View Full Version : Where to mount the running lights?
05-05-2006, 07:15 PM
I"ve got these two nifty new LED side mount port and stbd. running lights and I'm having trouble deciding where to mount them. The boat is 38' LOD with a 6 1/2' bowsprit, no pulpit. The original idea was to fasten them to the outsides of the bulwarks back a bit from the bow, but because of the inward curve at the stem they would need some thick wedge shaped mounting blocks under them so they would line up with the centerline of the boat and show the lights in the proper directions. I think they're going to look like two warts sticking out of the bulwarks. Anyone have a better idea? I could mount them on boards on the shrouds, but these lights are very small (1 3/4" X 2 3/4") and would look lost mounted that way. The lowers are about 4' apart.
05-05-2006, 07:22 PM
They'd also be liable to getting knocked off in a raft up if you put them on the bullwarks. How about on the cabin sides, as long as there's nothing blocking them there.
You could also install some nice sideboards in the shrouds and wire the LED lights inside a traditional sidelight fixture.
05-06-2006, 07:52 AM
Beat me to it.
One advantage is the wiring would go inside the cabin, out of the weather. They would be easy to reach and as mine ( alkso cabin mounted ) easy to change the bulbs without a lot of cussing, screw drivers etc.
S/V Laura Ellen
05-06-2006, 08:09 AM
The cabin side location also has the benefit of being higher up, than the bullwarks, for better visibility.
05-06-2006, 08:13 AM
Thought of that advantage after I posted. Figured either it was obvious or someone else would catch it. :)
Another facto, you aren't getting the lights caught on anything as they are fairly flush with the cabin's sides. Shroud mounting..umm, I can see a few sheets, lines, halyards, sails getting caught on them unless they were placed fairly high up. Then you have the wires to contend with.
05-06-2006, 08:34 AM
I have a couple of ideas about mounting running lights.
1. If they are on the cabin like mine, some of the light will be reflected back and cause glare which reduces night vision. It's a royal pain for me when sailing at night. I'm looking at moving mine elsewhere so this thread came at a good time.
2. If they are mounted on the bulwarks I think that Bob's concerns would be eased in a raftup if they are well forward of the widest beam. Also helps if they don't protrude beyond the rubrail. Maybe try mounting a piece of wood with hot glue in the proposed location and see if it gets knocked off in the next raft up?
3. On my catalina the lights were recessed in the hull way forward and just below the rubrail so they were well protected.
Does anyone know what the required side to side separation of the lights is when viewed from forward?
Hope this helps.
05-06-2006, 09:05 AM
Interesting comment about the glare.
I've not had that problem. In fact, I have to be forward of them to see them. There is a bit of glare off the sails ( jibs etc.) but nothing that effects my vision. Perhaps it is where on the cabin they are put.
]Mine are quite fare forward.
S/V Laura Ellen
05-06-2006, 09:44 AM
Jamie: what is your opinion of the masthead trilights? The extra height would allow the boat to be seen from further away, but harder to replace bulbs.
05-06-2006, 10:00 AM
The bilbs would be a problem but only a minimal one. How many times do you really have to replace them? Not often. I don't think I ever have in 7 yrs.
Id be more worried about the wiring. I don't care how much you tape the wires or how much one hears that the lights are waterproof, moisture gets in. And I hate the idea of drilling holes in the deck for the wires. A cabin is bad enough.
And, every year, if you take the mast down, you gotta unwire the lights. By having them on the cabin, no problems there.
You are correct about visibility. I can not give you any ideqa how far my running lights are visible.
Not really an answer to your question but... an answer of sorts.
I tried to post a picture which I tried to download to imagestation of Uncas' running lights. No luck.
Probably a combination of new programs in imagestation compounded with a new format here.
I grew up with SPSS and WAT 5. What the heck do I know?
ps..My mast is cabin mounted...so had to drill holes for the wiring that I already have.( mast and spreader lights ) Constantly get moisture in there. Even though I have put a mahogany box around them with all sorts of weather proof material. Every time I taske the mast down, out come the wires. So, have to yearly deal with an ongoing problem.
The junctions are still on the deck. Hence, a free entry for moisture.
05-06-2006, 01:55 PM
LED bulbs will last almost forever if wired and sealed well.
If I had your bowsprit, even without a pulpit, I'd be tempted to mount them way out there on the sides. I'm thinking of mounting a set of LED running lights between my forestay and the stem head chock.
05-06-2006, 02:03 PM
That is the issue for me.
Wiring, moisture etc.
If everything is done right, no problem. But all it takes is ummm...a little leak somewhere.
When my mast came down, the mast light was in the water. When hoisted, the light had about three inches of water in the globe.
Replaced. But the wiring wasn't. The replacement never worked from day one as I havfe a feeling that the wires going down the mast got some moisture in them which corroded them. Hence, no charge. no electric current, and no light.
On a boat, moisture is the king. It gets into everything no matter what one does.
05-06-2006, 04:46 PM
if the lights took a light dunking and didn't work thereafter they weren't sealed well to start with. If the wiring was stripped, soldered and heat shrinked properly they should work underwater...a conventional light can be mounted at the masthead with a spare bulb in parallel, and series with a small diode, one in each direction...if a bulb burns out just reverse the wires at the base of the mast or at the panel juncture and the back-up bulb will work.....never replaced a bulb in the last 20 years before converting to led's....
05-06-2006, 05:56 PM
I don't think there's any required separation between sidelights when viewed from ahead--think of the combination lights, both bow-mounted and mashead tri-color--no separation really.
BTW, the concensus last I heard was that those recessed hull mounted lights on the old production boats are no longer legal, but grandfathered in--this was discussed at some length in Latitude 38 several years ago. I think the reason has to do with the height, as IIRC, the regs say something about being mounted on the superstructure or at the highest practical height above the water, for the greatest visibility.
05-06-2006, 06:27 PM
You wrote the big "IF".
Ya know who I was dealing with at the time... LOL.
Have a feeling that none of your suggestions ( and the correct way to repair a wiring issue ) were done.
May end up rewiring the entire mast.
Shyte!!!!!! Another problem.
Granted., I'm guessing but with my luck.
05-06-2006, 06:54 PM
Mike, come to think of it I do remember seeing a rule about the lights required to be above the deck. So that rules that out.
Uncas, that's an excellent point. My lights are mounted about 3 feet or so aft of the front of the cabin. They're built into a pocket in the dorade boxes. Part of the glare comes from the light on the deck and cabin top.
I'll investigate various ways I can reduce glare by simply moving them to the front of the cabin and put appropriate boxes around them to block extraneous light from the deck and the sails.
Moisture is the ever present bug-a-boo as we all know. So I'll make sure they are well ventilated on the inside of the cabin.
05-06-2006, 07:00 PM
I only have one dorade (sp.) Port side.
My lights are approx 8" off the deck on the cabin.
The only probelm I have...and easily corrected is, if I do not bag the club foot jenny. Light reflects off of it and the club plus the sail blocks any light forward.
Damn wish I could post pictures. Not only has the forum changed formats Image station has as well.
Where ther is smoke, there is fire.
05-07-2006, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. Looks like the cabin sides are the best mounting option for me. When you spend years working on a big project like this, it sometimes it helps to have someone state the obvious.
07-09-2010, 10:46 PM
I agree that the best way is a proper soldering job, but it seems that all the books say to use crimp terminals. I have seen a lot of problems with crimps ( corrosion, improper tool used, wire too loose in terminal, etc), but I have not had a proper solder job fail.
07-10-2010, 09:33 AM
Moisture could still be a problem if the LEDs are just a conversion to a standard bulb base. It would be a good idea to coat the base with a dielectric gel to try and seal it from any moisture.
07-10-2010, 10:59 AM
Um, guys, this thread is over 4 years old..... I expect he made a decision already:o
07-10-2010, 11:22 AM
Yes, I did, long ago.
By the way, the lights were/are Aquasignals. The guts are potted in epoxy, wired with Anchor heat shrink crimps and have been trouble free.
07-10-2010, 02:43 PM
Ok, that's cool. So where did you mount them?
07-10-2010, 06:38 PM
Ok, that's cool. So where did you mount them?
Sides of the cabin, as Cleek and Jamie suggested, about two feet back from the forward end.
07-11-2010, 11:01 AM
"Bright Star's" are on the cabin sides as well. Makes changing bulbs easier. As long as a headsl doesn't block the light it suffices to meet regs. Even so, when at sea at night we hang a spent six pack of beer in its plastic holder from the stbd. spreader. Makes a keen radar reflector.
07-11-2010, 12:13 PM
Pics, we need pics!
07-11-2010, 02:36 PM
As long as a headsl doesn't block the light it suffices to meet regs.
I also have an OMG LED tri-color masthead light. I use that under sail. That way I don't have to worry about a sail blocking the light. I use the sidelights, along with a steaming light, when motoring.
07-11-2010, 04:10 PM
I moved mine from below the gunwale to the bottom of the flybridge close to where it meets the cabin top.
keeps the wires out of sight under the flybridge inner shelf. Very easy to work on the lights now.
There is supposed to be a minimum difference in height to the mast head all around white light as well.
stupid place to put a light, you had to lay on the deck reach down and hope you did not drop anything in the water. That was factory job.
01-05-2013, 09:55 AM
I was gonna say something but this place is much faster paced than what I am used to in Australia. Not that we are off the pace ... we seem to spend more time doing stuff than talking about it. Depending on your vessels length blah blah. Put then where you can be seen without getting run over.
Function rules fashion . The boat I work on was run over by a Turkish bulk carrier.
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