Posted by: Dan Sprague | January 2, 2012

LED running lights retrofit

The red and green running light fixture on the front of my sailboat uses a bulb that costs $12’s and change the last time I bought one and the bulb pulls a lot of current. When it did not turn on when I did my monthly check of the boat systems I thought that the bulb would now be $20.

I have converted almost all the lights on the boat to LED lights. The fixture was still good; I just did not like the cost of the bulb. It was time to convert it to an LED fixture. The local hardware store had solar LED path lights for sale for $6.00 and the battery was included. With only minor disassembly of the running light and the new solar LED light, I was able to mount the solar panel of the yard light on top of the running light housing and the LED of the solar light inside the old running light fixture. The solar panel would get full sun and the built-in CDS cell switch of the yard light automatically turns the light on when it gets dark. The light now turns on and off by itself and it has its own rechargeable battery so it is not pulling power from the main boat battery.

I could not buy a new red-green light fixture or just the replacement bulb for the cost of the yard light. To hard wire the LED in to the original wiring of the boat would not be hard. The old wire is still there, and only a voltage drop resistor would be needed to reduce the boat’s 12 volts down to 1 ½  volts that the yard light uses. For now, I am just going to see how it works as is.

LED Yard light and old boat running light fixture

The new yard light and the boat fixture.







Old running light with solar LED mounted to itThe Yard light mounted to the running light fixture easily.


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