Wherein an Aqua Signal Series 25 "All Around Light" gets LEDed

The lamp came from Defender - Great people always willing to humor my dumb questions. And rapid delivery, too. Here's the link to Bebi Electronics' "Owl" 15 LED bulb.

This would appear to be a simpler conversion because there's only one light to deal with. It is but it isn't because there isn't a lot of room to work wonders inside the Aqua Signal lamp this time around. Here's my step-by-step procedure.


Lens off. All the work goes on in the base. I bent the copper stem to give a better view.
There are 3 mounting holes. You don't do anything with those. And 2 screw posts you eventually reduce in height. I'll get to that later on.


Stem off. I marked around the square "post". That gets ground off. Eventually, just about everything inside gets ground off an 1/8" below the copper plate.


First step of grinding.


This tube will become the base for the Owl bulb. I cut a piece of 1" PVC 3"s long just to have something to hold on to while working. It gets a lot smaller as I proceed.
Standing it on the copper plate to reference the future hole locations, mark the hole centers. This becomes a leg 1/2" wide and 3/4" tall.


Drill the corners. I used a 3/16" bit. You could use just about any size in that range. The reason for drilling the corners is to have a smooth transition from "vertical" to "horizontal" when these legs get bent out.


Here, the excess is cut off leaving the legs.


Take a Bic lighter and heat one leg at a time from the inside until it barely starts to smoke.
Use the edge of your workbench to bend the leg outward.
It takes a few minutes for the PVC to cool down, so don't be impatient, or the leg will return to its original shape.


Once you've got the three legs bent, center the piece over the mounting holes, mark centers, and drill 3/16" holes.
Mark where to cut off the legs. Saw them to size.


I didn't photograph the inside of the Owl.
It has only one ring of LEDs and consequently has more room between black sealer and the rim. 3/8" when scraped smooth.
My little piece, hereafter refered to as the "gizmo", gets trimmed down to 5/8" tall. Together with the bulb, they place the LEDs at the exact center of the fresnel lens.


Here, I trimmed away more copper around the terminal screws.
I've actually shortened the plastic screw posts and snipped off the ends of the screws.
It really is tight quarters down there.

The only hairy bit of this installation will be mounting the lamp. The electrical feed wires come up through the center on the lamp. Thread the feed wires through the base of the lamp. Locate and drill the 3 mounting holes. Attach the feed wires to the posts. Next, assemble the gizmo and the Owl. Trim the Owl wires to length (plus a little extra), and connect to the posts. Next, place the Owl/gizmo assembly over the mounting holes and insert the bolts holding the lamp down; tighten nuts. I anticipate using something like #6x2" bolts and Nylok nuts.
Once the gizmo and base are screwed down, thread the zip ties through the Owl and gizmo and tighten. Put the lens on and you're all set.


At some point drill holes in the gizmo corresponding to the holes in the Owl to fasten the two together with zip ties. The Owl has three holes, but they're placed in such a way as to not blemish the Bebi Electronics label.




All buttoned up - Project complete. Elapsed time: 3hrs. including brainstorming.

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to ask any questions.

Afterthought... If you shop around for what a few pissant LEDs cost, you'll see that Bebi lights are awesomely affordable. The bulbs can be ordered from S/V HotWire. Phone: 727-943-0424. Libbie took my order and had the goodies on the way the same day.

There was one more piece needed to complete the AS40 LED project - the mounting base, bracket, that gets welded to the masthead.


First time around I started with a piece of SS I had laying around for years. It turned out to be so hard cutting, I gave it up. It might just be useful for knife blades. I'll try grinding an edge on some of it to see.
For the second attempt, I got a stainless steel pot from the thrift store for 3 bucks. Here's the layout. 2&3/4" circle, 1&1/4" legs 1" wide. Cut the "rough" out with a cutting wheel on a sidegrinder. Saw to the lines with a jeweler's saw. File, file, sand, sand. Drill holes. Bend legs.




Stern view

Finish sanded 2/3rds of the fairing coat on the mast.

This way --> [home2.] Home.[chaos]

Got any questions or comments? I'm still "themadmac" [dawg1email.jpg] only now I'm at verizon.net

Written 2011/Mar/06