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Old 06-09-2018, 09:58 AM   #1
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LED Retrofit

I’d like to convert all my “traditional“ cabin lights to LED. My assumption is this would consume less power and greatly reduce replacement frequency.

Is it possible to keep the fixtures as-is and simply replace the bulbs? Or will I need to replace all my fixtures as well? It seems WestMarine only sells the complete sets.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:06 AM   #2
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Go online for replacement bulbs. I replaced ALL my lights with leds including nav lights and spreader lights. Every lights on my boat is led inside and out keeping existing fixtures. Not cheap but my generator is very happy!
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Donna, I too want to change to LEDs. How do they react to dimmers?
Do you have the part number for the replacement lights?
Did you use the "warm" LEDs or "bright white" LEDs for the internal lights?
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:15 AM   #4
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I changed all the lights on my truck and bow rider to led. I used superbrightled.com. I couldn’t be happier.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:23 AM   #5
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We changed all our "bulbs" to LEDs. Marinebeam.com offers a way to figure out what configuration you need (G4 bi-pin, wedge, etc.) and I've had good luck with their products. Not inexpensive, but some of our early-generation G4 LEDs (for example) were showing sings of excessive heat build-up on the backplane, so I've gravitated toward marinebeam's better replacements.

All of ours dim, but that function is also largely dependent on which types of dimmers you have. Some folks have had to leave one incandescent bulb in a given circuit so there's enough current draw for their dimmers to work.

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Old 06-09-2018, 11:25 AM   #6
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There is a replacement led bulb for every type of fixture now, even for fluorescent tubes. I have opened up old light fixtures were the guts were burned up. Removed everything inside and replaced with a stick on led light block using only the original housing and lens.

Dr. LED is a good source as is https://www.fisheriessupply.com
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDan1943 View Post
Donna, I too want to change to LEDs. How do they react to dimmers?
Do you have the part number for the replacement lights?
Did you use the "warm" LEDs or "bright white" LEDs for the internal lights?
You actually have to buy dimmer leds. I have them in the cabin. I do not have part numbers, it was a year or so ago. Cabin lights are warm white, exterior are bright white.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
You actually have to buy dimmer leds. I have them in the cabin. I do not have part numbers, it was a year or so ago. Cabin lights are warm white, exterior are bright white.
I replaced all of mine. Two thoughts: First, the LEDs I bought, and the subsequent replacements I have tried, are not good light to read by, at least not for me. My search for good reading LEDs continues. Second, some of my halogens were on dimable circuits, which work by reducing current/voltage. LED's don't work that way. They are either on or off. Too little voltage/current and they won't fire. After that, they are on. Dimable LED's work by turning the LED on and off many times a second. Dim is mostly off. To replicate that functionality requires different equipment/wiring (though I suppose someone could create a "bulb" with that equipment built in).
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:34 PM   #9
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I replaced all the interior lamps with LED from Superbrightleds.com. They're far cheaper than those at the marine stores, and I've had no failures. I've used them for vehicle replacements for years, and have only had one failure, a motorcycle driving lamp.

As was said above, warm white for inside use. I chose the brightest ones available, and they are plenty bright for reading.

You just need to know what sort of lamp is in there now, then use the same replacement base to select the LED. I will say that I've re-mounted the lamp holder (the socket) in a few of the fixtures to allow the LED replacement to stay centered in the reflector. The original halogen lamps are very small, while the LED replacements that I have chosen are on rather large discs. I like lots of light, so I picked the highest output replacements available.

As far as dimming goes, be aware that the dimmer itself needs to be replaced. Those designed for tungsten lamps either won't work or will be unsatisfactory for LED lamps. Each little LED replacement lamp has a "driver," sort of like the ballast in a fluorescent lamp. It may take experimentation to determine the best combination of dimmer and lamp, and it's best to have all of the same type of lamp (same type of driver) on each dimmer circuit.

Rather than use dimmers, we just switch off individual fixtures when we don't need things super bright.

One detail I'll note: those bi-pin G4 halogen bulbs slide easily into the fixtures because their little pins are tapered. The LED replacements have square-cut pins. It may seem like it's not going to fit at first, but it just takes a little wiggling to get them to slide into place.
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:10 PM   #10
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We’ve replaced all our bulbs to leds on Hobo and on our van. Combined, probably 40 total and mostly G-4s but some 1141s. I experimented a lot, trying to get the right light but we’re happy with the lighting now.

Most of the lights came from eBay. The last ones I ordered, G4 AC/DC 12V 5050 3528 5730 SMD LED Light Pure/Warm White Bulb Lamp, I bought 10 and paid $6.47 with free shipping. The 1141s cost a lilttel more at about $1-$1.50 each. Delivery was less than 2 weeks. The quality has been good with no failures. I’d did have to trim the prong length on the G4s.
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
You actually have to buy dimmer leds. I have them in the cabin. I do not have part numbers, it was a year or so ago. Cabin lights are warm white, exterior are bright white.
We have 5 lights on a dimmer circuit. I ended keeping one halogen in the loop, all the others are now leds and it works fine. The only thing I can think of is the dimmer switch needs the current draw from the 1 halogen which it doesn’t get if they are all leds.
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:27 PM   #12
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Another approach for LRD/Dimmer switches is to replace the switch. We just went through this earlier today with an upscale light fixture dealer. Our existing dinning rm fixture fitted with a not-common designer bulb can only use incandescents with the older dimmer switch.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:40 AM   #13
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:49 AM   #14
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I like the idea of gutting the DC light fixture and using that stick on LED arrangement. I have been burned in the past getting led that go into the original bulb socket holder. The led were very dim, actually pathetic. So very leery of buying more bulbs, see you got to watch the lumens number. Compare that to an AC powered LED bulb to see what I mean.

I installed some swing out AC side lamps that use standard house light bulbs and put in LED screw in bulbs and they delivered the expected amount of light, and this was very cheap to do. I got the AC lamps for $7 used.

I then changed the screw in dc bulbs in the caged glass fixtures in the engine room, which are expensive, use a lot of DC amps, and burn out quick with AC screw in house led bulbs. 3 of those in the engine room made it a lot brighter compared top the old tech 12vdc lights. I did that about 3 yrs ago and they have continued to work fine. The Carling panel switch I did not even have to change, it was rated either DC or AC use. And it is GFCI protected circuit too.

I have no shortage of AC power on the boat with 2 inverters and a gen.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:02 AM   #15
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All my overhead DC cabin lights use 1142 bulbs.
Going to this site,
https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...car/1978/4558/

The bulb they sell for that socket is 107 lumens.

To compare lumens to incandescent watts shows this light will be very dim as a 25 watt DC light bulb puts out 375 lumens, over 3 times as much light.
That matches my experience, am I wrong?

https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/lig...n-to-watt.html
It seems an 1142 bulb stabdard incandescent uses 20 watts, see what I mean on the lumens?
Quote:
1142 Bulb 1.44 Watt Incandescent. This Eiko 1142 40178 bulb with ANSI code 1142 uses 20.48 watts and 12.8 volts. It has a BA15D base, and an average rated life of 1000 hours. It has a S8 lamp shape, and is an incandescent bulb.
Unless I am way off, I have been thinking all my overhead lights should be AC powered LED as that would actually put out a decent amount of light. If you could get small enough AC bulbs to fit in there. I found it pretty discouraging earlier testing out 12VDC led bulb socket replacements. The more disreputable sellers hide the lumen outputs of their LED bulbs in tiny print or don't even tell you on the ad.
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
The bulb they sell for that socket is 107 lumens.

To compare lumens to incandescent watts shows this light will be very dim as a 25 watt DC light bulb puts out 375 lumens, over 3 times as much light.
That matches my experience, am I wrong?


We changed all our G4 halogen bulbs to these:

https://store.marinebeam.com/12-led-...bulb-sp-g4-12/

I think our original halogens were 10W, and these LEDs -- says 175 lumens, choose these to replace 15/20W incandescent -- are way brighter. And dimmable.

Presumably they sell something for your bayonet sockets...

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Old 06-10-2018, 01:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
We changed all our G4 halogen bulbs to these:

https://store.marinebeam.com/12-led-...bulb-sp-g4-12/

I think our original halogens were 10W, and these LEDs -- says 175 lumens, choose these to replace 15/20W incandescent -- are way brighter. And dimmable.

Presumably they sell something for your bayonet sockets...

-Chris
So you are happy with the brightness.

Seems a good choice. Maybe I could find a G4 socket, or simply the hollow pins to attach to wires and slide that LED onto them.

Maybe something like this a G4 socket could slide into a gutted B15d socket to hold it. They are only $1 a piece.
https://www.lightingsupply.com/stand...QaAtE6EALw_wcB

on ebay, get 20 for $6
https://www.ebay.com/itm/20pcs-MR16-...AAAOSwCU1YppvA
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:39 PM   #18
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Here this if true seems a good deal. 5 dimmable bulbs and the 7 watt ones are 600 lumens. Seems too good to be true.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/5Pcs-Dimmab...t7nxqQPKw22Ofg

Specifications:
Color: white, warm white
Color Temperature: Pure White(6000-6500k), Warm White(3200-3500k)
Voltage: DC 12V
Wattage:4W/5W/7W/12W
LED Qty: 4W=15pcs, 5W=18pcs, 7W=30pcs, 12W=63PCS
Socket Type:G4
Lumen: 4W-300lm, 5W-360lm, 7W-600lm, 12W-1260lm
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
All my overhead DC cabin lights use 1142 bulbs.
Going to this site,
https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...car/1978/4558/

The bulb they sell for that socket is 107 lumens.

To compare lumens to incandescent watts shows this light will be very dim as a 25 watt DC light bulb puts out 375 lumens, over 3 times as much light.
That matches my experience, am I wrong?....
They also have several 1142 replacements that are in excess of 360 lumens. I got a few of those for my exterior cockpit lights...they're brighter than the incandescent lamps they replaced. My interior fixtures take G4 bi-pin lamps, and the LED replacements exceed 300 lumens...again, brighter than the halogens they replaced at a fraction the energy consumption.

I am really intolerant of dim lighting...I like it BRIGHT! I am utterly content with my 12 volt LED interior lighting.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:59 AM   #20
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Hi Schrater,
Other more knowledgeable TF members recommended a US supplier to me named Marinebeam.
With a bit of hit and miss on my part, Marinebeam supplied replacement LED bulbs for every light fitting on my boat.
Soooo much better!
Do it, you won’t ever look back or think twice.
Hamish.
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