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Old 04-18-2012, 08:49 PM   #1
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Engine room lites? LED?

34 Californian LRC had two 12 volt lights in the engine room along the center line about 8 feet apart. 12 volt, single bulb, mounted to the overhead, the underside of the deck. I need more light, can I get it by going to LED? If so how do I pick the one with the most lumens, etc.? Fixture needs to be able to spread 180 degrees more so than straight down. There are hundreds of LED lights on the market, but what do I look for regarding some reference to numbers to get an idea of appropriate bulb or bulbs? Thanks
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:37 PM   #2
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In my under main saloon deck engine compartment: Additionally to 4 bright 12V lights on bottom of the floor, I utilize a clampable and angle adjustable wind-up energized spot light. I also wear a bright strap on head lamp whose angle is adjustable for tight places. If all else fails I use the 3M W portable spotlight I always keep charged - and sunglasses! LOL.

Plus, in daylight, our Tolly has big windows that shed much light!
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:48 PM   #3
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I think you get more intense light from conventional incandescents than LEDs.
Output seems to be measured more in watts drawn than lumens. You should be able to find LEDs to fit your existing fittings,look for something giving all round light rather than "directional' (at the end). I replaced 12v 25watt incandescents in the cabin with 2-3 watt draw LEDs, not as bright but acceptable. I`ve not replaced the ER ones yet.
A big plus is the low draw if you accidentally leave the ER light on, so easy to do.
I second Art`s advice on the LED head torch,well directed bright light, free hands and the batteries last well.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:09 PM   #4
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Also look into neon lights. They are great for engine rooms because they spread a lot of light and don't get very hot.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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Looking for more light when I crawl into the access port to the engine room that opens from underneath the ladder that goes down in to the bunk/head area. Want to go in there now and than to check on conditions when underway. If I intend to do work will open the hatches in the cabin floor and use 120 volt clamp lights.

Until I get more confidence in the boat intend to check the engine area when underway every now an than. Last time out had a hose blow off and lost water in stbr. engine. As it is now, can't see a darn thing with those little 12 volt light fixtures. What ever lites I choose they have to be 12 volt powered. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:29 AM   #6
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LED Rope Lights: 3/8 diameter 12 volt LED Rope Lights, 24 volt LED Rope Lights - cut to fit LED Rope Lights

Never heard of this supplier but it looks like a person can get creative with these to light up an engine room.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:09 AM   #7
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Big difference between the amount of light needed for a quick look check , and the light required for a repair.

A small light will kill the batt set really dead if left on accidentally.

A timer , rather than a switch might work better.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:03 AM   #8
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So far I have heard bad things about LEDs. Just too may on the market that have WAAAAY shorter lifespans than advertised (so no savings there).

Also...LEDs if operating generally DON'T like the higher temps of an engine room.

So what is the most common I have seen? Flourescent gives a nice bright white light at lower power draw. But I've never been a fan of the 12V ones...so I'm not sure what's best...maybe the small halogen 12V lights directly wired???

I think on smaller boats not running gensets all the time we suffer from that lack of lighting ability in the engine room. A couple courtesy light are generally all we get and have to use portable battery or plug in area lights.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:06 AM   #9
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You won't really get more light with LEDs, the advantage is a 90% power savings. Of course if you install more LED lights, you will have more light (brightness). Halogen lighting is probably the brightest, light for light. An "LED light" is usually an array of several individual LEDs so the more LEDs in the light, the brighter it will be (except that some LEDs are brighter than other LEDs).

There's also the matter of how they are regulated. Constant current drivers are the best. You can recognize these because they will usually accept a wide range of input voltage, perhaps 9 to 30 volts.

Do a couple web searches on "LED" and "LED lighting" and you will find a lot of information to help you reach a decision.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:03 AM   #10
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I have been searching the web--way too many lights available, but the problem is understanding how much each light provides and at what angles. I was hoping someone had the problems solved and could give me some hands on advice. It could very well be that a rope light down thru the center line is the answer. I can crawl down the line to the stern, looking at both sides and check for any leaks etc. Thanks
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
A small light will kill the batt set really dead if left on accidentally.

A timer , rather than a switch might work better.
An other idea is install an external LED on the light circuit some where obvious. We have one for the engine rooms lights and freah water pump. When the LED's on, we know engine room lights are on or the fresh water pump is running.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:28 AM   #12
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A small light will kill the batt set really dead if left on accidentally.

A timer , rather than a switch might work better.
Or a switch on the door or hatch to the engine room. A friend got a new boat and I noticed when the doors to the hanging lockers were opened, the light came on. Well I just had to have that feature so, with a few ebay components sent directly from China, I made it happen.

Just to simplify things, I used an eight cell "AA" battery pack instead of wiring the LED strip light to the boat's electrical system. I used a microswitch with a lever and roller to turn the light on and off as the door is opened and closed.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:41 AM   #13
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My engine room lights are on their own breaker marked 'Engine Room Lights'. I leave all the lights turned on the engine and use the breaker to switch off and on when needed. While I've converted everything else to LED's, I've left the engine rooms with the 20 watt bulbs. Gives plenty of light for my tired old eyes for most things. Underway, I seldom go below without a flashlight of sorts.... for all the nooks and crannies overhead lights don't light up. That's usually where the problems are.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
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I installed 4 ft Florescence on each side of the main 671 and 2 ft florescence on each side of the gen set. For the small detail and/or areas where additional light is required, I wear magnifying cheater glasses with on each small lights on each side. You can buy them at most drug stores.

With the main gen set, the cruise gen set and inverter we have have 120 volts AC.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:36 AM   #15
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Home Depot and Rv shops have 12 volt incandessent bulbs sometimes called drop light bulbs. They look just like any light bulb only they are 12 volt.

They come in 25 or 50 watt bulbs. That is all I have found. They may come in brighter bulbs

I bought a couple of shielded out door light fixtures from the Home Depot the kind with the cage around them and just wired them to the 12 volt system. I mounted them to the overhead. Any fixture will work.
I know they draw a bit more power but if I have to fix something in the engine room I want all the light I can get.

I have a switch on the main power board with an led light to show the engine room light is on. So I don't accidently leave it on.

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Old 04-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fighterpilot View Post
Looking for more light when I crawl into the access port to the engine room that opens from underneath the ladder that goes down in to the bunk/head area. Want to go in there now and than to check on conditions when underway. If I intend to do work will open the hatches in the cabin floor and use 120 volt clamp lights.

Until I get more confidence in the boat intend to check the engine area when underway every now an than. Last time out had a hose blow off and lost water in stbr. engine. As it is now, can't see a darn thing with those little 12 volt light fixtures. What ever lites I choose they have to be 12 volt powered. Thanks for the suggestions.
Fighterpilot - I recommend a rechargeable, hand held, 1M to 3M CP flood/spot-light "to check on conditions" as you mention. Just keep it charged and near your access port! Believe me... you will see everything, and squint to boot!
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #17
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The information concerning LEDs not producing as much light is a bit dated. The new generation white LEDs are extremely bright. I might suggest that look in your area for a large heavy duty truck parts WD. Companies that produce lighting for Class 7,8 rigs have also done quite a bit of development of LED worklights. I have sold quite a few for mining and off road applications and I know they are available in sealed/marine applications. Look for a reputable brand like Grote or Trucklite.
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Old 04-19-2012, 02:17 PM   #18
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They may be brighter but I just don't like the light they give off.

Kind of bothers my eyes.


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Old 04-19-2012, 02:54 PM   #19
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One big advantage of LEDs in the engine room (we don't have them) is that they use very little power. So if you have to spend time in the engine room fixing something, particularly if you are mid-cruise and not on ground power, that low draw of the LEDs could be a major benefit depending on the kind of battery capacity you have on your boat.

Not long after getting our old GB with it's 1973-vintage minimal battery setup (2 8Ds) I accidentally left the engine room lights--- 4 12vdc incandescents--- on overnight while we were on a mooring. Next morning the 8D being used as the house battery was just about dead. We still have the same engine room lights but right after that trip we added a bright orange warning light on the DC panel at the helm that comes on when the engine room lights are on. We have since increased our battery capacity somewhat but LEDs in the engine room would certainly make much less of a dent in our battery power if we had to leave them on for a long time.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:11 AM   #20
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They may be brighter but I just don't like the light they give off.

Kind of bothers my eyes.


SD
"White" LEDs produce a harsh bluish white light. Fine for an anchor light but not for general lighting. You can buy "warm white" LED lights that are much more like the incandescent lights we are used to.

You have to look for them and specify "warm white".
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