Home' Afloat : AFLOAT June 2016 Contents 56 AFLOAT.com.au June 2016
with Kurt Küpper*
* Kurt Küpper is director of Aquavolt
Electric Boat Parts. Tel: 02 9417 8455
So what else would you like to know? You are welcome to send in questions about
boat electrics or suggestions for topics that you would like explained.
29E Babbage Rd, Roseville Chase 2069
Tel: 02 9417 8455
Fax 02 9417 8423
WHISPER QUIET FANS
While stocks last
3-speed white gimballed
fan with timer 12V
For full details see website
product information to see if the product
has such an approval. There are various
authorities granting such approvals.
The C-Tickis an identification trademark
of the Australian Communications Media
Authority. It signifies that the device is
compliant with applicable electromagnetic
compatibility requirements. The European
compliance mark is the CE mark and covers
a range of requirements including EMC.
Any product with either of these marks
should be ok to use aboard.
However, using LED replacement
globes in navigation lights designed to
be fitted with incandescent lamps is not
recommended. Even the brightest LEDs
rarely achieve the necessary range and
angle of visibility when fitted in a fitting
designed to carry an incandescent lamp.
Incandescent lamps uniformly radiate
light in just about all directions. LED
light sources are much more directional.
Elaborate measures are taken by designers
to ensure that LED navigation lights meet
Apart from that, most of the
replacement LED light inserts do not
last long in navigation lights, as inevitably
moist sea air is drawn into the fittings when
they cool down after having been on for a
while (yes, LEDs do also get warm, even
though much less so than incandescent
lamps). This moisture condenses on the
electrical circuits in the LEDs, and they
The only option is to use a fitting that
was designed with LEDs as a light source.
As there is no need to change a bulb, these
can be hermetically sealed in the factory.
They are fully compliant with COLREGS,
won’t interfere with radios, come with a
warranty of up to five years and will last
Now some of my customers say to me
that I would say that, as I want to make
more money selling them an LED light
fitting. This is not true, I make the most
money out of customers who ignore my
advice and buy LED replacements for their
nav lights. After they have replaced them
about three times at $20.00 each, having
gone up the mast three times, they come
back and buy the proper light for $89.00.
Rafe Falkiner of Airlie Beach lives on a
catamaran and is currently swinging at
anchor in the Whitsundays.
He writes; “Having had the mast out &
everything inspected & replaced & bought
up to spec. LED bulbs all round for the nav
lights. Fitting a new VHF to replace the cheap
bit of junk that came with the boat & having
weird, intermittent problems with reception
(they could hear me 5 x 5 but I could not get
anything back) more often than not & the
hand held working better in some instances.
“I finally got the local Raymarine Agent up
here to come & check it all out & the antenna
was found to be wanting (it was cheap &
nasty & corroded) so that was replaced with
a new Hi Gain number at the mast head & it
was better but still not working as it should.
So after spending a fortune doing all this.
It was suggested that it might be the LED
anchor light which is only 12 inches away
from the antenna.
“ Now, being a silly old bugger I tend to
leave the anchor light on 24/7 so I don’t forget
to turn it on at sunset so as to avoid a sizable
fine from the Water Police.
“ Turning the anchor light off fixes all
reception problems. It’s like magic. It’s just
like a switch.
“ Sitting in Airlie Beach today I got the
weather report from Townsville on 80 (so
obviously a bit of ducting going on there) but
if you have reception problems try switching
the Nav lights off. Simple.”
LED lights, like most electronic
devices, have the potential to
transmit radio frequency waves.
Note that LED lights consist of more than
just light emitting diodes, they include
additional electronic components and
circuitry in order to make them work as
If these circuits have not been
properly designed, they can transmit
waves that cause RF interference. It is
therefore essential to ensure that any
electronic equipment brought aboard has
been properly designed and approved
to be compliant with regulations that
prevent radio and telecommunications
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