Anchor light w/photodiode opinions/options, battery draw - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-12-2009 Thread Starter
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Anchor light w/photodiode opinions/options, battery draw

I am trying to find an anchor light for my masthead. Does anyone have experience with this OGM LED light with a photodiode? Also what size and type of battery would be suffiecient for this light? Any recommendations on a solar charger to keep the battery charged? The anchor light and on rare occasions the running lights will be all that will be drawing on the battery.

West Marine link to OGM anchor light. price $187.99

West Marine Annual Catalog - page 302

Are there cheaper options like the Attwood all around LED light combined with a third party photodiode switch? Both the light and the diode switch are each around $60? So roughly the cost of the OGM light.

Or would it be better just to get a cheap 10watt light with a third party diode switch and a bigger battery/charger? If so what size battery and charger?
Any suggestions on configurations are welcomed. I just need a nice anchor light and battery that will stay charged to anchor here in Florida legally.
Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-12-2009
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To be legal, there are some other factors, like boat size, that you don't mention. Anyway, considering you're concerned about power usage, I'm supposing this is a small one. I like the Mega-Light Utility from DAVIS. Worked fine on my O'Day 23, at that time they had an wired version.

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Beneteau Oceanis 43
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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Originally Posted by Ringding View Post

Are there cheaper options like the Attwood all around LED light combined with a third party photodiode switch? Both the light and the diode switch are each around $60? So roughly the cost of the OGM light.
Not many LED lights have a photo diode. The reason is that the photo diode circuit consumes some electricity both when the light is off and on. Although the consumption is only small it is difficult to design a circuit that will consume much less electricity than leaving the LED on longer, even 24hrs.

Some solar panel regulators have a circuit that will switch on and off when the solar output drops a night.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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Those OGM lights are extremely, extremely well made. They use about 0.5 amp when on, which is very little power. I installed an OGM nav/anchor/strobe with photo diode on my masthead. These things are sturdy, small and water tight.

I suggest you not roll your own light or photo switch. Do some searching here for OGM and you'll find many threads where this is discussed. Basically, you want a fixture that is USCG approved. That means you have to use it exactly as it was approved. If you change the bulb, it has to be the same bulb.

This is in case you get into an accident. If your stuff is modified or not approved then you give the person suing you (or who you are suing) an excuse to claim the accident was at least in part your fault.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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I have to ask

I have to ask? With an LED drawing very, very little current why would you also want a photo diode? The reason to turn on and off incandescent bulbs with a photo eye is to save relatively large amounts of amp hours.

For example my old anchor light was a 20 watt incandescent bulb and it drew 1.7 amps per hour, or 17 amp hours for a ten hour run. My current LED anchor light draws 1 amp hour for every ten hours of use or 1700% less consumption! An extra couple of hours does make a difference when using an incandescent but not so much with LED.

I now have a Dr. LED Polarstar 40 bulb in an AquaSignal Series 40 all/round anchor light fixture. This is technically a USCG approved combination. It draws roughly .1 amps per hour. That is still only 2.4 amp hours in a 24 hour period.

I still don't see a need for a photo electric eye to turn it on and off unless you have other reasons than I would for using an LED anchor light.

This is the combo:

Close up of Polarstar 40 bulb:

Anchor Light #1:

Photo of different bulbs:


P.S. The bulb is $41.99 (Defender) and the fixture can be found for between $50.00 & $65.00 depending upon the vendor. I paid under $100.00 for this set up and it's BRIGHT!!!!!..

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 08-13-2009 at 08:27 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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I only have a single 90 AHr house battery. I figure turning off a light that is not needed never hurts.
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Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
I only have a single 90 AHr house battery. I figure turning off a light that is not needed never hurts.

Yup I would be afraid to turn much of anything on especially if you are sailing off the hook or live on a mooring.

90ah to 50% depth of discharge (max draw down) = 45 usable amp hours. If on the hook or charging using only an alternator figure you'll only ever get back to roughly 80% of that 90ah capacity. So you now have only 72 ah's total available leaving you only 22 usable ah's before you hit a 50% depth of discharge. A 22 ah bank is barely enough to be safe if you needed your running lights. Of course you can always go below 50% DOD but you'll be shortenting the battery life..

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Yup I would be afraid to turn much of anything on especially if you are sailing off the hook or live on a mooring.

90ah to 50% depth of discharge (max draw down) = 45 usable amp hours. If on the hook or charging using only an alternator figure you'll only ever get back to roughly 80% of that 90ah capacity. So you now have only 72 ah's total available leaving you only 22 usable ah's before you hit a 50% depth of discharge. A 22 ah bank is barely enough to be safe if you needed your running lights. Of course you can always go below 50% DOD but you'll be shortenting the battery life..
Yup! For now I pretty much only use the running lights (also LED - Aqua Signal Series 32) when the evening race runs long. I have yet to actually use the anchor light to anchor or use the mast head nav lights.

I also have a 90 AHr starter battery and a 1-all-2 switch. These batteries are from Walmart. They came with the boat. In the Spring I plan to replace them with actual quality batteries and add a 110VAC chargeing system. But, I do much more racing than cruising, so the batteries will be as small and light as I can safely get away with. Plus, the battery compartment is pretty small.

But as you said, for now, I turn on only what I need - VHF, GPS, instruments and when needed nav lights.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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I have the OGM tri-photo-strobe. Expensive but it is rock solid and draws very little. I could have rolled my own but decided to go the OGM route based on reading this forum and have not regretted the decision one bit.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-13-2009
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Depending on who you ask and who you believe, LEDs may lose half their brightness after 10,000 hours of use. Or 5,000 or 50,000, depending on who you ask.

So if you take 10,000 hours, divide by 24 hours per day, leave the LED on all the time...that's some 416 days before the LED is at half-brightness, which isn't a good thing. Leave it turned OFF during the daylight hours...and you obvisouly double the life, or more.

Then the only question is whether OGM, or anyone else, will quote you a number of hours and send someone out to climb your mast and replace the LED if it dims sooner than that.

FWIW, I've seen a number of Leviton brand white LED night lights (junk from China) go from "incredible" to "is that on?" in only 18 months of near continuous use.
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