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Old 09-27-2021, 10:29 AM   #1
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Spotlight vs LED FLoodlight

Hi all,
I have a older 8" AFI "The Torch" floodlight on my flybridge, which has a small control panel in wheelhouse. The on/off works, but I cannot swivel it at all and cannot easily replace the bulbs or components, so I am looking to upgrade/replace and would like any suggestions.

Appreciated:
1. Are there any other Spotlight's that i should consider as a durable replacement?

or, since we now have LED tech

2. SHould I just replace with a LED bar? Does a bar light up so much, that you don't need to swivel? Is there a recommendation for how bright, size, lumens, or type (white, warm, etc?) Suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-27-2021, 11:40 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Our last boat had the same spotlight on it and also would not swivel. Actually I find the remote control spotlight a bit difficult to use since it is slow and takes some of your attention away from what you are trying to see. We use a handheld spotlight instead. It is much faster to move and easier to pick out what you are trying to see. We also have a huge LED flashlight that works out to about 300’ or so. It is really easy to use.
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Old 09-27-2021, 12:47 PM   #3
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Thanks Comodave,
I do have a decent handheld spotlight that I always have handy, but I only like to consider it as a emergency replacement and/or a redundancy. My ideal is to add the hardware to the boat w/ switches at both helms.
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Old 09-27-2021, 02:41 PM   #4
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Are you looking to light up things at a distance, or to light up an area like your cockpit or foredeck ??
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Old 09-27-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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As far as the LED Light Bar goes - I have one and you will night blind any on coming traffic. I use mine sparingly unless there is no traffic.

A handheld spot light is better in my opinion in the channels since you can quickly see what is out there and then come off the object quickly too. I would not want to be the oncoming traffic and have to look at my brow light bar.
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:45 PM   #6
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most of the AFI's have good troubleshooting guides on line. The rotation/up & down issues are usually contact corrosion. easily fixed. Some of the AFI's are a bit of a pain to change the bulbs due to wiring connections but not rocket science. I've repaired 2 so far but I'm not familiar with your specific model though.
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:55 PM   #7
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We have one of these $1000 Jabscos up top
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/jabsc...76?recordNum=2


I was always impressed with the light it put out - until I bought a $30 Eiger Lighthouse Torch (Cree 600 lumen) from the local big hardware

At one stage they were selling for $7
https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/374991
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Old 09-27-2021, 11:59 PM   #8
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Our boat came with an LED lightbar and it's absolutely blinding to everyone (including us) with the foredeck bathed in dazzling glare. For rare use coming into an unfamiliar, unpopulated cove...yeah, maybe, but we really don't use it. We added two LED floods up on the mast that are much more useful, but I honestly use the stupidly bright LED handheld spotlight that lives in a holster at the helm station.
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Old 09-28-2021, 04:43 AM   #9
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I did a side by side test of a fixed vs handheld spots vs LED flashlights on a stretch of ICW. My friends boat had a relatively expensive fixed spotlight though I forget the name.

I ended up going with a rechargeable LED Maglight. Not quite as bright as the battery version, but bright enough to pickup day marks from well over a quarter mile off. Caveat, for my use on a 36 footer, dual purpose placed high on list of attributes.

If I were to go fixed mount (and I wouldn't- as someone else said they are cumbersome and distracting to use.....assuming they work at all), I'd probably go with the fully manual Perko similar to what police cars used to use. Very intuitive.

Peter
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Old 09-28-2021, 06:02 AM   #10
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If you are lighting the aft deck for recreation, remember some LED can have dimmers .
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabre602 View Post
Our boat came with an LED lightbar and it's absolutely blinding to everyone (including us) with the foredeck bathed in dazzling glare. For rare use coming into an unfamiliar, unpopulated cove...yeah, maybe, but we really don't use it. We added two LED floods up on the mast that are much more useful, but I honestly use the stupidly bright LED handheld spotlight that lives in a holster at the helm station.
100% on all of the above. I'm not a fan of massive light bars. They'll blind you and everyone else on the water.

Unfortunately, it's become fashionable for some reason. New boats are coming with these monstrosities pre-installed. I suspect it has something to do with the recreational fishermen trying to emulate the "big guys" they see on TV.

Preserve your night vision. Use a hand-held or remote spot light sparingly, to light up buoys and other markers. Then turn them off quickly.
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:35 AM   #12
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I do not disagree with the above. However, OP is on the West Coast. If his plans are to do night transits between Vancouver and Cabo then the light bar will be the right answer for spotting crab pots. If this is not his plan then I am not in favor of the light bar.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:52 AM   #13
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I do not disagree with the above. However, OP is on the West Coast. If his plans are to do night transits between Vancouver and Cabo then the light bar will be the right answer for spotting crab pots. If this is not his plan then I am not in favor of the light bar.
That is why I have a extremely bright light on the front and am also installing a Golight LED spotlight up higher.

My travel plans down the pacific coast will be defined by the tides and the diurnal winds. This means I will sometimes, maybe often times, be leaving a harbor in the pre-dawn hours.

My goal is to be safely and comfortably in port each day before the afternoon winds pick ip if at all possible.

I have not cruised down the coast further south than Seattle yet. What I do know and I assume it is the same in other places is that our daily winds peak here at around 20 knots in the afternoon, caused by the differences in heating of the land and the ocean. My plan is to avoid those winds (as I do now) if at all possible.
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Old 09-28-2021, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
I do not disagree with the above. However, OP is on the West Coast. If his plans are to do night transits between Vancouver and Cabo then the light bar will be the right answer for spotting crab pots. If this is not his plan then I am not in favor of the light bar.
Not sure about your crab pots, but lobster buoys in my home waters of Maine are legendary.

I stand by my recommendation to preserve your night vision. First of all, you only need to see the buoys (or whatever) in the water directly ahead of you. Too many people zig and zag around things that weren't directly in their path anyway.

Many nights, there's enough moonlight or shore lights to see the buoys clearly, once your eyes adjust (and if nobody coming the other way blinds you.)

And if not, a single hand-held or forward-mounted spot light, used sparingly, will be far more effective than a light bar.
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Old 09-28-2021, 12:45 PM   #15
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Both flood and spot lights are valuable tools but you unique cruising requirements should determine what you have and how much budget goes to them, on my boat I have 2 led floods facing down from my mast for working on a well lit deck at night without messing with the neighbors too much at night. I also like having a high power flood all the way on my bow facing forward so at night in crap weather I can see waves well in front without lighting up my front deck and destroying what little night vision I have left at that point. I also have less powerful flood lights on either side of the boat just aft of midship facing out to my sides. All are on separate switches except for my deck/mast floods. I love good spotlights but good wired in units with good controls are very expensive, Well over a grand for anything worth while in my mind. A quality handheld battery powered spotlight will keep up with every mid range (sub $1000) mounted spotlight I’ve ever seen. If I were running rivers for prolonged periods I would invest in 1 preferably 2 remote spotlights for searching for logs and stuff at night. But well setup floods with a good handheld spot should fit the bill for 90% of what most pleasure boaters should ever need, floods are also considerably cheaper than any good remote spot unit. I’ve got my boat setup with 5 different flood lights and I was just shy of spending $1000 for everything including wiring and switches with nice stainless steel mounts. The big questions would be where do you primarily drive your boat, how much junk is in the water and how often do you drive your boat at night. For the spotlight you currently have I’d see if I could repair what’s there and possibly upgrade the bulb before I’d replace the unit.
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:04 PM   #16
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Now when I was talking about spotlights im talking about dedicated marine units, I’ve been heavily considering some off-road units like this for my boat. Great price with an advanced control unit better than any marine unit I’ve ever seen. Also has the ability to switch between flood and spot, I’ve only seen that ability on the spotlights I use at work but they are 5k+ And both of them on prob draw 6000w of power so they are not an option aboard anything but large yachts.


https://www.strobesnmore.com/whelen-...spotlight.html
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
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That is why I have a extremely bright light on the front and am also installing a Golight LED spotlight up higher.

My travel plans down the pacific coast will be defined by the tides and the diurnal winds. This means I will sometimes, maybe often times, be leaving a harbor in the pre-dawn hours.

My goal is to be safely and comfortably in port each day before the afternoon winds pick ip if at all possible.

I have not cruised down the coast further south than Seattle yet. What I do know and I assume it is the same in other places is that our daily winds peak here at around 20 knots in the afternoon, caused by the differences in heating of the land and the ocean. My plan is to avoid those winds (as I do now) if at all possible.
A couple comments.

I would be interested in feedback on how bright lights pointed forward work out. Frankly, even the low-luster reflection of running lights on SS bow railings are distracting to me, but I confess, I keep the darkest PH of anyone I've had aboard. I would think the bright light would make the white decks extremely bright and difficult to see past, but maybe it's something to get used to. My strategy when delivering was to run 24/7 whenever possible - drift into deeper water at night to reduce crab-pot encounters, then bend landward during the day, often within 1.0-1.5 miles of the surf line in the afternoon to reduce effect of wind/waves, though vast majority of my deliveries were north into prevailing NW weather. Headed south is pretty easy - on Kevin's 4788, transom will get pushed around a but, but not uncomfortably so - A/P may need some adjusting to not over-react too quickly. Fishermen place their pots mostly north/south orientation so are a bit easier to avoid. Still, line-cutters are needed.

Peter
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Old 09-28-2021, 02:10 PM   #18
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For my purposes, the Marinco SPL-12W with 210,000 peak cp halogen bulb fills the bill adequately. Being unable to run control wiring to the bow where it is mounted, the wireless feature with power available at both the helm and spotlight ends worked out very well. The light swivels both in azimuth and vertically to reduce blinding oncoming traffic, and it has both fast and slow auto panning which is very helpful running up the dark channel to home - just set it to panning and watch the markers slide by.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:44 PM   #19
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I am with mvweebles, I prefer to move out to the 500’ depth mark for night travels. I have enough troubles spotting black pot buoys by day let alone during our cloudy moonless nights. However, I see ever more boats doing close in transits using LED light bars mounted on the front of the boat.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:58 PM   #20
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A couple comments.

I would be interested in feedback on how bright lights pointed forward work out. Frankly, even the low-luster reflection of running lights on SS bow railings are distracting to me, but I confess, I keep the darkest PH of anyone I've had aboard. I would think the bright light would make the white decks extremely bright and difficult to see past, but maybe it's something to get used to. My strategy when delivering was to run 24/7 whenever possible - drift into deeper water at night to reduce crab-pot encounters, then bend landward during the day, often within 1.0-1.5 miles of the surf line in the afternoon to reduce effect of wind/waves, though vast majority of my deliveries were north into prevailing NW weather. Headed south is pretty easy - on Kevin's 4788, transom will get pushed around a but, but not uncomfortably so - A/P may need some adjusting to not over-react too quickly. Fishermen place their pots mostly north/south orientation so are a bit easier to avoid. Still, line-cutters are needed.

Peter
I am a one person crew.

That means I'm harbor hopping.

I'll pull into a new harbor and explore. When I get bored move on. I'm thinking I'll end up moving once a week or so. If I pull in somewhere and don't like it for some reason I'll move sooner. If I'm enjoying myself I'll stay longer.

I'm leaving Alaska in May, and my first firm goal is a reservation I have in Victoria at the inner Causeway in Mid July.

The next goal is to be ready to go south along the Baja Coast on November 1st.

There is a lot to see along the way and I have all the time in the world.

The concept is to plan my movements with the seasons. south in the winter, north in the summer. Follow good weather.
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