One challenge we share with our customers is deciding which replacement part is correct in light of changes made at the factory. This is true with changes made at Catalina Yachts and also true when one of Catalina's suppliers make a design change to a routine part. Often, these changes are minor and go unnoticed until a replacement part is needed. Such is the case with Aqua Signal's series 25 navigation lights used on thousands of Catalinas from the Capri 16 through the Catalina 36. Small design changes made in June of 2010 demand different bulbs when it's time for replacement. It also changes how LED capsules work with the Aqua Signal lights.
Early fixtures used festoon bulbs with dimpled (concave) ends (our #Z2007), later fixtures used festoon bulbs with pointed (convex) ends (our #Z2412,).
Here are a few tips that may help inform you as to which bulbs you need:
- All Aqua Signal fixtures were labeled "Made in Germany" until 2009. All German made fixtures used concave bulbs.
- Catalina used Aqua Signal lights as standard equipment from 1982 through 1998. They then switched to Hella brand lights.
- Production of Aqua Signal series 25 fixtures moved to China in 2009.
- A design change from concave bulbs to convex bulbs occurred in June of 2010.
- Old inventory with convex bulbs was likely on retailers shelves the remainder of 2010 and throughout 2011.
- If your fixture has been replaced but is is labeled "Made in Germany" you may safely buy concave replacement bulbs.
- If your fixture was replaced after 2011 it is likely it uses convex bulbs.
- If your fixture was replaced in 2010 or 2011 and is labeled "Made in China" you have no alternative but to check your fixture to determine which replacement bulb you need. Note: if you are replacing any navigation light bulb other than for the bow light with an LED, there is no need to know if the tips are concave or convex as our white LED bulb includes adapters to handle either scenario.
Here is our white LED capsule installed in an anchor light fixture.
When we originally began offering LED capsule upgrades, they simply slipped in to the existing Aqua Signal fixture design. However, the 2009 design changes to the light fixtures included altering the shape of the contact that supports the bulb.
We studied the issue (including experimenting on our own boats) and found that a few simple modifications are all that are required to adapt the LED capsules to the new versions of the fixtures. If you have the older, German made Aqua Signal red and green bow light our LED capsule slips tight in. If it is a later fixture designed for the convex bulbs, the manufacturer of the LED is now supplying tips to slip over the contacts in the fixture to simplify installation.
In both cases, the capsule remains securely in the fixture, so it is not likely that the capsule will disengage from the terminals while sailing. When transporting a trailerable Catalina, we remove the capsule from the anchor light at the same time we remove the Windex. Due to the shock the fixture experiences when your trailer hits a pothole, it is likely the anchor light capsule will dislodge it from the contacts.
The new tips greatly simplify installation so you can install your new LED and go night sailing!
If you have any questions about these fixtures or capsules, feel free to call our tech support line for further assistance.