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Author Topic:   Trailer Lighting: DRY LAUNCH
jimh posted 08-06-2009 09:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
In several prior discussions, very experienced trailer boaters have commented about the superiority of the DRY LAUNCH brand of trailer lights. I concur. My E-Z-LOADER trailer has DRY LAUNCH brand trailer lights. Recently I had my first maintenance problem with them. The left side tail lamp was intermittent. I cured it by replacing the 17-year-old miniature electric light bulb.

I found that replacement parts for DRY LAUNCH brand trailer lighting are hard to find. I attribute the situation to the low demand for replacement parts. DRY LAUNCH trailer lamps just do not need a lot of maintenance.

The DRY LAUNCH brand trailer lamp works on the diving bell principle. The entire bottom of the lamp housing is open. Air is trapped inside the housing when the lamp is immersed. The trapped air keeps water away from the lamp fixture and wiring. If any water gets in, it can readily drain out through the open bottom. The housing is made of LEXAN, a very strong plastic.

The DRY LAUNCH brand of trailer lamp uses stainless steel screws and bronze bulb sockets to suppress corrosion.

On my trailer I noticed that the bracket on which the DRY LAUNCH lamps were mounted was improperly oriented. This might have happened as far back as the original assembly of the trailer. The bracket was angled to align with the v-shaped cross member. This put the lamp housing on a tilt, spoiling the diving bell effect. I loosenedd the large mounting bolt and reoriented the bracket to make it horizontal. This improved the effectiveness of the diving bell approach to excluding water from entering the interior of the lamp fixture.

This improper assembly of the trailer led to some corrosion on the lower lamp socket, so I obtained a replacement lamp holder. DRY LAUNCH sells these for $10, including new bulbs. The bulbs alone are worth about $3.50.

By the way, I got the replacement at LOCKEMAN'S BOAT AND HARDWARE. This is another example of how great Lockeman's is as a dealer. They seem to always have the stuff you really need.

Buckda posted 08-07-2009 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The major drawback to these lamps, JimH, is visibility. Especially daytime limited visibility conditions (heavy rain). These lamps are almost impossible to see from behind in a heavy rain when the trailer is enveloped in the overspray from the tow vehicle and the tandem wheels of the trailer.

If you trailer for long distances and utilize trailer guides (white PVC posts), you should strongly consider investing in a set of LED PipeLights. These are elevated "out of the mist" where visibility is vastly improved for vehicles following you.

Given that your trailer has a significant overhang (Whaler Drive), I doubly encourage you to look into it.

(Personal note from the guy who followed you through 100 miles of rain soaked highway...)

jimh posted 08-07-2009 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't find there is any significant difference in the light output from the DRY LAUNCH compared to any other brand of tail lamp that uses the very common 1157 miniature incandescent light bulb. DRY LAUNCH has a newer model tail lamp which uses a more modern and probably brighter bulb, and also surrounds the bulb with a silvered reflector. I suspect that newer model probably puts out more light.

ASIDE: The tall LED lamps on Dave's trailer are quite bright, when they are burning.... A gentle poke at Dave, who has a little intermittent wiring problem to his right-side tail lamp on the guidepost. I drove behind Dave's trailer for a few miles, too.

Also, those LED lamp assemblies cost, on a pound for pound basis, more than a Mercury VERADO with DTS and SmartCraft. In other words, they ain't cheap.

Buckda posted 08-08-2009 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
60 dollars is a small price to pay to make SURE the guy following you has every opportunity to see that you are stopping. Especially when you have $20,000 hanging off the transom.


The Chesapeake Explorer posted 08-12-2009 12:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for The Chesapeake Explorer  Send Email to The Chesapeake Explorer     
I have had about 8 sets of reartrailer lights in the last 20 years. My EZ loader came with Dry Launch lights. they went in time and some others and then I went back to the Dry Launch. In time they all will go bad. I also perfer the Dry Launch. they are a simple design and I think they do last the longest. You pull the bulb down out of the light and if you keep the bulb greased with a little avasoline they wont stick in the holder. In time the wires will get ate up. You can solder them and keep them going some more. My souluion was to buy two sets of Dry launch lights, One set on the boat a second in the truck with wire clippers,wire nuts ect a electrical kit as such and when a light goes on the ramp coming home I cut it out and replace it on the spot. The trailer takes more upkeep then the boat!
pglein posted 08-14-2009 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
I've learned that it's best to just buy cheap tail lights and plan on replacing them annually. I went with the expensive, waterproof, LED's one year and thought they'd last forever. Guess what? They didn't even make it through one season.

The reality is that trailer lights get broken for all kinds of reasons, only one of which is constant immersion and corrosion.

A few months ago, I lost one because, while working on my trailer, I tied the dog, by his leash, to the frame of the trailer. When my fiance walked around the corner to say hi, he bolted. The long leash wrapped around the trailer light, and BAM, it was no more.

Last summer, while parking one of the trailers, I backed it into a rock. BAM, no light.

DeepSouthWhaler posted 10-13-2009 11:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeepSouthWhaler    
What are some online sources for purchasing Dry Launch lights?
K Albus posted 10-13-2009 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Dry Launch lights are available online at

I have Dry Launch lights on my trailer. The only problem I see with them is that they are not readily available at retail outlets. I was on vacation once in Northern Michigan, and left my trailer in a designated parking area. While I was away somebody smashed one of my trailer lights. Because a replacement light was not readily available for purchase, I had to make a several hundred mile trip home with only one working trailer light.

jimh posted 10-13-2009 10:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Kevin--You can get a replacement DRY LAUNCH tail lamp from Lockeman's Boat and Hardware. David carries all the right stuff.
high sierra posted 10-22-2009 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
I've been using LED's for 4 years now and they are much more reliable than the old bulb type. I buy them at Wal Mart. If you run a separate ground to them they are even brighter than any other bulb. I NEVER disconnect them when backing into the water. high sierra
jimh posted 10-22-2009 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't think that DRY LAUNCH has tail lamps that use LEDs. I have never seen DRY LAUNCH for sale at WALMART. With WALMART, you never know that you'll find in stock, as it seems to vary with each store and what's on the shelf at that moment. Where did you find the DRY LAUNCH tail lamps with LEDs at WALMART? I'd be curious to know.
high sierra posted 10-31-2009 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
Sorry ,I didn't mean to infer they were Dry Launch. I wasn't clear in my definition. In fact I bought the last set of LED's at Harbor Freight. They get dunked in the worst alkali water around here. Zero problems. high sierra

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