Recommend lights

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Pop Pop

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looking to install lights in my 1988 StarCraft 21’ mariner. Has no lights at all except for the marker lights which are original. I want to put lights under side rails, all storage hatches, back of boat where batteries are and under center console. What lights LED are recommended and how would you go about wiring same. Thanks PopPop
 

TexasJim

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First thing you need to do is go to your state's boating regulatory website and it will tell you what is legally required for vessel lighting in your state. Most states aren't too hot on LED's for nav lights. Unless you're coastal, a lot of the Coast Guard lighting regs may not apply. Do your homework before spending lots of time and money. TexasJim
 

LDUBS

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First thing you need to do is go to your state's boating regulatory website and it will tell you what is legally required for vessel lighting in your state. Most states aren't too hot on LED's for nav lights. Unless you're coastal, a lot of the Coast Guard lighting regs may not apply. Do your homework before spending lots of time and money. TexasJim

I don't think he is talking about nav lights. Sounds more about for lockers, convenience and "for looks" lighting inside the boat.

OP, the "New Wire Marine" web site has some wiring diagram examples you might find useful. Maybe too much info, but at least they will help you understand the concepts involved in running circuits. I can't make recommendations for LED fixtures, but I see a lot of guys here adding all kinds of accent lights. Hopefully someone will chime in.
 
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LED’s are fairly simple to install. They usually don’t need much of a fuse and 12 to 14 gauge wire is usually adequate depending on how long your runs will be. I would go with a well reviewed brand vs Chinese knock-offs.
 

airshot

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No matter where you mount a light, you need to run a power wire to each light. So...figure where your battery is and where you want lights then figure where you will run your wires....not really rocket science..
 

Ironhorse2022

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For a trouble free lighting circuit over the years, I’d recommend crimp sleeves/solder/marine shrink tube at each wire connection. Intermittent connections are common after some time when using the blue quick connect spade type connectors. Harbor Freight is a good source for cheap marine shrink tube (nice kit with different sizes). I think they have the non insulated metal crimp sleeves as well - if not, cheap on Amazon.
 

cyclops2

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Strings of " Boat / marine " lights are not as cheap as 120 vac Christmas lights. Price ALL the parts out before starting the kiddie toy job.
 

FuzzyGrub

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I went with perimeter LED light strings.

Used two 16' strings. You don't want to chain them. The 2nd string will be noticably dimmer. So one 16' string went down the port side and under the front deck lip. The 2nd went down the starboard side and was cut. The piece remaining went around the lip of port storage. The bow lights are seperate and powered from the trolling motor battery. Not shown is bow nav lights which are LED strings that are also powered by trolling motor battery.
 

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airshot

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From Amazon, I found an assortment of shrink tubes in various sizes, but it has a seaker inside that seals the connection from water once shrunk. This stuff works great and it also shrinks down smaller than normal shrink tubing. Used it on my boat trailer wiring a few years back with no issues to date. Last spring, I needed to replace a side marker light housing and open the sealed connection to make the exchange. The wires inside looked like the day I sealed them, not one sign of any corrosion !!!
 

thill

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I have rigged a lot of boats, and often use sealed LED marker lights for under-gunnel lighting. Here are some that I use often: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073TBY6H9

The amber light is easy on the eyes, but still bright enough to make them useful at night. Keep in mind, this is for function, not show, as we do a lot of night fishing. For rod locker and storage area lighting, I have been favoring similar sealed LED units in white: https://www.amazon.com/LEDVillage-Marker-Lights-Trailer-Trucks/dp/B073TFJXM8/

Personally, I don't like many of the other colors for functional lighting, but they look pretty neat if just for show.

There are many LED light modules that you can get for very little money. I've been using these little buttons a lot. They are made for trailers, and work very well on boats. They are small, and can be tucked away, but make a lot of light for their size: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B58X7DNY

For LED lighting, I use a lot of TINNED copper wire. Tinned wire is very durable in a saltwater environment: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N0A16X2
This wire carries a lot more current that many wires that are supposedly higher gauge. Very good wire for most low-level LED applications. For high intensity lighting, you need to size up according to wattage and wire run.

I hope this is helpful.
 

GTS225

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I think, if it were me, and to simplify the wiring, I'd put battery powered puck lights in the hatches and storage compartments. Less load on the primary battery, and they won't be on constantly, unless you want to add more switches at each locker.

Roger
 
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