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I havnt owned a boat in 15 years, and just got a 14' jon boat. It doesn't have any lights at all but I am going to install some this week. I saw some of the easy clamp on bow and stern lights that are powered by AA batteries. Has anyone used them and if so how are they as far as run time and things like that. I am working on a tight budget so the cheaper the better, as long as it works well.
Thanks in advance.
 

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you can get some regular lights that mount to the boat nearly as cheap,at wal-mart.the clamp on battery powered lights will continue to cost replacing batteries,plus they rust out easily on the inside.
 

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I used to have the clamp on lights on a jon boat I owned, they didn't last long, plus they're always in the way.
I should have used some regular lights and run them off a lawn tractor battery. You might pay just a little more to start out, but you'll make your money back by the end of the season.
 

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If you can come up with a little extra money initially the LED lights will have a lot longer run time on the same battery as the regular incandescent type. They will last you for years and never have to worry about replacing the bulbs. That is going to be my next upgrade as battery usage is almost nothing compared to the older lights. You could run the LEDs for weeks off a small lawn tractor battery without charging it.
 

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I have recently faced the same decisions. I'm planning a trip soon that will include night fishing, so I purchased bow lights and a stern light that run off of D and AA batteries. After I bought them, I kinda wished I had just purchased regular lights to run off a 12v system. I will go ahead and use them for my fishing trip this week, but after that I will be installing something more permanent as I am ready to wire my boat for 12v. I sort of regret spending the money on these when I could have just put that money toward permanent lights, but hopefully these lights will get me by for this one trip and then I'll wire my boat for lights after that. I suppose I could always keep them as backups, but I'll probably make somebody a good deal on them in the classifieds or ebay after I use them once. I'll be using them for a couple of days this coming week, so by the end of the week I will be able to come back here and post about how well they worked. I'll let you know.
 

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Scenario:
You buy cheap 12v lights and wire them up with cheap wire and have a battery rolling around in your boat. Duct tape or loose wire running the length of the boat. You can make it neater but it takes hours and a few revisions to get it nice. It works for a while. The boat sits outside? All the copper corrodes, all the bare wire is green and in a year or two you flip the switch and nothing happens.

For very limited casual use, I'd go battery powered all the way. Have some extra batteries, you use them in other stuff anyway.
 

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good points made by Josh. I'd still like to take the time to wire up for permanent lights as night fishing is something I'll do a lot of, but having battery powered lights as backups in case the others don't function for some reason seems like a good idea too. One thing I wasn't aware of until my lights arrived is that the bow light package says "for use on craft at speeds of less than 8mph." I don't intend to be blasting across the lake in the dark, but I'm wondering why these lights are limited to slow speeds? Is it because they will rattle around and quit working if they get bumped around too much? I got the LED portable bow light from Innovative Lighting.
 

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Only as suggestion if budget is an issue. Hit a local boat dealer up. He might have an old junked boat laying around with them on. Might be able to pick them up for a couple dollars or free for the taking. Never hurts to ask.
 

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Scenario:
You buy cheap 12v lights and wire them up with cheap wire and have a battery rolling around in your boat. Duct tape or loose wire running the length of the boat. You can make it neater but it takes hours and a few revisions to get it nice. It works for a while. The boat sits outside? All the copper corrodes, all the bare wire is green and in a year or two you flip the switch and nothing happens.

For very limited casual use, I'd go battery powered all the way. Have some extra batteries, you use them in other stuff anyway.

I must respectfully disagree with you on this. First off, dont leave any bare wire exposed, and do it right instead of throwing it together. Solder and heat shrink your connections so water cant get in. At the battery, use a good dielectric grease or anti-corrossion compound. I personally used a length of garden hose run down the side of my boat, and it tucks into the "channel" behind the ribs. Keeps a neat apearance and protects the wire (i also didn't like the idea of the wire sitting right up against the aluminum, but thats just me). I mounted my switch and fuse in a waterproof pvc electrical enclosure box so that the back of the switch and connections on the fuse aren't getting wet. These extra steps are very important, as my boat is used in salty and brackish waters more than fresh water. Saltwater+electrical=problems. My boat sits out in the weather year-round uncovered. My lights still work perfectly. Spend the extra 10 minutes and $10 to do it right the first time and it will last many years.
 

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Look for Perko brand. They have a broad price range from Chinese pot metal priced to European styled wallet breakers.
 

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Scenario:
You buy cheap 12v lights and wire them up with cheap wire and have a battery rolling around in your boat. Duct tape or loose wire running the length of the boat. You can make it neater but it takes hours and a few revisions to get it nice. It works for a while. The boat sits outside? All the copper corrodes, all the bare wire is green and in a year or two you flip the switch and nothing happens.

For very limited casual use, I'd go battery powered all the way. Have some extra batteries, you use them in other stuff anyway.
Or you spring for a 7 dollar bottle of Noalox to put on the wire connections and lamp holders.
Shouldn't have any problems in fresh water.
Saltwater. Tinned copper wire AND an anti oxidant.
 

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I've never heard of that antioxidant before. And I certainly didn't hear of it like 6 years ago when I tried my first light wiring stint.

I just bought some tinned wire.

Still though, my albeit crappy original wiring and the boat I just boughts wiring have not worked after sitting outside. Some fiddling gets them to work but as I said, if you're only going to use lights once or twice a year, portables might be nice.
 

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This is it.
You can get it or like products at Lowes and Home Depot.

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Noalox® Anti-Oxidant Compound

It is made for aluminum but in a boating application it works just fine on all your connections to protect them from oxidation.
Or if you want to go big time you could get the copper antioxidant.
I really don't see the need though.

It's nasty stuff. Use sparingly under dashboards ect. If you gob it on you'll know it the the first 95 degree day. It'll start dripping.
What I do is dip my skinned wire end into it then put a stakon on it and crimp it, that is if I'm crimping.
Some stuff I solder.
The idea is to keep moisture and air from the connection.
 

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I must respectfully disagree with you on this. First off, dont leave any bare wire exposed, and do it right instead of throwing it together. Solder and heat shrink your connections so water cant get in. At the battery, use a good dielectric grease or anti-corrossion compound. I personally used a length of garden hose run down the side of my boat, and it tucks into the "channel" behind the ribs. Keeps a neat apearance and protects the wire (i also didn't like the idea of the wire sitting right up against the aluminum, but thats just me). I mounted my switch and fuse in a waterproof pvc electrical enclosure box so that the back of the switch and connections on the fuse aren't getting wet. These extra steps are very important, as my boat is used in salty and brackish waters more than fresh water. Saltwater+electrical=problems. My boat sits out in the weather year-round uncovered. My lights still work perfectly. Spend the extra 10 minutes and $10 to do it right the first time and it will last many years.
THATS HOW I DID MY 16 FT JON IN 1986 AND NEVER HAD A LIGHT PROBLEM.
TAKE THE TIME DO IT RIGHT.
 

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I ran 1/2" pvc pipe down the side of my boat and ran all my wiring through it, with T connecters and a 6" piece of pvc downward at each place I needed a wire to come out. This way it's very unliely to ever get water in it. I also soldered all my connections and used shrink tubing on them. It makes it real easy to run the wires through.
 

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This is it.
You can get it or like products at Lowes and Home Depot.

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Noalox® Anti-Oxidant Compound

QUOTE]

Mark is spot-on about this stuff. I work for a utility company, and if its good enough for the electric company, its good stuff. A lot of their lugs and other connectors come with noalox already in them. Its also used for aluminum to copper connections to prevent dissimilar metals from corroding. Dont get it on your clothes, it dont come out.
 
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