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LED flood instead of Sodium?

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LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby mattakfish » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:24 am

Has anyone found an LED flood or combo flood/spot (preferably in the $500 range) that's adequate for spotting logs and other objects from a reasonable distance. Considering replacing a huge, old 1000 watt sodium to free up space on the mast and reduce power consumption. I know the LED lumens dont even come close to sodium but maybe they work well enough? I don't often run at night for long distances......mainly just use the light when heading to the anchorage.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby JKD » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:54 am

I have a Highliner brand LED forward fixture on order from Elmore Electric (http://www.uselmore.com/) in Seattle. I am awaiting delivery of their Highliner XL 300W fixture after seeing one on display at their booth at Pacific Marine Expo. If you check on their information online you will see that the LED fixture actually does measure-up quite well with the 1000W HPS fixtures. I have used the 1000W HPS lights for winter crab fishing in the past so if this LED fixture does as well in comparison to HPS as Elmore says it will, I will be very impressed. Since purchasing my current troller, I have wanted a decent light ahead to see buoys, drift, kelp islands, and feeding whales. I decided to take the plunge [they are NOT inexpensive] and purchased one from Elmore powered by 12 VDC. There have been some delays in delivering a fixture in 12 VDC, but I am optimistic that I will be pleased once I get it installed.

For something in the $500 range, their are a number of "light bars" (for example the "Rigid" brand - http://www.rigidindustries.com/) being used by boat owners for forward lighting. I plan to have Rigid 10-inch light bars mounted port and starboard on the top of my cabin and facing out to the side and down for help while docking or dealing with tenders, skiffs, or other boats coming alongside in anchorages.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby Crawfish » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:18 pm

The LED light bar I have on my boat will not compete with a 1000w HPS. It is OK for running into the anchorage and seeing buoys and boats but it won't throw near the light the HPS will. Mine draws 26 amps. I would be very curious to see how the 300W JKD is buying works. Please report after you get it up and going.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby JKD » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:13 pm

Will do, Crawfish. The longshoremen's labor dispute on the West Coast is hampering delivery of my fixture. Both my marine electrician and I are hopeful that it will perform close to what their Highliner XL AC fixtures have so far. My contact at Elmore Electric has installed 4 of these LED fixtures [using AC power] facing forward on a large Bering Sea crabber and the initial reports back from their trip from Puget Sound north were pretty enthusiastic.

I will be curious to hear what they think about the LED fixtures when they get into heavy icing conditions. At least the HPS fixtures I used produced enough heat to keep them clear of rime ice. A couple of trollers have told me that their LED light bars have collected snow when they have tried running in the dark in the winter.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby mattakfish » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:05 pm

Didn't even think about the icing issue....thanks for the replies!
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby HighlinerLEDMark » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:02 pm

This is Mark Buick at Highliner Lights. I just joined the forum after talking to JKD. He is the customer where we are waiting for a 12 volt version of our HPS replacement. There are a lot of comments on this site regarding LED's and I am happy to join in the conversation if I can help educate anyone regarding LED's. I promise no sales pitches. We are happy to wait for some of you to take the jump and let the fixtures do the advertising.

So thanks for the opportunity to join in the discussion and ask away. I will do my best to post informative answers.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby chumbag » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:08 pm

nice timing!! i was just starting to research this same subject. i didnt come across the www.uselmore site on my own , but looks promising. i wish they would have posted some prices and different models,maybe they have a 150 watt that would work for running? also rigid brand has something that looks close to sodiums, it,s a scene light, but looks like they top out at 100 watts, and are around 700 bucks if i remember correctly
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby chumbag » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:51 pm

hey all, was wondering how that light jkd was ordering faired? and if anybody else found a good led replacement?
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby mcs » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:17 pm

I have been hearing good things about the Seafire led floodlights
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby JKD » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:44 am

For those that are curious - I have been pleased with my forward-facing 300w Highliner LED fixture. I found it to be very well made and it does exactly what I wanted it to do. It DOES draw a lot of amperage but we installed it using over-sized wire components and have had no issues. I already had a 160-amp alternator so there have been no problems with supplying enough power for it to operate properly.

My only complaint is that I got spoiled by having a spread of 3 sodium lights while crabbing years ago, and a single light pointed ahead seems to be a pretty narrow light beam after having the entire area in front of the vessel lit-up. To compensate I will do a little "zig-zag" maneuver if I'm not sure what I am looking at and that has helped. How bright is it? I have had complaints from Coast Guard vessels, tugboats, the Juneau [and Sitka] Police, crab boats, and "Panamax" cruise ships when I turn it on running after dark to check on an object showing on my radar, or when showing it off to interested boat owners in a Harbor.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby chumbag » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:44 pm

thanks for the comeback jkd. that is a very positive review on this subject.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby Once and Future » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:03 pm

I don't quite get how the new light is dimmer compared to the array of 3 sodiums on the old crabber (you have to zig zag now); yet you get complaints from the authorities about how bright it is. So did everyone complain about the crabber sodiums as well?
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby Lulu » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:57 am

When I replaced the sodium lights several years ago, I learned that 1.) you want to buy American assembled LEDs verses Chinese. And 2,) you need to map the area to be illuminated and buy lights that match your area of interest.

Chinese LEDs, as of a couple of years ago, were of poor quality in that they did not produce the light specified nor have the reliability of American assembled LEDs. The American built LEDs are more expensive, but considering hanging from the mast to install or replace a light, are worth the dollars.

The second point about mapping your area of illumination is about the LEDs. Some are very linear in their illumination (i.e. straight ahead with no side diffusion, or side light), others have a broad illumination area (but don't throw light as far as a more focused fixture), and there are combinations.

What I did, and it took several tries to get close to what I wanted, was mount a LED bar facing forward and a light fixtures angled 90 degrees off both starboard and port. The bar LED is very linear and I couldn't see the break water when leaving port, nor when passing a buoy. The two side lights, starboard and port, fixed that problem.

My recommendation is to search the internet for companies selling American made LEDs. Then find someone who is willing to help map the area of illumination. You can help that person by knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, i.e. running at night and avoiding hazards vs crabbing, how high the lights can be installed off the water, and how much power you have to spare.

One of the side benefits of LEDs is they are blue light (they look like white, but they're actually blue in the energy spectrum). Which means, they have a shorter wave length and penetrate fog really well. I've had a number of boats tell me they can see my lights before they see the boat. For that reason, I have three of the smallest LEDs facing forward up in the rigging. They each pull about one amp, which is nothing. That light does nothing for me, but the whole fleet knows when I'm in front of them on a foggy day.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby JKD » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:47 pm

Once and Future - I didn't say anything about my Highliner being dimmer, my light is actually brighter than a most of the Tite-Lite and Wide-Lite 1000W 208ACvolt fixtures I am very familiar with (hence the complaints). I ended-up with a narrower area of illumination than I was used to - that's all. There are 60 LEDs in this fixture. The ones near the center are for a more focused beam of light and the ones on the outboard areas of the fixture are for "flood-lighting". I only had difficulty seeing things just outside of the center of the lighted area, and now that I've had my cataracts removed, I doubt I will have the same problem.

Also, I don't know where you fish or run at night but nearly anyone with a bright set of forward-facing lights is usually the target of complaints in northern Southeast Alaska. I don't believe I am being singled-out but apparently my single light is just as irritating as other boats with as many as 3 to 5 HPS lights facing ahead. Go figure.

Finally - I agree with all of Lulu's observations with the exception of the color of the light. My LED is NOT blue, but rather the same yellow-amber hue as is the case with the HPS fixtures. I wanted this color so that snow would not be blinding. We used both quartz lights and metal-halide lights for crabbing before HPS became readily available and it was tough to see buoys and drift ahead because of light reflecting off of snow.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby Once and Future » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:18 pm

Thanks for the clarification, JKD. I run in SE. I usually don't get bothered too much by boats running with sodium lights on. Except one time when I could ill afford it. I got caught out later than I intended, and was running with no forward looking lights. To my dismay, as I was squinting forward, a blaze of light appeared from behind Protection Head. As he rounded the point and steered towards us, it was nearly impossible trying to look out for logs, even with a deckhand posted on the bow. We made it past OK, but it was a miserable hour. After that I heard a cruise ship bitching at him.

Anyway, I decided I needed some forward looking lights after that, and got 2 Rigid LED light bars. On the advice of a friend, I got amber-colored to help with the reflection problem, and mounted them on the pilot house roof, but low enough I could clear them by hand if they iced up (low heat output). They do not offer amber in the official "marine" designation, but I don't think there is much difference. My own theory was that LED's don't penetrate forward in the dark as far as other light sources. So I bought 2 "spot" arrays, mounted them at some distance apart, and focused them both on the same point about 40' ahead of the bow.

My experience:

Pros: Run off existing 12 volt system. Much brighter than my previous system of a wimpy white spotlight. Useful this past November for spotting cresting waves, as the white foam on top shows up well.

Cons: Certainly won't be confused with brightness of daylight. Don't think I could annoy anyone, except in the harbor. Expensive. (Otherwise a couple more arrays would solve the brightness problem, if my alternator can keep up.)

I don't remember how many watts my light bars are. I think I have a 20 amp fuse on each of them, so that would be less than 240 watts each.

In summary, JKD's more expensive LED's may be worth the extra cost, if they are as bright as they sound.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby restless » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:53 am

Key word shurch on Amazon. Cree led light bar I have used these light bars on my boat an Will be taking off my halogen speeders and my 400 watt sodium after this season. Saving about 55 amps and allowing me to get a modern pressure cooker fast hot food at last. There cheep and no radio interference .
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby Lulu » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:36 am

This has become a really good thread. I am not real happy with my set up, but it works. It's good to hear from others who have success and can share how they did it. I'm saving this for the time I have enough $$$ to change out the existing equipment, sometime in 2020 maybe.

As far as the light color. I think about 2, maybe 3, years ago the LED manufacturers started adding a filter to the lens so they could offer different colors, i.e. yellow or "blue". I also know there are huge advancements in light yield vs amperage over the past few years. What you buy today is generations better than 3-4 years ago.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby paul » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:47 pm

I've got two 9 inch round 185 watt Cree leds. $110 each. I'm pretty happy so far. We'll see how they hold up.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby MKP » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:06 am

image.jpeg
I've had a little experience with some of these new LEDs on several boats.
What I have found is LEDs are a more intense light that is powerful and travels far while holding its intensity. The problem is that the light reflecting back is not quite the same as traditional lights. I seem to loose depth perseption with LEDs.

I just put 3 Amber LEDs on a boat. I haven't fished it yet but they seem to be better than the white/blue LEDs. At the dock I would estimate they are 75% of the light from a metal halid.. Here's a picture comparing three 200watt/35,000 lumen Durabrite lights to 3 1,000 watt Britmar metal halides.
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Re: LED flood instead of Sodium?

Postby MKP » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:07 am

From the stbd side
Attachments
image.jpeg
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