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.

 

LED Boat Strip Lights Chip Considerations and Applications

LED boat strip lights offer increased safety and enhanced mood. They are capable of providing consistent illumination in areas with high activity. When installed outside of the vessel, the compact luminaries improve detection from nearby boats, greatly decreasing the chances of collision.

Purchasing LED boat strip lights for your vessel requires understanding its uses and configurations. Read on to learn about how these factors can affect illumination on your watercraft. To purchase waterproof strip lights, please visit – LarsonElectronics.com

LED Boat Strip Lights

LED Chip Size: 3528 and 5050

The first thing one must understand when choosing LED boat strip lights is chip size. These products are usually offered in 5050 or 3528 chip configurations. The values associated with the components refer to the size or dimensions of the chips in millimeters (mm). With this in mind, 5050 LEDs measure 5 mm x 5 mm, while 3528 LEDs measure 3.5 mm x 2.8 mm.

5050 LEDs are considered to be much stronger than 3528 LEDs. The luminaries house three diodes per single housing, resulting in brighter illumination. By comparison, 3528 LEDs only carry one diode per housing. Due to 5050 LED boat strip lights forcing more diodes on the board, heat can become an issue. Though when paired against outdated lighting technologies, LEDs run noticeably cooler.

Applications and Considerations

3528 LED boat lights are very useful for single color installations that require only one light color (for example, white). This is due to their single-diode configuration. To produce colors, LEDs need three diodes: red, green and blue (RGB). 5050 LED boat strip lights can accommodate this requirement, as they can hold multiple didoes. Other configurations and sizes include the following: 3020 LEDs, 3014 LEDs and 2835 LEDs. 2835 LEDs can be found inside airplanes and are the most compact from the set of examples. 3014 LEDs are typically installed in and around commercial buildings.

Going back to lighting systems for marine vessels and based on the information above, it would be possible to narrow down the exact type of LED boat strip light you need. Most boats use single-diode configurations for strip lighting to avoid mixing with navigation lights. Hence, it would make sense to use 3528 LEDs for exterior installations. However, to enhance the mood inside cabins on a boat, 5050 RGB LEDs may be used.

Lastly, LED strip lights for boats must be waterproof and corrosion resistant to prevent premature failure. Low voltage models that operate on 12V DC or 24V DC are useful for compliance with lighting regulations for marine applications.