Curated by a retired Port Engineer, living (with his wife of 55 years) full-time aboard the Motor Vessel So..fea….in a windy Pacific harbor surrounded by nature, weather, dockside scuttlebutt & maritime experiences forged from traveling amongst cultures, navigating through a wide variety of topics, research, and observations of global marine/ocean-related news and politics in the America of 2021 and how and how it all affects the liveaboard lifestyle see Archives (top left)
Now in the second day of a 7 day weather pattern of zero chance of rain.... no clouds.... starry nights and blue sky days at 60 degrees !!!!
Winter is rough !
LED lighting . . . back when we bought So...Fea, she was "as built" in 1979, that meant all incadescent Automotive style bayonet light bulbs on the DC side, and regular screw-in Edison based light bulbs on the AC side.
One of the very first things to happen was to make all of our lighting LED, and go with pure white 7,000K lighting, engine room to flying bridge, V-berth aft to office, and for the deck lights, running lights and fishing floods as well, we changed out complete fixtures and can now blind ourselves. But those lights can adversely affect VHF frequencies as well as VHF, GPS, SSB, AIS and DSC signals, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, who just issued a warning: “Radio frequency interference caused by these LED lamps was found to create potential safety hazards,” said a Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert released in August 2018, the November/December issue said the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System task force recently began investigating the LED issue “but so far has identified no solutions.”
Brian Rodgers, president of Shadow-Caster, a manufacturer of LED lighting in Dunedin, Fla., said the problem is “some of the ‘inexpensive’ power supplies t used cause electromagnetic interference in the AM and VHF ranges. When fixtures use linear and passive-type power supplies they do not create any more "noise" than a traditional incandescent bulb.
Rodgers adds there are standards for measuring and controlling EMI and knowing about your fixtures and LED quality. the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Alert has a short section describing how to test for LED interference.
This puzzles me . . . they forget that their own vessels are fully loaded with both LED and the dastardly Flourescent ballasts that "really" emit EMI (which is why EMI filters are built), and you test for EMI with a hand held meter every so often), a task every Chief Engineer is fully aware of, and I think most radio checks by Captains "catch" such problems . . .
When I relighted So...fea to all LED, I took no before and after readings (as most of the original system was toast), but I later learned about LED's doing the Christmas light shows in 2017 and 2018:
In 2017 we had over 4,000 lights that were all AC incadescent, when it came time to fire off and balance circuits out, I ended up with three 10-11 amp 125 volt circuits.... in 2018 I had 5,000 lights (but, all LED) on 125 volts, the load was an amazing 6-7 amps TOTAL ! (one plug, 1/6 the ampacity ! 85% less power required than with using incadescents. in short, I can match the lighting output even- steven from the previous year, and use about 85% less electricity.
You might be old enough to remember how much generator power we used to need for radar, radios, and Navigation needs, between computerization, and miniturization of the today world (and LEDs), we need 75 % less !!
The advantages of long life, shock and vibration proof, low voltage and ultra high power are simply too great to make anyone discount LED, Microwave, or computer useage . . . learn about low cost system protection by EMF/RFI filters, test your system, and buy quality fixtures to begin with.