LED conversion....on the cheap

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Stee6043, May 17, 2016.

  1. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    I think the longevity is the issue with cheap bulbs. Boats dc voltage varies from 12v and there are vibrations heat etc. The better bulbs have circuitry that allows for varied voltage (often 10 to 30v) and have better heat sinks.
     
    renaudgil likes this.
  2. mjoplin

    mjoplin Member

    116
    Oct 10, 2016
    Houston, TX
    2005 Sundancer 280
    Twin 4.3 Mercruiser
    On the E14 bulbs, I went with these a couple of years ago: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FAG1GLK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Works great!

    On the nav bulbs, I have only replaced the white anchor/nav light. Contrary to the thinking in earlier posts about visibility, you just about need a welding helmet to look at these. I got 6000K bright white and it is BRIGHT. The festoon base used for the anchor light is also on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015X6MWQU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 They are a very tight fit, but work fine.

    Replacing all the G4 bulbs, I also went bright white. The first round from Amazon were Kindeep bulbs. They didn't last too long before flickering and failing. Round 2, I went with these and a year later are still doing fine (they appear to be sealed in silicon and moisture proof) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019MITFX8/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    For bulbs in engine compartment lights, etc. with bases like 1156 automotive bulbs I used these from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IZL80HK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    All are working fine. It makes quite a difference in current loading when light up on battery. LEDs are a lot less "juice hungry" than incandescent and halogen.

    I've yet to replace the red and green nav lights. Rather than putting bright white LEDs in (which could potentially wash out the color), I am looking for colored LEDs that are bright enough for the intended use and visibility needs.
     
    renaudgil likes this.
  3. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    97 270 Sundancer
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    8.2 Mercs,
    7.4 BII
    260hp Alpha 1
    The concern is real and the risk is real. Marine vessels are required to run Coast Guard approved lighting. CG does not approve bulbs, it only approves fixtures. There are specific viewing angles that must be accounted for in nav lighting, particularly the red and green. The lens of an incandescent fixture was designed of the candle power of the supplied bulb, not an LED. The bulb may not be indicative as to color miles away.

    Then there is the liability issue, if you are navigating at night with LED bulbs in incandescent fixtures, rendering the fixture non-CG approved, you are taking on the risk in the event of an accident. If that happens, even if you are not at fault your use of non-CG approved will lessen others liability and increase yours.

    I do not understand the fascination with changing out nav lights with LED as they are only on when the engines are running and by extension the charging system. I did a swap out of my mast light for anchoring with the best bulbs I could get and understand the risk I have taken on due to it. I will not alter the red and green nav lights. Just get new LED fixtures if you want them to be LED.

    MM
     
  4. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Member

    125
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    I replaced the bulbs in my boat With leds and because leds are polarity sensitive I had to reverse the wires on every light fixture. Has anyone else has this problem?
     
  5. Captain Allen

    Captain Allen Member

    330
    Feb 2, 2009
    Coastal North Carolina
    370 EC 1994
    454 Mercruisers, straight drives
    One piece of advice on ordering LED bulbs, order all you need in one batch, don't order for one set of fixtures now and then decide to change others. I did the latter, and while all were ordered from the same source and the same color, the color was off a bit. Not a lot, but enough to notice. I called the manufacturer and they said that there is some minute difference in batches and we worked things out amicably, but it pays to change everything in one view at the same time.
     
  6. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    469
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    I just installed these bulbs in my nav lights. They fit in the allotted space and appear to be of the correct color (warm white) I DID have to reverse the wires, but now they should work for either LED OR incandescent bulbs.
     
  7. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    97 270 Sundancer
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    8.2 Mercs,
    7.4 BII
    260hp Alpha 1
    And you now have taken on the liability by having unapproved navigation lighting...

    MM
     
  8. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    469
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Noted. I've been reading up on this, and am convinced to revert back to a filament bulb. Thanks for lookin' out
     
    MonacoMike likes this.
  9. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Technically speaking you shouldn’t change the bulbs from incandescent fixtures to led for the navigation lights. These lights are specifically tested to comply with the 1,2,3 mile visibility requirements for a vessel of a specific size. If you want led nav lights I would recommend changing the entire fixture.

    Not sure how this is enforced but I always think of the worst situations and having to answer in court when another boat said they didn’t see you would be tough to defend.
     
    MonacoMike likes this.
  10. mnm99

    mnm99 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 2, 2015
    Long Island
    2004 340 SeaRay Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Merc
    Yes, That's one reason why I left my nav lights alone, along with Safety. No need to go led with nave anyway. The engines running anyway. Bring a spare if worried about one blowing out. That's what I do.
     
  11. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    I have replaced my anchor light bulbs with leds because they are left on at night. Green red navs are left incandescent. Transom white is now bright led. It's much brighter than the 10w incandescent.
     
  12. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Member

    125
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    I replaced my bow light with an Attwood 2 nm led light. My only reason for replacing it is the bulb is such a pain to replace. I have to remove the spotlight. Hopefully the led wil last forever.
     
  13. gmacd81

    gmacd81 Member GOLD Sponsor

    73
    Sep 2, 2014
    Annapolis, MD
    2002 460DA hardtop, Raymarine eS128 & eS75, Evolution AP, SHD color radar, Ray260
    Walker Bay w 40hp
    Cummins 6CTA M3's, Onan 11.5 kW genset
    To reinforce the caution regarding navigation lights...simply replacing the bulbs will NOT meet the requirements for nav light visibility. Fixtures are tested and certified as a unit so replacing any part of the certified light, including the bulb, with something other than what it was tested with, invalidates the certification. That's a special point of inspection when you're boarded for a safety check. I've heard of captains bragging about being energy efficient by changing to LEDs receiving citations for non-compliant navigation lights.
     
  14. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    what happens when the plastic lens in the navigation lights cloud up over time from exposure to the sun's rays?.....I would assume that the visibility range would diminish over time...the bulbs get somewhat weaker (less bright) over time as well....

    all this fuss about meeting the coast guard specs and regulations due to a simple light bulb change has me asking questions if the regulations take into account the loss of visibility range due to natural changes in the fixtures and bulbs over time.....

    cliff
     
  15. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    Good point. My anchor light is one of the two bulb Perko units with plastic lenses. The plastic is yellowed and clouded. The LED's are brighter than the 10w bulbs though, but it would be a LOT brighter if the lenses were still clear. I may replace the head on the light. The 90 degree mast for it is impossible to find as far as I can tell.
     
  16. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Member

    696
    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI V drives
    I originally used what you just got (may not be the same brand, though) and they lasted 2 years. Then, flicker and burn outs. I just installed these:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WRS71VZ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    So far very pleased, and they are definitely not getting as hot as the 20w equivs, but the cabin is plenty bright.
     
  17. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    you might can buy just the lens for the anchor light...I did last year.....made a HUGE difference in the amount of light from the fixture.....

    cliff
     
  18. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I was having similar thoughts as this thread started to derail. If USCG regs are anything like they are for autos operated on public roads I'm sure there is a blanket statement somewhere that says "boats must be kept in OEM original operating condition at all times, all systems, etc and so on". To the letter of the law/regulations I assume 90+% of us are not maintaining our boats to OEM specifications and as such are taking on a certain amount of risk. Cloudy nav light lenses, horns that sound like frogs, spider webs in bilge vents, props and rudders not cleaned every six minutes of operation, etc and so on.

    If we're being honest with ourselves we probably shouldn't own boats if we're so risk averse that we can't bring ourselves to change a nav light bulb but we ignore half of the routine checklist items stated in the owners manual.

    My two cents only, of course!
     
  19. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I remember buying those lenses for my old boat a number of years back.
     
  20. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    I've been boarded a bunch of times for safety checks on both my boat and other boats I was operating. Not once did the USCG ask a single question about light bulbs or oem fixtures, etc. They mostly cared about what might be getting pumped out of the bilge into the water.
     

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