Day-Night Cabin Lighting

Published date: December 5, 2011
  • Boat Type: Boat Type

As a Quartermaster aboard a US nuclear submarine, I can still remember my first trip to periscope depth aboard the USS Ulysses S. Grant so many years ago. My first surprise came 30 minutes prior to changing depth, when we rigged Control for "Red". With a flip of a single switch, all the white fluorescents shut off and their paired red ones came on. 10 Minutes prior to changing depth, another switch was flipped and ALL lights with the exception of the instrumentation lights were extinguished. This was "Rig for Black". As a young 17 year old sailor new to the world and the sea, I asked my Chief why we do this. Since we are an FBM Submarine, we only conduct periscope ops at night, and we "Rig for Black" to minimize our potential exposure by preventing light from coming BACK through the 'scope from the Control Room, for even the light of a cigarette can be seen from someone "out there". This made sense. So I asked why the red first, and why does the OOD where these red wraparound sunglasses between sunset and sunset? He then went into the explanation of our eyes needing to be "adjusted" for night vision prior to conducting these evolutions. Red light still allows you to read, search, or navigate without harming your night vision. You can Google for the physiological explanation, plus the modern thought on it (red vs blue) if you Geek out like I do.
I think some of the most thrilling challenges in my life also came during this period, when shortly after this I was, having just turned 18, given COMPLETE navigational responsibility for an 8100 ton nuclear powered warship carrying ~160 Thermonuclear warheads down the Firth of Clyde at night, talk about a rush!!! Trying to pinpoint Navaids among the countless shore lights can be daunting, that's the challenge! Especially to a sailboat, even with a GPS! Visual confirmation is required because as prudent mariners we never rely on any single source of information, right? But I also learned how much I love to be at sea at night, which is when I prefer to sail and why I needed and love this Mod. Sorry as usual for the long explanation, but you do really love a good sea story, admit it.
So that's the reasoning behind the mod.
FWIW, I did this mod on my first 26X as well, that shows you how much I find it useful. Since I wanted everything to match, I had to find out who produces those famed Mac light fixtures, which easy enough with the Web, turned out to be an outfit called Bargman. These are commonly found on RV's. Then I had to decide where to place them, easy enough since I intended to keep them as close to the originals as I could. I ran the extra set of wires to the SPDT switch, and from that to the CABIN LIGHT switch on my Primary Distribution Panel. This allows me to have either RED or WHITE Cabin lighting, but NOT both at the same time. I just flick to red at sunset, and no one will accidently ruin my night vision by turning on a light. FWIW, since you can't distinguish red "objects" with red lighting, that's why red isn't used on a navigational chart, magenta is used instead. Red markings would disappear if it was! So if you use this mod, don't use red to make notes on your charts!
Also, I completely changed ALL lighting aboard to LED technology. Here I need a shout out to Mr. Duane Dunn and ALLEGRO for first spotting the white LED lights by SuperBright. They work as great as he states. So it took very little effort to find the equivalent red ones at SuperBright. Easy to install and use VERY little energy. FWIW, I'll again say as a lover of night sailing, I love this Mod, and yes, I'll even admit it takes me back of 30+ years to those "Control Room" days when I learned to love the sea ......Observed Sunset, Rig Cabin for Red!!

ALWAYS check the documentation that comes with the equipment you purchase for installations, minimum wire Gauges, etc. Following any advice here is done entirely at your own risk, with no liability to this site, the site owner, or to the poster of that information.

Suggested Sources
Light Fixtures: Bargman Single Euro Interior Light Optic Lens, P/N: 34-93-113, MFR: Bargman, Vendor: Dyers RV. #18387
Red LED Cabin Lights: Red Bayonet Style 1156, P/N:1156-PCB-R36, MFR: SuperBright LED's
White LED Cabin Lights: Warm White Bayonet Style 1156, P/N:1156-PCB-WWHP9, MFR: SuperBright LED's
SPDT Switch: Black Flip Switch SPDT, Vendor: Radio Shack #275-603

Published by: Laika 26X

Model Year: 2002
Photo Caption: Switch and Schematics

Fore and Aft

Day/Night Light


Useful information

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