Ask SAIL: Noisy LED Lights?

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

A DIN WHEN DIMMING

calder11-256x144

Q: I just purchased an 18ft roll of amber/white flexible LEDs to light up our cabin down below. They are plenty bright for reading charts, and a rotary dimmer pulls them down to a wonderful warm glow for dining. The one down side is that when I dim the light strip, a terrible racket comes over my audio system and wipes out my morning SSB weather net reception. I didn’t think LEDs gave off noise.

Don Arnold, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA

GORDON WEST REPLIES

You are correct. LEDs run cold and silent. The noise you hear is coming from the pulse-width modulated dimmer network. Run the LEDs full on with no dimming or full off, and there should be no noise. During dimming, however, the dimmer circuit can make a horrible racket over audio systems, as well as your marine SSB. Therefore, short of series resistors on a switch, your new string of dimmed LEDs will indeed create radio racket.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

March 2016

Related

sailingabove-2

Swan Flyer: A Hot New One-design

In a racing scene that’s bristling with innovation, legacy builder Nautor’s Swan refuses to be left behind in its quest to dominate the champagne end of one-design sailing. Arriving hard on the heels of the radical Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ClubSwan 50, the ClubSwan 36 offers a ...read more

Maiden sets out for Uruguay during the 1989-90 Whitbread race

Making Maiden and the 1989-90 Whitbread Race

As recently as the late 1980s, the idea of an all-female sailing team in the Whitbread Round the World Race (the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race) seemed laughable to many. How could women handle the competition? They weren’t strong enough. They wouldn’t be able to take the ...read more

01-LEAD-J99

Four Very Different New Boat Designs

Following up on the J/121, which won a SAIL Best Boats award in 2018, the new J/99 represents a similar concept in a smaller package. Specifically, the new 32-footer’s deck layout and rig have been optimized for smaller and even doublehanded crews, with an eye toward meeting the ...read more

Dinghy Suggested CROP

Ask Sail: Dinghy Dilemma

DINGHY DILEMMA Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a ...read more

Groupe Beneteau charging its boats in NEOLINE vessel

Transporting Sailboats Under Sail

Transporting sailboats under sail? That sounds like a cool concept, and it’s one that looks set to become reality in 2021 when shipping company Neoline brings its sailing cargo ships into service. Groupe Beneteau has committed to transporting boats between Europe and the United ...read more

01_vor120612_ross_0644

Sailing Master Ken Read

Images trigger memory. Preparing to interview the golden boy of American sailing, I thought I would find a picture that would show Ken Read at the peak of his sailing career, his heyday, to share and have a warm and fuzzy start to our conversation. It was a commanding image from ...read more

New-engine-being-lifted-over-stern

Know how: Replacing the Auxiliary Power System

One of the most complex tasks undertaken during Passion’s refit was the complete replacement of her auxiliary power system—engine, V-drive and fuel tanks. I needed more horsepower, which drove the need for more fuel capacity and a larger V-drive to handle the higher engine ...read more