Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-04-2018, 11:16 AM   #1
Guru
 
wkearney99's Avatar
 
City: Bethesda, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 543
AC and DC engine room lights?

My Eastbay has both AC (fluorescent) and DC lighting in the engine room. My question is if I'm going to replace them with LEDs do I need to continue to have AC units?

I'm thinking that in 2005 they used the AC lights to provide a LOT more lighting than DC units could provide at the time. With modern LEDs that's less of a problem. There's a lot more options now for LEDs that use DC, in all kinds of form-factors. That and all of the LEDS now use considerable less wattage for the same amount of light.

My question is should I even bother continuing to have the existing fluorescent fixtures powered by AC? A simple solution would be to get some LED replacements designed to fit like the fluorescent tubes. Most of those require bypassing the AC ballast, which is not difficult. I've done that in some basement light fixtures and that works fine. But unlike the house, the boat has 12vdc everywhere, so should I even bother keeping the AC lighting active? Should I just bring 12vdc to their fixture and convert them to DC?

Or just remove the AC fixtures entirely and replace them with DC LED units?

I get there's some value to redundancy, but if I've lost 12vdc power and need engine room lighting what's the likelihood I'm going to be able to start the generator to get AC power for them? Seems like switching to all DC and decommissioning the AC engine room lighting is a better plan.
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
-- Bill Kearney
2005 Eastbay 47 FB - Solstice
wkearney99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 11:26 AM   #2
Guru
 
djmarchand's Avatar
 
City: Litchfield, Ct/Punta Gorda, Fl
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Atlas Pompano 23- outboard
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,417
I think that going all DC LED lighting makes sense. But you need to pull all of the old AC wiring back to its origin. I wouldn't just terminate with a wire nut or something.

David
__________________

djmarchand is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 11:35 AM   #3
Guru
 
Ski in NC's Avatar
 
City: Wilmington, NC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Louisa
Vessel Model: Custom Built 38
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5,000
If the AC fluorescent fixtures are working, just leave them there. Power consumption usually a non-issue if you from some source have AC, and it is not that much power. And yes, sh!tcan the DC incandescents and swap to LED.
Ski in NC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 11:58 AM   #4
Guru
 
mahal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 536
Don't know what type of DC fixtures you have but I switched mine yesterday
from 15w incandescents to less than 5w LED's and the ER is brighter.

This is what I used:
https://store.marinebeam.com/21-led-...ba-1142-21-ww/

I too would just leave the AC florescent fixtures alone.
mahal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 12:03 PM   #5
Veteran Member
 
GGroves's Avatar
 
City: Cruising Great Lakes
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Vingilot II
Vessel Model: 2004 DeFever 45 RPH
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 44
Our engine room also had 115 vac fluorescents and 12vdc incandescent. I replaced the 12v with leds and replaced the whole fixture units with 115 vac led fluorescent replacements. Get lots of light with the 115 vac leds. My thinking was, most major engine work would be done at dock, or on hard and I’d be plugged in for the ac leds. If at anchor, etc, 12 vdc would work, but could also crank up the generator if need more light. I find that the older I get, the more light I need to see by.
Gary
GGroves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 12:59 PM   #6
Guru
 
wkearney99's Avatar
 
City: Bethesda, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 543
Some of the AC fluorescents are flickering. As in, it takes a few taps on them sometimes to get them to stabilize. Not a big surprise out of 12 year old lights. So it's either fix or replace them and I'm leaning toward replace.

I'd definitely remove the AC wiring if I remove the fixtures.

Right now it's up on the hard getting the bottom repainted, and doesn't have shore power plugged into it. So I can't use AC lighting. Well, I probably could via the inverter but I haven't yet figured out how to turn that system on yet (not the obvious 'turn the handle' on the panel). But that's a whole other thread...

The other advantage to changing out to DC fixtures would be gaining some headroom. The AC fixtures are big, probably sticking down about 5" from the ceiling of the engine room. It's a 5'9" ceiling but I'm 6'3". So a couple of low profile surface mount fixtures would be a welcome change.

I'd be willing to consider a track of LED strip lighting if there's something out there suitable for engine room installation. I have no desire to half-ass this installation. I'll spend to get the correct sort of setup.
__________________
-- Bill Kearney
2005 Eastbay 47 FB - Solstice
wkearney99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:04 PM   #7
Guru
 
wkearney99's Avatar
 
City: Bethesda, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 543
I'm guessing they're sort of like these fixtures:
Engine Room & Utility Lights Detail - 2' Engine Room Light, 2 x 24W, 120-277VAC

When I say I'm wiling to spend, oy, not THREE HUNDRED for a light fixture! There's probably six of them down there and that'd be stupid expensive at MSRP.
__________________
-- Bill Kearney
2005 Eastbay 47 FB - Solstice
wkearney99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:17 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Ex Sailor's Avatar
 
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
Vessel Model: Kha Shing 40
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
I think that going all DC LED lighting makes sense. But you need to pull all of the old AC wiring back to its origin. I wouldn't just terminate with a wire nut or something.

David

Yes.... other option would be to buy a 2 lamp 4' Vapor Proof 120 VAC fixture in place of what's there. ( they are about 100.00 +/- ea. ) As was said somewhere, most work is done at the dock and even if it was not, the power via Inverter to power these AC LED fixtures would be negligible.

Re: old AC wiring by going to DC, assuming that the lighting circuit does not go anywhere else, I would leave in place and just remove from AC source and re route to DC source, the existing 120 Volt switches will most likely be o/k on DC .....

fb
Ex Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:18 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
CaptJohnEasley's Avatar
 
City: Lakeland
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Wanderlust
Vessel Model: 1999 Jefferson Rivanna 52'
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 300
We had both 12vdc and 120 v florescent lights in our engine room, too. Went through the same thought process as you. Ended up yanking out the 120 v fixtures, additional headroom being one of several reasons, and replaced them with six LED light strips. SUPER bright! Lights it up like an operating room. Never regretted it. Doubt you will, either.
CaptJohnEasley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:41 PM   #10
Guru
 
Simi 60's Avatar
 
City: Queensland
Country: Australia
Vessel Model: Milkraft 60 converted timber trawler
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,831
We have this style of fluro.
Unfortunately we paid more than $36 for them



https://www.mjselectricalsupplies.co...nt-batten.html

Adding in some cheap led work lights as well now, getting a bit sick of flickering fluoros., have had to replace starters and bulbs on some after less than 12 mths and probably 12 hours use
Simi 60 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:42 PM   #11
Guru
 
Simi 60's Avatar
 
City: Queensland
Country: Australia
Vessel Model: Milkraft 60 converted timber trawler
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEasley View Post
We had both 12vdc and 120 v florescent lights in our engine room, too. Went through the same thought process as you. Ended up yanking out the 120 v fixtures, additional headroom being one of several reasons, and replaced them with six LED light strips. SUPER bright! Lights it up like an operating room. Never regretted it. Doubt you will, either.
Link to the led strips please.
Simi 60 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 01:56 PM   #12
TF Site Team
 
Larry M's Avatar
 
City: JAX, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Hobo
Vessel Model: Krogen 42-120
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,655
Bill: Here’s a thread on installing led lights in the engine room. Post 5 picks up where Nautibeaver, a 68’ Nordlund, installed 1 meter long, low proflie lights for pretty cheap. We did the same after seeing his results and couldn’t be happier.

ER lights
Larry M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 03:43 PM   #13
Guru
 
Lou_tribal's Avatar
 
City: Quebec
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Bleuvet
Vessel Model: Custom Built
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 3,282
When I bought my boat it was fitted with a mix of dc and ac light. I hated to be able to turn some on when at the dock some when at the anchor. I replaced everything with only dc leds last year and I cannot be happier!

L
Lou_tribal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 04:02 PM   #14
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex Sailor View Post
Yes.... other option would be to buy a 2 lamp 4' Vapor Proof 120 VAC fixture in place of what's there. ( they are about 100.00 +/- ea. ) As was said somewhere, most work is done at the dock and even if it was not, the power via Inverter to power these AC LED fixtures would be negligible.

Re: old AC wiring by going to DC, assuming that the lighting circuit does not go anywhere else, I would leave in place and just remove from AC source and re route to DC source, the existing 120 Volt switches will most likely be o/k on DC .....

fb
The AC wiring is going to be much smaller, better make darn sure it can handle the total possible load on the circuit. Personally I'd just leave the AC in there. I liked having both in my ERs and saw nothing to gain by the time and investment in conversion.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 04:52 PM   #15
Guru
 
tiltrider1's Avatar
 
City: Seattle
Country: USA
Vessel Name: AZZURRA
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 54
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,192
My boat had both AC and DC lights. First I changed out all the DC light fixtures to a Very bright LED fixture. This gave me more light than the previous fixtures combined. Next I converted the AC fixtures to AC outlets, this gives me the option of adding a drop light or other power tools. In my case the ACwire was already 12 gauge but I had to run a ground wire to make things safe.
tiltrider1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2018, 05:51 PM   #16
Guru
 
Comodave's Avatar
 
City: Au Gres, MI
Country: US
Vessel Name: Never Say Never
Vessel Model: President 41 DC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 3,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
My boat had both AC and DC lights. First I changed out all the DC light fixtures to a Very bright LED fixture. This gave me more light than the previous fixtures combined. Next I converted the AC fixtures to AC outlets, this gives me the option of adding a drop light or other power tools. In my case the ACwire was already 12 gauge but I had to run a ground wire to make things safe.
That is what I would do if I had 120 volt lighting. I had 2 dim incandescent 12 volt lights in the engine room. Replaced both with LED and added another. Now it is very bright. I had 120 volt outlets in the engine room on a previous boat and used them pretty often.
Comodave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2018, 03:18 AM   #17
Guru
 
catalinajack's Avatar
 
City: Edgewater, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Catalina Jack
Vessel Model: Defever 44
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 686
I replaced the fluorescents in three engine room lights with LED tubes from Marine Beam. The ballasts must be removed, an easy fix. When removing the ballast from the one light which was not working at all, under the cover I found one to have had significantly melted, frightening to me. Now the ER is as bright as it can possibly be in all corners. Keep the AC fixtures, remove the ballasts, and install LED tubes. You will be happy.
catalinajack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2018, 07:20 AM   #18
Guru
 
wkearney99's Avatar
 
City: Bethesda, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 543
Quote:
Originally Posted by catalinajack View Post
I replaced the fluorescents in three engine room lights with LED tubes from Marine Beam. The ballasts must be removed, an easy fix. When removing the ballast from the one light which was not working at all, under the cover I found one to have had significantly melted, frightening to me. Now the ER is as bright as it can possibly be in all corners. Keep the AC fixtures, remove the ballasts, and install LED tubes. You will be happy.
Nothing quite as unnerving as coming across melted/smoked parts out of sight inside of electrical components.

That's what I had to do with a residential light in a utility closet. I left the ballast in there and followed the directions to direct-wire the circuit to the tube sockets. Works great. I went an additional step and used some neon yellow labeling tape to read "Ballast Disconnected" should someone come along later and make the mistake of using a cheap fluorescent tube for replacement.

Replacing just the tubes would likely be the simplest, but would still leave me with a situation that requires AC power to get decent lighting.

I'll take a hard look at how the DC wiring is laid out and calculate the total load of switching to all LED. Don't want to start down the road of changing to DC only to get into a situation that exceeds the existing wiring/breaker capacity.
__________________
-- Bill Kearney
2005 Eastbay 47 FB - Solstice
wkearney99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2018, 07:22 AM   #19
Guru
 
wkearney99's Avatar
 
City: Bethesda, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
Bill: Hereís a thread on installing led lights in the engine room. Post 5 picks up where Nautibeaver, a 68í Nordlund, installed 1 meter long, low proflie lights for pretty cheap. We did the same after seeing his results and couldnít be happier.

ER lights
That's a nice result. Trouble is with that much fresh light there will need to be some serious cleaning done first before I'd take any pictures!
__________________
-- Bill Kearney
2005 Eastbay 47 FB - Solstice
wkearney99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2018, 07:52 AM   #20
Guru
 
catalinajack's Avatar
 
City: Edgewater, MD
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Catalina Jack
Vessel Model: Defever 44
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 686
Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Nothing quite as unnerving as coming across melted/smoked parts out of sight inside of electrical components.

That's what I had to do with a residential light in a utility closet. I left the ballast in there and followed the directions to direct-wire the circuit to the tube sockets. Works great. I went an additional step and used some neon yellow labeling tape to read "Ballast Disconnected" should someone come along later and make the mistake of using a cheap fluorescent tube for replacement.

Replacing just the tubes would likely be the simplest, but would still leave me with a situation that requires AC power to get decent lighting.

I'll take a hard look at how the DC wiring is laid out and calculate the total load of switching to all LED. Don't want to start down the road of changing to DC only to get into a situation that exceeds the existing wiring/breaker capacity.
Great point about labelling the fixtures. As for the AC current draw, a 48" tube from Marine Beam draws 20 watts. I do not know what a 12 volt LED bulb that delivers similar levels of brightness draws but my guess is that the difference would not be significant.
__________________

catalinajack is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012