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Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Publishers > Good Old Boat > LEDs afloat
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Topic Review (Newest First)
1 Week Ago 02:23 PM
Woodvet
Re: LEDs afloat

Note: All LEDS are DC not AC. If they are AC they must be adapted for input and of course converted to DC.
1 Week Ago 02:18 PM
hellosailor
Re: LEDs afloat

"Drivers are tiny voltage spike protectors."
Nope. They could have a spike protector in them, although I've never heard of that. An LED "driver" module converts raw power from whatever source into tightly regulated DC power for the LED. It regulates both amperage and voltage to prevent damage to the LED from either. A conventional 3-pin regulator set up in amperage regulation mode usually will suffice.
Spike protection can be done easily by inexpensive components like zener diodes added to the power lines on a system basis, not necessarily per LED.

"LEDs are no where near as bad as those 40 dollar 1157 substitute jobs "
Many of the 1157 substitutes include a regulator and literally dozens of LED chips carefully mounted in a small assembly intended to provide even 360-degree illumination. Some include reverse polarity protection as well. They're very different from one or two raw LEDs and while they're expensive, you'd be hard pressed to make the same thing for a lower cost.

They're not just shiny lights.

High brightness "white" LEDs, from prime vendors and one production batch, typically can range 16-fold in brightness, and you pay dearly if you want them all from the same batch (i.e. 10cp, 20cp, 40cp) instead of the random run of varying brightness and colors. Typically, vendors sort and sell at least nine different batches, all very visibly different, from any production run. Other colors may be more uniform, but on the brightest LEDs, they still come in very different brightnesses.

Sometimes cheap stuff from China is all you need, like truck and bus marker lights where a $300 light would be stolen off the back of the bus, while a $25 light that burns out half the LEDs is still "legal enough" and can be replaced at the annual depot maintenance anyhow.

Cabin lights? Cheap enough and easy enough to replace every year. masthead lights aloft? Yeah, you might want the better ones that will last 100,000 hours and still pass muster. With proper regulation and drivers and voltage spike protection, and that won't create an RFI problem, either.
1 Week Ago 11:53 PM
Woodvet
Re: LEDs afloat

I buy mine with good results from this place http://www.dx.com/s/led+light Direct from China and it has the higher end LEDs for the price of lower end. It takes weeks to get here in California though. They did get to me all I ordered.
Drivers are tiny voltage spike protectors. and there is dimmers too. I'm no expert on this subject and you do need to know what you want. I shopped by amount of amps and how dear they were.
Electric is my final frontier but I have vested plenty of headaches in learning the ropes. I bought LEDs all the way back. More light for less juice was just too seductive to pass up for any boater.
I was there wasting money from the beginning. What I've learned is of no use though because things are changing so fast. When I hear an opinion I have to gather if they are current or obsolete in their knowledge.
LEDs are no where near as bad as those 40 dollar 1157 substitute jobs West Marine sold me. Most cabin bulbs are in series on a circuit and if you want LEDs they need to have very small fuses for each light. It's just stupid me's opinion but if they look too bright, they likely are, and that means a shorter life. I speak in retrofit because I never bought the new boat fitted out.
1 Week Ago 09:56 PM
hellosailor
Re: LEDs afloat

"LEDs used to fade out from over heating."
That hasn't changed, they still can and do. Typical numbers are sometimes listed 100,000 hours of life, brightness down to 50% at 50,000 hours. Others just say 20,000 hours. They all fade as they age and improper heat sinking or excess power supply cause them all to age prematurely.
As with tungsten bulbs, the prime LEDs outperform the no-name generics in pretty much every way. And cost more.
1 Week Ago 08:42 PM
__floater__
Re: LEDs afloat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
I think you misread.
Good explanation but, in addition to being common sense, I already understood and fully agreed with everything you wrote.

I didn't misread though...
Retrofitting Incandescent Navigation Lamps with LED bulbs is unsafe and illegal
1 Week Ago 07:16 PM
Woodvet
Re: LEDs afloat

I think you missed the context of what I spoke. I was thinking in times of emergency when lightning fries your "legal" nav lights.
Some light is needed... Not so much to save you from the coasties but to luminate your boat so they can see you. There are better LEDs all the time and many sailors are acting on old info.
LEDs used to fade out from over heating. That is why they are accompanied by heat sinks and or fans that keep the temp down. Drivers for voltage spikes and so on.
1 Week Ago 06:49 PM
__floater__
Re: LEDs afloat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Anything posted that indicated using led's for nav lights is illegal is just wrong. Any light source is acceptable by the Uscg so long as the lamp meets their viewable range requirements. It is just flat out untrue that led's can't be used for nav lights.

What is true is that not every led can be used, but that is equally true of incandescent bulbs. Some incandescent a need Uscg requirements, some don't.
:applause:
1 Week Ago 05:28 PM
Stumble
Re: LEDs afloat

Quote:
Originally Posted by __floater__ View Post
It's been posted on SN a few times during nav light discussions.
Anything posted that indicated using led's for nav lights is illegal is just wrong. Any light source is acceptable by the Uscg so long as the lamp meets their viewable range requirements. It is just flat out untrue that led's can't be used for nav lights.

What is true is that not every led can be used, but that is equally true of incandescent bulbs. Some incandescent a need Uscg requirements, some don't.
1 Week Ago 05:26 PM
Maine Sail
Re: LEDs afloat

Quote:
Originally Posted by __floater__ View Post
It's been posted on SN a few times during nav light discussions.
I think you misread. Your navigation lights, the ones on your boat, are required by federal law to meet certain distance, color, horizontal and vertical sector requirements as outlined in Annex I of the Code of Federal Regulations. By making "home made" navigation lights you have no idea if your lights are legal or not. They also need to be installed correctly so the sectors can be seen at the appropriate angles.

This does not make LED lights illegal just that your home made navigation lights may not meet the CFR definitions and thus may not be considered legal navigation lights..

There are many factory made LED navigation lights that pass USCG/ABYC A-16 standards and are fully legal. US boat builders are required by Federal law to only install navigation lights that pass ABYC A-16 or USCG specified testing. You as a boat owner only have to comply with the law not necessarily install "certified" lights but then again how will you know if you are in compliance if you DIY a nav light..?? Usually best just to buy one that has already passed the testing.

Inside the boat there is no requirement to meet any standards thus any LED is fine provided it is safe....

Here is an example of a USCG and RINA approved LED navigation light by Hella:


And here's an Aqua Signal LED nav light:
1 Week Ago 05:15 PM
__floater__
Re: LEDs afloat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
?????????
It's been posted on SN a few times during nav light discussions.
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