Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

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GeoffSchultz
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Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by GeoffSchultz »

About 2 years ago I replaced my halogen cabin lights with Dr. LED Mars domes. The seemed fine at first, but this least year they seemed a lot dimmer. This year while cruising, I realized that the Mars Domes, which have a high and low setting, now only go on to low, which sucks.

Here's the e-mail that I sent to them
I installed 5 white Mars Domes and 2 Red/White Mars domes in February of 2007. Of these, 4 of the white units failed such that they only turn on in "low" mode. One of the red/white units has also failed in that the white output is very low compared to the one that functions correctly. Based upon the common nature of the failure, this looks like a systemic issue.
Their response was:
To obtain warranty service (within 1 year of purchase), please return goods purchased with a proof of purchase date, please send goods in with a $5 per item processing fee. Please send it to: [address clipped]Alternately, we can sell you our LED dome light conversion kit at half price as a repair kit.
Considering that I paid $70-80 per light and they 5 of the 7 failed at just over a year and they want $30/conversion kit to repair them, I'm not very happy. I've used a lot of their products in the past and have been happy with them, but this product seems to have some kind of problem.

I'm just about to take the units over to an EE friend of mine and have him diagnose the issue. I'll report back on what I find.

-- Geoff
BlueJacket
1997 Freedom 40/40
http://www.GeoffSchultz.org

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THATBOATGUY
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by THATBOATGUY »

That's a good idea taking them to your EE buddy.

I purchased some el-cheapo led dome lights with white/red option and installed them on Marquesa. I think the normal West Marine price is around $20 and a little less with my port supply. So far I'm very happy with them. I also purchased some bayonet mount replacement LED clusters for our reading lamps and I have had three of them fail... all in the same fixture so I need to get the volt meter out and see what the heck might be going on there.

George
George and Kerri Huffman S/V Marquesa Freedom 40 CC CK Sail MarquesaImage

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GeoffSchultz
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by GeoffSchultz »

One of my big issues is that I hate the pure white LEDs that many units use. I insist on a warm-white output, and the Doctor LED units are one of the few that I've seen have that option.

-- Geoff
BlueJacket
1997 Freedom 40/40
http://www.GeoffSchultz.org

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THATBOATGUY
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by THATBOATGUY »

I gotcha. I really like the pure white but my wife prefers the warm glow of an incandescent. Since it's her reading light in the v-berth that's killing the LED clusters I think I see a solution!

George
George and Kerri Huffman S/V Marquesa Freedom 40 CC CK Sail MarquesaImage

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Michel
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by Michel »

I bought two Plastimo BAY15D replacement LED lamps for my anchor light and tricolor. The one in the tricolor failed after an hour or so of testing in the marina. One of the regulator chips buned out. so much for the 50,000 hour burning duration.
Plastimo LED lamp met doorgebrande IC2.JPG
Plastimo LED lamp met doorgebrande IC2.JPG (55.54 KiB) Viewed 6757 times
I now know that these widely spread white LEDS are no good in nav lights, so I'm gonna return it.

For my dome lights, I'm considering the SCAD sensibulb replacement kits, but they are quite expensive, considering the fact that I rarely use the dome lights. In my old and ugly plastic reading lights, I have 40w 12V Edison lamps, which are failing of old age one after the other these days. These 12v screw-in bulbs are unknown in the whole of Europe. They eat a lot of power too, so I must replace the whole armature with something containing warm white LEDs.
Michel Capel, Freedom 44 #4 1981 'Alabama Queen', NED8188, cat ketch with wishbones, home port Enkhuizen, the Netherlands, 52*42.238'N 005*18.154'E.

Tatoosh
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by Tatoosh »

I would suggest you seriously consider the LED clusters built by Bebi Electronics (www.bebi-electronics.com)

I have two of their clusters (masthead tri-color and masthead anchor) The units were realistically priced, very rugged, waterproof and put out a tremendous amount of light for very little battery draw.

I was able to easily adapt the clusters to retro-fit my existing Guest masthead fixture. If you can solder, adapting the Bebi clusters to meet your particular needs should not be a problem.

Finally, the people at Bebi are sailors, understand the issues and were very reponsive regarding answering questions and shipping their products.

Rick Wright
s/v ANNIE
Davis Creek, MD

The fine print: I have no interest in, or connection to Bebi Electronics, other than being a satisfied customer.

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GeoffSchultz
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by GeoffSchultz »

Personally I would never install an Bebi nav light as they haven't been approved by the USCG. If you were to ever get into an "situation" where the use of these lights were required, and the ones that you were using hadn't been approved, you could be up the proverbial creek with both the authorities and your insurance company.

-- Geoff
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1997 Freedom 40/40
http://www.GeoffSchultz.org

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Michel
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Re: Doctor LED Mars Dome Experience

Post by Michel »

I agree; for inside use, the BEBI lights are fine, and it's a good idea to buy a Fijian product and support a local liveaboard cruiser. I had a LED light in my tricolor (see post above) and it broke. I replaced it with a normal bulb after I found out these Plastimo lights hadn't been approved by the authorities.
Michel Capel, Freedom 44 #4 1981 'Alabama Queen', NED8188, cat ketch with wishbones, home port Enkhuizen, the Netherlands, 52*42.238'N 005*18.154'E.

Tatoosh
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Re: LED nav light Experience

Post by Tatoosh »

Thank you Geoff and Michel for reminding us that USCG certification should be part of the decision making process when considering replacements for navigational lighting. In fact, I use USCG approved AquaSignal series 32 LED fixtures for my running lights.

Perhaps before I recommended Bebi in my previous post, I should have explained my earlier experiences with a USCG approved LED mast head light that led me to use the Bebi clusters in my current mast head light.

I purchased ($300+) and installed to the manufacturers instructions, a OGM tricolor with anchor light LED fixture. the OGM unit replaced an older Guest combination tricolor/anchor light fixture.

After a season of sailing, the next fall after pulling the mast (the boat winters undercover on a trailer) I noticed about 2-3cms of water, sloshing around over the circuit boards inside the still sealed OGM light fixture. There were no obvious pathways for water to enter as the lens and housing were intact and tightly sealed. After removing the light and beginning to work on rewiring the Guest fixture to accept the Bebi clusters, I contacted OGM to report the problem and ask for a refund.

When I explained the problem to the technical/customer service rep he said (not a direct quote) "Oh yeah, we've had that problem. Do you have short lead coming out of the fixture? (I did) Well we've been having trouble with water migrating up the wire into the fixture, but we're changing the design."

Based on my discussion with the service rep it was clear that OGM was aware that there was a significant design flaw with the OGM light fixture. I asked if they anticipated a product recall to correct the problem, to which he answered no. When I asked for a refund I was informed that OGM corporate policy was to offer a credit for a returned light fixture to be applied against the purchase of a new fixture. At that point, a second OGM product was the last thing I wanted . I declined his offer.

So finally, Geoff I agree that with you that if navigational lights were to fail, one could be "up the proverbial creek" but based on my experience (n=2) I would caution against confusing the receipt of a Certification for a guarantee of product performance, for good design or for a manufacturer that stands behind a critically important component.

Respectfully,

Rick Wright
s/v ANNIE
Davis Creek, MD

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