LED displays - the pitfalls

LED Displays
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LED displays in cockpits are a coming advancement in technology for sailing boats as well as powerboats, and this requires owners to give careful consideration to properly fit LED displays, according to marine displays manufacturer Nauticomp.

'While displays with mechanical controls and dials on the unit are still available, more yacht builders are moving to the clean look of compact, all-glass displays with external remote keypads to control the functions,' said Nauticomp President Ryan Moore.

For new builds and refits, builders and owners are often choosing all-glass displays.

However, beyond the look and feel, there are a number of other things to consider when choosing and configuring LED displays. Nauticomp has the following recommendations.

Nauticomp Genesis display
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Choosing Displays:
• Determine which inputs will be required (computer, navnet system, cameras, etc.).

• Determine the helm space available and how many display units you would require.

• Ambient lighting? The helm glass area in the pilothouse with bright colors surrounding the helm will dictate what brightness and contrast levels are required for the helm displays.

• Night Vision? If the vessel will be used at night, determine the dimming levels and features that will be require (typically dimming down to black is preferable). A dim-to-red screen feature is a bonus for the skipper who travels at night. It allows the user to keep brightness level a little higher without distracting the skipper's forward vision.

• Equipment Redundancy? Ensure that all video sources are divided between the monitors on the helm; this way in the event of a failure, one of the other displays will show the pertinent information that will be require to navigate.

• Display mounting? Try to avoid mounting the unit on a flat (desk type) surface pointing straight up. The images are optimized when viewed straight on the display. Bonded Glass does improve side viewing angles substantially, but top and bottom angles are typically dependent on the type of LCD panel used in the display.

Configuring Displays:
• Does the display need to be waterproof for an exterior application? Typically all marine applications will endure salt and corrosion- waterproof displays are protected from these elements and will last longer.

• Source video resolutions? Check the resolution from your sources to ensure that the display will show the resolution that your source outputs.

• Cable routing? To ensure that the video cables will not be susceptible to AC noise or signal loss from long cable runs.

• Power requirements? Typically DC (12V or 24V) is preferred, on a constant power source.

For more information about Nauticomp marine LED displays, visit www.nauticomp.com