C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New LED Running Lights for the Bow

Last fall during our migration from North Carolina to Florida our port forward running light burned out.  I purchased what I thought to be the correct replacement bulb, but the new bulb was either too large, too high a wattage, or both.  The result was a melted lens and damaged socket (I do realize this could have been much worse.)

Through a bit of internet searching I found some tear drop shaped led replacements made by SeaSense and purchased them last December. 

The new LED running lights
I went back to seek a link for the lights we purchased and they have vanished from the SeaSense website, but can be found on ebay.  This is unfortunate since the fixtures were an accurate enough match to C'est la Vie's old lights that the replacement was relatively easy, but I'm skipping over the removal of the old lights.

A copious ring of ling cured 5200 surrounding the old light fixture 
The person installing the existing lights did not hold back on the 5200.  I feared the lights may be difficult to remove without marring the exterior hull paint.  For this reason, I began my extraction efforts sweating away in the anchor locker scraping, prying, grunting, and cursing at the elastic gobs of 5200.  

using Anne's paddle board as a work platform to access the running lights
  When additional efforts in the anchor locker grew futile, I launched Anne's paddle board and used it as a work platform from which to launch my external attack on the bedded lights.  After one lap around the fixtures with a razor knife the fixture parted ways with the hull.  Success.  The starboard side came free with similar effort.

Successful extraction of old fixture.  Now back to scraping 5200.
Some additional work went into removing the surface 5200. When test fitting the new lights, I was elated to discover that the port side matched down to the pilot holes.  The starboard side took a bit of sanding and drilling out the pilot holes to correct minor misalignment.

Anne crawled into the anchor locker and I remained on the board as we worked together to bolt in place the new fixtures.  Rather that replacing the 5200, we used butyl tape to bed the new lights.

Successful test of the new bow running lights.
Shortly after installing the fixtures afternoon thunderstorms stalled our efforts.  I returned this morning and wired the new lights.  C'est la Vie is now legal and two fixtures closer to 100% LED.  I think the deck spot light and the engine compartment lights are the only incandescent bulbs remaining on the boat.

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