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Boat Trailer lighting

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On: Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 9:10AM | By: Captain Woody Gore

Boat trailer lights are critical and under-discussed components that seem to fail at the most inconvenient times. Don’t risk getting a ticket or in an accident because you neglected your boat trailer’s lighting. Most light fittings are vehicle types with incandescent lamps. They are easily flooded and waterlogged, which results in burnouts and failure. Moisture is the enemy of all electrical systems and connections. Water, especially saltwater, quickly and easily corrodes electrical connectors, which wreaks havoc on lighting systems.
Recently, improvements to lighting components have resulted in waterproof fixtures that virtually eliminate water intrusion. Most of these new components utilize the innovative LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs.

Better, Brighter and Longer Lasting
What is an LED? As lighting technology improves almost everyone has seen or will see these small bright lights. Actually they are an electronic light source created from a light-emitting-diode, and so the name LED. Invented in the early 20th century and introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962 these early devices emitted a low-intensity red light, but modern LEDs are now available across the color spectrum and capable of producing a very high brilliance. Applications of LEDs are widely diverse, often used as new equipment or as low-energy replacements for traditional lighting.

Without getting into how they’re actually manufactured, let’s say it’s simple but complex. Although small they produce a bright light source with advantages over traditional lighting. Some of these advantages include longer life, improved brightness, smaller size lower amperage draw, and instant-on capability.

To work properly in the marine environment LEDs are
hermetically sealed for protection against the environment and other corrosive elements. To ensure long life, the most reliable sealing method is encapsulating the circuit board and LED diodes in a material that is impervious to outside industrial, road and marine environments.

The most common application for LEDs in the boating industry is trailer lighting. However, boat manufacturers around the world are quickly jumping on the LED band wagon, primarily because of improved intensity, color combinations, and low operating amperage draws.

Boat and utility trailers, for example, take a tremendous amount of abuse. They are continually exposed to elements including fresh and saltwater, rough roads and rougher boat ramps. Therefore, to produce a long-life light source like LEDs means that greater care must be taken during their design and manufacture. While this translates to a higher principal cost it also means lower replacement costs over the life of the trailer. With some research you can find an excellent LED trailer lighting kit priced somewhere between $50 and $75 dollars.

On a personal note and because I trailer my rig over 200 days each year, at night and in heavy stop-and-go traffic I switched to LED lighting a couple of years ago. I like the added brightness and feel that when towing, especially in stop-and-go traffic, the vehicles behind me can see the brighter lights.


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