Water Resistant Lighting vs Waterproof vs Water Repellent

Protection from the ingress of water or moisture comes in various degrees. Buyers of industrial equipment, including LED lights, for marine environments typically encounter the following references on product labels: water repellent, water resistant lighting and waterproof.

Contrary to popular belief, these designations do not offer the same level of protection against water. Read on to understand how these references differ.

Water Resistant and Water Repellent

Out of the three levels of protection, water resistant is considered to be the lowest form. In most cases, such references can be found on watches and consumer products. To withstand the presence of water, units with water resistant labels can be treated with a special coating.

On the other hand, water repellent provides highly resistive protection against water and moisture. Like water resistant products, such devices may also be treated with robust coatings. But going a step above that, the units could come with features that prevent the ingress of water at various parts (not just the case or lens).

Without a standard to adhere to, manufacturers must define ‘water resistant’ and ‘water repellent’ references properly on the label.

The Waterproof Standard

Waterproof is the highest level of protection from water. However, the term ‘waterproof’ does not provide the exact level of protection without an accompanied ingress rating (IP). The IP scale is applied to determine the type of environments and water-based activities the product can withstand.

Without an IP rating, it is difficult to tell how ‘waterproof’ a device really is. This is because the scale used to measure its effectiveness ranges from 0 to 8 (the second number in the rating). At the bottom of the scale, products are only protected from dripping water or splashing water. By comparison, the top of the scale allows immersion up to three feet or one meter.

LED Alternatives for Canister Lights in Underwater Cave Diving

Cave diving is a unique and dangerous experience, requiring powerful lights for guidance. Due to the lack of oxygen in such diving sites (even above water inside the caves), many professionals only use equipment designed for extreme environments. These days, challenges with underwater lighting during cave diving expeditions are being addressed using LED technology instead of canister lights.

Pitfalls of Canister Cave Diving Lights

Previously, the traditional canister light was the most preferred option for illumination in caves. A canister light is a bulky device that is typically secured on the arm of the diver. Alternatively, the unit can be mounted on the back of one’s oxygen tank.

Old canister light designs relied on sealed lead acid batteries for power, as well as incandescent or HID bulbs. The combination of both components (and a cord for connection) resulted in a heavy and very hot underwater lamp. Furthermore, divers frequently wait at the very last minute to activate the portable fixtures, in order to reduce the risk of premature failure.

LEDs and Underwater Cave Diving

The introduction of LEDs revolutionized the cave diving industry (among others). Improvements in battery technology also contributed to such upgrades, from lead acid-based to lithium.

Without a cord and with a solid-state build, LED spotlights for cave diving are lightweight and durable, making the luminaries less prone to failure from rough contact. Such features are also useful, when traveling to the diving site, as persistent vibration from airline cargo and off-roading can break lights with loose filaments.

Because LEDs are energy efficient, less heat is released during operation. For cave divers, the possibility of accidental burns from touching a very hot lamp or battery pack is decreased. Lastly, with safety as the top priority, individuals do not have to wait last minute to turn on an LED lamp, due to their lengthy lifespan.

Equipping Submersible LEDs on Trailers for Boating Season

Is your trailer ready for this year’s highly anticipated boating season? Replacing one’s incandescent trailer lamps with robust submersible LEDs trailer lights could help boost safety while towing vessels on the road and decrease headaches at the dock.

Read on to learn about the advantages of submersible LEDs for trailers.

Benefits of Submersible LEDs

Low quality, non-submersible trailer lights can cause issues at the dock, during deployment. It is best practice to unplug one’s trailer lights before backing up into the water, to ensure they don’t get blown out.

This recommendation is only applicable to incandescent lamps, as the units can burst due to the rapid change in temperature during exposure to cold water. It is important to consider that this type of lamp generates large amounts of heat, which contributes to the concern.

Submersible LEDs address this issue by operating cooler. Furthermore, the units are extremely compact and sturdy. With a solid-state build, LED trailer lights can withstand rough contact at the dock. From a cost perspective, boat operators spend less on spare parts (bulbs and fuses) when leveraging LEDs. Less time is also spent on disconnecting the lights and inspections before packing up for the day.

LEDs and Safety

Interestingly, LEDs can improve safety on the road while hauling one’s boat from the home or shipyard to the dock. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, because LEDs are capable of instant toggling (instant illumination), human drivers react noticeably faster to them, compared to incandescent variants.

During the study, the researchers concluded that the braking response rate of LEDs is up to 2/10th faster than outdated incandescent units. This translates to increased safety and reaction. When traveling at a rate of 65 mph, braking distance can improve by up to 16 feet.

Lighting Regulations for Drawbridges over Navigable Waters in the US

Highly congested docks and waterways are filled with drawbridges that connect various land-based locations around the region. US lighting regulations under 33 CFR 118.1, requires such structures to be illuminated during operation.

This article dives into specific lighting guidelines for bridges over bodies of water where marine operations are conducted on a regular basis.

Types of Lights for Marine-based Bridges

The type of lighting systems applied to drawbridges depends on the classification of the structure. For single-opening drawbridges, every draw span of the structure must be illuminated with two lanterns.

When the bridge is closed, it showcases two red lights; and when open, the bridge displays two green luminaries. During installation, both types of bridge lamps should be mounted at least 15 feet from the roadway (above the bridge). Yellow lights are utilized when illuminating a floating swing bridge.

Signaling Drawbridge Operators with Lights

When a vessel approaches a commercial bridge, the boat operator is required to signal its presence to the drawtender (operator of the drawspan, which can be a trained crew member).

This action is emphasized using boat spotlights. Specifically, 33 CFR 117.15 indicates that a fixed or flashing light is suitable for signaling (white, amber or green). The lighting signal is designed to acknowledge the request from the boat operator and to verify that the bridge will be raised for the safe passage of the vessel.

When the bridge cannot be opened, due to obstructions or busy operations on land, the drawtender must also signal the boat. The lighting signal used for this type of action is a fixed or flashing light (red). Moreover, this signal should be deployed within 30 seconds after the visualization of the boat’s opening signal.

The same signaling protocol is used when the bridge is open and must be closed immediately due to an emergency.

Improving Safety in Industrial Shipyards with Portable LED Lights

A recently published post on EHS Today highlighted a disturbing fact about the dangers of shipyard operations in marine environments. According to the report, confined space injury in industrial shipyards occur twice as often, compared to general construction projects. Why is this happening and how can workers boost safety in shipyards with portable LED lights? Find out below.

Dangers of Shipyard Operations

Shipyards are flammable work sites, due to the presence of combustible fuel, paint and chemicals. Such substances are used during repair, maintenance and construction of large vessels. The main issue with shipyards is their confined nature. The workplace is filled with enclosed and confined spaces, such as tanks, storage rooms, hulls and connecting pipes.

Without proper ventilation, deadly fumes and vapors can accumulate in tight spaces inside the ship. This is also why Class I, Divisions 1 & 2 explosion proof lights must be used at the work site.

Portable LED Lights and Wireless Gas Monitoring

Chambers and enclosed spaces inside shipyards are not usually illuminated or equipped with permanent lighting systems. Workers must bring their own temporary light to the site. This is where safety can be improved; by using reliable LED lamps.

LED droplights, headlamps and cart lights are examples of luminaries that are suitable for confined spaces in shipyards and marine locations. For increased safety, the units can be low voltage. Moreover, it is crucial for the lamps to be explosion proof.

Another device that is useful for shipyard operators is a wireless gas sensor. These devices detect the presence of combustible gas through active monitoring and real-time notifications.

When used together (portable LED lights and a wireless gas sensor), workers can increase the accuracy of readings on gas sensors, as well as reaction times to the presence of flammable substances pooling in the area.

For more information or to purchase marine grade led lights, please visit: http://www.larsonelectronics.com/c-140-led-lights.aspx

Maintaining LED Boat Lights for Long-term Applications

LED boat lights come with long lifespans, capable of reaching 50,000+ hours of illumination. In marine environments, there is a plethora of factors working against lighting systems that can reduce their expected lifespans.

Due to the presence of saltwater, low-quality or poorly maintained LED boat lights can succumb to warping, discoloring, flickering or premature failure. Such occurrences can be avoided by maintaining one’s luminaries on a regular basis.

Frequent Washdown  

One of the most effective ways to deter saltwater corrosion is by aggressively getting rid of it, ensuring it does not have an opportunity to build up on the LED boat lights. During washdown after a long day at the water, it is important to also spray your lighting system. Make sure to go back and wipe away residual water on the surface, as saltwater is notorious for sticking around (resulting in chalky accumulation).

Preventing corrosion for LED boat lights starts with selecting a fixture that is designed for the rugged elements of marine locations. Without a doubt, the units should have a high IP (Ingress Protection) rating for waterproof protection against jet streams (washdown). The wiring components of the luminary should also be well protected.

Inspecting your Lights

Lights for boats must be inspected periodically, to check for any possible points of failure developing on the surface or inside the units. Any cracks or discoloration on the housing or lens should be addressed immediately. Saltwater is known for accumulating on weak surfaces, which can be decreased with sealants or protective coatings.

If your LED boat lights are fixed on ropes or materials that easily absorb saltwater, it is recommended to remove the fixtures and store them when they are not in use. Most boaters do not use powerful detergents during washdown, due to the risk of staining and discoloring.

Keep Industrial Buildings and Work Sites Safe with Infrared LED Illuminators

Security cameras are effective monitoring tools for large, industrial facilities. The devices allow operators to view targets from safe distances, with minimal direct contact. In some cases, a set of security cameras connected to a single network can be deployed to streamline monitoring of tanks, main pipelines or valves. In order to extend the functionality of security devices for nighttime applications, it would be worth considering the use of powerful infrared LED illuminators.

Extending Range and Visibility

Nighttime security cameras rely on infrared LEDs as a primary light source to capture images in the dark. The non-visible beams can help monitoring devices ‘see’ objects hundreds of feet away. Additionally, saturated beam angles may also boost visibility in locations that experience a lot of haze or smoke. This is particularly useful when checking for gas leaks on external surfaces of tanks and large compartments.

Compared to using a standard, visible light source, infrared LEDs are more discreet and applicable to facilities in high-activity or urban locations. Because the beams are non-visible, operators do not need to worry about light spillage on roads, nearby buildings and sidewalks.

Extreme Design

Infrared LED illuminators incorporate rugged designs, due to their extreme applications. The units provide 50,000+ hours of continuous illumination. This lifespan can be extended using photocells or timers that only turn the light on when it is needed. High-quality infrared LED units offer extended operation, beyond the lamp’s expected lifespan, at reduced intensities (retention). The can be used as stationary or portable work lights.

During illumination, the lamps do not use infrared filters to generate infrared beams – as commonly seen in incandescent infrared light sources. Instead, the units incorporate diodes that generate the specific non-visible band. This not only improves the quality of the light, but also decreases maintenance, since there is no longer a need to install a separate filter on the LED illuminator.

 

What is the Difference Between Light Beacons and Buoys in the Water

Navigational aids are common safety markers in large bodies of water. The US Coast Guard establishes the use of such elements, which includes light beacons, buoys (can be illuminated) and dayboards – just to name a few, in its official handbook.

Learn about the difference in led boat lights and between light beacons and buoys for marine applications below.

Buoys and Marine Navigation

Buoys are floating, navigational aids that are moored to the bottom of their respective location (body of water). The two main types of buoys include a “nun” (a unit with a cylindrical body and a cone top) and a “can” (a unit without a cone top). Furthermore, it is possible to equip LED lights on buoys. Such variants are thinner and slightly taller, compared to other types of buoys.

The two light colors used on illuminated buoys are red and green. A strobe light may be installed at the top of the unit, with a reflective panel and bold lettering for streamlined detection at night. Note than green lights are applicable to the right side of boat, when navigating in the general direction of open waters. Red lights should be viewed on the right side of the boat, when returning from open waters. Know How !.

Light Beacons

Light beacons are permanent units that are securely fixed to the bottom of the water. Unlike buoys, they aren’t floating on the surface, requiring direct support from a solid foundation. Marine beacons can be equipped with luminaries – green or red. The units also utilize strobe lights for notification in the water. The reason both buoys and light beacons require strobe lights for illumination is due to the application of distinct flashing patterns.

When it comes to numerical markings, light beacons typically take on green, odd numbers and red, even numbers; while buoys usually have white, odd numbers and white, even numbers; see more about boat lights in this site: http://www.larsonelectronics.com.

Upgrading Underwater ROV Lights with LEDs

Previously dominated by halogen lights, ROV Lights have very strict illuminative requirements that are incomparable to land-based, industrial operations. Because of this, marine biologists started to turn to LEDs, in order to address the pitfalls of halogen lighting in underwater locations.

Inefficiencies of Halogen Lamps

Halogen lights offer bright illumination, especially for spotlighting applications. The lamps are capable of throwing light beams over great distances. However, the way they produce light is very inefficient. By comparison, LEDs can last up to 2-3 times longer than halogen units. This is a huge benefit for underwater ROV Lights, as maintenance and repair for the vessels can be extremely costly.

Furthermore, high color temperature lighting is needed for clarity in underwater operations. Halogen lights typically come with a color temperature range of 2,500K to 3,000K, while HID lamps feature a color temperature range of 4,500K to 7,000K. LEDs can be specially manufactured to emit a superior beam with a color temperature of up to 9,000K. For underwater photographers, a range of 5,000K and 6,000K is suitable for colorful photos.

Underwater Lighting Standards

To understand why LEDs are advantageous for underwater ROVs, one must know the type of standards the industry has for the vessels. For clarity, operators expect an output range of 5,000 to 6,000 lumens. By squeezing in numerous diodes or chips into the luminary, LEDs can meet such requirements. Moreover, the unit should be low voltage, since the ROV is battery powered and does not rely on AC power sources.

For small underwater ROVs, equipment must be lightweight in order to maximize power and thrust during operation. Again, this is where LEDs shine. Halogen units provide roughly 13.2 lumens per gram, while LEDs offer 22.5 lumens per gram, at a rate of 6,000 lumens of light. As a result, LEDs provide more illumination at lighter weights.

Benefits of Low Voltage Boat Lights

Are there any benefits to Low Voltage Boat Lights? Many boaters and operators rely on low voltage units on their vessels. By definition, low voltage equipment are tools and systems that run on 30 volts, or less, typically 12V DC or 24V DC for marine luminaries.

In some cases, the lights leverage a transformer to step down or convert voltage from mainstream line voltages, including 120V AC or 240V AC (for example), to low voltage DC. This configuration is more common in land-based lighting systems, such as low voltage landscape lighting for residential homes.

At this range of operation, individuals can power lights using a standard cigarette plug or a battery. Most small or medium-sized boats don’t offer mainstream AC power, making low voltage DC units more compatible with vessels that use batteries to power their equipment.

Safety and Heat

Perhaps the main reason low voltage lighting matters in marine environments is due to safety. To prevent electrical-related accidents, most LED boat lights come with waterproof ratings and water tight builds. This is because water is a forceful electrical conductor; and boats are surrounded by it 24/7. In the event these protective features fail, the units pose less risks of electrocution. Furthermore, this level of protection is ideal for boats that conduct repair work or utilize a wide range of sharp tools on the vessel. Accidentally striking a low voltage light or cutting a connected wire with a metal object will most likely not result in lethal damage.

Low voltage also equates to lower levels of heat emission during operation. As you might already know, abnormal levels of heat can cause luminaries to malfunction or fail prematurely. Hence, low voltage features may help preserve LED boat lights, allowing operators to use the luminaries for its entire intended lifespan.

Compact Builds and Portability

Low voltage boat lights usually come with smaller, more compact builds. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for boats, since the vessels need to be able to maximize their limited space. Direct compatibility with batteries also lets the lights become more portable and mobile. They don’t always have to be plugged into a power source during operation (for lights that offer portable, wireless features).

To conclude, low voltage luminaries are great options for boaters who are serious about fully functional, reliable lighting systems. The combination of low voltage and LEDs can ensure huge energy savings, as the US Department of Energy highlights that low voltage LEDs consume up to 90 percent less power than halogen units.