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Thinking about a masthead tricolor nav light


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For a 36 foot boat used for racing offshore, is the safety of adding a tricolor nav light to the masthead worth the weight aloft it adds? Currently, the only light up there is a windex light. There is also a windex, wind transducer and VHF antenna. The new light would be LED so very light wires.

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16 minutes ago, George Dewey said:

For a 36 foot boat used for racing offshore, is the safety of adding a tricolor nav light to the masthead worth the weight aloft it adds? Currently, the only light up there is a windex light. There is also a windex, wind transducer and VHF antenna. The new light would be LED so very light wires.

Very worthwhile addition 

your visibility  will be greatly enhanced 

Unfortunately masthead LED tricolors are expensive 

 

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9 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

Very worthwhile addition 

your visibility  will be greatly enhanced 

Unfortunately masthead LED tricolors are expensive 

 

Actually I already have one from Marine Beam. It's an anchor light, tri color and "strobe" all controlled and powered by just two wires. This goes for about $110, but it's plastic. I have seen others, about the same size but metal, for about $300 to $400. Yes expensive but should last a decade. I expect the metal ones are heavier, and, well, its weight way way up, which is why I asked.

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1 minute ago, slug zitski said:

I don’t know the brand

those do everything lights use electronic trickery 

its a three wire system ?

a strobe is very valuable 

Marine Beam makes great stuff, lights that have constant current circuitry and run completely submersed. This particular light works by turning the switch on and off to cycle through modes. It's a 2nm light. They claim it has a strobe but it's not really a xenon strobe, which would be super bright. All they do is make the anchor light flash out in an SOS morse pattern. They also sell a bulb that does this for existing fixtures.

https://store.marinebeam.com/smart-led-tri-color-anchor-light-and-strobe/

I looked at a few metal ones, and they use three wires. One in particular had separate LEDs for anchor and red / green. Seemed well built, although I can't find it right at the moment. 

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2 minutes ago, George Dewey said:

Marine Beam makes great stuff, lights that have constant current circuitry and run completely submersed. This particular light works by turning the switch on and off to cycle through modes. It's a 2nm light. They claim it has a strobe but it's not really a xenon strobe, which would be super bright. All they do is make the anchor light flash out in an SOS morse pattern. They also sell a bulb that does this for existing fixtures.

https://store.marinebeam.com/smart-led-tri-color-anchor-light-and-strobe/

I looked at a few metal ones, and they use three wires. One in particular had separate LEDs for anchor and red / green. Seemed well built, although I can't find it right at the moment. 

I just bought a drop in marine-beam led light for my old Aqua Signal bow-light housing. Pretty damn bright and cheaper than the OEM incandescent.

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5 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

I just bought a drop in marine-beam led light for my old Aqua Signal bow-light housing. Pretty damn bright and cheaper than the OEM incandescent.

Just FYI, there is some discussion that changing the bulb in a USCG rated fixture voids that rating, which could be an excuse for an insurance company to bail on a claim. I don't know if this would or could really happen, and I would do what you did. But I thought I would mention it in case you care. I would hope that they could not do this, even if a light failure is a contributing factor, but who knows. 

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10 minutes ago, George Dewey said:

Just FYI, there is some discussion that changing the bulb in a USCG rated fixture voids that rating, which could be an excuse for an insurance company to bail on a claim. I don't know if this would or could really happen, and I would do what you did. But I thought I would mention it in case you care. I would hope that they could not do this, even if a light failure is a contributing factor, but who knows. 

Yah 

only use the supplied bulb 

the bulb type  and the lights lens are matched 

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I'd be wary of the Lopolight unless you like changing them out regularly - something I've had to learn how to do. 

If you have a masthead tricolor, what do you do when you are motoring?

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56 minutes ago, DDW said:

I'd be wary of the Lopolight unless you like changing them out regularly - something I've had to learn how to do. 

If you have a masthead tricolor, what do you do when you are motoring?

Given what the Lopolight costs and weighs, I'm inclined to pass on it in favor of the Marine Beam option.

As for motoring, I'll turn off the tricolor up top and turn on the deck mounted ones.

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I have 5 Lopolights (red, green, stern, steaming, and masthead). Red, green, and stern have failed and had to be replaced, steaming has some issues but is still lit, anchor part of masthead still works but strobe does not I think. The product looks nice in the showroom but is not waterproof, not good on a boat. 

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Loved a masthead tricolor! Better vis, illuminated the windex, also had a strobe and anchor of things got nasty.

Kept the deck level lights for motoring, as well as a steaming light on mast.

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1 hour ago, Slowboat said:

Loved a masthead tricolor! Better vis, illuminated the windex, also had a strobe and anchor of things got nasty.

Kept the deck level lights for motoring, as well as a steaming light on mast.

I'll definitely keep the deck level lights.  Is there any reason I would want to use a windex light instead of the masthead mounted tricolor? If not, I can remove the existing windex light and use it's wire. 

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Depends on whether the tri color will light up your windex tabs or not....If you can mount the tri-color in such a way that it illuminates the windex tabs, then you could ditch the windex light.  But if it doesn't...then you'd need to keep the windex light.

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6 hours ago, George Dewey said:

Great info thanks everyone. So no one feels that adding 5 or 6 oz at the masthead is a big deal performance-wise?  

Since it’s a complicated light  , after installation,  energize the light functions then take a multimeter   and verify that there is no electric leak  to earth  ...both  (-) to earth and (+) to earth 

it may be Necessary to  mount the light isolated  from the mast 

If you are in a fishing boat harbour you might want to add a bird poop  spike to the top of your light to prevent a  poop blanket  from forming 

90BABF37-27E5-4719-A50A-950F0498CE3B.jpeg

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18 hours ago, George Dewey said:

I'll definitely keep the deck level lights.  Is there any reason I would want to use a windex light instead of the masthead mounted tricolor? If not, I can remove the existing windex light and use it's wire. 

Keep the windex light, reuse the wire, and wire the windex light in parallel with the masthead light (assuming the wire is large enough for the combined load). You'll still want the Windex light unless the tri-color happens to light up the windex tabs as well.

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18 hours ago, George Dewey said:

I'll definitely keep the deck level lights.  Is there any reason I would want to use a windex light instead of the masthead mounted tricolor? If not, I can remove the existing windex light and use it's wire. 

You will probably need multiple conductors to get all the functionality out of one of the LED tricolor/anchor light combos.  My recollection is that the LunaSea required a 3 wire solution to get all of the features to work (tricolor, anchor, strobe), so just check the manual before you commit to re-using the windex wire.

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4 minutes ago, Plumbean said:

You will probably need multiple conductors to get all the functionality out of one of the LED tricolor/anchor light combos.  My recollection is that the LunaSea required a 3 wire solution to get all of the features to work (tricolor, anchor, strobe), so just check the manual before you commit to re-using the windex wire.

In the case of the Marine Beam unit, it's definitely a 2 wire solution. I have one here, works great. I just turn it on and off to cycle through the three modes (anchor, tri-color, SOS strobe).

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37 minutes ago, Mark Morwood said:

Keep the windex light, reuse the wire, and wire the windex light in parallel with the masthead light (assuming the wire is large enough for the combined load). You'll still want the Windex light unless the tri-color happens to light up the windex tabs as well.

Actually that's not a bad idea at all.  The windex light is LED, the existing wire is probably fine for the load. Its the strangest windex light I have ever seen, with 6 distinct LEDs. All the others I have seen are the Davis one with just one "bulb" thats LED. So I may choose to replace it, since I don't see why I would need 6 LEDs for the windex. In fact I prefer it be dim so that other boats don't see it.

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On 3/6/2021 at 12:12 PM, George Dewey said:

Just FYI, there is some discussion that changing the bulb in a USCG rated fixture voids that rating, which could be an excuse for an insurance company to bail on a claim. I don't know if this would or could really happen, and I would do what you did. But I thought I would mention it in case you care. I would hope that they could not do this, even if a light failure is a contributing factor, but who knows. 

Dr LED makes USCG certified led replacement bulbs.

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  On 3/7/2021 at 6:46 PM, Mark Morwood said:

Keep the windex light, reuse the wire, and wire the windex light in parallel with the masthead light (assuming the wire is large enough for the combined load). You'll still want the Windex light unless the tri-color happens to light up the windex tabs as well.

Actually that's not a bad idea at all.  The windex light is LED, the existing wire is probably fine for the load. Its the strangest windex light I have ever seen, with 6 distinct LEDs. All the others I have seen are the Davis one with just one "bulb" thats LED. So I may choose to replace it, since I don't see why I would need 6 LEDs for the windex. In fact I prefer it be dim so that other boats don't see it.

>> I have the MISEA (signalmate?) tricolor w/anchor, windex light and its been great. 37ft boat. Not concerned with a tiny bit of weight up there. The one thing that drives me bat shit crazy though is that due to wiring and space considerations we removed the existing dedicated Windex light.... and every time I am motoring at night (using deck lights and masthead) I am also grumbling about the now dark windex! and of course when I really want the windex light is in close quarters, docking etc. I hadn't thought of wiring the windex to the masthead, makes perfect sense. Will definitely be looking at that. Thanks @Mark Morwood

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On 3/7/2021 at 6:46 PM, Mark Morwood said:

Keep the windex light, reuse the wire, and wire the windex light in parallel with the masthead light (assuming the wire is large enough for the combined load). You'll still want the Windex light unless the tri-color happens to light up the windex tabs as well.

I have the LunaSea light and it illuminates the windex very well. In my case no need for the windex light, which we did have before but deleted after seeing how well the masthead trilight worked. This probably has a lot to do with the physical location of the trilight with respect to the windex. The trilight is very bright.

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I went with this one on two different boats and it's great. photodiode makes sure your anchor light turns off at dawn. Can be set up as a two-wire with a reversing toggle switch.

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=1283036

I didn't realize weems and plath had bought the company, I bought mine when it was still just OGM and it's been great. nice thing is that the white aft light does a good job on the windex as well.

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55 minutes ago, ryley said:

I went with this one on two different boats and it's great. photodiode makes sure your anchor light turns off at dawn. Can be set up as a two-wire with a reversing toggle switch.

https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=1283036

I didn't realize weems and plath had bought the company, I bought mine when it was still just OGM and it's been great. nice thing is that the white aft light does a good job on the windex as well.

Thats a nice one as well. No idea what it weighs. 

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1 minute ago, George Dewey said:

Thats a nice one as well. No idea what it weighs. 

11 oz. I had it on a 25' boat and never capsized because of it ;) 

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Signal Mate has multiple masthead units. I saw one installed on the top of a 50' ULDB mast.  The light and mount looked simple and lightweight.  Navigation Lights | Signal Mate  

I have Signal Mate bow and stern lights.  They seem well made but I don't have long term experience to comment on reliability. 

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