Instrument/Dash Switch Indicators LED Dilemma Solutions

Discussion in 'Classic Sea Rays' started by Rod Buster, May 8, 2018.

  1. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    CSR:

    I just went through a bit of a frustrating ordeal trying to replace some of the 0.312" round indicator lights in my dash panels and breaker box. In 1985 at least, these were all Solico brand out of Mexico. It's likely most older Sea Ray models have the same parts.

    The OEM indicators were incandescent, with a mix of green/red/amber. The OEM indicators say 15V on them, which is important. A lot of the classics do not have dimmers, so the brightness was set for night vision concerns and heat.

    There is an incandescent replacement bulb by SeaDog that fits, but it is glaring bright and runs very hot. It's also expensive at about $7. It's marked as a 12-15V bulb, not straight 15V, so it runs way too bright. I had to cover them while driving at night. I started with those and was also concerned about the heat. One of them only lasted about 3 months on the auto bilge pump green indicators (lit 24/7). You can see how bright the two on the left are compared to the blowers on the right. Completely unacceptable.

    [​IMG]

    I found that fpmarine and others sell some of the solico brand, but those are all 12-15V, too bright, and run very hot because they are still not direct OEM replacements. Solico does make 15V incandescent, but they are extremely rare and basically impossible to find. The 12-15V are fine for momentary indicators, but not for the indicators that run at night while you're driving, like the bilge pump lights, blower lights, the wiper light, or the nav light. This was not a solution and I'm frustrated that I spent the time and money to replace them all just to rip them out again.

    After hours of research and digging, I finally found some LED equivalents by Solico. After multiple emails to Solico and a bunch of electronics suppliers that will not sell less then 250+ pieces at a time, I had to get everything started with a special order, but now they should be available to anyone. If you want to replace these with LED, it's worth the effort/cost. I did all of the indicators in the dash and breaker box.

    Not a night shot, but you get the idea. Bilge auto lights and the wiper lights are on. The brightness is much more like the OEM lights and there is no heat, even on the 24/7 bilge bulbs.

    [​IMG]

    I also replaced all of the 125VAC amber indicators in the breaker box with LED and the water level indicators. 4/5 bulbs did not work, as shown below:

    [​IMG]

    Lakeview brought them in stock for me and I thought I'd pass the info along for anyone that may benefit.

    The 12VDC green/red/amber indicators are these part numbers:
    1812-1-13-20310 ("10" is red)
    1812-1-13-20320 ("20" is amber)
    1812-1-13-20340 ("40" is green)

    The 125VAC amber indicators for the switches in the breaker box are:
    1815-1-13-20320

    18 is the series - wire leads
    12 is 14VDC LED/15 is 125VAC LED
    -1 is wire termination
    -13 is a white base with black bezel
    -203 is the flush diamond head
    (See attached PDF)

    These are very hard to find direct replacements to upgrade everything to LED.

    Here's the link:
    https://www.lvelectronics.com/category/psearch/1926?in_fields={"Manufacturer":"SOLICO","Lamp Type":"","Voltage":"","Lens Color":"","Lens Type":"","Termination Style":""}

    Good luck.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    Snafu53, Handsome Transom and QT1 like this.
  2. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    109
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    Awesome information and thanks for posting it. I have several of these that are questionable on my 390 and started the process finding replacements but gave up after several futile searches. Now - another project added back to the list!
     
  3. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Check EBay for a seller, Searayman13. He usually has a good selection of those indicator lights. Send him a message if he doesn’t have them listed.
    He’s local to me and I bought a lot of them from him for my old boat a few years back.
    He’s a nice guy too.
     
    SCORPIO likes this.
  4. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    I just ordered a pile of 12 - 15 volt lights for my dash and few 125volt for my shore power panel.

    I posted this in another thread, but I have my eye on your rectangular 3 bulb reverse polarity light.

    Not having any luck finding those.

    Any ideas?
     
  5. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    I've purchased things from him before. Good guy, agreed. He won't have these LED lights, though, and it's very likely that the incandescent indicators he does have will be the very bright versions that are unsafe at night and put out a lot of heat.

    At this point, I've basically changed every bulb in my boat to LED, except the 120VAC incandescent light bulb above the dinette and the orange backlit bulbs in the dash. Otherwise, I'm full LED now. These indicators were one of the last holdouts.
     
  6. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Did you get the ones I posted from Lakeview? You'll like the results. In fact, these look a little nicer than the OEM ones because they have a very small, matte-black finish bezel around the lens that gives it a better finished look than the plastic squared off surround on the OEM bulbs.

    I had my boat out on Saturday in the sun and could still see these lights, they're very faint, but that's the idea. At night, it's a night-vision dream come true, which is when it really matters.

    Ugh, yes, the Alco GT33 reverse polarity indicator is still a problem. Mine flickers off and on randomly and clearly needs to be replaced. I might take it apart and try to find a solution, because they are basically unobtainable. I saw one for sale for $100 or something, no way. There's a "newer" version of it by Solico model 34, but it isn't the same 3-bulbs and it doesn't fit in the cutout, so you have to make a custom bezel. http://www.cmsquick.com/prod_11_LED_RET.html It's an option, but I'd rather keep it OEM looking.

    I'm still trying to find a solution there. If I do, I'll let you know on this thread.
     
  7. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Actually no, I had already ordered incandescents from Flounder Pounder.

    The amber 125 volt ones are on B/O for the moment. If the green 12 volt ones are too bright, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I don’t run at night too often anyway.

    Like you, I’m going to try to take the reverse polarity light apart to see if bulbs can be replaced.

    There’s a parts boat like mine that I might try to get into if all else fails.

    Thanks for the suggestions. If I come up with anything I’ll let you know as well.
     
  8. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Thanks, sounds like a plan. Honestly, I'd return the incandescent ones from FP without installing them. Mine are basically garbage. If you have any lights that are on more than momentary, (bilge blowers as you're idling, auto bilge pumps (24/7 for me), nav, etc), they get way too hot. Even my wiper light is wired to my stereo amps, so it's on pretty much the whole time I'm on the boat. The brightness is frustrating, but the heat is worse. The inside of my panel turned dark around those lights and I could see them damaging the panel in the long term. Also note that the incandescent replacements only lasted a few months, so you may be back in there again next year doing the same work.

    If you don't run at night, the brightness isn't an issue, but the heat will be. I'd go LED for that reason alone. The price is basically the same. I've already notified FP about the issue with their bulbs, so I don't think they'll have any problem taking them back.
     
  9. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Good tip, thanks. I probably will return them and cancel the back ordered ones.

    As an aside...I poked around looking for the Alco light and found that the bulbs are neon of all things.

    I looked at the Solico 34 also. I could make them fit and look descent, but there are 3 leads on them where the Alco has 2.

    When in comes to electrical parts, I’m a remove and replace kinda guy.
     
  10. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Yes, the Alco GT33 has neon bulbs. The two larger bulbs under the helm that tell me if my charger is on are also neon. I'm going to actually start my tinkering on the rev polarity indicator by seeing if I can find a similar neon bulb to replace them inside the housing. They last longer than incandescent, not as long as LED, but should be a cheap fix if I can find the right components.

    The Solico 34 is only two lamps and doesn't have the same functionality. I'd have to look at wiring diagrams to see how it should be installed. Also, I don't like the look of the green and red covers on it, vs. the smoked triple lights, but that's just me being pedantic.
     
  11. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    Thank you very much for the info and all the work you put into this. I have some of these out and have been looking
     
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  12. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    I found the Alco lights somewhere online and requested a quote.

    They were out of stock of course, but the quote for 2 of them was nearly $300. Whoa.

    My stock incandescents do get hot, but there’s no discoloration of the panel, which is white.
     
  13. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Yep, there's a site that has the GT33 in stock for $110 or something ridiculous. I'm going to take mine apart in the next few weeks and figure it out for hopefully cheaper than that.

    You should look at the back side of the panel. The front white paint was not discoloring, but the plastic behind it was. This was on the bilge auto lights that are on (green) 24/7. The replacements that FP has are 12-15V, not the true OEM 15V versions. The 12-15V are really a 12V that can run up to 15V, but run bright and hot and burn out prematurely. My system sits around 13.8V on shore power, which is common. If you look at the back of the bulbs, it should be a black housing and have silver paint that says 15V. If not, they are likely not OEM and had been replaced at some point by a previous owner. My OEM bulbs did not get very hot at all.

    Either way, with the LED ones being the same price as the others, and having a better finish bezel, I don't see any reason to compromise.
     
  14. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    20A70977-E64C-4CEB-9205-36A449DE8123.jpeg Hey R/B,

    Look what I found.
     
  15. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
  16. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    Lol.

    There’s a derilict boat exactly like mine a few miles up the canal.

    It’s been sitting on the hard for 10 years and the owner is gone and owes the marina about 20 grand in storage fees. They can’t sell it because nobody has the reggy.

    Need I say more?

    Shhh.
     
  17. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    I have no idea if they work though.

    They also can’t sell it because it’s a rotten pile of junk.

    There are about a thousand parts I’d like to get my hands on and probably will eventually.
     
  18. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Good for you. Hopefully they work.
     
  19. Soulshine

    Soulshine Active Member

    220
    Sep 25, 2016
    Seneca Lake, NY
    '83 SRV 360 Express
    Twin Merc. 454
    I have to bench test them without electrocuting myself.

    You think I can just wire a plug on them to test them?

    Seems so.
     
  20. Rod Buster

    Rod Buster New Member

    24
    May 8, 2018
    1985 Sea Ray Sundancer 340
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340MIE : BW/Velvet 72c v-drives
    Well, look at that... NOS.

    Now that I actually have the part in hand, I think it would be really easy to solder some new neon bulbs in there. I'm going to try to fix the one that is in there now. I'll sell it if I can fix it.

    [​IMG]
     

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