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Old 12-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #41
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The next three pages were about why you are wasting your time.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:04 PM   #42
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Thanks Oliver. If I jump several together for greater amperage and I blow the power unit I guess I will have learned a lesson. lol I cant imagine I will be using installing or using more than 250W worth of LEDs, so we'll see what happens.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #43
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Thanks Oliver. If I jump several together for greater amperage and I blow the power unit I guess I will have learned a lesson. lol I cant imagine I will be using installing or using more than 250W worth of LEDs, so we'll see what happens.
Yeah, the unit may be 250watt but that's branched out between the busses however many you have.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:11 PM   #44
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The units I have are 400W, but yes I understand what you mean. Of course, I could disconnect the 12v wires going to the breaker marked "salon lights" and put that to one molex set of leads, and then the next breaker to another and so on...

Every 5 amps at 12v is 60W
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:02 PM   #45
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I figured as you said I would need to find out what needs to get jumped on it, but hadn't gotten to that step yet. If you know that would be a big help. Thanks.
That is the problem trying to repurpose a computer power supply ... you have to jump and fuss with the darn thing.

The market is flooded with Chinese made power supplies, they are generally very well made and dependable and they are cheap!

Here is one source:

12 Volt AC/DC Power Supplies, Chassis and Enclosed, 10~18,000 Watts

Another company called Meanwell sells a wide selection. I use their DIN rail units on an electronic control and find them superb. I have had several running non stop for more than a year with no problems.

There are also sturdy but heavy transformer supplies made for amateur radio use, look up Astron to see the selection.

This isn't running at low power or fuel polishing. It isn't even toilet paper, don't over complicate it.

RF dimmers? Most yachts use a wired PWM control dimmer. I can't recall seeing anyone using a remote except for the integrated Crestron systems that use wireless or bluetooth controllers for everything in the room from TV and audio to window shades and mood lighting. Except for that portable bedside item, the lights are controlled just like any other lighting controller by the door or on the wall by the bedside table.

Look up Crestron and LED yacht lighting and see what already exists. You don't have to buy the gold plated stuff, the Ebay lights and a Chinese power supply from Ebay along with a PWM dimmer will work extremely well for a long time for very little money. Move up to iPad control when you feel adventurous.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:09 PM   #46
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The next three pages were about why you are wasting your time.
Exactly.

The OP seems nice enough but he is not listening. He seems to be dead set on installing a power supply when he already has a perfectly good 12 volt system.

To the OP

There is no reason to install a 12 volt power supply. How many times do I have to say it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:33 PM   #47
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A night owl live aboard in Alaska might conceivably run every light on the boat 3,650 hours per year but it's highly unlikely. A hardcore weekend warrior that spends the night on the boat 26 weekends/year could possibly get as much as 250 hours use per year.

My personal use is considerably less than both above examples so EBay here I come. As for a warranty, on a light bulb?!?! Really?!?!
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:19 PM   #48
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Kevin, I did listen. At this point, I wouldn't be afraid to install and run them on the 12v system in general. You mentioned a perfectly good 12v system, but I'm not 100% sure about mine yet. A few things have made me think I shouldn't.

1) I AM living aboard, so the lights will get used a lot. More than the weekend cruisers.

2) 120/240v system is already replaced and again, used more than my 12v system since I am sitting here at the dock. The 12v system is still more of an unknown since I haven't gone through it yet. My inverter/charger is more of an unknown, though it seems to be working for now.

So hooking the lights to the known system seems like maybe good sense when my alternating current is used far more right now than my direct current and I am not out cruising the world.

3) My 12v panel is near my 120/240v panel. Unhooking a few wires and moving them to a power supply, then plugging it in isn't that hard.

Its just what I choose to do, I'm not saying you are wrong regarding your experience...I actually appreciate that you and obthomas shared real world experience.

Rick - I am going to look at those power supplies. I appreciate you mentioning them. Almost all of the power supplies I looked up on ebay had low amp outputs....for powering cell phones, laptops or whatever. So thanks for pointing those out! Not sure the computer supply would be a bad option though? The wiring isn't that complex.
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #49
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He seems to be dead set on installing a power supply when he already has a perfectly good 12 volt system.
It is not worth trying to convince anyone to do what is "right." There are many ways of completing the project and most of them will work. If someone wants to walk 3 miles between points that are a mile apart with no obstructions between ... so be it, show them how to make that walk interesting if you can. Otherwise all you get for your efforts is a bunch of static from the tunnel vision crowd.

Example: I think fuel "polishing" systems are a waste of time and money and accomplish little for the complexity and failure points they add. A member here wanted to install one of his own design and build and posted a schematic. I helped him change the design to simplify construction and reduce costs.

You wouldn't believe the negative feedback from the gallery who cursed me for helping someone do something that I personally thought was a waste of time and money. If they had spent as much energy helping the member find solutions who knows what great ideas might have come out of the thread.

If using the 12V system is not on the table just because of concerns about varying voltage, there are many inexpensive solutions, one of which is:

5pcs DC DC 3A Buck Converter Adjustable Step Down Power Supply Module LM2596S | eBay

These could be inserted between the breaker and lighting circuits just as easily as an AC/DC converter.

Some time on the bench playing with components will be a very good investment in time and not much cash. The returns are high.
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #50
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You guys are way out of my electronic knowledge base but what the OP seems to want is a constant voltage supply to his LED's so he can use cheap ones instead of the more expensive self regulated types.

So at the risk of sounding really stupid could you use one of these DC/DC converter stabilizers: 8V 40V to 12V 6A Max 72W DC DC Step Down Converter Voltage Transformer F Vehicle | eBay

It would seem to me to be a lot of work to rewire all his DC lights on one or two circuits to achieve what he is trying to accomplish. At least it would be on my boat.

So why not try a couple of cheap ones and one or two expensive ones and give it a year or so and see what you think? Longevity and brightness would soon be answered.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:02 AM   #51
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It would seem to me to be a lot of work to rewire all his DC lights on one or two circuits to achieve what he is trying to accomplish. At least it would be on my boat.
Those lights are already on multiple circuits on boats over 20 feet long or so. It is a zero effort job to put a voltage regulator on each lighting loop.

Think, sketch, ponder, doodle, think. Get away from it for a day. Come back and repeat.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #52
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Think, sketch, ponder, doodle, think. Get away from it for a day. Come back and repeat.
Very true. I've been criticized for over thinking a solution several times. You learn a lot in doing so.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:18 AM   #53
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The DC lighting on Hobo is controlled by 6 separate zones/breakers. It would be easy to add the 3 amp, DC-DC components that Rick referenced but so far we haven't had any issues with the LEDs running off the ships 12 volt system with some of the LEDs going on 7 years.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:51 AM   #54
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It is not worth trying to convince anyone to do what is "right." There are many ways of completing the project and most of them will work.
We can disagree on fuel polishing but you are right about convincing someone else about a better way. Sometimes I forget that it is his time he is wasting not mine.

I just counted my LED fixtures and I have 44 of them from curtain lights to altered fluorescent(s) to engine room. They are on a least 15 different circuits. I was thinking if I wanted to put them all on a computer power supply and connect them to my AC panel geez what a mess I would have in my electrical closet. Fans running ventilation needed, Then I would have to switch to generator to have lights if I went anywhere. I have a 12 volt battery charger as does most everyone and my real life experience is that I have to turn on about 15 of my LED fixtures for the battery charger to even see the use and start charging. I left my engine room lights on one day and it was about two days later I noticed it on my battery monitor. The truth be known me and my wife and cat are full time live aboards and we don't go anywhere much...... but well.....its his time he is wasting.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:06 AM   #55
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All the discussion has rekindled my own very low priority LED conversion thoughts. Just found this while perusing the offerings and ordered one to play with.

New DC 12V 24V 8A PWM LED Strip Light Dimmer Brightness Control Wall Switch | eBay
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:36 AM   #56
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All the discussion has rekindled my own very low priority LED conversion thoughts. Just found this while perusing the offerings and ordered one to play with.

New DC 12V 24V 8A PWM LED Strip Light Dimmer Brightness Control Wall Switch | eBay

But we don't have walls.....We have bulkheads..........
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:39 AM   #57
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See, Rick has kind of hit the nail on the head. Other forums I belong to, the guys and occasional gal will jump in and give ideas, thoughts, real world experience, alternative ideas...and it is a discussion, often with a good laugh here and there. There often IS more than one way to skin a cat. Here there seems to often be some bitterness or vitriol mixed in, and I'm not sure I understand the reason(s).

To me this is a great place to share ideas and info. That's why I threw in the post about brightness on LEDs I've found. It took me some time to gather that info, and I didn't see it posted anywhere else so I thought I'd share it.

I have 3 breakers for cabin lights, so for me its an easy add on to change them to another power supply. I'm in the same boat that obthomas is...living aboard. But I don't understand your concern about having the lights on ac current. If you are like me, you are hooked to dock power 95% of the time. A weekend cruise is the only time you'd need conversion power....and your inverter will take care of that. While running engines the batteries wont even notice that draw. Sitting at anchor I IMAGINE that eventually these lights MIGHT draw enough juice through your inverter to require your genset for a recharge. But you are going to need your genset for air conditioning or your fridge far more quickly than the lights pulling juice through the inverter.

Another thought is that if you are a live aboard...and running your lights 7 days a week dockside on dc...your batteries are constantly in a state of discharge, with the inverter switching on when they reach a given point of discharge to bring them back, over and over. Is this a concern to battery life over the years? I'm no expert and maybe it doesn't, but I wonder. Its a small drain, but still there. Imagine having BIG appliances like refrigerators running through dc all the time. Nah...we switch those over to ac when at all possible dockside.

The buck converters (dc to dc) also sounded like a good way to go, and I mentioned them in my original post too. BUT, at 3 amps each they wont for example power 5 meters worth of those new 5630 strip lights. They have 5 amp ones as well I believe, but those would still fall short. According to what I found 5 meters worth of strip 5630 will draw anywhere from 6-10 amps. Sounds like a lot, but its still only the equivalent of a 75W to 100W single incandescent bulb in power draw, but with 5000-6500 worth of Lumens over that 16 feet of strip light which is the equivalent of 3-4 of those same 100W incandescent bulbs in light output!

I am going to order one of those 5M rolls of 5630 warm white (waterproof just because its a boat) for my salon with connectors and cut it up and install it with a dimmer (the seller replied to me and said the 5630 is all dimmable). I figure I may not always need it that bright, but at least I'll have the option.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:51 AM   #58
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your inverter will take care of that.

What inverter?...... Another piece of clap trap to crap up the electrical closet.....I have a generator, don't need both. KISS
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:01 PM   #59
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For $1.30 each or less for the cheapos, I would just buy them with a bunch of spares. They burn out, you replace them. No worries. Heck, the 10w haolgen G4 bulbs in my boat cost 3x as much and I seem to lose at least one a year..
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:16 PM   #60
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What inverter?...... Another piece of clap trap to crap up the electrical closet.....I have a generator, don't need both. KISS
Some people might say the same about a generator cluttering up the engine room, or having lights in general. Hell, if the sun sets shouldn't you go to sleep? lol

Ron - yes and no. If its only the simple bulbs, yes. But what about where you go to the trouble of wiring in strip LED lights? Also, you are still running off batteries at that point. For a live aboard dockside it may make sense to run off dock power.

Which is an interesting point. How many of us have purely DC lighting aboard? Mine is a combination, and of course I have an older boat. But I have some 120v fixtures around the boat for light...and some 12v.

Now that I think about it I would say its probably fine for the batteries to have constant small drains and charging. I wasn't thinking right before. I think they only suffer when badly discharged. Our cars are constantly discharging and charging the battery with accessories, ignition, lights, etc.
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