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Old 12-19-2013, 12:45 PM   #61
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All 12v except for the ER which is a combination of 12v and 120v, also our boat deck lights are 120v.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #62
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All 12v except for the ER which is a combination of 12v and 120v, also our boat deck lights are 120v.

Makes you wonder why they decided in those areas to add 120v lighting. Because it was brighter? Given the choices today and building it this moment would they just have done all 12v LEDs? My guess is that's probably what they all do now.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:00 PM   #63
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Makes you wonder why they decided in those areas to add 120v lighting. Because it was brighter? Given the choices today and building it this moment would they just have done all 12v LEDs? My guess is that's probably what they all do now.
Its because it's way brighter, there are 4 2ft fluorescent waterproof fixtures, don't know what I would do with out them.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:02 PM   #64
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Its because it's way brighter, there are 4 2ft fluorescent waterproof fixtures, don't know what I would do with out them.
Stumble around in the dark. LOL

How many watts are the bulbs and are they 2 per fixture?
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:26 PM   #65
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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.
Our lighting is 100% 12VDC and all LED. In the saloon I have fitted all new fixtures but elsewhere, i.e. cabins and ER I have used the retrofit LED lamps.

I have had no voltage related issues and am very pleased with the light levels & power consumption.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #66
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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.


This same discussion came up a year or two ago (think I started it)...similar responses. In any case, I understand exactly where you're coming from and looked at a similar approach with power packs for each zone in the boat. In my research I found some larger capacity Buck devices, and if I remember correctly came across some that "buck up" and "buck down. Not sure if that's the correct terminology, but they'd accommodate the lower voltage seen at anchor as well as the high voltage during charging while keeping the output from the lights at a constant brightness. One other thing to keep in mind (according to an electronic gearhead friend of mine) is that these various devices can cause RF interference...possibly impacting on-board electronic devices. Most of the more expensive gizmo's speak to the level of protection in this regard. (I'm an electronics Neanderthal, so take it for what it's worth).

I still haven't converted any fixtures, because like you, we haven't been cruising much in the past couple of years and use AC lighting for the most part (some of which is inverter powered). I have however, converted the entire dash panel on my '64 Jaguar E-type to LED lighting (internal LED strips for backlighting the inside of the Lucas and Smiths gages, as well as individual screw in peanut bulbs for warning lights). When you're dealing with a system designed by the Prince of Darkness, LEDs are a godsend.

By the way, I just replaced the under-counter fluorescent lights in the house kitchen with strip LEDs in the original fixtures. I took three rows of LEDs to equal an equivalent length of fluorescent bulb. Guess I could have calculated lumens...
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #67
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I should add the the cockpit and navigation lights are also LED.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #68
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One could also recreate the "expensive" LEDs by soldering a buck power supply driver in between a good quality LED emitter and a bayonet base for a couple of bucks (Yes, bucks, shipping is expensive in Canada.)

Disclosure: I bought those "expensive" LEDs for my boat from Marinebeam. I think I paid less than $11 each in bulk on a sale. Well worth my time not having to do the above steps. I'd rather glass in a bow thruster or rebuild a steering ram, to each his own, right?

PS: If I liked this kind of stuff, I'd be looking through instructables.com for ideas.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:51 PM   #69
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Mike - the LED fixtures and replacement bulbs you installed...were they the expensive variety or ebay/Chinese cheapies? Did you bother installing the buck converters, or did you just plug it into your 12v system as is?

skidgear - that's why I like the forums. To hear what others opinions are, and to share your own. I enjoy the conversations and laughs too. Only time it gets frustrating is when we allow things to become negative. Otherwise its ALMOST as fun as sitting on deck chatting, drink and snacks in hand with some fun people from your own dock.

But its for things like what you describe in your kitchen that I searched for info about brightness and shared it here. At this point there appears to 3 different kinds of strip LEDs, and if you bought the 3528 series one might really be disappointed in the light output. Having comparative Lumens lets me decide if I want to put 1 strip of LEDs in the old fluorescent fixture...or 4 strips! Or....do I dispense with the fixture/cover entirely and just mount the strips directly or on something else with no cover? Ahhh! The fun of decisions and being creative!


Which brings me to something else I have considered. These strips of LEDs...they come with adhesive backing, but I read somewhere of someone having problems with them staying stuck to a surface. I wonder if there is something you can use to prep the surface so they stick better? Like when you apply self stick tiles to a floor they make a prep that allows them to stick better.

Guess I will just have to buy some and experiment! LOL
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #70
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One could also recreate the "expensive" LEDs by soldering a buck power supply driver in between a good quality LED emitter and a bayonet base.

Disclosure: I bought those "expensive" LEDs for my boat from Marinebeam. I think I paid less than $11 each in bulk on a sale. Well worth my time not having to do the above steps. I'd rather glass in a bow thruster or rebuild a steering ram, to each his own, right?

PS: If I liked this kind of stuff, I'd be looking through instructables.com for ideas.
Northern - price also depends on type of bulb. Many with higher lumen output seem more expensive than the $11 mark. Not sure how many bulbs you have on your boat, but even at $11 the cost might still be high. As for the idea of creating your own with buck converters...someone mentioned you could just disconnect at the panel and add the buck converters there too. That's why I considered doing it at the panel with a single power source for all lights.
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:28 PM   #71
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All 12v except for the ER which is a combination of 12v and 120v, also our boat deck lights are 120v.
Hi Oliver,

I thought you'd find it interesting that my boat (hull #28) is 24 Volt. I believe Sea Eagle was the first 24 volt N47 and all subsequent boats are also 24 volt. I have the same 120v engine room flourescents and deck lights, but everything else on the boat is 24 volt (almost all LED's).
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:18 PM   #72
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I didn't realize you were taking about the strip lights, can't you get them in a 110v version? For the batteries, if you are plugged into shore power, all your DC drains would come right from the charger until you exceeded it's amperage, so really no impact on your batteries.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:24 PM   #73
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skidgear - that's why I like the forums. To hear what others opinions are, and to share your own. I enjoy the conversations and laughs too. Only time it gets frustrating is when we allow things to become negative. Otherwise its ALMOST as fun as sitting on deck chatting, drink and snacks in hand with some fun people from your own dock.

But its for things like what you describe in your kitchen that I searched for info about brightness and shared it here. At this point there appears to 3 different kinds of strip LEDs, and if you bought the 3528 series one might really be disappointed in the light output. Having comparative Lumens lets me decide if I want to put 1 strip of LEDs in the old fluorescent fixture...or 4 strips! Or....do I dispense with the fixture/cover entirely and just mount the strips directly or on something else with no cover? Ahhh! The fun of decisions and being creative!


Which brings me to something else I have considered. These strips of LEDs...they come with adhesive backing, but I read somewhere of someone having problems with them staying stuck to a surface. I wonder if there is something you can use to prep the surface so they stick better? Like when you apply self stick tiles to a floor they make a prep that allows them to stick better.

Guess I will just have to buy some and experiment! LOL
The glue on the high intensity (300 per meter) 5050 series that I used for the kitchen cabinets is gawd-awful stuff...like wet chewing gum. There's no salvaging it. I stripped it off with glue remover and acetone and simply lined the old fluorescent lense covers with the LED strips (face down). Taped them in place. Rainy day project @ about 1/10 cost of new fixtures from the big box store...much better workmanship.

The lower intensity (higher count per meter) 3528 strips used for backlighting inside the Jaguar gages had excellent adhesive. As you point out, the 3528 series strips are much too dim for the undercounter application...would have taken 75 meters to light what I did with about 25M of the 5050 series.

I'm using hkesupplier (ebay) in Hong Kong for the strip lighting. Takes about ten days to get an order. Also purchased their power units and a bunch of connectors, although I ended up soldering the strips together as the plug-in connectors were a little too bulky to squeeze into the space I was using.

Northern Spy just described the "zone" approach I had in mind back when I was worried about counting amps on the boat. On the other hand prices for individual bulbs keep dropping...I bought these little screw in peanut bulbs (E10 base) for dash lighting on Jag from LEDlight at two bucks a piece...choice of a wide variety of lens shapes and colors...$5 each for equivalent incandescent. Crazy.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:49 PM   #74
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Hi Oliver, I thought you'd find it interesting that my boat (hull #28) is 24 Volt. I believe Sea Eagle was the first 24 volt N47 and all subsequent boats are also 24 volt. I have the same 120v engine room flourescents and deck lights, but everything else on the boat is 24 volt (almost all LED's).
Interesting, personally I prefer 12v because it's universal. But the advantage is you draw less Amps because of the higher voltage.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:13 PM   #75
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10 seconds to drill a couple hole and zip tie the 5050 strips onto the fixture base so they have better diffusion than taped to the lens.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:31 PM   #76
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10 seconds to drill a couple hole and zip tie the 5050 strips onto the fixture base so they have better diffusion than taped to the lens.
I tested them arrayed around the outside of the fixture, but the intense reflection/glare of the individual pinpoints of light off the polished white counter tops was offensive to the chef...preferred to have them behind the lens. Didn't lose all that much with the lens. Fasten to your individual druthers...I'm sure they could be stapled directly to the bottom of the cabinets or onto a semicircular piece of wood or plastic tubing for the angular distribution of choice.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:37 AM   #77
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I tested them arrayed around the outside of the fixture, but the intense reflection/glare of the individual pinpoints of light off the polished white counter tops was offensive to the chef...preferred to have them behind the lens. Didn't lose all that much with the lens. Fasten to your individual druthers...I'm sure they could be stapled directly to the bottom of the cabinets or onto a semicircular piece of wood or plastic tubing for the angular distribution of choice.
That's actually what I meant...mine are up inside the old fixture, tie wrapped to the steel base back away from the lens....when I had them inside but too close to the lens or at first when the glue failed and they fell against the lens the tended to put out the pinpoints of light as you pointed out.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:18 AM   #78
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skidgear - how did you find the 5050's for brightness? Did you use warm white (3000-3500k), natural white (4000-5500k), or cool white (6000 + k)?

psneeld - how about you same question?

I have been thinking of ordering the 5630. Its supposedly 1.5 times the brightness of the 5050, but having zero experience with either I don't know what to expect.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:30 AM   #79
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skidgear - how did you find the 5050's for brightness? Did you use warm white (3000-3500k), natural white (4000-5500k), or cool white (6000 + k)?

psneeld - how about you same question?

I have been thinking of ordering the 5630. Its supposedly 1.5 times the brightness of the 5050, but having zero experience with either I don't know what to expect.
Not sure what I have...but they are definitely not the warm ones...I went for bright white with high contast for my girlfriend and seeing....

...with 8 feet of tape illuminating the saloon...it's plenty bright...maybe too much for some and not enough for others...all I know is that it's about 1.5 times maybe even twice as bright as with the fluorescent tubes. But that's just a guess as I have no direct comparative observation/picture.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:44 AM   #80
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I used warm white 5050s, and they are still a bit more harsh than the original under counter fluorescents or an incandescent. A 5630 wasn't offered when I ordered the 5050 series, but I'd definitely go for the brighter strips if they come in warm white...purely personal preference. I'll definitely be getting some cool 5630s for the engine room where cool is always cool.
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