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Old 12-16-2009, 03:59 PM   #1
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I have been wanting to switch to LED navigation lights for a while now. My primary motivation is that I lose a lot of bulbs to moisture and corrosion with my current nav lights. Potted LEDs seem tougher. A secondary motivation is the hope of reducing current draw.

The biggest thing slowing me down is a lack of specifications on nav lights I see on the innertubes. Usually they have a small picture, but nothing which will allow me to see how they will fit or how I will need to attach them.

My first choice would be lights which would just screw into place where the old ones were without modification. Second choice would be to attach them to the bow pulpit.

Am I the only one who finds this frustrating? Is it too much to ask to have a web site offer dimensions and bolt pattern information for their products? If I walked into a store where I could hold and measure the product before buying, it would be different. I find the primary reason I don't buy online is lack of specifics about the product. I would think that high resolution pictures from various angles, detailed specifications, and mounting information would increase their sales.

Enough ranting. Does anyone have recommendations about or experiences with LED nav lights?
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
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Enough ranting. Does anyone have recommendations about or experiences with LED nav lights?
We put an OGM masthead light up (the one that has tricolor plus anchor light plus strobe) and are very happy with it. Because our masthead is a very strange casting that looks a lot like a christmas tree that one hangs the blocks from...we made a platform for the light and for the Airmar weatherstation that sits atop it. It works but took much custom work on our part.

We've kept the regular bulbs in the nav lights at deck level as we only use those when in port motoring--and the motor is charging the batteries at that time anyway. The nav lights including bulbs are a "set" so to speak and unless you're going to go off and test to make sure your "set" of light housing and light bulb meets regulations regarding visibility, you are best off getting new lights entirely if you want LED's rather than incandescent bulbs.

I think you're talking about a whole new light "set" not just the bulbs...but thought I'd make that clear here anyway
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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I am happy LED user on my bicycle. It is similar in respect of endurance (even the salt water), and dissimilar in lot of other aspects.

I would definitely not go for light bulb replacement. Modern power leds come with optics designed for them, with well defined angles, etc. If you rig such a setup once okay, it will last forewer. No reason to worry about loosing contact, bulb burning out, etc. Just give 'em plenty of cooling area.

What also needs consideration is that the spectrum of LED is rather narrow. You can see every tiny detail at the light of a white LED for 40m, but your digital camera would see nothing but darkness even at 2m. If someone happens to look after you with some digital telescope (light night viewer), you would be missed. But you can still add some infra LED to cover for this. There are LEDs giving out enourmous amount of light in the infrared spectrum.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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Yes, my thinking is that I replace the lamp, not just the bulb, with something designed to be LED. One advantage is that the whole can be potted and thus eliminate seawater penetration to the electronics.

Reliability is my primary motivator, efficiency is secondary, but useful. Heat generation is a far third, though I have discomforted my hands in the past setting them on my nav lights while line handling.

Spectrum is a good point. I haven't seen data about that problem either especially in the context of equipment with differing ranges from human eyes.

Thanks, guys. I'm glad I posted.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:27 PM   #5
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I replaced with LEDs all of my nav lights, including the tri-color on S/Y Thetis last year. My reasons for this were ones Coyote mentioned. Their inherent reliability which translates to fewer climbs up the mast—not so easy if you are singlehanded was a big one.

At my shipyard's recommendation I replaced them with LEDs that fit directly into the old incandescent bulb slots, no fixture replacement. These are now widely available in the EU. They are actually brighter and do meet EU specifications. They are also pricey, but less so then a new LED fixture. The anchoring all around white light burns almost nothing after being on all night. I very satisfied.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:24 PM   #6
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Over a year ago, I replaced ALL of the lights , including the navigation lights on my yacht with LED units, from Bebi Electronics. Their units are all"potted"i.e. set in epoxy, waterproof, and come with a lifetime gaurantee.

As they are potted units, you need to fit them into your existing light fitting and then solder the connections. Their web site contains many articles and photos showing how this can be done. It is not difficult at all! Previously I had used LED lamps that fitted into the original bayonette fittings in my existing navigation light fittings. These had two major problems, there was still the inevitable corrosion in the bayonette fittings, and the bicolour and tricolour lights were more blue than green. This is not the case with the Bebi units.

Check out their website www.bebi-electronics.com
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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* .... LED units, from Bebi Electronics....

... you need to fit them into your existing light fitting and then solder the connections. Their web site contains many articles and photos showing how this can be done. It is not difficult at all! Previously I had used LED lamps that fitted into the original bayonette fittings in my existing navigation light fittings. These had two major problems, there was still the inevitable corrosion in the bayonette fittings, and the bicolour and tricolour lights were more blue than green. This is not the case with the Bebi units.
Yes, it could be that the colours come out pretty well now, but, as already mentioned in an earlier thread to LED-Nav-lights: If the light-'temperature' is a little off *(i.e. a little too much blue in the green) some authorities on this planet do not like that. *A bigger problem is the construction of the LED light source itself: traditional bulbs have a vertical thread and with that, for the observer the light instantly changed from red to green. That can be important in some special situations though. With a LED Light source, the single LEDs are mostly positioned on a horizontal line around a cylinder. For the observer it produces a gradual change from red to green - another thing some naval authorities do not like.*

Serious LED producers therefore print warnings on the products that in some countries it is not legal to run this LED light source in a traditional navigation light.

Therefore, all nav-light producers who offer complete LED nav light units, do that with introducing totally new designs. But they are still very expensive and therefor we ar tempted to just replace the light bulb itself...*

Uwe

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Old 09-29-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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Over a year ago, I replaced ALL of the lights , including the navigation lights on my yacht with LED units, from Bebi Electronics. Their units are all"potted"i.e. set in epoxy, waterproof, and come with a lifetime gaurantee.

As they are potted units, you need to fit them into your existing light fitting and then solder the connections. Their web site contains many articles and photos showing how this can be done. It is not difficult at all! Previously I had used LED lamps that fitted into the original bayonette fittings in my existing navigation light fittings. These had two major problems, there was still the inevitable corrosion in the bayonette fittings, and the bicolour and tricolour lights were more blue than green. This is not the case with the Bebi units.

Check out their website www.bebi-electronics.com
There are a number of issues here so be careful, ensure correct colour rendering by fitting red LED's in red holders green in green etc. to ensure the output colour meets the collision regs.

Purchasing "ready made" units are prohibitly expensive, the answer is to make your own and providing the vessel is under 20Mtrs and not used commercially the only problem is ensuring you achieve the requisite range.

LED clusters can be purchased from various manufacturers and range from premade units from 12V Dc up to mains 240Volt units (large)

The advantages for your efforts are long life, very low power consumption and heat output, toughness and immunity from shock / vibration and once sealed dreaded vertigris.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:21 PM   #9
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I just had to go up our mast and remove the Victory brand LED replacement bulb I put in our steaming light due to the interference it was causing on our VHF radio. Good thing I saved the original bulb.

Now, for our anchor light I installed one of the Bebi Electronics Owl fixtures and I love it. It is pretty much the brightest in any anchorage we have been in.

Mike

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Old 10-01-2010, 10:20 AM   #10
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I just had to go up our mast and remove the Victory brand LED replacement bulb I put in our steaming light due to the interference it was causing on our VHF radio. Good thing I saved the original bulb.

Now, for our anchor light I installed one of the Bebi Electronics Owl fixtures and I love it. It is pretty much the brightest in any anchorage we have been in.

Mike

http://www.zerotocruising.com
G'day 'Mike&Rebecca' . I'm surprised that no-one else has jumped-in & said thank-you - but THANK-YOU for the great info. It'll save many of use a lot of unnecessary drama, cost & anxt - I'm sure. Your valuable info will go in 'my bible' of 'smart-info' !! Also your recommended web site is just as good as your info & I thank-you two - for that as well. When you have some more 'great' info to share - just jump-in & 'lay-it-on-us' Please. Ciao, from down-under, james
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:45 AM   #11
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G'day 'Mike&Rebecca' . I'm surprised that no-one else has jumped-in & said thank-you - but THANK-YOU for the great info. It'll save many of use a lot of unnecessary drama, cost & anxt - I'm sure. Your valuable info will go in 'my bible' of 'smart-info' !! Also your recommended web site is just as good as your info & I thank-you two - for that as well. When you have some more 'great' info to share - just jump-in & 'lay-it-on-us' Please. Ciao, from down-under, james
Hi James. You're very welcome, and I'm glad you find our site helpful/entertaining.



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