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Old 02-04-2006, 06:59 PM   #1
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Default Orchagreen LED nav lights.

I'm looking at replacing the my masthead tricolour with LED's to save on power, Ocragreen LEDS look interesting - has anyone any experience of them? The tricolour/anchor/strobe looks good on paper. I've have yet to do an ocean crossing but (though strobe technically illegal) mid ocean I would think there would be more chance of someone on half asleep on watch on a ship noticing a strobe rather than a tricolour. Any thoughts?

Ta

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Old 02-04-2006, 08:11 PM   #2
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We had a tricolor on the masthead of sv Watermelon, although it wasn't LEDs. LEDs have improved significantly recently, and reports I've heard from others is that they like them.

The strobe, however, is not to be used lightly. Don't turn it on while voyaging or you're likely to attract the attention of good samaritans who think you are in trouble. If they encounter enough yachts that are using the strobe instead of proper running lights, they're liable to disregard them all, including that rare boat in trouble.

Your red, white, and green nav lights are how other vessels know your course relative to their own, and whether the two vessels are on a collision course. This can't be done easily with a strobe. Lots of those vessels do not have their radar on, so you can't count on them to be looking at it in the middle of the ocean in calm weather.

We used our strobe to help other yachts find the anchorage we were in in low visibility (for example, the smoke-filled skies of Indonesia - scary), or when they needed a little help at night coming into an anchorage. The major use of the strobe was during the violent storms we encountered off the coasts of Malaysia, Borneo, and Costa Rica when visibility was so bad we worried about other ships out there not being able to see us. Lots of fishing boats off these coasts, and lots of wind in these storms. As soon as the storm passed by we turned the strobe off.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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Good point about using a stobe regularly, only a little more to have a strobe as well as tricolour so probably worth it for what you said about guiding boats in etc.

BTW, I researched my boat & had good advice on this forum about a year ago and now house is sold, been living aboard since July in London and am about to head south to warmer climes. Thanks!!!!

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Old 02-05-2006, 06:32 AM   #4
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Is 'Ocragreen' a company? Can't find them with the search engines.

As with JeanneP I don't have experience with LED tricolors but would look closely at them as a replacement for the power hungry one I have if it goes belly up.

"(though strobe technically illegal)"

From COLREGS: "Rule 36

Signals to Attract Attention

If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided."

Though strobes are to be 'avoided' they are not technically illegal. And they are very useful when shining a light at the danger isn't practical for one person on watch busily trying to maneuver away from an offending vessel. My strobe can be activated from either below at the navigation station or from the helm location.

We have carried the combined tricolor/anchor/strobe light for many years. The tricolor is routinely used underway and the strobe has been used on occasion to get attention. The anchor light is seldom used in favor of home brew LED anchor lights (http://yachtvalhalla.net/projects/an...chorlights.htm).

An anchor light at the top of the mast will get you through a survey or Coast Guard inspection but it's too high for practical use in a crowded anchorage. You need something lower that can be seen by a fast moving boat with a helm that isn't watching the stars!

Terry
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Old 02-05-2006, 06:44 AM   #5
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FOUND IT! Sorry, I was too hasty.

http://www.elecdir.com/press_release...121/index.html

OGM’s Anchor Light is the latest to be certified to US Coast Guard standard 33 CFR 183.810 for new boats less than 20m (65ft).

Austin, TX September 19, 2004 -- Orca Green Marine Technology Corporation (OGM) announces today that their Anchor light has received certification to the US Coast Guard
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Old 02-05-2006, 07:17 AM   #6
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Here's more to think about:

At the OGM website (https://secure.orcagreen.com/xcart/home.php)you can buy an anchor light for $119 to put on the top of the mast (presumably) or you can buy their TriAnchorStrobe for $339 ($369 with photodiode).

The details of the anchor light say:

LED Anchor Light

Horizontal Viewing Angle: 360 degrees

Vertical Viewing Angle: +/- 18 degrees

So how far away from the boat can you NOT see the anchor light?

Assume 50 foot mast, light at the top. Shines down at 18 degree angle.

x = 50' divided by tangent of 18 degrees = 153.88'

That means anything within 153.88 feet of your boat can't see the anchor light!

Terry
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Old 02-05-2006, 07:28 AM   #7
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thanks for the Anchor light link.
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Old 02-07-2006, 01:28 PM   #8
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Hi,

Here is a link www.lopolight.com to a Danish company which makes excellent LED nav lights. They are type approved by the Danish Directorate of Shipping and used by the Swedish Coast Guard and the RNLI amongst others.

They are not particularly cheap but great quality, low current and long life.

I intend fitting a tri-colour to my mast top in the spring (northern hemisphere. The obvious advantage with this being, apart from the low current drain, not having to go up the mast to change burnt out bulbs. I will be keeping the normal side and white 'steaming' lights as well as the stern light as these are easily reached to change the bulbs and are only used when under power and I have pleanty of 'juice' to keep them happy. As they become damaged or break down beyond repair then I will change them for LEDs too but cannot justify the expense at this stage.

Cheers

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Old 02-08-2006, 12:15 AM   #9
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I've been checking out LED globes for possibly nav and cabin lighting also - and found that sadly even the most modern LED globes still don't emit enough light (yet) to meet required standards.

The samples came from UK, USA and China.

I've put them in - and would not sail with them as nav lights nor try to use them below - although the jury is out as to whether I do replace the anchor lamp. Personally, whilst the LED globes I've trialed do not meet 'approved standards', they do give enough light for me to feel sure the boat is recognised when parked in an anchorage.

But it may be worth noting that in the last few months of research I've found spoken with many conventional nav light manufacturers and most say they are in the last stages of obtaining EU certification on nav lamps similar to lopolights.

And as the conventional fittings may make it simplet to swop over an exisitng brand lamp to same brand LED version - it may we worth waiting a couple of months before purchasing anything new.

Cheers

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Old 02-08-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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Hi again,

I should also have added that I use and will continue to use an oil fueled anchor lantern. I hang this from the forestay about 2 metres above the deck. I do have an electrical anchor light at the mast top but, as this is difficult to see close up from small craft i don't use it.

The oil lamp needs to be refilled about every third day so it is quite economical, draws no current (of course) and burns brightly.

I note that there is nothing in the ColRegs about using oil lamps, but there is nothing prohibiting them either.

Stephen,

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Old 02-08-2006, 02:07 PM   #11
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Hi,

Yes I agree it's good to have something at deck level for 'close to' visibility. Saw a lot (especially French) cruisers last summer using those solar powered garden LED lamps attached to forestay.

Cheers

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Old 02-08-2006, 05:54 PM   #12
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Hi John,

The French yachts with their solar powered LED anchor lights interest me. I have a few of solar powered LED garden lights on small stakes which sit in the ground by the side of my drive and the footpath to the front door. They were not expensive and look alright but the light output is low.

Obviously it is a function of the battery capacity, but by an hour or two before dawn they are hardly visible. It can't be lack of sunshine because, even though I work in Cape Town and have a small flat here, our home is in Windhoek with about 350 sunshine days per yaer.

What is your take on the ones you saw? Are they well visible or would they not meet the requirements of the Col Regs? My oil lamp with its focusing lens works, but if I can find something better I will go for it.

Cheers

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Old 02-08-2006, 06:36 PM   #13
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We used to have a wonderful oil lamp that we used mostly for cockpit lighting. I kept Citronella oil to use in it - gave us light and repelled the mozzies.
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Old 02-08-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
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And despite the safety aspect...There can be no more romantic setting than the comfy, cosy cockpit which is bathed in the soft yellow light of a steadily flickering oil lamp.
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