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Source For Replacement LED Lamps For Navigation Lamps and Gauge Illumination Lamps
|Author||Topic: Source For Replacement LED Lamps For Navigation Lamps and Gauge Illumination Lamps|
posted 11-27-2012 03:33 PM ET (US)
[This article was originally posted to a thread in another discussion area that had been dormant for five years and was discussing another topic. I have separated this into its own thread and moved it to SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL.--jimh]
Where can I get LED replacements for the guage lights and the [combined sidelight lamp at the bow] [for an unidentified Boston Whaler post-classic boat]? Thanks so much. Steve
posted 11-30-2012 11:02 PM ET (US)
They're not LED lights. Not the [combined sidelight] lamp anyway.
posted 12-02-2012 10:35 AM ET (US)
What sort of gauges are you asking about? I do not recall seeing any gauge illumination lamps which were field replaceable that used anything other than a miniature incandescent lightbulb. Using incandescent lightbulbs will generate some heat inside the gauges which may help to drive out condensation and fogging. In that regard the original incandescent lightbulbs may be more useful than LED replacements--if you could even find an LED replacement.
What sort of navigation lamp are you asking about? It has only been very recently that Boston Whaler began to use navigation lamps with LEDs as the light source, and in those lamps I do not believe there are field-replaceable LEDs. I think you have to buy a new lamp fixture if the LED goes bad.
If you have a navigation lamp that uses a miniature incandescent lightbulb, there are some after-market LED replacement assemblies that are designed to fit into those lamp sockets. You generally get them from vendors on-line. I haven't really seen these carried by local dealers very much. Check West Marine.
posted 12-03-2012 09:19 PM ET (US)
While the original bulbs may have been incandescent, there are wide variety of LED replacement bulbs available. The quality of the LED bulbs varies widely. On the good side, there's a company called Nite Ize that makes a great 1W white LED for the AA Mini Maglite. On the other hand, I ordered from West Marine a replacement LED bulb for the all-round light on my Montauk that was made by Dr. LED. While plenty bright enough, the photons came from a higher point and were not focused correctly by the Fresnel lens on the all-round light. The incandescent bulb went back in. I've had similar mixed results with LED automotive brake lights. Some are great, some have sucked.
Dr. LED does make make festoon bulbs that would fit my red/green bow light, but after the $50 bad experience with the all-round light, I'm not interested in being the tester.
It would be helpful if we shared good and bad experiences.
posted 12-04-2012 01:01 AM ET (US)
I started experimenting with LED replacement lamps about five years ago. I had lost two incandescent bulbs in a season, while underway, and while changing them realized just how danged-hot they get. I also had an experience on an Isle Royale trip two years prior where my anchor light lens had begun to melt after being on all night.
The first bulbs I tried were known as the Goldstar Super High-Flux 1.5w LED (a festoon bulb). These only came/come in "super white" and they are so bright they washed out all but the darkest red and green lenses. They were okay for an anchor/stern light though. I did have one bulb failure; one of my navigation lights at that time was not sealed correctly and condensation was a problem. These were obviously not suitable bulbs for navigation lights.
I switched to another bulb known as the Superstar High-Flux LED (also a festoon bulb). These bulbs are very bright and come in colors. I ordered them in green and red, and that did the trick. I had clear, very bright red and green light across the entire 121.5º arc.
I also used one of these in white to serve as the rear lamp in my all-round light. For the forward lamp in my all-round light, I chose a bulb called the LED 360 High Flux that has an emitter on all four sides at 90º offsets. With the bulb correctly oriented, I have very bright light visible from 360º.
Neither the Goldstar and Superstar are 360º lights, they are directional and their arc of illumination is approximately 180º according to the manufacturer; it is actually less but sufficient to satisfy USCG requirements for coverage.
After two seasons, I did lose a Superstar in the same fixture that killed the Goldstar. I was finally able to seal the fixture completely and eliminate the moisture problem. These LED's are designed to be automotive bulbs, so I don't think they can't handle the raw marine environment. If you keep them dry, as I have done so for the past four years, they will work much better than an incan.
They're also relatively cheap, about $8.00 each so I bought several of each to serve as spares.
And finally, I use this site as a source for the bulbs and more:
The site is ugly and hard to use, but I have no complaints about their prices or service.
posted 12-04-2012 01:07 AM ET (US)
I should also note that my all-round light is a Perko 1196, and my port and starboard navigation lights are Perko 0963.
All of them use 31mm festoon bulbs.
posted 12-06-2012 11:15 AM ET (US)
Thanks for that great information on replacement LED lightbulbs.
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