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Old 10-20-2014, 04:53 PM   #1
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Electrical loads and LED's

So on a more serious note, electricity.

Today, I finally got around to getting the proper 240v shore power extension cord for the boat. And solely because of Gary at ITR Marine in Port St. Lucie who convinced to pay the extra $100 to get the multi volt controller (anything from 12 or 24 v dc to 90 to 240v ac) when I was buying my Vitrifrigo to replace the 120v SubZeros. Originally, I had just wanted 12v.

Now, Iím so glad I did, for they are now plugged directly into the shore power and the only thing the battery bank is charging are my cell phone and lap top and thatís about it. This means the solar panels, with whatever meager output they can provide this winter can keep the batteries up.

Also, it is now easy for me to see what each 12v device is using:

Item 12v Amperage
  • Cabin light 0.35A
  • Side Deck Lights 1.05A
  • Pilot House Front Lights (two lines) 2.0A
  • Engine Room (4 fixtures) 0.4A
  • Galley Counter Rope Light *it takes a bit to wake up 0.28 to 0.38A*


All the boatís lights are LED from China by way of Amazon, except for the running lights and the driving and fog lights.
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:09 PM   #2
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In the right color, it's hard to beat LED lights. I converted to all LED except for running lights and couldn't be happier. I also installed an LED anchor light with photocell. I no longer move about the boat turning lights on and off like some sort of electron cop. Leave 'em on....who cares!
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:37 PM   #3
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I made the mistake of converting all of my saloon lighting to LED using the cheapest Chinese LED assemblies I could find. The kind that depends on resistors not constant current drivers to limit the LED current.

They are getting dimmer and dimmer as the individual LEDs fail.

Now I have to replace them all again. This time I will insist on the constant current dimmers.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:43 PM   #4
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I made the mistake of converting all of my saloon lighting to LED using the cheapest Chinese LED assemblies I could find. The kind that depends on resistors not constant current drivers to limit the LED current.

They are getting dimmer and dimmer as the individual LEDs fail.

Now I have to replace them all again. This time I will insist on the constant current dimmers.
Yes, I've had some failures in a couple multi row arrays that I fabricated from a roll of tape lighting. Those same LEDS are working fine in the house where the voltage supplies maintain a constant 12V, but they don't like the range of voltage on the boat. Back to the drawing board. The experiment cost me about $5 and a couple of hours. Think I'll install a constant current device at the panel breaker and still go the el cheapo route for the homemade arrays, as the problem doesn't seem to be with the LED strips.
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:20 AM   #5
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............ Think I'll install a constant current device at the panel breaker and still go the el cheapo route for the homemade arrays, as the problem doesn't seem to be with the LED strips.
That may or may not work. I think if you're trying to protect a bunch of LEDs you would do better to use a voltage regulator circuit at the source and let the resistors do their job for each individual LED. Not as efficient but I think it would work better.

Constant current on the entire circuit would mean that if one LED fails, the rest would still get the same current and begin failing quickly.
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:29 AM   #6
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That may or may not work. I think if you're trying to protect a bunch of LEDs you would do better to use a voltage regulator circuit at the source and let the resistors do their job for each individual LED. Not as efficient but I think it would work better.

Constant current on the entire circuit would mean that if one LED fails, the rest would still get the same current and begin failing quickly.
Quite right. Varying voltage is the (apparent) problem. Thanks.
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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We installed LED's from superbrightleds and have had a few go out. The main problem is these are getting hot enough where it's loosening up the adhesive that holds the lens on the metal heat sink and the loose adhesive is making the light look yellow.

Tempted to put all the halogens back in since they were way brighter, power conservation isn't our first priority anyways.
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quite right. Varying voltage is the (apparent) problem. Thanks.
The LED creates light by the current flowing through the LED. Not enough current and there's too little light. Too much current and the LED overheats and burns out. Controlling the voltage applied to the LED is one way of controlling the current but as it heats up or cools down, the resistance will vary and so will the current if the voltage is held constant. Controlling the current through the LED is the best way to ensure that the LED current flow is constant and at the balance point between the most light and the longest service life.

The way the constant current driver does this is by turning the power on and off at a very high rate so the average over time is the correct current. This works fine as far as the LED is concerned but it can also produce RF interference. The two constant current lamps I installed in my V berth interfere with the high band VHF (7-13) TV frequencies. Turn on the light and the screen freezes. I installed filters that help but I need better ones for weaker signals when I am travelling.
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:05 AM   #9
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We installed LED's from superbrightleds and have had a few go out. The main problem is these are getting hot enough where it's loosening up the adhesive that holds the lens on the metal heat sink and the loose adhesive is making the light look yellow.

Tempted to put all the halogens back in since they were way brighter, power conservation isn't our first priority anyways.
LEDs will do it, the trick is finding the right LEDs. I won't say the industry is in its infancy but manufacturers are still working things out in some cases. And of course, some are more interested in putting out the cheapest product they can sell.
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by N4712 View Post
We installed LED's from superbrightleds and have had a few go out. The main problem is these are getting hot enough where it's loosening up the adhesive that holds the lens on the metal heat sink and the loose adhesive is making the light look yellow.

Tempted to put all the halogens back in since they were way brighter, power conservation isn't our first priority anyways.

Hi Oliver,

That's interesting. I replaced all the internal lights in my boat with LED's from Marine Beam and haven't had a single failure yet. They have been in place for 18 months now. Maybe the 24 volt power allows them to run cooler (less current)?
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:18 AM   #11
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Hi Oliver,

That's interesting. I replaced all the internal lights in my boat with LED's from Marine Beam and haven't had a single failure yet. They have been in place for 18 months now. Maybe the 24 volt power allows them to run cooler (less current)?
I'll have to look into them. Which models do you have? Are they cool or warm white?
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:05 AM   #12
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I'll have to look into them. Which models do you have? Are they cool or warm white?

Warm white. The G4 bulbs have extra long pins and work very well in the Cantalupi Overheads. I use cool white in the engine room domes and warm white bayonet mounts in the reading lamps, etc.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:13 AM   #13
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Hi Oliver,

That's interesting. I replaced all the internal lights in my boat with LED's from Marine Beam and haven't had a single failure yet. They have been in place for 18 months now. Maybe the 24 volt power allows them to run cooler (less current)?
The fixture may draw less current but the LEDs themselves will draw the same current. I suspect yours have the constant current drivers. See my explanation above.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4712 View Post
We installed LED's from superbrightleds and have had a few go out. The main problem is these are getting hot enough where it's loosening up the adhesive that holds the lens on the metal heat sink and the loose adhesive is making the light look yellow.

Tempted to put all the halogens back in since they were way brighter, power conservation isn't our first priority anyways.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boydski View Post
Hi Oliver,

That's interesting. I replaced all the internal lights in my boat with LED's from Marine Beam and haven't had a single failure yet. They have been in place for 18 months now. Maybe the 24 volt power allows them to run cooler (less current)?
This could be a case of LED with resistive voltage regulator vs LED with constant current driver, SuperBright brand vs MarineBeam brand, less expensive vs more expensive, etc. This has been discussed a few times in the past, including here ... Wiring question,,,

Quote:
The good marine LED assemblies have own voltage regulation/protection built into every "bulb" or fixture as they relay on an unstable 12V DC power source.

In the early days of marine LEDs, the overvoltage protection was achieved with resistors that turn LED assembly into power/heat sinks when voltage spikes.

Good marine LEDs have robust voltage regulators built into every "bulb" or fixture that can operate in the 10-30V DC range, either polarity, and are equally suitable for 12V DC and 24V DC installations.

Some others still offer two versions, one for 12V DC and another for 24V DC installation. Can't really say they are not good ... but I would opt for the one that can operate in 10-30V DC range, dual polarity.

Here is some more info, an example and not the endorsement ...
LED Drivers for marine LEDs
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:13 PM   #15
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Warm white. The G4 bulbs have extra long pins and work very well in the Cantalupi Overheads. I use cool white in the engine room domes and warm white bayonet mounts in the reading lamps, etc.
Thanks for the link, I'll order a couple tonight.
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