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Thread: Navigation Lights

  1. #106
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    Nov 2010
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    One thing to be very careful of is radio frequency interference (RFI) produced by many LED lights. The LEDs themselves aren't the culprit, it's the switching power supplies incorporated into the lights to allow operation over a wide voltage range: often 9 to 32 volts. It turns the LEDs into "all band transmitters."

    There really aren't any standards for RFI emissions from LED lights here in the US. We've got FCC Rules Part 15, but the FCC is too afraid of the screams of "jackbooted government thugs" from Tea Party Deregulation Nutcases to enforce it on the multitude of companies selling LEDs. The Europeans are ahead of us in certifying LEDs, so if the light has a "CE" emblem on it, it's likely to be much quieter than anything sold here in the US of A. All the stuff is made in China, but the Europeans make sure they add a 3 cent capacitor to kill the noise.

    After installing an LED on your vessel, try this test. 1) Tune in a weak station on your VHF, the weather frequencies are a good choice. Pick a weather station that is weak. Now turn on your LED. If the station suddenly disappears or is covered by static, you've got a noisy LED that may prevent you from hearing stations on your VHF when you really need to. If the LED is really noisy, it might also wipe out your cell phone in a weak coverage area (like out on the water). Then you've got a choice: lights, radio, but not both.

    I overheard a fisherman at Pillar Point testing the VHF radio one night recently: "Radio check, radio check." People were responding, but he kept on calling. I walked over to his slip and said: "Hey, nice LEDs on your boat. Real bright. Good for picking up crab pots in the dark. Got rid of those old halogens, did you? You wanna turn those LEDs off a minute and do another radio check?" That worked. He couldn't hear the Harbormaster responding from 300 feet away with the boat's massive LED array powered up. Thereafter ensued a 10 minute conversation about RFI and LEDs.

    I've been a licensed commercial radio operator for 40 years and I can't express in words how aggravating it is to see the radio spectrum being wiped out by cheap LEDs. Pretty soon, only the Europeans will be able to use their radios.
    Last edited by pbryant; 11-26-2013 at 07:33 PM.

  2. #107
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    Sep 2001
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    San Rafael, CA
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    led is what is new

    Captain pbryant.
    I've advanced ignorance of anything electric beyond toggle switches.

    Want nothing but led lighting on my Ariel. Don't believe there is an alternative.
    Led seems to be where we are headed. Soon other forms of making light by wire will be obsolete.

    Maybe the VHF has to change?

    Does it look like this is happening?
    What other choices for communication is happening?

    Is it wiring that causes the problem or only the diodes or both?
    Is there a way of shielding or containing the led switching chips from broadcasting RFI?
    Lead shielding. Potting. Isolating ideas.
    Source for CE certirfied products and lighting? Are these really protected with a 3cent capacitor?

    My house is 100% led - so there are dozens of transformers everywhere - phones and media reception seems unaffected. But often have to step outside to answer cellphone. House has a metal roof.

    Is there an RFI clean way to install marine wire and toys?
    Should I even bother to run coax in the mast to a VHFantenna?
    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ...............................................
    Just went to a marine led site. (MarinePro) They sell Hella, Imtra, AquaSignal, Lalizas bulbs (all European, I presume)
    No mention of CE (RFI) protection.
    Why wouldn't CE certified be a selling point in this country?
    These are of course 'replacement' blubs, se maybe they're Made In China? Another bloody caveat emptor, damit!
    Last edited by ebb; 11-27-2013 at 11:15 AM.

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebb View Post
    Captain pbryant.
    I've advanced ignorance of anything electric beyond toggle switches.

    Want nothing but led lighting on my Ariel. Don't believe there is an alternative.
    Led seems to be where we are headed. Soon other forms of making light by wire will be obsolete.

    Maybe the VHF has to change? Not until the Federation of Planets approves subspace communications or we learn how to modulate gravity waves. By then, our boats will be powered with dilithium crystals.

    Does it look like this is happening? Sure. In geological terms, another thousand years is only an eye blink away.
    What other choices for communication is happening? None that I can foresee. You can always try Morse Code by signal light...

    Is it the wiring that causes the problem or only the diodes? Neither, though the wiring can act as an antenna, making the problem worse. The problem is caused by the switching regulators installed in the LED lamp housing - inside the lamp base. Unless federal regulators force them to filter the supplies (not done here in the US), the switching supplies act like spark-gap transmitters -- which were outlawed nearly 100 years ago because they too wiped out the entire RF spectrum. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spark-gap_transmitter.
    Is there a way of shielding or containing the led switching chips from broadcasting RFI? Filtering: yes. Shielding is less effective. You can wrap the lamp in aluminum foil - but until someone invents transparent aluminum, it defeats the purpose.
    Lead shielding. Potting. Isolating ideas. See above.
    Source for CE certified products and lighting? Are these really protected with a 3cent capacitor? Source: Anything marketed in the EU with a "CE" emblem. ]The European Community has set RFI standards for LEDs. The US effectively has not. There are several cheap ways to greatly diminish the RFI - but only in manufacture - not retrofits, including adding a filter capacitor to the switching supply. But the manufactures don't bother where it isn't required -- the US. I suppose they think greed is good.

    My house is 100% led - so there are dozens of transformers everywhere - phones and media reception seems unaffected. But often have to step outside to answer cellphone. House has a metal roof. Household LEDs don't usually have the same noisy DC-to-DC switching supplies built into the lamps. But you might try an experiment: Turn all the LEDs off and see if your cell phone suddenly works.

    Is there an RFI clean way to install marine wire and toys? Until the US requires certification, all you can do is in sutu testing: install the light, test it, if it wipes out your radios replace it with something else. Retest. Or look for the European "CE" certification. I've had to return half the LEDs I've tested. Some of the cheapest ones are the quietest. If you place an LED near your VHF antenna (like a tricolor at the masthead), it needs to be VERY quiet. There is no workaround because of its proximity to the antenna.
    See embedded replies above...
    Last edited by pbryant; 11-27-2013 at 12:14 PM.

  4. #109
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    If I hadn't collapsed with laughing, the pain would have been too much!.

  5. #110
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
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    101

    LED lights

    Hey Ebb, I purchased some LED bulbs for my original perko nav lights and hope to change the cabin light bulbs to LED bulbs soon. I took my glass red, green, and clear lens off and soaked them in vinegar to get some of the minerals off and that worked pretty well. Looking forward to low energy consumption. Replaced my old #68 bulbs with the 9000425 from Dr. LED. Interesting that the led bulbs have to be colored even when they are behind a colored lens.

  6. #111
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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    LEDs are nice!

    (Posting from my phone. This image might be enormous!)

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  7. #112
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    Feb 2013
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Your LED source?

    Have always regretted not stopping by on the way home home with A157. I was up in Traverse 2 days longer than expected and had no time to waste getting home. The water was so clear I couldn't believe it. One of the guys said you could see down 50' just a 1/4 mile out from the marina.

  8. #113
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    Feb 2013
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Kyle, are those the original fixtures?

  9. #114
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    Apr 2007
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    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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    Wish you'd have stopped in! I'd love to sail with another Alberg-ian! Open invitation to anyone onboard. (vw4kw at yahoo dot com)

    Yes, all original. The LEDs plugged and played no problemo. I will keep looking for my supplier. I can't remember who it was - sorry. If I remember correctly, I used the guidance of Rico's (s/v Mephisto Cat) posts and his source. I'll search and see if I can find it.

    Still looking - actually - for 2 appliance size A15 LED bulbs for the two interior fixtures. Harder to find than you might think. Maybe someone here knows a source?

    Went to the Grand Rapids Boat Show this weekend - stink boat's aplenty - and was intrigued with rope LED lighting used in many modern day boats. I didn't think of it so much for looks, but for utility in hard to reach areas of our boats that a little bright-lighting might be advantageous. There is everyday lighting, and there is full-on house lights that illuminate every nook and cranny of the ship.

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    Last edited by Lucky Dawg; 02-26-2014 at 08:59 PM.

  10. #115
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
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    I ordered some bulbs from Dr. LED, kind of pricey but a little cheaper than West Marine. I think the green goes on the starboard side. Dr. LED has the household size sockets in the 12v. www.doctorled.com When I was up in Traverse the travel lift broke and I had to sit tight until they had it fixed. There were a some other issues as well but not worth going into. Hope to go up and visit the old owner of A157 this year. He was the nicest guy I've ever met. Took incredibly good care of the boat.

  11. #116
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    Apr 2007
    Location
    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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    See LED discussion for part numbers at http://www.pearsonariel.org/discussi...igation-Lights - it is a couple pages, but good reading.

    (As has been discussed here previously by Bill, et al. ... and with all due respect to the website's functionality.... searching google with "site: pearsonariel.org LED" or whatever you are looking for after pearsonariel.org (e.g. site: pearsonariel.org peanut butter) is a much more fruitful search option than using the search option here.)

  12. #117
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    Apr 2007
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    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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    AGGG! I got my lights reversed!! Thanks for the heads up.... I could have left them that way for years! Oh dear.... SMH...

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  13. #118
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Thought I should mention the light and glad to see that you have a good sense of humor. I'll bet you guys are ready for spring. Are the big lakes still icy? I've noticed Google usually out performs most sites when it comes to searches. I'll take a look at the led stuff

  14. #119
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    Grand Haven / Muskegon, Michigan
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  15. #120
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    Feb 2013
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
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    101

    stupid question

    I was just getting ready to say never mind after seeing your post and pics, wow, looks like you'll be able to go ice fishing this summer. I don't watch tv or follow the news much, too much work.

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