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Old 03-02-2018, 07:53 PM   #1
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New Search Light

Thinking of purchasing a search light and have been reviewing some on various websites. Seems the ss or aluminum units average about $1K and the plastic units are 1/2 the cost or less. I'd like to get opinions from folks who have plastic or have owned both. Does the plastic units hold up against UV and weather over time or will you be replacing them with a metal housing unit relatively quickly?
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:07 PM   #2
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Jim, just throwing this out there, an alternative. When I was working on this for my boat, most of my friends said "the mounted ones are a pain, hard to move where you want, plus your boat is rocking, then the bulb goes out, yada yada."

There are many handheld ones with tons of power. Rechargeable. So you can take them anywhere, and also take along in your tender if you wish.

Like: https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-4...t+rechargeable

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Old 03-02-2018, 08:09 PM   #3
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I replaced our big stainless standard bulb search light about 5 years ago with the Stryker and mounted in front of the boat on the railing, it is so light that minimal base needed. It has held up extremely well with 2 trips to Alaska and lots of green water over it with no problems. Looks brand new and have only had to replace the batteries in the remotes 1 time. Put remotes at helm and flybridge and handheld remote when checking anchoring at night. Having it mounted in front of everything cuts down on any glare from the boat. The LED is so much brighter than before. Recommend with no hesitation. Went with the Stainless look
https://www.fisheriessupply.com/goli...te-controllers
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:35 PM   #4
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If you do go with a mounted one, I would recommend going with one that has a small joystick type controller, rather than a pad with buttons. The latter is a real PIA.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:19 PM   #5
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I had two remote lights, both hi-buck jobs with wired remotes, both axial motors shot, both not worth fixing, look nice bit too $$ to maintain. Using big handhelds now. Kept inside, easy to charge and better control for less. Of course, not as attractive but infinately more practical.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:03 AM   #6
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+1 to Just Bob's comment about what a PITA mounted searchlights are. I have two on my boat and the only one I ever use is the handheld, rechargeable one on the upper helm. It's easy to pick it up and point it, just like you would if you were pointing your finger at something, and you don't have to take your eyes off whatever it is you're illuminating to look for the dash mounted searchlight controller.


The ones I buy are the 1 million cp lights, cost about $25 and last about 4-5 years before they won't take a charge any more.
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Old 03-03-2018, 05:36 AM   #7
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I too like my hand-held for all the above reasons mentioned, but I am still contemplating replacing my fixed spot for when i drive from inside the pilot house.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:50 AM   #8
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We have a Guest Beamer, fixed mount, with remote control in the pilot house. We also have a hand held.

The hand held is very convenient, and you of course know exactly where you are pointing it. However it's hard to use from inside the pilot house while operating the boat because it reflects off the windows. The only way it works is if held directly against the glass so there is no reflection back, and that limits where you can aim it. Outside this isn't a problem. The other down side is that it's handheld, so takes a hand away from controlling the boat. I found this to be a real problem in many situations.

The Guest Beamer isn't nearly bright enough to be useful. I don't know how many candelas or lumins it is, but it's not enough. I have a lot of trouble just figuring out where the beam is pointing so I know which way to move it to illuminate the target of interest.

Doing it again, I would not get another Beamer. It's just not bright enough to be useful. I definitely would get the handheld. It's useful, though not is all situations.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:28 AM   #9
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I have two lights mounted in my bow which used aircraft landing lights, high amperage draw and hard to find at 12 volts so I bought two round spotlights with leds and converted them. They work much better so I plan to replace the giant incandescent seal beam roof mounted unit with the guts of an led unit the same way.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:59 AM   #10
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I had a mounted light on a previous boat. It was useless. Trying to drive the boat and aim the light was close to impossible unless the boat was stopped in calm water.

My current boat came with a handheld searchlight that plugs into a 12 volt outlet. I've used it once and it's pretty intuitive to use. Just point it at what you want to look at.

Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, boats aren't supposed to have headlights. When I operate at night, I rely on ambient light and slowing down. This works well for me. Using a spot or floodlight hurts your night vision and it can take as long as 30 minutes to get it back.

My choice of light is a portable, hand held for use in emergencies only.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:12 AM   #11
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If you are going to add a searchlight then location is critical. You want to locate it on the centerline high enough so that there is no backscatter when pointed down in all directions and amidships so that pitching has the least effect. I‘ve used handhelds most of my life but I finally broke down and added a proper light last year.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:05 AM   #12
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in open water I agree fixed spotlights can be borderline useful. A good handheld will be good for the quick spotting.

In confined waters if able to use it and not bother other traffic, I find it very useful in ICW stretches where your night vision is toast anyway from other sources of light.

You almost always see tugs using them when pushing narrow stretches of ICW, bridges, and picking up navaids....can be too bad of an idea.

I leave mine pointed at whatever angle is best, then slightly change heading as needed to keep the beam on target.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:29 AM   #13
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Great responses. I hadn't thought of it but arming myself with a fixed and handheld light seems like a great solution to deal with all possible situations. Still a little unsure of the plastic vs. steel casing on the fixed unit. Is twice the cost for the ss or aluminum casings worth it for extreme salt and UV environments.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:31 AM   #14
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My boat is 8 years old and has a plastic housed mounted searchlight on the PH roof. It has held up very well.

I have found the searchlight useful about 3 times in the two years I’ve owned the boat. I think a rechargeable hand held is more useful PROVIDED that you can keep it charged up. I have an old hand held that works well. A newer LED hand held would probably work even better.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:59 PM   #15
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I have only a handheld, so I can comment only on that. Mine has been easy to use and handy when anchoring after dark, to scan the area surrounding the location I think I want to anchor in. For this purpose the ability to scan 360° is necessary.

On the rescue boat, a night tow requires a spotlight shone on the tow, so as to alert the helm, should the towline be too slack or tight, the tow oscillating from port to Starboard, or any other problems with the tow. For that purpose a handheld is far better than a fixed light.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:56 PM   #16
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....another consideration: Depending on the size of your boat, a bow mounted light of the same brightness will reach 20 feet or so further ahead of the boat than a handheld.

However, if I was going with a handheld, I'd get something like this for a little over $200.

https://www.batteryjunction.com/feni...lashlight.html
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwestby View Post
I replaced our big stainless standard bulb search light about 5 years ago with the Stryker and mounted in front of the boat on the railing, it is so light that minimal base needed. It has held up extremely well with 2 trips to Alaska and lots of green water over it with no problems. Looks brand new and have only had to replace the batteries in the remotes 1 time. Put remotes at helm and flybridge and handheld remote when checking anchoring at night. Having it mounted in front of everything cuts down on any glare from the boat. The LED is so much brighter than before. Recommend with no hesitation. Went with the Stainless look
https://www.fisheriessupply.com/goli...te-controllers
Kwestby,

Is there an LED option? The specs show it's halogen, like most mounted spot lights. Seems to be very few LED ones out there.

I'm in the handheld camp... for the most part. However, my mounted ACR RCL-100D works fine and is easy to operate without looking at the controls, but not a fast as a handheld.

The issue I have is finding a REALLY POWERFULL handheld. Regardless of all the lumens and candle power they advertise, seems like my mounted one it more powerful. It's really hard to figure out what the specs of candlepower or lumens really mean. However, is one is rated stronger than another of the same manufacturer, it probably is.
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBob View Post
Jim, just throwing this out there, an alternative. When I was working on this for my boat, most of my friends said "the mounted ones are a pain, hard to move where you want, plus your boat is rocking, then the bulb goes out, yada yada."

There are many handheld ones with tons of power. Rechargeable. So you can take them anywhere, and also take along in your tender if you wish.

Like: https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-4...t+rechargeable

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Bob,

I've got the little brother of this one and love it, but it's not for long range. Perhaps I'll get one like you have. The thing that I love (and insist on) is the ability to turn it on and off instantly, without cycling thru a bunch of useless settings, flashing and such... especially for quickly locating a marker, which my little one is great for, not so bright to totally blind me, but can find an unlit marker about 500 feet away, which is enough.
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:46 PM   #19
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Any good quality light will state that their specifications comply with ANSI FL-1 standards and presented in a chart that looks like:
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:25 AM   #20
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I have a 12v handheld, but the last time I used it was probably at least 10 years ago.
I guess it's time to test it to see if it still works.
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