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Old 12-17-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
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Another LED expensive bulb vs cheapie ebay/chinese question re: CCCV

So if I understand correctly (please jump in if I don't!)...

a good reason to go with a more expensive bulb from a reliable source like superbrightleds.com is because they include a CCCV (Constant Current-Constant Voltage) driver IN the bulb. While our batteries may be 12v batteries, as they "run down" that voltage does not stay the same. While charging it does not stay the same either, and if I understand correctly, these voltage changes can be detrimental to the normal lifespan of an LED. That is why most with knowledge recommend staying away from the cheapie ebay bulbs (though you CAN buy separate drivers for the bulbs on ebay too or what they call "buck converters", pretty cheaply).

The CCCV buck converters take a varying DC supply and regulate it.

Is there also a way to use an ac source to power these? On shore power it would be directly hooked to your regular ac, but when on the hook or traveling it would be hooked to an ac to dc converter powered by your boat's inverter?

My initial thought was a desktop computer power supply. I have several sitting here that are 400W units, and it made me think. I asked an ebay seller what his 5M long 12v strip LEDs required for power, and his reply was 5 amps. Converting amps to watts....that's 60W for a 15 ft length of LEDS.

Those LED strips are made to be cut to just about any length, and they even sell the quick fit ends for wiring them up. And then there are the old G4 pin bulb fixtures all over my boat.....those bulbs on ebay range from $1 to whatever depending on how many LEDs are in them. People here have already tried them and they work very well.......

...just wondering if the voltage can be regulated more simply using an ac source?

Seems like it might be cheaper than buying $20+ bulbs?
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Why make it so compicated? DC to AC converters and vise versa, no need just 12v bulbs are fine. I wouldn't worry about voltage spikes/drops, that's more of a paranoia kinda thing, we've had superbrightleds in our camano for 3 years with all kinds of voltage spikes and drops, we have no problems.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by aronhk_md View Post

...just wondering if the voltage can be regulated more simply using an a/c source?

Seems like it might be cheaper than buying $20+ bulbs?
I use the same model light bars on my boat for decor lights and under cabinet counter lighting in my home. Of course the boat is 12 volt DC. The house AC current is run through a power supply.

Installation/Power Supplies/Misc | Super Bright LEDs

They both get a lot of use.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:33 PM   #4
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Yes guys.....but that's exactly what I'm saying.....the superbrightled bulbs/lights you guys have ARE regulated with a CCCV if I understand correctly, and I am specifically looking at the cheapie ebay type stuff. If I buy what you have for my boat I could easily spend $1000 or more. By sticking to ebay and perhaps regulating another way it might be way cheaper.

I should have maybe been more clear....

superbrightleds X a whole boat = expensive & reliable

ebay leds X a whole boat = cheap...but can it be done reliably by regulating the power source overall from an a/c source?
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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Yes guys.....but that's exactly what I'm saying.....the superbrightled bulbs/lights you guys have ARE regulated with a CCCV if I understand correctly, and I am specifically looking at the cheapie ebay type stuff. If I buy what you have for my boat I could easily spend $1000 or more. By sticking to ebay and perhaps regulating another way it might be way cheaper
By some, do testing and see if the ebay ones are up to par, and work.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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My understanding was that the cheap LED bulbs had a simple resistor in the circuit that often causes Radio Frequency (RF) interference.

There is a great resource on LED's available at Marine Beam (great product as well): The Idiots Guide to Marine LEDs

Good Luck,
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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I remanufactured every 12 volt light on my boat with the ebay 48 LED panels. I removed the bulb sockets and put in the panels. All of my 12 volt lights, maybe 40 of them from the engine room to the radar arch are working perfectly at dock and cruising for maybe 4 years now. My premise is they are no more sensitive to voltage changes than my electronics.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:09 PM   #8
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Thanks Scott, I had seen that article posted before, and it does have good info.

1) It explains why you cant just plug the ebay cheapie bulbs in and expect them to live. When your battery charger kicks in and the boat voltage is more like 15v it is reducing the life of the LED through heat, and when the voltage drops to say 10-11v in between charging your lights are weak.

2) companies like superbrightled put cccv's in their bulbs to regulate the individual bulbs. This is a dc to dc converter. Even if it only gets 10v power it converts it to 12v for the bulb. Same true when it gets 15v.

It gets expensive regulating each bulb though, at least for now, so superbrightled and Marine Beam are able to charge what they do and make a profit....selling $20+ bulbs. So if in your boat you have 50 bulbs, at $20ea......$1000......its expensive.

3) What I am saying is take this part of that article written by Jeff Field at Marine Beam and look at it.

"Almost all of the inexpensive 12v LED cluster bulbs being sold today use a ballast resistor which bleeds off energy to limit the current. A ballast resistor can limit current according to a simple formula, which is: Voltage/Resistance=Current. So, if one knows the current required by the LED and also knows the source voltage, it is easy enough to select the correct ballast resistor for the resistor part of the equation. One can see from the formula that is resistance is constant, and the voltage goes up (or down), so does the current proportionately. It follows then that the current can only be limited if the Voltage is limited. So, a ballast resistor would work fine if the voltage source is a transformer plugged into the wall that is providing a constant 12VDC. At precisely 12V the ballast resistor will just bleed off excess energy in the form of heat, and the LED will be happy running at the right current."

So what about BUYING cheapie ebay bulbs at $1 each, 50 bulbs would be $50. install them. Disconnect the wires leading to them at your 12v panel. Connect those wires to a computer power supply capable of handling the wattage/amperage ($20 on sale at Best Buy or ebay). Now plug THAT into your 120/240V panel.

Turn your lights on.

Total cost......$70
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #9
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I asked an ebay seller what his 5M long 12v strip LEDs required for power, and his reply was 5 amps. Converting amps to watts....that's 60W for a 15 ft length of LEDS.
5 amps for about 15 feet of LEDs doesn't pass my sanity check.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:16 PM   #10
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Thomas, I hear you.....and have thought about just plugging them in too......see what happens. I know you aren't the only one who has had success doing so. Even at a reduced life, if you changed bulbs once in a while it would take an awfully long time to approach the cost of bulbs from someplace like superbrightleds. I guess my thought is, if I can do this 100% right for an extra $20 and a few minutes at my electrical panel, since I do live aboard.....maybe its the better choice?

Besides, I like the idea of an alternative way floating around out there if it makes sense.

What I'd like to hear from some of the electrical gurus is......does this make sense?
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:16 PM   #11
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So what about BUYING cheapie ebay bulbs at $1 each, 50 bulbs would be $50. install them. Disconnect the wires leading to them at your 12v panel. Connect those wires to a computer power supply capable of handling the wattage/amperage ($20 on sale at Best Buy or ebay). Now plug THAT into your 120/240V panel.
It would certainly be worth trying. I have no idea how constant the voltage is in a computer power supply, but I'm guessing it would be close enough?
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #12
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obthomas.......I am trying to get further verification on amperage from other ebay sellers selling the same 5M strands. But you figure, a desktop computer doesn't use all of its 400W power supply all the time, and if I had 8 of those 15 ft strips (that's a lot of lights for 400 watts) I wouldn't be using them all the time either. That's the equivalent of 4 100watt bulbs compared to 120 ft of lighting.

15 ft of lights would probably light up a whole salon very brightly....for the cost of one 60 watt bulb.

BTW....many of these lights are dimmable too, they sell the dimmers on ebay.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:23 PM   #13
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There is a great resource on LED's available at Marine Beam (great product as well): The Idiots Guide to Marine LEDs

Good Luck,

Fair amount of blowing air in a paper bag...........If the guy weren't selling LEDs the paper might have been better.

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Old 12-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #14
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From an ebay add for 5 meters of 300 LEDS Less than 1/2 amp per meter .

● Working Voltage: 12VDC

● LED Quantity: 300 leds/5 Mete

● Working Current/meter: 0.35-0.4A
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:33 PM   #15
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obthomas.....aha! Thanks! I was looking for one that had the current requirements. So more like .5 amps.....that's even better!
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:34 PM   #16
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About 2 amps for 5 meters
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:37 PM   #17
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Gotcha....read it wrong, that's per meter.....so right! 2 amps per 5M. Now I'm just waiting for the experts to step in and comment on the computer power source or other ac to dc 12v type supply.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:59 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. ob. "sanity check"? Surely given the season you MEAN Sanity Clause.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:16 PM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. ob. "sanity check"? Surely given the season you MEAN Sanity Clause.
Naw... I meant sanity check......not Santa Deck. I'm not in the Christmas spirit until next week.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by aronhk_md View Post
So if I understand correctly (please jump in if I don't!)...

a good reason to go with a more expensive bulb from a reliable source like superbrightleds.com is because they include a CCCV (Constant Current-Constant Voltage) driver IN the bulb. While our batteries may be 12v batteries, as they "run down" that voltage does not stay the same. While charging it does not stay the same either, and if I understand correctly, these voltage changes can be detrimental to the normal lifespan of an LED. That is why most with knowledge recommend staying away from the cheapie ebay bulbs (though you CAN buy separate drivers for the bulbs on ebay too or what they call "buck converters", pretty cheaply).

The CCCV buck converters take a varying DC supply and regulate it.

Is there also a way to use an ac source to power these? On shore power it would be directly hooked to your regular ac, but when on the hook or traveling it would be hooked to an ac to dc converter powered by your boat's inverter?

My initial thought was a desktop computer power supply. I have several sitting here that are 400W units, and it made me think. I asked an ebay seller what his 5M long 12v strip LEDs required for power, and his reply was 5 amps. Converting amps to watts....that's 60W for a 15 ft length of LEDS.

Those LED strips are made to be cut to just about any length, and they even sell the quick fit ends for wiring them up. And then there are the old G4 pin bulb fixtures all over my boat.....those bulbs on ebay range from $1 to whatever depending on how many LEDs are in them. People here have already tried them and they work very well.......

...just wondering if the voltage can be regulated more simply using an ac source?

Seems like it might be cheaper than buying $20+ bulbs?
OK, all theories aside, I replaced 64 halogen bulbs this last spring with cheapo Ebay LED bulbs that cost all of $1.30 each.

I had zero out of the box failures, and zero failures all season. My battery voltage varied all accross the board. I anchored out, I ran the generator, I ran the engines, I plugged into shore power.

Again, No failures, None.

You can pay more for LED bulbs, and people can make any argument they want to justify why they spent several times the amount I spent.

The fact is that my bulbs work great, and with the money I saved I probably bought a seasons worth of fuel.

All this talk of needing power regulators, etc... is pure unadulterated BS.

Whoever reads this and tries to quote me electronic or electrical theory, please do not even try. I make my living as an expert in electrical and electronics, and have made my living at this for well over 30 years. I understand the theory.

What I know is that the cheap Ebay bulbs work great. This is not theory, it is fact.
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