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Moe Szyslak

Lowrance HDS-5 vs HDS-7 on up

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It appears the HDS-5 uses the fluorescent cold cathode and the HDS-7 and up models use the White LED. Can anyone comment on the differences or expectations of one vs the other?

Using google everything I find actually says the Cold Cathode is better and lasts longer.

LED Lamp:

1. Filament in lamp provides a point source of light.

2. Leaves an after-image in the eye contributing to the induction of spatial disorientation.

3. Begins to slowly fail after initial use. LED lights are typically

designed to exceed rated light output (candela) for a

particular light specification. This is because within the first 500

hours of operation a percentage of LEDs dim. Although the LED does

not fail, over a period of time the light output continues to dim below

design specifications. Long before their 100,000 hour claimed life

expectancy occurs, the light fixture falls below specified light

requirements. 100,000 hours of claimed operational life of the LED

light fixtures is not consistent with written specifications.

Note: 100,000 hours = 10 hours of operation per day for 27 years.

LED lights have only been on the market for a couple of years.

These claims cannot be substantiated. While the LED light continues

to operate it can give a false landing cue for pilots, causing significant

safety concerns, including the induction of spatial disorientation.

4. Night Vision Device (NVD) incompatible.


5 Lamp life – varies with manufacturer's claims. Average lamp life

Is reported to be between 1-5 years.

6 Power consumption for the LED type fixtures is rated at 10 watts,

transformer operating on a 6.6 amp airport lighting system. In reality, it comes closer to 20 watts. The FAA isolation transformer provided to operate incandescent type lamps consume 10 watts. A typical incandescent lamp rated at 30 watts actually consumes approximately 44 watts.

A 45 watt lamp consumes 67 watts.

7. Compatible with rheostats that vary the input current (amperage).


8 Maintenance of an LED light must be done at the factory. Removing

the LED light unit to return for repair requires replacing the fixture with a new one. Aviation, marine and other marker lights must operate every

day from dusk to dawn.


1. Electrodes in lamp do not provide a point source of light.

2. Leaves no after-image in the eye.

of spatial disorientation.

3. Cold cathode lamps function at rated candela levels until they fail.

4. Night Vision Device (NVD) compatible.


5. 20,000-40,000+ hours, 5-15 years. This life expectancy is proven with

over 50 years of manufacturing experience.

6. A cold cathode lamp consumes 23 watts. If the cold cathode

did not have to plug into the FAA isolation transformer (per

FAA regulation) the consumption would be approximately 14


lamp rated at 30 watts actually consumes approximately 44 watts.

7. Compatible with rheostats that vary the input current (amperage).


8. Cold cathode lamps are easily replaced in the field typically

in less than 10 minutes.

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