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Best Underwater Lights

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by SRQcaptain, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. SRQcaptain

    SRQcaptain New Member

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    We are building a new boat and looking for a nice set of underwater lights. Our current boat has 4 LED made by Sea Vision they are ok, but don't have much penetration. Looking for a light that can penetrate well and also have a flood style to it. I have seen some lights made by Deep Sea which I thought were ok.

    What else is out there and what is reccommended?

    Thank you in advance,

    BJK
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Good topic. I look forward to learn more about underwater lights also. I'm sure there are lots of experiences to extract from here on YF.
  3. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    Hi there,

    This is a great topic for sure, there are many brands and types and since you did not mention your hull material am just gonna say everything I know about the subject just to start the conversation and attract more information and correction when applicable.

    Composite hulls use bronze housing, metal use stainless steel and aluminum uses aluminum housing.

    LED's are the best to conserve power, not the best in luminous power (Light penetration) they work on DC power, Xenon has better brightness, long life but will need more DC juice, I like the penetration and spread angle of those. The most expensive (Unit price and Power requirement) are Metal Halide, running on AC power, sometimes require 3phase power! I think those are for 100'+ boats since the unit its self is bulky, requires too much power and has a VERY wide spread angle and light penetration.

    LED comes in "Screw-On" models that need no Thru Hull holes except for wiring, but sure enough, such units would be the lowest in lighting power. When buying any, see how much power it draws to do your power costing, what is the beam power in angle degrees and lumens, will it fit through your hull or not? What is the life span of the unit? and whether the bulb is generic or you will have to replace the whole unit once its dead!

    Forgot to mention the worst kind of all! Halogen, it is the cheapest for a reason! Draws too much power and is sensitive, so if you buy one, keep lots of spare bulbs!

    There are many brands and I don't want to be caught advertising any! Maybe later in the conversation i'll mention some.

    Cheers,
  4. MaxPower

    MaxPower Senior Member

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    At Sea ... Aahhh ...
    i recall i wanted a particular brand of lights for their brightness ...

    the factory categorically refused as they would be out of the water when on plane ... and that would cause them to overheat, with the possibility of causing fire ...
  5. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    This is another issue with most, placement of the light is so important for its efficiency and as you stated safety! Many require being not less than 12" or so below water line.

    LED I think does not have the heat issue, sure enough halogen, metal halide and xenon does.
  6. thatcher

    thatcher Member

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    Led

    ocean LED 4010. have a couple facing down, very cool in 50ft of water
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    On smaller boats, they are using the LED stuff. I'm confused why a 12vdc LED needs a power supply or Driver.
    I assumed at first this driver was a power amplifier but the best 12vdc to 12vdc power amp is a larger battery cable. Or a noise filter?
    I later figured it was some safety piece of equipment also, when the LED overheats, this Driver box shuts the LED off.

    So, I've been guessing here, Anybody have a solid answer what a dcv power supply does for a LED setup?

    Any ideas what to look for in a better dcv LED package? What to stay away from?
  8. EME

    EME Guest

    A Vested Interest

    Hi

    Firstly, let me declare a vested interest. As well as being a boat owner and lover I am CEO of an underwater lighting company LINK REMOVED! so please interpret the following in whatever way you choose!

    An acquaintance pointed this thread out and all I would wish to do is point out a couple of corrections:-


    I would aluminium Bronze and Polymers to your list. Most polymer lights are not as powerful though ( with the exception of ours!).. stainless steel is also not a good heat conductor so lights tend to be less bright.


    Im afraid that is no longer true. LED has moved on so much in the last 3 -4 years it is by far the brightest (as well as being available in all the colours not just white) . We, by way of example, now use Philips LED white die rated at 130 lumens/watt. Far brighter than anything else available (including Plasma) as less light is lost within the fixture ( Led 'light' is not produced in 360-degrees which is where much light is lost in traditional lighting despite the presence of reflectors).
    LED comes in Thru-Hull, Surface Mount, Flush Fit with and without built-in drivers etc. However, I think I' agreeing with you!
    Totally agree, do all the research you can and ask current owners etc , there is too much rubbish written/claimed about/for underwater lights imo .. what you really should be looking for is the FIXTURE lumens ( ie how much it is producing in that fixture. Unfortunately we know of one manufacturer who is quoting incorrectly inflated numbers ( we know as we have tested them properly using an integrating sphere etc.) . That is awful and makes the purchaser's job difficult and/or disappointed.

    However, and most importantly, go and see or watch real video of the lights in action ... much better than images generally.


    All LED underwater lights should be capable of use on the plane --- that is not true of other technologies.

    I would agree that around 12' is the best although our own surface mount range use thermal dimming so they operate both above and below water. You can put them as deep as you like -- I wowuld also point out that BRIGT, Wide Angle lights do not need to be in perfect depth Symmetry either.

    Actually does have heat issues -- but unlike other technologies the heat is generated by the electrical components. Heat Management is the KEY issue in high power underwater LED lighting otherwise premature failure will happen.

    Bigger boats as well! The largest we have supplied lights to is 140 metres long
    Actually every LED has a driver of some description. Some are built in to the light and some are independent boxes. In all honesty the very best are standalone boxes as they use better components ....

    It actually is not a "Power Supply" but LED control system. Most lights will work on both 12 and 24 Volt systems but invariably need a AC-DC convertor on say Superyachts where AC is permanently available.

    I hope these answers are helpful and taken in the spirit they are intended.

    Delighted to answer any generic LED questions ( or ask our LED engineers if I am out of my depth!).
  9. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Your link has been removed EME. I'm also removing your membership. Our rules regarding promotion were referenced 3 times during registration at YachtForums, but you still took the opportunity to promote your company.
  10. Erik C.

    Erik C. New Member

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    I'm glad you didn't remove the post because there is a lot of useful information there.
  11. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Really? Where??? All I see is a manufacturer trying to show expertise in hope of gaining favor. AlfredZ gave a very detailed, concise post, much like ALL of his posts on a wide variety of subjects.

    EME was attempting to use Alfred as an example. Basically trying to belittle one of our members to make himself look superior. Here's an exert of an email I received from him after I removed his membership...
    EME is the CEO of an underwater lighting company that rhymes with "Luminating a Shore", so I thought it only fair to shed a little light on his lack of respect for proper conduct. And people.
  12. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I too recommend the Ocean LED brand.
  13. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    Hi there all,

    Upon reading EME's post, I knew he will be banned for lack of professional courtesy, yet I was extremely shocked by the content of his e-mail! Thanks to Carl this forum remains "LEECH" free! It would have been better for that company, if they had full trust of their product and good business mentality, to contribute by an article sent to the forums admin and posted on their behalf as a professional contribution in a news article or so and get a professional presentation which professional businesses pay a darn lot to have reviews and articles put up in magazines, forums and what not! Nevertheless, glad to see the BOOT mark in their back, learn how to do business before you target unsuspecting client base!

    Back to the topic, LED is better, yet 130 lumens is still a bit away, once they hit the 150 mark, and have better spread angle, then maybe! Some metal halide units produce 300 lumens per watt, so you could have said LED is getting better and hopefully will be there soon enough since it is widely used which boosts development.

    I like Ocean LED, they have great client interaction and support and I got most if not all the information I posted through what I gathered from them on trade shows and events, which lets me add a comment, you were advertising polymers as a housing material, which many companies stay away from and I quote "Still not safe to be used due to heat generated", so -1 for your product!

    My preferred brands would be: Perko, Ocean LED, Aqua Lights and Dr. LED, nice product lines, available almost everywhere, and professional companies to back the product up.

    Thanks for EME for agreeing on my "Total Rubbish!" I never claimed having more than general information about the subject and was starting a conversation to attract more real and detailed info. Just check how many times this incompetent business man agreed with me yet labeled my contribution as total rubbish! I see he ate it!

    Most underwater lights run for, (at least claim to), at least 3000 hours, if not more, so unless they are run night and day, it will take a very "very" long time for them to die and for one to know if they really lived up to the task and were worth the money and most importantly, could be revived by any means without having to cut new holes in the hull for new units from other manufacturers.

    Anyone had to change their's? Your experience is the answer for many questions here.

    Thanks and Cheers,

    Alfred
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    About those underwater lights.

    I understand about ac to dc converters to supply the lights. And was guessing about the Dc to Dc lil black box in my earlier note.
    I was invited to look into a dead LED system on a small (40') boat several months ago. We got lucky and found a bad crimp before this black box that was just before the harness to the light.
    Would like to take advantage of this post and learn more about this driver or 12vdc to 12vdc power supply box. Again, I guess it was just a safety box in case the light over heated. I did not notice any thermal feed back leads and further assume if it's intend is to shutdown an overheating lamp,,, then how? Over current detection?
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    My frequent flier miles carrier rejects my request every time, unless I want to go as Bagage. Have a great time, and don't get distracted by the beach "ladies"....
    You have a great forum! And I love it. Thank you.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I'm no expert on LED lights, however they do not like higher voltage. If you plug a 12 volt light into 24 volts, you can watch each LED pop in seconds.....it's rather interesting/neat to watch, not very interesting if you're paying for them.....LOL Nor do they like to be wired in series or pass voltage through them. Most LED lights I have seen use something to maintain a certain voltage......so the same bulbs can be used in 12-32 volts, but they also limit Milliamperes and I think that is to keep them from blowing up on power surges as well as keeping the light from oscillating or getting brighter and darker and can also be used as a dimming tool. All of the LED underwater lights I have seen, are not that bright compared to other ones.

    The brightest underwater lights I have seen were a set of DeepSea HID's, they were amazing and luminated 75' behind the boat in clear water.......however I think height or depth under the water and angle of the transom has 1/2 as much to do with it........

    Thank You for your excellent comments Alfred....
  17. Erik C.

    Erik C. New Member

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    Because EME's post had some useful information I bookmarked the link before it was pulled. If anybody wants it feel free to send me a PM.
  18. Jorge Lang

    Jorge Lang Senior Member

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    Back to the subject of underwater lights, what would the folks out here recommend for a 26' center console and is this something that can been be a do it yourself project? Yes, I understand that a 26 footer is not a yacht, but I still like to here from our experts.
  19. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

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    Not an expert opinion, but until we got some, here is what I know! Most center consoles, runabouts, etc. use surface mounted LED, mostly rectangular units, all you need to do is s mall hole to run the wire in and two screws to hold the unit in place, there are round surface mounts units and installation is the same. Thru-hull units will require a bigger hole and neater finishing to be sure they don't leak. All underwater lights as stated before need to be 12"+ lower than waterline. How much of light you want depends on how much AMP power you can spare! All lights are rated by Lumens per AMP, as stated before, the best LED now a days is around 130 lumens per amp, but I think the ones you would pick for a CC application would be 50-80 lumens per amp, $100-300 per piece, some units come in pairs. The last thing to check is the penetration angle, the higher the angle the more the price (generally speaking), LED's start at 40 degrees (0 starting horizontally then going down), this will effect the spread of the light backwards and downwards, again, the more the spread is, the higher the price is. You can select the color, white, green or blue, some round ones have multiple colors but at a rocketing difference.

    LED for such an application is fool proof; do it your self, less cost, does not have the same temperature effect like other types, 3000 to 5000 hours of operation, and the rectangular units does not require too much space inside and out.

    That is all I can think of right now, hope it helps and wish you would tell us how your project will develop and what first hand information you gather.

    Enjoy your time.

    Alf
  20. Jorge Lang

    Jorge Lang Senior Member

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    Thank you for the very good information. This will be one of the first items I add to my 26 footer. I'll be more than happy to give you a play by play on how it goes with pics as well.