times. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I've been climbing the mast for many years. It was easy when I was 50. At (almost) 64, it gets harder each time.

Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry


"A sailboat is a fickle mistress. You’ve got to buy her things. You’ve got to understand everything about her. What you don’t know she’ll use against you." -Captain Larry


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post #4 of Old 06-18-2009
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Bebi electronics, Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!, makes LED lights specifically for marine applications. I have their lights in my tricolor, anchor light and steaming light. They work perfectly and are highly visible. They also have a great story to tell.

All the above lights draw considerably less than 1 amp, which means that when I re-wired the mast I used 16 ga wire, and I no longer get nervous leaving the lights one for extended periods.

The technology of their lights is much better than the LED / resistor method used by automotive LED lights. The Bebi lights use a regulator that greatly extends the life of the light, especially in the marine 12V system.

I heartily recommned that you visit their site, and no, I am not a paid spokeman.

Best Regards,


e

.::.
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post #5 of Old 06-18-2009
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They will last much longer than bulbs and will draw much less current. I installed Aqua Signal series 32 bow and stern lights last week and they are very nice. I'll be replacing my mast head lights with LED soon. As someone said, for a steaming light you won't need LED since the engine is on, but if you do use LED you won't need to change the bulb.

My boat is only 30 feet, so I may just put an anchor light up there, and under power turn it on and the stern light off. You can get LED anchor lights with photo cells so they turn themselves off when the sun comes up.

A fixture with a strobe will roughly double the cost of the fixture. I don't believe there are any LED strobes.
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post #6 of Old 06-18-2009
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Anchor lights, there is an interesting subject, especially in the US. I carry two sets of nav lights. Rhosyn Mor is British registered, but I have a full set of USCG approved bulbs for use in the USA, and a set of LED's for the rest of the world. THe LED's are much brighter, but not USCG approved. In case of an accident in the US you would want to be able to prove that your systems met all legal requirements, I am not sure that most LED's meet that requirement in the USA. The LED lights from BEBI are wonderful, anmd cheap.
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post #7 of Old 06-18-2009
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Originally Posted by eolon View Post
Bebi electronics, Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!, makes LED lights specifically for marine applications.
I just took a quick look at this site and while the products look nice, I didn't see them mention that the fixtures are USCG approved. Did I miss that? If not, people need to consider the potential liability issues of using non-approved fixtures and bulbs for nav lighting.
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post #8 of Old 06-18-2009
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Our lights have not yet been submitted for testing by any nation's government agencies as navigation running lights (port, starboard, stern, and tri-color) or anchor lights, so you must install them at your own risk (more details can be found here).


WELL THAT sounds pretty useless

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post #9 of Old 06-18-2009
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Hm, I wonder if my Aqua Signal lights are USCG approved. I thought they were, but upon checking, the web site says "Exceed USCG visibility requirements. Certified ABYC A-16." I'll call them and ask.

NOTE: A closer look at the web site about the series 32 LED lights says:

Quote:
Approvals USCG, IMO, RINA, MCA, BSH, GL, A16, CE
I am very happy with these lights. They are well built, sturdy and were very easy to mount and wire. I don't know if they use a resister or not, but I am not too concerned about it.

Last edited by jarcher; 06-18-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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post #10 of Old 06-18-2009 Thread Starter
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Nice conversation going here. Newbie-ish question: Are the bulb base-types pretty much universal (particularly on a 1977 vessel - 28 Ranger) or do I need to know what I'm replacing before I replace it, i.e. two trips up the mast? Or would I be best to head up the mast with a complete fixture and tools to wire it in and install it?
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