Author Topic: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.  (Read 12686 times)

Offline KenB

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navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« on: July 02, 2008, 08:15:30 PM »
I should be raked over the coals for this question, but also want to make sure.

Does the red lead from the starboard light get soldered to the negative of the port light? Or (I think...) to the positive lead of the port light and also positive on switch?

Please feel free to poke fun at me for asking about this:  "Hey KenB do your pants pockets go on the top or the bottom?" or "KenB make sure to put the prop on the right way. NOT the left way, no left way props please" or "KenB be sure not to premix 2 stroke engine oil in the gas for your 4s suzuki!"  Flame away and thanks!
best,
KenB

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Offline sinned

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2008, 08:27:16 PM »
i would thing that you want them in parallel not series. if one goes out, everything downstream will go out. furthermore, wouldn't you want to have them all come back to the panel anyhow so they are switched and protected by a fuse?  think christmas lights. than again, i am a wannabe so what do i know?
dennis

Offline walknbob

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2008, 10:56:13 PM »

Does the red lead from the starboard light get soldered to the negative of the port light? Or (I think...) to the positive lead of the port light and also positive on switch?

I ran my oprt and starboard lights with a common black (gnd) and common reds (hot) I made my top white light on a seperate circuit all together. When running navs I hit both switchs. I leave the top white on most all the time. That way I can tell when I have left the battery switch on.
WalknBob aka Bob Southwick - Depoe Bay OR

Offline gmclain

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2008, 06:54:36 AM »
Always run in parrallel, as stated earlier it is better to have one light out rather than all lights. Also if one goes out and they are in series there is the problem of idenitying which one is the culprit. Series hook ups will save wire, hench cheaper, but not a good idea. Just my opinion.

Offline kchace

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2008, 07:03:48 AM »
I should be raked over the coals for this question, but also want to make sure.

Does the red lead from the starboard light get soldered to the negative of the port light? Or (I think...) to the positive lead of the port light and also positive on switch?

Please feel free to poke fun at me for asking about this:  "Hey KenB do your pants pockets go on the top or the bottom?" or "KenB make sure to put the prop on the right way. NOT the left way, no left way props please" or "KenB be sure not to premix 2 stroke engine oil in the gas for your 4s suzuki!"  Flame away and thanks!

  Ken, they must be run in parallel. All the reds go together, all the blacks go together. If you're using lights with standard bulbs as opposed to LEDs, then polarity doesn't matter and you may find lights with black and white wires or other colors. Just know that you cannot daisy chain them. In fact if you were to wire them in series, each light you were to connect would reduce the brightness dramatically (Not to mention what has already been said about if one goes out they all go out) In fact I think by the third light in the string you'd hardly see any light at all.

  Ken
Ken Chace
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Offline KenB

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2008, 09:06:50 AM »
Thanks all, parallel makes sense. I am not really sure I understand how I would save any wire length though. I am wiring from the port light, around the bow, then soldering the startboard wires onto the respective leads (since polarity doesn't matter), the back to the fuse/switch. Bob, your set up makes a lot of sense, but since I will mostly be running during the day and will remove the stern light, I think I will run the stern light on the anc circuit. My switch is actually "Anc/Nav/Off," where I think I will wire the stern and the guages off the "anc" switch.  Just to make sure, it's basically "off," "anc" or "anc plus nav" right? i.e. when the switch is in the "nav" position, both the nav and anc circuits are lit?  Thanks! (and there  are not LED on board yet.)
best,
KenB

"HOW CHEAPLY CAN A TOLMAN SKIFF BE BUILT AND JUST HOW  MUCH IS SACRIFICED IF COST IS THE PRIME MOVER?"
- Bruce Armstrong   

"I can tell you that either a nice BFT or a big YFT is an absolute riot on a Tolman. The boat is so light it's like the old man and the sea..."
- Dave Nolan (RIP)

Online GlacierBoats

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2008, 05:24:12 PM »

Easiest to figure out a schematic (aka 'picture') than words.  But anyway, parallel is always the rule for lights, especially nav lights ...else one bad wire or socket or bulb knocks them all out and you're in the dark.

Brian
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Offline walknbob

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2008, 05:43:30 PM »
But anyway, parallel is always the rule for lights, especially nav lights ...else one bad wire or socket or bulb knocks them all out and you're in the dark.

My navs are led so I am hoping that a common pos won't be too big an issue. Besides during the summer months you seldom need your lights up here. And it's too damn cold to run in the winter. Except maybe for the winter king derby for a day or two.
WalknBob aka Bob Southwick - Depoe Bay OR

Offline kchace

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2008, 07:30:51 PM »
But anyway, parallel is always the rule for lights, especially nav lights ...else one bad wire or socket or bulb knocks them all out and you're in the dark.

My navs are led so I am hoping that a common pos won't be too big an issue. Besides during the summer months you seldom need your lights up here. And it's too damn cold to run in the winter. Except maybe for the winter king derby for a day or two.

  As long as all the positives go to the switched and fused positive and all the negatives go to negative, they'll work.

  Ken
Ken Chace
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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2008, 08:20:11 PM »
But anyway, parallel is always the rule for lights, especially nav lights ...else one bad wire or socket or bulb knocks them all out and you're in the dark.

My navs are led so I am hoping that a common pos won't be too big an issue. Besides during the summer months you seldom need your lights up here. And it's too damn cold to run in the winter. Except maybe for the winter king derby for a day or two.

Parallel wiring is great for LED's and should be required if you want consistent brightness.  In a nutshell, there's the ground rail and the positive rail ...2 wires that run the full length of the lighting run.  In between the LED and either the positive or ground side (doesn't matter but the usual convention is the positive side), you have a current limiting resistor for each LED.  If you bought commercial LED lights, then the resistor will be hidden in the light somewhere.  If you are a DIY guy, then you'll wire one in that sets the current to what it should be.  You just subtract the voltage drop of the LED from your source voltage (12 VDC typ.) and divide by the current requirement of the LED, say 15 mA, to figure out the resistor size.  Round up to the nearest standard size for the resistor and Bob's your uncle!  Sometimes people will wire up 2 or 4 LEDs in series and use a single current limiting resistor for the whole stack.  In that case, you subtract the total of the voltage drops from the source voltage and divide by the current requirement to get you resistor size.  Especially for LED lamps that use several LEDs (one that you design), this can be handy.  But I would keep individual lamps or separated LEDs wired in parallel so that if one lamp (or LED) goes out, that the whole enchilada doesn't go out on you.  For nav or marker lights and anything having to do with safety, this is a requirement... one light shall not take out the whole ship.

Brian
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Offline tolman_paul

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2008, 09:32:07 AM »
Parallel, if you put them in series, not only would one light going out take out the string, but you'd be cutting the voltage in 1/2 betweent the lights and have two dim bulbs  :o

Offline walknbob

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2008, 12:00:14 PM »
Parallel, if you put them in series, not only would one light going out take out the string, but you'd be cutting the voltage in 1/2

Here is what I did, I'm not sure if it is paralell or series. Pos (red) from each nav light to one red wire running to the switch, Neg (black) from each light to one black wire running to the neg block. I think this would be essentially parallel? Because it isn't any different than running wireing from each light to the source just that the source consists of a pos & neg wire running up closer to the lights rather than 2 wires each running all the way down to the sources.
WalknBob aka Bob Southwick - Depoe Bay OR

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2008, 01:49:31 PM »

Yup, that's parallel.  I assume your 'lights' are self-contained commercially made ones?  You didn't go to Radio Shaft and buy individual LEDs, right?  In any case, to wire in series you'd wire the first lamp's red wire to the red (+) wire coming from your breaker/fuse/battery but then the next lamp's red wire would connect to the black wire coming out of the first lamp and so on.  The last lamp in the series would have it's black wire going back to the (-) terminal of your power source.  Since this saves wiring, some gypo products like certain strings of christmas lights are wired this way ...any break in the chain and there's no path for power to the next lamp in the series.  Lighting in vehicles should always be done in parallel and generally are.  I like to think of the positive side of the power source as a positive 'rail' and the negative, or return, side as the negative 'rail'.  Each lamp's red wire goes to the positive rail and each black goes to the negative rail.

NOTE that this essentially makes each lamp into a branch circuit and as such would normally require circuit protection for each branch since electrical standards require branch circuit protection for every branch ...with exceptions.  Most electrical standards will let you get away with only protecting the main circuit (the rail ...at the panel end) with a single circuit protection device when powering low-power stuff.  If you power something else off this circuit, other than a lamp that is, then you might consider an inline fuse for the one item, wired between that item and the positive rail.  This is even true for some other types of circuits if they contain motors and the motors are small enough to qualify for the right classification.  For electronic equipment, it's generally a good idea to have branch circuit protection for groups of equipment, then individual inline fuses for each individual piece of equipment.  For non-lighting, non-light motor, other electrical circuits however, you do want individual branch circuit protection (breaker or fuse) on the panel for those circuits.

Brian



Brian

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Offline CAPT LEE

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2008, 04:22:29 PM »
 ::)   isbn #0-13-054262-8  will answer all your guestions.
      HINT  you can most likely find it in your local  library. ;)I sure enjoy keeping up with u guys.  LEE

Offline walknbob

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Re: navigation lights wiring... parallel or series.
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 04:27:57 PM »

Yup, that's parallel.  I assume your 'lights' are self-contained commercially made ones? 

Yup, Perko leds for about $110 bucks for the pair.
WalknBob aka Bob Southwick - Depoe Bay OR