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Old Feb 07, 2015, 08:58 AM
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Wiring/powering my deck lights

I'm a real "noob" when it comes to wiring/lighting and need some help. I've got a 6 volt search light, two 3-volt (each) navigation lights and a 3-volt mast light for a total of 15 volts. Not sure if I should connect them to my 12-volt power source or use a separate power source. If I can connect to my main 12 volt power, do I wire in series or parallel for brights lights?
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 09:31 AM
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Vince Hoffmann's Avatar
Hayward, CA
Joined Jan 2009
916 Posts
You will need to reduce the voltage from your main battery to the voltage of your lights, or use separate batteries that feed the correct voltage.

You can get a voltage regulator switch from Dimension Engineering:
https://www.dimensionengineering.com/products/de-swadj

Or you can try to find a linear voltage regulator. MACK used to make both 3 and 6 volt regulators but I cannot find them anymore.

Edit:
I found the MACK 3.3v regulator
http://www.mackproductsrc.com/L-26%20auto_control.htm
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Last edited by Vince Hoffmann; Feb 07, 2015 at 09:45 AM.
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 02:16 PM
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Thanks a ton!
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 03:32 PM
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Blackpool, Lancs
Joined Feb 2006
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Bright lights on a boat never look right, and can melt whatever they are housed in, assuming they last that long. The description of your lights sounds like they all need different current, so putting them in a series chain simply won't work. Just putting them in parallel on a 12 volt supply would kill them almost instantly. Depending on the current each needs, you might need several regulators.
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 06:49 PM
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Vince Hoffmann's Avatar
Hayward, CA
Joined Jan 2009
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Another option is to use LEDs with resistors matched to your battery voltage. There are several folks here who can help you get the right LED and resistor combo and you can run everything off your 12v main battery.
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 06:53 PM
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United States, NJ, Frenchtown
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OR

Fixed I C regulators would be fine also. L M series comes to my old brain. The will run off the 12 volt battery just fine
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Old Feb 07, 2015, 07:44 PM
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SF Bay Area, CA
Joined Jul 2002
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I'll give another option here; use a BEC such as this one:

Available from Tower Hobbies: http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXWNS2&P=7

1) Set the BEC for 6 volts
2) Connect the BEC to your 12v power source (through a switch, if you prefer)
3) Wire your three, 3v bulbs in series which will make them behave like one 9v bulb
4) Connect your 6v search light and the three series-wired 3v bulbs in parallel to the BEC

Now your search light will get 6v (I'm assuming you'd want full brightness for that) and your navigation and mast lights will get 6v (out of the required 9v) which will cause them to glow a bit dimmer for a more realistic effect.
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Old Feb 08, 2015, 09:42 AM
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United States, NJ, Frenchtown
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You are assuming same current & type of bulbs. Might not be the same ? h

He could look to make them all 12 vdc ?
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Old Feb 08, 2015, 01:56 PM
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Blackpool, Lancs
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Effectively, using a 12 to 6 volt regulator, and wiring the bulbs to fit in with 6 volts as described in #7 does exactly that. Because they are arranged into 2 groups running on the same voltage, the only ones where current becomes critical is the chain of 3 volt nav/mast lights, which probably are all the same current and can be wired in series.
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Old Feb 09, 2015, 09:05 AM
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Australia, WA, Perth
Joined Mar 2011
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Similar to the voltage regulators already mentioned but much cheaper.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/190886445...84.m1497.l2649

You could use 3

1 for nav lights in parallel
1 for mast lights
1 for search light

You can then adjust each group for the brightness you require bearing in mind you don't overdrive them (too higher voltage).

I don't know the size of the boat but these are very small units.

Once you set the voltage spray them with some moisture proofing spray as should any electronic equipment in a marine environment. In a waterproof plastic box would also be good.

EDIT

One problem I did think of after I logged off last night was that to use these boards you need to be able to or have some one solder the wires to the PCB. needs a fine point soldering iron.
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Last edited by tugboat2011; Feb 10, 2015 at 12:29 AM.
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