How to Mount Power Supply / Driver / Ballast for Bowfishing Lights

How to Mount Power Supply / Driver / Ballast for Bowfishing Lights

If you're wanting to run your bowfishing lights on 110-120V AC (generator), then you are going to be required to run a power converter.

If you are running LEDs, this power converter will take the AC voltage from the generator and convert it to DC voltage for your bowfishing lights. All LED lights are DC by nature. There is no such thing as an AC LED. If an LED fixture is advertised as AC, it still uses a power converter to transform the power to DC which is how the actual LED chips receive power. There are various slang names for these: power converters, power supplies, drivers, ballasts, and inverters. Some of these names are used in slang but are not correct (ie. ballasts and inverters - ballasts are for HPS and inverters take from a DC battery and turn power into AC which is not what LEDs need) while the other three names pretty much do the same thing. 

If you are running High Pressure Sodium or a similar light, there will be ballasts. These ballasts serve a similar purpose to the LED power supplies / drivers, but they are not the same thing. They regulate AC current and voltage that is being fed to the light fixture (from the generator) to prevent the light fixture from burning out prematurely. 

Problem & Solution: Premature Failure in Power Supplies Used for Bowfishing

In order to understand how to properly mount power supplies to your boat, it's important to first understand the two most common causes of premature failure to them: water damage and overheating

1.) Water Damage

Power supplies such as the ones we include on our Swamp Eye HDs are completely encapsulated and have a IP 67 waterproof rating. This rating means they can certainly get wet and be ok, but do not mistake it for submersible or capable of being installed in standing water. In order to avoid water damage, it is best for these to be mounted upside down on your bowfishing deck, so they are under cover but also always draining in the event they do get wet. 

Here is how Tracker Boats factory mounts their Swamp Eye HD Power Supplies:

You can also mount them underneath the deck of your boat, in the same fashion. We just advise that you do not mount them to the bottom of your boat (facing upwards), because when water comes into your hull they can ultimately be sitting in "standing water" and that can shorten the life of them. They should always be mounted off the bottom in a manner that they are draining in the event they do get wet. 

Other power supplies that do not have any waterproof rating, can be mounted underneath your deck (in the hull of the boat) in a similar fashion (upside down, always draining in the event they get wet).

Ultimately - these items are electronic. Limiting the chance of water getting to them is going to be your best friend. This goes for ballasts as well. 

2.) Overheating 

Overheating is the single-most common cause of premature failure in our Swamp Eye HD Power Supplies. This is one of the easiest problems to combat: simply don't mount your power supplies on top of each other or right next to each other. We recommend mounting them 2-3 inches apart so there is some space that allows them to dissipate heat. 

Above is an example of how NOT to mount your power supplies. They are mounted underneath a raised deck, on the top deck of their boat. The power supplies are mounted too close together and they are not mounted in a manner that allows them to drain when water comes over the bow of the boat.

This customer had these power supplies mounted this way for about a year before they degraded enough from overheating and he started to have problems, but we still DO NOT recommend it. He has since had zero problems once mounting method was fixed. He ended up mounting them the same way Tracker Boats mounts them in the above photos.  

Below are a couple more examples on power supply mounting.

Here's another great option from a customer - he mounted the power supplies to a sheet of aluminum and then installed it inside his boat hull, on the underside of the deck. He spent a lot of time making the wiring real clean. This is great to do, but isn't a necessity. You can plug them into a waterproof power strip off Amazon and it will work well. 

These mounting options also go for ballasts and even powermax converters. These items have built-in fans to help them keep cool, but they should still be mounted 2-3 inches apart to allow best heat dissipation possible. 

The theory behind this is that each power supply is going to generate heat, and the housing of the power supply is designed to dissipate the heat that it generates. When you put multiple power supplies next to each other in close proximity, the heat compounds together and can ultimately shorten the life of the product. This is the case with all electronics - it's best to try to keep them cool to increase their lifespan. 

We have found that simply mounting power supplies 2-3 inches provides enough area for heat dissipation to greatly increase the working life of power supplies. 

Special Circumstances

 We understand that sometimes there are special circumstances where you simply don't have enough space to mount power supplies 2-3" apart. In these instances, it is best if you contact us so we can help you find a solution. This is because every case is unique and there are many things to consider.

We will discuss a couple special circumstances we've seen in the past, but every boat is different. 

Potential Problems:

1.) No raised deck, access to storage boxes in front of boat or access to hull that would allow mounting of power supplies.

2.) Removable light boxes that are plug and play, no space in light boxes for power supplies.

3.) Removable open light rails for dual purpose boats where the customer wants everything to come off the boat quickly and easily when not using for bowfishing. 


In these instances, we have found that sizing you for one single upsized power converter can allow you to have a single power converter that powers all of your lights. In the event you want to do away with power converters all together, we do also have our Swamp Eye Silent Series Lights which are best for those looking to run on batteries and not generator. 

In the event you choose one upsized power converter, this can be mounted in a very compact area in your hull. It can also be mounted under the center console on your boat. 

In terms of wiring, you can utilize bus bars to bring all your bowfishing lights together and then feed the power leads to your power converter. Another option is our Building Block Power Wire Harness Trunk Line Kit. This is an easy to install plug and play version of conventional bus bars.

If you are looking to make your boat dual purpose and want to remove the bowfishing lights and accessories in the off-season quickly and easily, we strongly recommend the Building Block Power Wire Harness Trunk Line Kit coupled with an upsized single power converter to run all your lights at once.

For more information please give us a call 979-472-9360 or send us an email through the contact form and we will be with you shortly. Please leave a phone number and email address for us to reach you!

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