Notices
Marine Electronics Forum

LED questions

Old 07-15-2013, 09:18 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default LED questions

ok so i can't figure this out, but it's probably because i haven't done enough trouble shooting so forgive me for that in advance, anways:

1 side of my nav lights quit on me, & the socket was all corroded & not springy like it should be. i bought new ones, the LED version, these are the in-hull style where there's one on the left side in the hull & one on the right, sometimes called "sharkeye" lights.

i clipped the wire to the old lights, installed & rewired the same way they came out. now the 1 side is just BARELY illuminated (the red side). it doesn't even look like it's on, but if you get close you can see it just barely is lit red, definitely not legal...and the green side is just dead, nothing, no light at all.

obviously, my 1st troubleshooting step, is going to be to clip the wires, and hook each light to a 12v power source to make sure the lights actually do work, yea i know, i swear i meant to do that before i installed them...

i was frustrated when my quick install, didn't fix my problem, and it was about to rain, so i gave up

so i have basically 3 possible problems:

1) the lights are bad

2) the wiring is bad

3) the switch is bad

or some combo thereof



my thoughts are to test the lights & make sure they actually light up, and if so, just order a new switch & new wire, pull new wire, install new switch, boom done all new system, but if there's a bandaid fix, my wallet would much prefer that so:


any ideas on how to fix this if the lights themselves do work after my 12v test?
Old 07-15-2013, 11:48 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default

hmm, noone?

i'm really wondering if my dim red nav light means that the light itself is screwed up, or if it just isn't getting enough current meaning a wiring problem

i would think it would be all or nothing, meaning the light is screwed up, but i realize the possibility that lack of current could make it light up not bright
Old 07-15-2013, 12:34 PM
  #3  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Pensacola, FL
Posts: 362
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Default

Are there other connections that could be corroded? Is there a fuse or breaker? How is the connection to the power source? What did the previous lights draw and what do the new lights draw?

I like the idea of testing directly with a 12v source. That will eliminate the lights as the problem.
Old 07-15-2013, 06:18 PM
  #4  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: VA
Posts: 5,970
Received 436 Likes on 272 Posts
Default

the LEDs have to be wired properly or they won't work--unlike incandescents where polarity doesn't usually matter. check for 12 volts at the wires before you hook up the LEDs. I'd check them with a separate battery if they don't work on the boat and you have 12v at the connections. It's possible that your boat's wiring is fudged and what you think is +12V could be a ground. Use a multimeter to confirm or swap the LED light's leads and see if they work.
Old 07-15-2013, 07:33 PM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 12,275
Received 604 Likes on 441 Posts
Default

As Buoy Scout says, you need to check out the entire circuit with a digital volt meter before you do anything else. Not sure that "clipping" the wire is a good idea. I first check the voltage to the hot side of the switch (positive) and negative--looking for corrosion which may lower voltage. Also you can check to be sure that the polarity is correct. It is not essential for incandescent bulb, but it may be for most LED's.

Check the voltage with the switch off and on. You should be seeing 12.6 volts with a fully charged battery. Same for voltage at the wiring at the point you are going to put the new LED running light. Use quality crimp fittings, with adhesive shrink tubing to cover the connection, or a combo crimp/adhesive shrink wrap.
Old 07-16-2013, 07:37 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default

thanks for the tips y'all


Originally Posted by tkh329 View Post
Are there other connections that could be corroded?
yes, the back of the switch. i do plan to check this

Originally Posted by tkh329 View Post
Is there a fuse or breaker?
yes, a breaker. it's not tripped or malfunctioning because the switch has power as indicated by the red back lights @ the 2 "on" positions & because my anchor light works fine in the down "on" position and in the up "on" position, however all the nav lights do is provide a very faint red light not visible if you're 2' or more away from the boat.

Originally Posted by tkh329 View Post
What did the previous lights draw and what do the new lights draw?
specifically? no clue, the new LEDs draw waaaaay less, so I'm thinking if 1 of my old incandescent lights was fully lit, then one of my new LEDs should be full lit unless the LEDs are broke

i actually considered polarity, i was thinking it was LEDs that don't care about it, but apparently i'm wrong.

anyways, when I did the install, the wiring is gray & black. the gray was hooked to the old incandescent's red & the black to the old incandescent's black. so i'm pretty confident the polarity is correct since the new LED lights also had red/black wires coming out of them. i just hooked red to gray & black to black. flipped my switch & nothing but some faint red light that's not even visible more than 2' away from the LED...

this is providing the fact that the person who built the LEDs has their wiring correct, so i may try swapping polarity on the dead light if it works from another 12v source

i plan to check the switch for sure, since it's rather unlikely that my wires just up & went bad anywhere other than @ the terminals.

i definitely used heat shrink butt connectors to hook the LEDs to the existing wiring. my connections are good for sure, i tugged on em before heat shrinking to make sure the connections were solid

any other tips, i'm all ears
Old 07-19-2013, 10:22 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default

going to investigate this wiring issue over the weekend, any more advice?
Old 07-19-2013, 01:11 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle
Posts: 278
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Default

Good advice is given. Just adding, make sure they are not 12/24 selectable. Dim light might indicate they are 24 volt lights. Other than this, I would for sure check the voltage coming to the terminal at the light. And get a 12 volt source elsewhere (e.g. cut off plug from an older wireless router) and test with that. Be sure to get the polarity right. It may be possible to damage them by wrong polarity.

And the gray/black wire coming to the old bulbs has no meaning as far as polarity of which is which. The only way to determine that is using a volt meter and seeing which way it shows a positive value in which case the red voltmeter wire tells you the positive lead.
Old 07-23-2013, 07:13 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default

definitely 12v, they're marpac stainless LED USCG 2nm in-hull "shark-eye" nav lights. exactly the same shape & style as the ones i replaced except these are LED & the old ones were incandescent

well i've determined it's the wiring & not the bulbs or switch. so:

1) the LED bulbs light up very bright when connected directly to a 12v battery

2) i swapped out the on-off-on rocker switch on the console very carefully swapping 1 terminal @ a time to ensure it remained correctly wired,

it's not a polarity issue, the gray wire is my power & the black wire is my ground on both the nav & anchor light circuits.

before i changed out the rocker switch:

only a dim red in the up position (nav + anchor), but no green, & the anchor light worked perfectly in both the up (nav + anchor) & down (anchor only) positions.

after I changed out the rocker switch:

in the up position (nav & anchor lights both) the anchor light illuminates slightly dim then kicks on to full brightness after a second or 2 & the nav lights do not illuminate at all except a very dim red (not even visible unless you're <2' away in the dark. which is exactly the same as before swapping out the switch, except for the anchor light slow to start up. now it's an LED anchor light so it should just pop on without delay if there's good power & ground.

now i'm no electrician, but if i'm not mistaken, the problem must be a bad ground on the anchor light circuit causing the slow anchor light start up & the lack of nav lights.

do y'all agree? or is it a power issue? or something else?

If the wires were not fished through a rigging tube, & secured with like 20 screws & 100 zipties, with like 10 wires coming together @ the nav light switch, I'd have just pulled new wire & redone everything. but I am not that great @ nav/anchor light circuitry so I REALLY want to avoid that if i can just redo one female connector or something easier, obviously, I'm really trying not to pay the shop $90/hr to diagnose & repair the issue either so i really appreciate any & all replies, thanks
Old 07-23-2013, 10:05 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle
Posts: 278
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Default

Slow ramp can be a sign of corrosion in some connection. Are you able to measure the voltage to the LED lights when you have them connected and on? That is, pull the terminals back enough to connect a volt meter and see what it shows? And then do the same as the switch terminal?

The other thing to try is to hook up one of the LEDs temporarily to switch and a ground. If it lights up correctly then you know there is no problem prior to that point. If it does not, connect it to the battery (carefully) in the same boat and see if they come on there. If they do, then the problem is between the switch and power. Keep narrowing it down that way.

But yes, you are getting close to identifying the problem and it is not the lights.
Old 07-24-2013, 08:44 AM
  #11  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: VA
Posts: 5,970
Received 436 Likes on 272 Posts
Default

run a good hot lead to each light and see if they come on bright. If not, then you've proven it's a bad ground. Run a good ground from the light, again, if it works, you've confirmed. Solution is to run a new ground wire or clean up the existing one.
Old 07-24-2013, 09:46 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Elk Grove, CA
Posts: 157
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
run a good hot lead to each light and see if they come on bright. If not, then you've proven it's a bad ground. Run a good ground from the light, again, if it works, you've confirmed. Solution is to run a new ground wire or clean up the existing one.
I concur. I had the "dim" light symptom once and it turned out to be a bad ground.
Old 07-24-2013, 12:13 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 538
Received 107 Likes on 78 Posts
Default

thanks y'all, i did all that & have confirmed that it's bad wiring between the switch & the lights. 1st i redid the connectors up front & that changed nothing. so then, i fiddled with the female connectors hooked to the switch to try & rule out a bad connector or connectors, but i didn't get anywhere. i tried myself to my wits end to figure out how to get from switch to lights to run new wires myself, but there's some sort of T or something in the damn rigging tube. i gave up after much frustration & cursing. i dropped the boat @ the shop this morning, prolly take em a week & $250 once i pay for the copper & the mechanic's time but at least i won't have to curse @ it anymore or miss the fish on evening tides

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.