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Old 11-14-2016, 08:51 PM   #1
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12V led vs incandescent

an anyone illuminate the differences in battery life between using LED vs regular bulbs while at anchor? I was concerned while out roaming around, not that I killed the house batteries, but just wondering if it's a valuable investment to change over to LED.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:05 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. c. Can't give you numbers but compare the # of amps used by each. Should be a BIG difference thereby making LED's much easier on your battery capacities. I think LED's also have a much longer lifespan so yes, you pay more but they last longer. I seem to recall some question as to whether or not LED's met USCG standards for navigational lighting but that may have changed.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:07 PM   #3
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cappy, LEDs are about 1/10th the current draw vs. a tungsten filament, and run a lot cooler. But house lights are usually a minor part of the load on the battery bank.

I've been changing over because the spectrum, the quality of the light is better for my purposes. I put 4000K x 8 element LEDs in the galley; it went from night to day, huge improvement!

I put 2700K elements where I wanted softer lighting in the "salon."

Next, I will go to white/red elements around the lower helm for night running.

Check 'em out at a boat show this winter, they usually have good deals at the shows too.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #4
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Should
That's what I'm discovering. Had my nephew (a licensed electrician) come over and put some new lights in living room. I am completely astounded at the differences in energy ratings in LEDS! I figure if they are so good in the home they would be awesome aboard. Seems too good to be true.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:18 PM   #5
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But house lights are usually a minor part of the load on the battery bank.
Unless the 'boss' wants to have the salon lit up like the living room all night.

The water and sanitation system are known to be used. If I could figure out a better fridge system nirvana may be in reach. Until then more ice in the cooler will be used. I absolutely loathe being the first one in the morning to have to start up the Engine to charge up the batteries. It's always the trepidation of the first turn of the key....... click.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:19 PM   #6
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an anyone illuminate the differences in battery life between using LED vs regular bulbs while at anchor? I was concerned while out roaming around, not that I killed the house batteries, but just wondering if it's a valuable investment to change over to LED.
LED's typically use 10-12% of what a conventional bulb uses for the same lumens.. totally worth is to save batteries in my book.. I converted ALL the bulbs in my Ocean Alexander to LED and would never go back.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:23 PM   #7
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@Gonefarrell: I will investigate the K figures. Something new to digest.

@Hollywood: Time to look at new tricks!

Thanks all :-)
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:27 PM   #8
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One caution...

We replaced some saloon, pilothouse, and stateroom reading lights with LEDs that were supposed to give equivalent light as the replaced incandescents but at significant power savings.

I'm assuming that we did reduce our power consumption but we also made other improvements at the time, particularly a new fridge, so don't really know.

But the lighting is significantly dimmer than before, to the point where I may have to redo the bulbs again.

Not on the boat now so can't give you the bulb/LED actual rating comparisons.

But something to watch for.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:36 PM   #9
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Cappy - Say goodbye to incandescent bulbs. Most countries are in the process of phasing them out due to their extreme inefficiency. The technology is centuries old.

Brazil and Venezuela started phasing then out in 2005. Australia and Europe began in 2009, and I'm fairly sure the US is beginning to phase them out this year as well. We all know you guys don't like interfering with the free market, but sometimes a change needs a little push along even if the benefits are glaringly obvious.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:50 PM   #10
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I converted my boat lights to LED and the wife forced me to return them to incandescent the LEDs were too white and not suited to the boat so she said
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:11 PM   #11
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I converted my boat lights to LED and the wife forced me to return them to incandescent the LEDs were too white and not suited to the boat so she said
Interesting thought. Are 12V LEDs 'dimmable'? This happened to me tonight. I had to install a dimmer on the Kitchen switch to make it palatable. Are all LEDs dimmable?
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:14 PM   #12
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About LED you need to choose them depending on what kind of light you want to get. In the galley I want to clearly see what I am doing just to avoid cutting my fingers so it is cold white ( more blueish and strong light). However in the living room or the master cabin I prefer something softer so it is warm white ( more like an incandescent light giving a yellowish color). In the galley I have led strip while in the cabin it is led buld replacing standard incandescent bulbs.
Something to be aware, you have led bulbs working in different voltage so be sure to get the one that suit your usage (12v vs 110v).
For the saving, as an example take an anchor light, typically 30w, let say you light it during 10h it is 300wh just for your anchor light. Replace it with an equivalent led bulb of 5w and you will consume 50wh, 6 time less.
For light that are not intended to be on for a long time it does not make a lot of difference. But for light you intend to keep on the whole night long, the difference may be really huge.
One hint, here led bulbs are quite expensive. I bought some from chinese maker and it was like 5 to 10 times cheaper. Yes quality may not be the same but considering the price difference if one is dead it really does not matter and anyway they all come from oversea.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:15 PM   #13
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Interesting thought. Are 12V LEDs 'dimmable'? This happened to me tonight. I had to install a dimmer on the Kitchen switch to make is palatable. Are all LEDs dimmable?
No not all, it will depend on the electronic behing the led itself. Some are and some are not.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:54 PM   #14
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I converted my boat lights to LED and the wife forced me to return them to incandescent the LEDs were too white and not suited to the boat so she said
Try a different temperature LED. Get one that gives you a warm white light and see what she thinks.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:29 PM   #15
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Bill's right...it's the light temp that makes it a glaring light. I have 6000K LEDs in the ER and they put out great working light. They'd be WAY too bright for living quarters.

In the habitable spaces, I've used 2700-3500K LEDs and they're very comfortable. Someday, I'll replace the 3500s for 2700 as I like the softer, yellow lights for those spaces. I like the red/whites for the salon where I have my lower helm. They work great for keeping bugs at bay on a warm night but cast a skanky bordello look that some find appealing.

My lighting budget dropped to about 1/10th of my prior amps according to my SOC. It's been a huge difference...especially when I forget and leave the ER lights on overnight or all day long at anchor.

I also changed my anchor light to a photocell controlled LED. The aftermarket bulb dropped the current to 0.04A! That's less than 0.5 AH on a 10 hr night. It's not even noticed on my SOC. I'm usually the brightest anchor light in the anchorage.

I haven't bothered with changing my nav lights to LED since my engines are running and alternators charging during their operating hours.

PS. Don't forget your florescents. They can be replaced easily with LED strip lights. We did ours with leftovers from a kitchen under-cabinet installation. They are dimmable, warm white and work very well!
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:40 PM   #16
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I replaced 5 interior 25w 12v Edison screw incandescents, all 5 would draw less than one incandescent. Replaced the anchor light too, huge saving, especially as I installed an extra switch to turn off the 2 sets of instrument panel lights which were illuminating with the Nav Light switch "on". And it is bright.
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:36 AM   #17
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We've gone all LED on boats, in home and in businesses. Many lighting proposals for energy savings that have been submitted to me over the years increased another cost such as incurring substantial labor or on Fluorescent destroying ballasts. We began just replacing all bulbs that burned out with LED and replacing any others in the set. Then we switched out everything left. I hate for a light to be out so I'm saved 80% of those incidents now. In businesses it saves so much labor over the course of time too. We've replaced all Fluorescent as well. Now there are no savings there, but so much more potential capability. When we get around to changing fixtures and not just bulbs it will be even better. Love that they're dimmable and directional in nature so a lot of potential. That leaves a lot of work still to be done on them and a very slow process. A lot of ballasts to eventually be removed and rewiring to be done. We did complete changeovers in one store and it worked out very well. It is costly but it's going to be done sometime so might as well move in that direction.
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:32 AM   #18
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Follow the herd, it is right on this one. In the Eastern Caribbean where almost all boats anchor out all the time, the switch to LEDs has been universal. A few boats continue to use incandescents in fixtures which are rarely turned on, but otherwise use LEDs or fluorescents. The savings may not equal that of more efficient refrigeration, but it is painless.
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Old 11-15-2016, 06:07 AM   #19
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@Gonefarrell: I will investigate the K figures. Something new to digest.

As others have said, color temperature can vary according to purpose. We put a "rope" of ~5000K "natural" white (sometimes aka "cool" aka "bright") LEDs in our engine room; great for task lighting. The rest of our interior LEDs are 2700K "warm" lights, softer and more suitable for living spaces. The red LEDs, with fewer diodes on each disc, that we put in the flybridge lighting is better for night vision. The 3NM anchor light is probably ~5000K and it's very BRIGHT! MUCH brighter than the original 3NM incandescent.


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But the lighting is significantly dimmer than before, to the point where I may have to redo the bulbs again.
Yep, this is one where brightness measurements like lumens or candela can guide the purchase.


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I converted my boat lights to LED and the wife forced me to return them to --- the LEDs were too white and not suited to the boat so she said
That those pesky Kelvin color temperatures, again. Easily fixed.


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Interesting thought. Are 12V LEDs 'dimmable'? This happened to me tonight. I had to install a dimmer on the Kitchen switch to make it palatable. Are all LEDs dimmable?
All LEDs aren't, but many (maybe most, these days) are... and it depends more on what you dimmer mechanism is. There are (IIRC) three different kinds, and the more common recent one seems to work with most LEDs. At least it did in our case.


Two other issues to take into account are heat and voltage.

The earlier G4s that we installed in the interior and some of the red LEDs began to lose individual diodes, most likely from voltage swing on the boat. The replacements were from marinebeam.com, units said to be able to deal with 10-30VDC current... so there's enough play in there for both 12V and 24V systems, even at bulk-absorption charge voltage.

The earlier ones were also showing signs of excessive heat on the backplane, when we replaced those. The bits and pieces on the backplane of the new marinebeam systems appeared to be much more complicated than the earlier ones. I've forgotten most of everything I knew about circuirty 50 years ago, so I dunno what all that was... but presumably these new ones won't burn the boat down.

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Old 11-15-2016, 06:21 AM   #20
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LED's typically use 10-12% of what a conventional bulb uses for the same lumens.. totally worth is to save batteries in my book.. I converted ALL the bulbs in my Ocean Alexander to LED and would never go back.
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Moi aussi. And there are legal LED nav lights and anchor lights out now as well.
We don't have huge battery reserves or a generator other than an Airbreeze wind gen, so it was important for us. No regrets at all.
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