LED vs incandescent Nav lights - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 47 Old 02-06-2011 Thread Starter
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prroots,

The lens on your bicolor fixture is green on one side and red on the other because the green lens absorbs all but the green light from the output of whatever source (bulb or LED array) is in the fixture; likewise, the red lens absorbs all but the red light. The red/green LED arrays produce predominantly red light on the red side of the array and predominantly green light on the green side. As such, the lions share of the light produced actually gets transmitted (there is still a bit of absorption due to spectral mis-match, clouding of the lens, etc., but not much). If you use a "white" LED, everything but the green or red gets filtered out, thus wasting that light, and energy. AND, if the "white" LED doesn't have the parts of the spectrum the lens is designed to transmit, or if there is a large imbalance in those parts, the resultant color will be a bit funny looking. This is the problem with using "cool white" LED arrays in fixtures designed for tungsten bulbs, the green looks too blue; using "warm white" LED arrays usually results in the proper color, but one still has the absorption issue to deal with.
Thanks. Guess that explains why the bi-color LED doesn't draw more current than the white stern LED. Since it produced the correct color the percent absorption is much lower than when using a white light.
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post #22 of 47 Old 02-06-2011
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Again, since no one has mentioned it. I would avoid using the DR. LED bulbs. First, the company is pretty unethical in the way they present their products. IIRC, they only have FOUR LED REPLACEMENT BULBS that are USCG CERTIFIED, and only in certain fixtures—yet their website doesn't state this very clearly at all. Second, they have lousy warranty support and DO NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCTS.

If you really want to get LED NAV LIGHTS, you're far better off getting dedicated LED NAV LIGHT FIXTURES that were purpose designed and USCG CERTIFIED.

If you are involved in a nighttime collision and have non-USCG certified bulb/fixture combinations in use, you will likely be found at fault. You may also not be covered by your insurance because you were using uncertified fixtures. Is it really worth it? The Aqua Signal Series 32 fixtures aren't all that expensive, and USCG Certified.

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post #23 of 47 Old 02-06-2011 Thread Starter
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Again, since no one has mentioned it. I would avoid using the DR. LED bulbs. First, the company is pretty unethical in the way they present their products. IIRC, they only have FOUR LED REPLACEMENT BULBS that are USCG CERTIFIED, and only in certain fixtures—yet their website doesn't state this very clearly at all. Second, they have lousy warranty support and DO NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCTS.

If you really want to get LED NAV LIGHTS, you're far better off getting dedicated LED NAV LIGHT FIXTURES that were purpose designed and USCG CERTIFIED.

If you are involved in a nighttime collision and have non-USCG certified bulb/fixture combinations in use, you will likely be found at fault. You may also not be covered by your insurance because you were using uncertified fixtures. Is it really worth it? The Aqua Signal Series 32 fixtures aren't all that expensive, and USCG Certified.
Thanks. Guess I'll have to take a closer look at the purpose built LED fixtures esp. the combo tri-color/anchor lights.

Edit: the Series 32 don't match the bulkhead mounted stern and bow lights I have. Looks like the more expensive Aqua Signal series 43 are the best match. Economically, it seems I would be better off with one of the masthead mounted combo LED tri-color/anchor lights. That also has the advantage that the existing incandescent lights serve as a backup. I have seen them from Aqua Signal, OGM, Signal Mate, and Lopolight. Any recommendations?
Pete

Last edited by prroots; 02-06-2011 at 01:16 PM.
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post #24 of 47 Old 02-06-2011
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Pete
The tricolor at the top of the mast is useful offshore but for sailing inshore where there is traffic you are much better with lights mounted lower. Ideally you will have both the tricolor and pulpit mounted running lights and use either (not both!) depending on location.

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post #25 of 47 Old 02-06-2011
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I change my incandescent bulb with a bi-color LED in the same Aqua Signal 41 as yours and it lines up great.
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post #26 of 47 Old 02-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
If you are involved in a nighttime collision and have non-USCG certified bulb/fixture combinations in use, you will likely be found at fault. You may also not be covered by your insurance because you were using uncertified fixtures. Is it really worth it? The Aqua Signal Series 32 fixtures aren't all that expensive, and USCG Certified.

I don't think this is necessarily true. It is certainly something that will likely to be claimed by "the other guy" and his lawyers, or the state, but if you can show that your arrangement meets the USCG criteria, you should be fine. The installation is what matters, and it says so when you read the fine print on a USCG certified fixture. The only USCG certified installations are on OEM boats. If you have a CG certified fixture and it's not OEM to the boat, you no longer have a CG certified installation and the onus is still on you to prove that the installation meets the requirements.

I would agree the the burden of proof and the amount of testing you will have to do (in the night time collision situation) increases if you don't use CG certified fixtures.

Most insurance policies that I've heard of regarding denial of coverage due to lighting fixtures, require you to use the OEM fixtures, for the above reason. So, unless your boat is <10 years old and you are simply replacing your LED bulbs, you are likely out of luck if you insurance has one of these clauses. I don't think that's the case for most here.

I would be interested in hearing about any case where someone was found at fault specifically because they were not using USCG certified lighting fixtures (regardless of installation, or any other factors). Cases where one of the boaters is an off-duty sheriff's deputy do not count!

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Originally Posted by prroots View Post
Thanks. That's a neat feature with reversed polarity. I looked at the picture, but can't see how the anchor light will be visible since it's not two level like the Aqua Signal tri-color/anchor light? Wonder if the bulb can actually change color although I doubt it?
Pete
Be aware if you get the OGM Tri-anchor/strobe, you need to have THREE WIRES FOR FULL FUNCTION, since the strobe mode is triggered by powering both the Tricolor and Anchor circuits simultaneously.

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Unless you have a lot of money to burn on expert testimony and testing, it is far easier to just use a USCG certified fixture and bulb to begin with.

If you properly install a USCG-CERTIFIED LED NAV LIGHT FIXTURE, like the Aqua Signal Series 32 or OGM Tri-anchor, it is considered a USCG certified fixture AFAIK. If you install a non-certified BULB/FIXTURE combination, you're basically screwed.

I know of two cases where having USCG CERTIFIED fixtures were key to winning the case. One is a case that Maine Sail related on these forums a while back, the other is my friend's uncle's case.

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Originally Posted by Argyle38 View Post
I don't think this is necessarily true. It is certainly something that will likely to be claimed by "the other guy" and his lawyers, or the state, but if you can show that your arrangement meets the USCG criteria, you should be fine. The installation is what matters, and it says so when you read the fine print on a USCG certified fixture. The only USCG certified installations are on OEM boats. If you have a CG certified fixture and it's not OEM to the boat, you no longer have a CG certified installation and the onus is still on you to prove that the installation meets the requirements.

I would agree the the burden of proof and the amount of testing you will have to do (in the night time collision situation) increases if you don't use CG certified fixtures.

Most insurance policies that I've heard of regarding denial of coverage due to lighting fixtures, require you to use the OEM fixtures, for the above reason. So, unless your boat is <10 years old and you are simply replacing your LED bulbs, you are likely out of luck if you insurance has one of these clauses. I don't think that's the case for most here.

I would be interested in hearing about any case where someone was found at fault specifically because they were not using USCG certified lighting fixtures (regardless of installation, or any other factors). Cases where one of the boaters is an off-duty sheriff's deputy do not count!

Sailingdog

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I don't believe manufacturers have their installation certified by the CG. Nor do I believe the CG even does that on recreational boats. They purchase the fixtures and install them, hopefully properly. The CG only certify the fixture/bulb combinations.

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post #30 of 47 Old 02-07-2011 Thread Starter
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Argyle38
I don't believe manufacturers have their installation certified by the CG. Nor do I believe the CG even does that on recreational boats. They purchase the fixtures and install them, hopefully properly. The CG only certify the fixture/bulb combinations.
With all this talk about certification, what is the situation when you put a replacement incandescent bulb into an incandescent fixture that is made by a different manufacturer (eg, Ancor bulb in Aqua Signal fixture). Is that the same problem as when placing an LED bulb into an incandescent fixture?
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