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Discussion Starter #1
I have to go up the mast to re-attach a mast light and wind indicator that's been damaged over winter storage. Has anyone used LED mast lights, are they recommended and do they prove to work in practice in a way that's compliant with theory? Theoretically, they should last longer and draw far less from the battery.

My thoughts are, if I'm going up the mast, I would like to do any sort of upgrades or PM possible while I'm up there, as heights give me the willies. :D
 

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Barking Dog
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Chances are that if you try to take on additional projects (especially an install), you could end up going up/down the mast several times. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.

There are a few different options for mast nav ligths. I like the LED Combination TriColor/Anchor light


available here. I was originally interested in the one with the strobe, however I think that I read that they are illegal offshore. I am sure no one is going to write you a ticket in a crazy storm because you have your strobe on.

For a "mast light" (steaming light) you don't need an LED because your engine is running and charging your battery already.
 

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SaltwaterSuzi/CapnLarry
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Kindofblue said:
you could end up going up/down the mast several times. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I've been climbing the mast for many years. It was easy when I was 50. At (almost) 64, it gets harder each time.
 

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Bebi electronics, Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!, makes LED lights specifically for marine applications. I have their lights in my tricolor, anchor light and steaming light. They work perfectly and are highly visible. They also have a great story to tell.

All the above lights draw considerably less than 1 amp, which means that when I re-wired the mast I used 16 ga wire, and I no longer get nervous leaving the lights one for extended periods.

The technology of their lights is much better than the LED / resistor method used by automotive LED lights. The Bebi lights use a regulator that greatly extends the life of the light, especially in the marine 12V system.

I heartily recommned that you visit their site, and no, I am not a paid spokeman.

Best Regards,


e

.::.
 

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They will last much longer than bulbs and will draw much less current. I installed Aqua Signal series 32 bow and stern lights last week and they are very nice. I'll be replacing my mast head lights with LED soon. As someone said, for a steaming light you won't need LED since the engine is on, but if you do use LED you won't need to change the bulb.

My boat is only 30 feet, so I may just put an anchor light up there, and under power turn it on and the stern light off. You can get LED anchor lights with photo cells so they turn themselves off when the sun comes up.

A fixture with a strobe will roughly double the cost of the fixture. I don't believe there are any LED strobes.
 

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Anchor lights, there is an interesting subject, especially in the US. I carry two sets of nav lights. Rhosyn Mor is British registered, but I have a full set of USCG approved bulbs for use in the USA, and a set of LED's for the rest of the world. THe LED's are much brighter, but not USCG approved. In case of an accident in the US you would want to be able to prove that your systems met all legal requirements, I am not sure that most LED's meet that requirement in the USA. The LED lights from BEBI are wonderful, anmd cheap.
 

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Our lights have not yet been submitted for testing by any nation's government agencies as navigation running lights (port, starboard, stern, and tri-color) or anchor lights, so you must install them at your own risk (more details can be found here).


WELL THAT sounds pretty useless
 

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Hm, I wonder if my Aqua Signal lights are USCG approved. I thought they were, but upon checking, the web site says "Exceed USCG visibility requirements. Certified ABYC A-16." I'll call them and ask.

NOTE: A closer look at the web site about the series 32 LED lights says:

Approvals USCG, IMO, RINA, MCA, BSH, GL, A16, CE
I am very happy with these lights. They are well built, sturdy and were very easy to mount and wire. I don't know if they use a resister or not, but I am not too concerned about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice conversation going here. Newbie-ish question: Are the bulb base-types pretty much universal (particularly on a 1977 vessel - 28 Ranger) or do I need to know what I'm replacing before I replace it, i.e. two trips up the mast? Or would I be best to head up the mast with a complete fixture and tools to wire it in and install it?
 

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You need to know what you are replacing. The light may be a replacement some time in the boats life. If you are not positive what it is, plan on a second trip.
 

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Iroquois MkII
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The Series 32 is coast-guard approved. I just bought their stern light to replace my yellowed, cracked, & painted-over stern light.

How did you attach it securely? It doesn't really have mounting screws, just that one expanding bushing you screw into, so it seems like it might need some kind of adhesive too...
 

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How did you attach it securely? It doesn't really have mounting screws, just that one expanding bushing you screw into, so it seems like it might need some kind of adhesive too...
I actually beded it in butyl tape. I do have a concern that the heat will dry out the tape but this is in a non-critical location for leaking, so I can just fix it if it leaks (ie, try another beding compound).

I did speak with David at Aqua Signal about mounting. He insisted that the expanding bushing works very well, but he said if I was not comfortable with it that I could replace the expander with a bolt and just through bolt it.

I used the expander and it does hold very well. I did a bi color at the bow and a light at the stern. The only change I would like to see is a bolt hole on each side of the stern light, and maybe a second one on the bow light, but they do seem to be holding just fine.
 

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The Bebi lights I mentioned earlier meet COLREG specs. They are not USCG certified, but then they don't have to be in order for us to use them. -my kerosene lantern meets the specs for an anchor light, but I highly doubt it is certified.

By the way, the USCG does not test anything. That is all done by an outside laboratory, which you pay for. The person wanting his article certified has to pass all the tests, and then pay for the USCG to visit the manufacturing facility for quality checks on a routine basis. Bebi is in Fiji, so although I'm sure the Testers would love it, it doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense. This may explain why some companies sell LED mast lights for $400, though :eek:

Best Regards,


e

.::.
 

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Has anyone seen a LED anchor light with a strobe? I know I can get LED tricolor/anchor/strobe, but I don't feel I need tri-color at the mast head. I could get that and just not use the tricolor but that is a waste of money.
 

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Telstar 28
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I disagree. When sailing in heavy seas, especially outside of coastal conditions, the masthead tricolor is a very valuable piece of gear to have aboard. It increases your visibility, since in heavy seas, the deck, level lights may be obscured by the wave crests until someone is almost on top of you. A mast top tricolor is visible a long way away.

IMHO, all sailboats, except inland small lake daysailers, really need both deck level and a mast top tricolor. The reason for this is simple, the deck level lights are necesary when in close traffic situations like in a busy harbor, especially with small powerboats, which don't generally look up...the mast top tricolor is a necessity when sailing in open waters, especially in heavy seas, where deck level lights may be obscured as I said above.

Has anyone seen a LED anchor light with a strobe? I know I can get LED tricolor/anchor/strobe, but I don't feel I need tri-color at the mast head. I could get that and just not use the tricolor but that is a waste of money.
 

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IMHO, all sailboats, except inland small lake daysailers, really need both deck level and a mast top tricolor. The reason for this is simple, the deck level lights are necesary when in close traffic situations like in a busy harbor, especially with small powerboats, which don't generally look up...the mast top tricolor is a necessity when sailing in open waters, especially in heavy seas, where deck level lights may be obscured as I said above.
Okay, you convinced me. I ordered one of the Argo Navis LX Series TriAnchor lights pictured earlier in this thread. I bought one with the tri color, anchor and strobe, and with the photocell to turn the anchor off at dawn.

It arrived Friday. Its a very, very nice light. Its small, relatively light and completely sealed. Sailor's Solutions included a bracket, but I bought the other type of bracket just in case (they said I can return whichever I don't use).

I am, however, disappointed in the strobe. I was expecting it to have a super bright flash tube that could be seen on Mars. I figured that in the worse of circumstances, if I need to be located and rescued, I could turn it on to help people find me. That said, the "strobe" on this device is not useful. All it does it turn the anchor light on and off. Its no brighter than the anchor light, so its of minimal utility.

This device uses 3 wires, as opposed to the one without the strobe that needs only 2. I have already opened it, stripped back the wires and tested it on a power supply, so I'm pretty much stuck with it. That's fine, I'll install it. I already have the triplex wire for it anyhow.

Other than the strobe issue, I am very happy with it.
 

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It is my experience, both directly and from several posts in various forums that at least one of the masthead units, the "ORCA", I believe, can't tolerate a hit from a SSB transmission. Two, that I know of personally have been fried on a Single Handed Transpac race last year.
Howard Keiper
Berkeley
 
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