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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-26-2011
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Instrument and Panel Back Lighting

I'm installing my new main DC panel, as well as the binnacle compass and bulkhead compass (yup, I have two!). All of these devices have leads for a back light. So, I'm wondering what most people do with these lights?

Do you have a switch panel for each one? I thought about throwing the panel backlight onto the cabin lighting circuit, but I don't think I want it on all the time, do I? Yeah, they are just tiny LEDs, so maybe I should just turn them on with the boat?

Maybe add a small waterproof switch somewhere in the cockpit for the compass back lights?

So help me walk the virtual boat yard here, and let me know if you've had any brilliant ideas for these things...

Thanks!
Chris
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Old 05-26-2011
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Wire your compass lights in the same circuit as your running lights.
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Old 05-27-2011
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I agree - I wire them into the running light circuit as well.
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Old 05-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kismetc30 View Post
Wire your compass lights in the same circuit as your running lights.
I really like that idea! If I need a back light to see the compass, I ought to have the running lights on as well. Thanks!
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So what do people do with the panel back light? Is that typically set to come on whenever the boat's battery switch is on so that the LEDs indicating live circuits are always on?

The only thing that's making me hesitate there is that I may have the boat on to run cabin lights / fans / stereo at night and it might be annoying to have a back-lit panel when people go to sleep. I've never seen the Blue Sea panel lit up, so I'm not sure whether I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill or not.
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Old 05-27-2011
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Personally I wired the panel LEDs and the instrument lights to a courtesy light circuit. I did this because I have two sets of running lights - one at the masthead (better visibility from afar), and the normal deck-level lights (for under power). Can't use them at the same time of course; so although I could have set something up with diodes to light up the instrument lights, I decided on a separate circuit.
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Old 05-27-2011
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I have a dedicated switch on my blueseas panel to light or strike the panel lights. Having the panel lit DOES create a lot of light and I am glad I did it this way. I know my panel well enough that I know what each tiny dot means without having to see the labels, but if I want them on I flick a switch and have em on. If you have an extra circuit I would do this again on any install I do in the future. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVPrairieRose View Post
I have a dedicated switch on my blueseas panel to light or strike the panel lights. Having the panel lit DOES create a lot of light and I am glad I did it this way. I know my panel well enough that I know what each tiny dot means without having to see the labels, but if I want them on I flick a switch and have em on. If you have an extra circuit I would do this again on any install I do in the future. Hope this helps.
I had a feeling that the amount of light might be too much for non-essential times. I'm leaning towards tying it into the cabin lighting circuit, and putting a small switch somewhere convenient to shut them down when necessary.

Thanks all, the virtual boatyard walk has been very successful other than not being able to share a beer during the conversation!
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Chris

I wouldn't wire the panel lighting into the cabin lighting circuit which will probably be on when you are aboard. If the lighting circuit were turned off you would have to get out of the V-berth to go to the panel to turn the V-berth reading light on.
It bothers some and not others. A separate switch makes sense. I wouldn't dedicate a breaker to it. You could install a toggle switch beside the panel for this.
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Old 05-27-2011
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Brian,

Just to clarify, are you suggesting powering directly from the 1-2-All switch common post, then feeding to an in-line fuse (probably 1A), then running to a dedicated switch?

I definitely like the idea of saving my precious breakers, and I like the idea of having a "kill switch" for the panel light.
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