Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Wiring your boat, How to Wire Lights/Accessories, All things electrical other than actually powering your boat by electric motors.

Moderator: Bill Edmundson

User avatar
mrintense
Posts: 2482
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:22 am
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby mrintense » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:05 am

I've been doing some searching on the net trying to find a good solution for a bow light. My preference is to use LED for the reasons generally stated (low power consumption, brightness, longer lasting).

I would also like to use a classic styled light cover, possibly with a flag pole, but the pole part hasn't been decided yet.

It seems however, that the choices for brand new classic styled lights are limited to PERKO's one offering which is a incandescent bulb design, and a Boston Whaler style LED light that costs nearly $200 dollars and is not really the style I am looking for.

In LED lights, there are numerous choices, but the best seems to be the Attwood 3500 series. However, while these tear drop shaps don't look too bad, they are not the classic styling that I am after either

I cannot seem to find anyone that offers quality classic styles LED bow lights.

So as an alternative, I considered retrofitting a classic shell with LED lightning. But this presents different problems. First off, by themselves LED's require somewhat different circuitry. I am not an electrical expert and do not really know what those differences are. There does seem to be drop in replacement LED bulbs that can be substituted for original incandescent bulbs, but I have heard of issues with reliability with this approach. I am also concerned about certification issues. My assumption is that any certification of a light goes out the window if the bulb type is changed.

So unless some manufacturer decides to produce one of these classic style cases, there are no easy choices to make.

I am still undecided which way to go, but I thought this might be a good topic for discussion so I am putting this out there for other's to comment on.

Feel free to discuss technical aspects of the bulbs, retrofitting existing lights, certification, etc. I would also be interested in hearing about what other's have done. I am also interested in hearing relative merits of LED's versus incandescent in the typical boating environment.

Just as a frame of reference, I suspect that most of the time, I will be using my boat during daylight hours, with the occasional use overnight. This will normally be on a lake, possibly a river, but unlikely to be on the ocean.
Carl
a.k.a. Clipper

Crafting a classically styled Vera Cruise named "Some Other Time"

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

User avatar
chugalug
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:01 pm
Location: top of mn.

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby chugalug » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:15 am

:D Perhaps that is something that you could design and fabricate and market for a little pocket change.I'm also trying to figure out something for bow of Chug. Something that won't get in way of anchor system.
Working on regular-sized Bo-Jest


"If it's not crooked,It's not mine

User avatar
DrBryanJ
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:05 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby DrBryanJ » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:44 am

I bought 2 old bow lights on ebay I thought I would retrofit with led. I don't know how I will do this. I plan on picking my son's brain as he is an electrical engineer and hopefully can help. My bigger concern with these is I don't know what it is going to cost to have them rechromed. I'm afraid the cost is going to be too high.

Carl, if we can solve this, I will post our solution. Also, since I only need one, the other would be available.
Bryan

Building a malahini "Mona Lisa"

My wife said "If I build a boat, she's getting a divorce."

User avatar
Bill Edmundson
Posts: 10325
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:45 am
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA
Contact:

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby Bill Edmundson » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:32 am

West Marine sells LED bulbs that will fit many old lights.

http://www.westmarine.com/search?Ntt=led%20bulb

Bill
Mini -Tug, KH Tahoe 19 & Bartender 24 - There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up.
Tahoe 19 Build

User avatar
steveh41
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:16 pm
Location: Catheys Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby steveh41 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:50 pm

Carl,

I agree with Bill... the LED replacement bulbs are a great alternative to incandescent and use lots less power ( 1 to 2W ). Haven't heard of any reliability issues although USCG or ABYC certification might be something you want to research. The cert. issues are primarily related to brightness of the bulb (eg 2nm visibility for <12 m boat length) and angle of visibility which is largely determined by the housing itself and shouldn't be affected by the type of bulb in use. So it makes sense that an LED replacement bulb of appropriate brightness in a proper housing should be OK. No special wiring requirements but make sure your voltage and polarity are correct...

Steve
The longest journey begins with a single step… then repeat as necessary!

User avatar
mrintense
Posts: 2482
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:22 am
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby mrintense » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:21 pm

Thanks for the responses everyone. I have also looked into the LED replacement bulbs as an alternative.

From what I have found out so far, changing an incandescent for an LED will almost certainly void the certification for a given light housing. Although the brightness is typically more, the filament location in the housing typical changes, bringing the angle of illumination into question.

LEDs are also quite subject to voltage fluctuations and can be easily burnt out. One light company, Aqua Signal, has stated that they have not successfully retrofitted older housings with LED replacement bulbs (successfully meaning that they cannot pass certification on the housing).

The typical ad for LEDs states 50,000 hour life spans, but there seems to be an awful lot of people who only get a few months of use before the bulb fails. I suspect that most of the replacement bulbs being used do not contain high quality (if any) voltage stabilizing electronics.

I also found out that it is imperative to use the correct color LED behind colored lenses. It might seem counter intuitive, but a white LED should not be used behind a green or red lens. Instead the LED color should match he lens color.

After considering this more, and talking with other builders and owners, I started to question when and how often I will be using the bow nav light. Since it is normally going to be on while underway (in the dark) and probably not all that much while stationary, the amp advantage of LEDs is irrelevant. The brightness would be a plus in this situation, but I honestly believe that I will very rarely operate my boat at night given my current situation, so I am not sure that is a factor either. Given the extra cost of replacement bulbs versus the replacement costs of burnt out LEDs, it seems to me, that for my situation, a normal incandescent bow light will be satisfactory.

Now that is not to say that I will not consider LEDs for other nav lights. especially the stern and anchor lights which I suspect will get much more use, given as how they need to be on all the time at night. While I probably won't be operating my boat at night very often, I will be using it for occasional camping, so an LED anchor and stern light makes more sense.

So given all of that, I will probably locate the style of bow light fixture I want and use incandescent for that. My anchor light is going to be mounted on a custom mast which I will be making at some point and will definitely be LED as will the stern light.

Now if some manufacturer were to come out with a certified, reliable, classic styled bow nav light, I would reconsider.
Carl
a.k.a. Clipper

Crafting a classically styled Vera Cruise named "Some Other Time"

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

User avatar
kens
Posts: 4390
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:25 pm
Location: Coastal Georgia

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby kens » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:23 pm

the LED replacement bulbs are a hit or miss deal.
I have a perfectly good socket, and a perfectly good LED bulb, but the 2 won't work together.
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

User avatar
Bill Edmundson
Posts: 10325
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:45 am
Location: Birmingham, AL, USA
Contact:

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby Bill Edmundson » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:54 pm

I will throw out, the red/green are only used while underway. They are not a real power drain then. The all-around/mooring light may be on all-night. So, LED might make more sense there. That is what I think I might do.

Bill
Mini -Tug, KH Tahoe 19 & Bartender 24 - There can be no miracle recoveries without first screwing up.
Tahoe 19 Build

User avatar
steveh41
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:16 pm
Location: Catheys Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby steveh41 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:21 pm

kens wrote:the LED replacement bulbs are a hit or miss deal.
I have a perfectly good socket, and a perfectly good LED bulb, but the 2 won't work together.


Ken,

You might want to check polarity of the socket wiring, incandescents don't care but LED's do...

Steve
The longest journey begins with a single step… then repeat as necessary!

User avatar
kens
Posts: 4390
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:25 pm
Location: Coastal Georgia

Re: Classic Style Bow Light With LED

Postby kens » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:18 pm

steveh41 wrote:
kens wrote:the LED replacement bulbs are a hit or miss deal.
I have a perfectly good socket, and a perfectly good LED bulb, but the 2 won't work together.


Ken,

You might want to check polarity of the socket wiring, incandescents don't care but LED's do...

Steve


Ahhhh, didn't think of that, I'll look into it
thanks
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:


Return to “Electric Power & Systems”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests