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Dimming compass, stereo etc on Sea Ray boat

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Marc Heusser, Jul 10, 2007.

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  1. Marc Heusser

    Marc Heusser Guest

    I find some of the lights on a Sea Ray boat (2006), SmartCraft
    instruments etc rather annoyingly bright in the night, especially the
    Compass and the stereo remote control.
    How can I dim them further, and possibly change the blue (!)
    illumination to another color? Has anyone modified it to use LEDs, eg
    red or green instead of the dreadful blue?


  2. The "Age Old Solution" to your problem is to change the Lights to
    RED colored Light Souces, which will illuminate the instruments,
    but not effect your Night Vision. This is what happens when
    Designers, design products for a Markket they havee no experience or
    understanding of. Blue Light is the absolute Worst color for Night
    Vision type operations.

    Bruce in alaska
  3. Marc,
    Please also note that the conventional solution of adding an adjustable
    resister in series for dimming the light will not work with leds, as the
    voltage to drive the led is quite specific and is different for each
    available color. The correct way to dim leds is change the duty cycle with a
    chopper, like a motor control for a PM motor. Of course, that method also
    works with conventional filiment lamps as well.
  4. Marc Heusser

    Marc Heusser Guest

    Steve and Bruce

    the series resistor works of course. The LED's need 2 to 3.5 V
    (depending on color etc), the difference to 12 V just heats the resistor
    that is usually used as a good enough current source. The light is very
    proportional to current flowing through the LED.

    PWM is just an energy saving way of dimming. This is most likely what is
    already provided.

    I found the Compass to be illuminated by a conventional 3mm LED with
    series resistors. I'll replace it with a red/orange one and appropriate
    To continue Bruce's thoughts: It will be best to use red LED's of around
    610 nm wavelength (actually usually called orange), since the dark red
    ones at 680 to 700 nm emit light that many people are very poor at
    seeing. That is why aircraft and ship lights have to be of the 610 nm
    (see http:

    Now I just have to find how to dissassemble the SmartCraft Speedometer
    etc to replace the white lights (hopefully standard LED's) with red ones.
    As for the remote control of the stereo, I'll probably just use a grey
    filter to stick on.

    Thank you for the ideas.

  5. WaIIy

    WaIIy Guest

    SeaRay sells a very nice dimmer. I had the same issue on my 89

    As I recall, it wasn't super-cheap, but less than $50.00
  6. rpr


    Aug 15, 2009
    Old post, but I am trying to figure out how to INCREASE the display brightness of my SmartCraft gauges. I can barely read them in sunlight.

    Any help?
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