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I recently spoke with Aqua Signal, the manufacturer of my mast head tri-color, about using an LED bulb as a replacement bulb for the traditional incandescent bulb. They recommended against doing this, saying that a great amount of heat is produced behind the diode. The amount of heat was described as "being able to fry an egg." Although the worst physical damage might be some potential warming/melting of plastic the heat would definitely diminish the life of the more expensive bulb. On their new LED navigational lights they have a large aluminium heat sink to dissipate the heat.

I see more and more masthead LED lighting and thought that the conversion only required a different albeit more expensive bulb. I hadn't heard of this heat issue before. Any experience out there??

Roger Block
Shango PS40
Newburyport, MA
 

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I have switched every bulb on my boat inside and out to LED and really question the heat issue, as found that there to be an absences of heat, one of the things I like about my switch besides the energy savings. As a matter of fact it was told to me that there was next to no heat at a boat show display. As how to switch them you need only to switch the plugs the bulbs plug into, and you can buy them real cheap at any truck parts store for trailer tail lights.
 

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LEDs

I don't buy the heat issue either. It would be inconsistent with the efficiency of the bulb. As significant heat in a bulb is a byproduct of inefficiency. Check the truck LEDs for heat sinks to verify.
 

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Fry an egg - that's hilarious. There is no heat issue. However, there is an RFI issue with some LED voltage regulators that could cause a problem with a mast mount VHF antenna.
 

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There can be heat issues with LEDs, depending on how hard they're driven. I don't know how hard the different designs are driving their LEDs, so I couldn't way as to whether any of them generate more or less heat than the incandescent bulbs they replace. And yes: It it quite possible to drive an LED so hard its heat sink gets hot enough to fry an egg, and even hotter. It is the heat generated and heat sink design limitations that prevent its dissipation that shortens the life of LEDs used for illumination.

Jim
 

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Is it a series 40 or series 25 light? Dr. LED makes the only USCG legal and tested bulbs for AquaSignal fixtures.
I'm wondering: I haven't had any of mine open, yet (if it ain't broke: don't fix it), but I had assumed the bulbs inside the fixtures on our 1976 Pearson P30 were pretty much standard 12V incandescent bulbs one could purchase at most any auto parts store, a K-Mart, Meijer Thrifty Acres, Wal*Mart, what-have-you. If my assumption is correct, then my question is: Have every one of those indandescent bulb manufaturers submitted their bulbs for testing with each and every marine navigation fixture into which they might be installed? And if not: How does one know which are "legal" and which are not? And if they weren't required to do so: Why must LED "bulb" manufacturers do it?

US$40 or US$50 for a bulb is ridiculous, esp. considering what you can get in an LED-powered flashlight for that kind of money, these days.

Jim
 

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RFI issue

Fry an egg - that's hilarious. There is no heat issue. However, there is an RFI issue with some LED voltage regulators that could cause a problem with a mast mount VHF antenna.
I installed an LED Masthead light a couple years ago and have VHF disturbance when it's turned on. Is there a way of dealing with this RFI problem?
 

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If your LEDs are even warm to the touch, you are overdriving them dangerously. When set up correctly, LEDs will dissipate very little energy as heat, most of the energy is dissipated as LIGHT.

I am impressed that the person you talked to on the phone was so utterly clueless! Just think of it conceptually:

LEDs use a quantum well that converts electrons (current) into visible photons (light).

Incandescents heat up a peice of metal until it glows.

What's the difference in performance between LEDs and traditional bulbs?

One is 98% efficient, as a heater.


Marine LED fixtures are a MAJOR ripoff. I am currently researching other sources for super bright LEDs with corrosion resistant leads, in order to make my own bulbs.
 

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LEDs produce heat and unfortunately the heat is produced at the back of the diode rather than projected out like incandescent s. Heat build up is one of the common causes of LED failure. Many LED light sources require heatsinking to work when the equivalent light output from a conventional globe would not require a heatsink.
The LED globes used as replacements in masthead lights take the heat generation of the LEDs into account and are safe for the masthead fitting, but if designing an LED light fitting from scratch heat dissipation is one of the problems the manufacturer has to overcome for long life and high output.
 

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LEDs produce heat and unfortunately the heat is produced at the back of the diode rather than projected out like incandescent s. Heat build up is one of the common causes of LED failure. Many LED light sources require heatsinking to work when the equivalent light output from a conventional globe would not require a heatsink.
The LED globes used as replacements in masthead lights take the heat generation of the LEDs into account and are safe for the masthead fitting, but if designing an LED light fitting from scratch heat dissipation is one of the problems the manufacturer has to overcome for long life and high output.
LEDs do produce heat. However, NOT as much as incandescent lamps do.

Note that almost EVERY visible radiation light emitting diode made does NOT have a heat sink either (except laser diodes). A very few bright LEDs have some sort of heat sink.

As Noelex states if the design is properly accomplished the heat is taken into account and the LEDs will last for hundreds of thousands of hours, probably longer than most of you will own a boat. On the other hand, LEDs DO fail on occasion.
 

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Leds produce less heat per lumen than incandescent lamps, but the heat build up in the light fitting tends to be higher. This is why even cheap LED torches are often aluminium. The aluminium casing acts as a heatsink for the emmiters.
LED diodes do not have a heatsink in the raw component stage even emmiters that would only last a few seconds without any heatsink.
When mounted however they require careful consideration of how the excess heat is removed. Sometimes this is accomplished by driving the LED at low current levels, but more efficient heatsinking allows for much higher light outputs. This is why so many LED torches and purpose designed masthead lights like Lopolights are aluminium.
 

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LED's

We've replaced our anchor, tricolor, spreader and running lights a couple of years ago with Dr LED bulbs and have been very pleased.

Inside we've gone to Sensibulb and Dr LED but a friend showed us a light that was a lot brighter than ours. I'll need to email him for the brand (Marine Bright?).

We also use a couple of Bebi lights to light up the boat at anchor for safety reasons.

We spend a lot of time on the hook and consider the LED's to be crucial for battery management.

Sam
s/v Grace PSC34#163
 

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Mondofromredondo
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Anyone know the style of bulb in the tricolor light fixture?
I'd sure like to have the bulb in hand when I go up there to replace it.
Am very interested in using these Dr. LED's which look to be well thought out.
My tricolor is the model used on the 1988 PSC 34.
Thanks all!

Keith
PSC 34
S/V CHARITY ROSE
 

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I thought I had read an article somewhere that suggested if you switch to LED's you needed to reduce the fuses on the lines as any short was not quickly picked up due to low wattage by old circuit breakers. I believe article was referencing a home electrical system rather than a marine application. I know nothing about electrical systems so perhaps a more informed person could respond.

I didn't buy the heat issue as a reason to avoid LED's either.
 

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LED lamps do produce significant heat but as has been mentioned it's not from their light output but internally. We use a lot of strip LED lighting in our business and know that it is wise to mount them on a thin aluminium extrusion in order to help dissipate the heat.

The highest output LEDS that we use to replace dichroic halogen lamps (MR16s) all have large heat sinks behind the pins. Testing we have done on LED lamps without the heat sink has shown significant failure rate far below projected lamplife.
 

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Wombat-san - do LEDs that use a Buck Converter still produce much heat at nominal 12-13V voltage? The ones on my boat seem remain cool to the touch (unlike their predecessors, which had resistors) when I use them; but they are somewhat pricey ones.
 

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I've replaced my all my internal lights, the mast head and tri-colour with LED's from Jeff at Replacement LED bulbs for your existing boat fixtures and was very pleased. Had the mast lights switched on while I was up top as I didn't fancy two trips up a day, they worked perfectly and no noticeable heat problems, there is a lot of space for cooling.

The internal lights are high output 120 lumen "light hammers" and they certainly get warm, they do have a heat sink, but are much cooler than the 10w power hungry halogens they replace.

No affiliation with the Company other than being a pleased customer.

Who thought it was a good idea to put halogens on yachts ? fluorescent is a much better, more battery friendly solution, but LED technology seems to be moving at such a pace hopefully halogen bulbs will be one for yacht design history.
 
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