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Old 11-20-2016, 01:32 PM   #1
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Fluorescent Light Replacement

My boat (early 1980s vintage) has the model 109s square Thin Lite fixtures with the circular round fluorescent bulbs. The fixture is 9" square and is screwed into my ceiling which is made of marine vinyl. The 12v tubes are not available locally and I have one fixture where the ballast has given up. I've only been able to find a replacement ballast at solarseller.com alternative energy by John Drake Services, Inc. but they are out of stock with no ETA on a restock.

I'd like to replace them with an LED fixture but I'm not finding anything reasonable that will fit the footprint left by the existing light (when I remove the existing fixture, I'm going to have four screw holes into the ceiling corresponding with the four corners of the existing fixture).

Another option may be to replace the fluorescent bulb with an LED replacement but I'm also not seeing anything in a 12v option.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

I've attached a photo of the existing fixture below (Sorry it's from the internet, I guess I don't have any pics of the actual installation on my boat).

Matt
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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Strip out all of the guts of the old fixture and replace with LED ribbon. The cut to fit reels of LED are available at Amazon. You will need connectors to terminate to the ribbon. Watch the shade of the light, do not use the blue white harsh industrial.
I am converting my fluorescent as they go down.
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:16 PM   #3
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Make metal stainless or brass plate to cover existing hole and add whatever fixture you want
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mule View Post
Strip out all of the guts of the old fixture and replace with LED ribbon. The cut to fit reels of LED are available at Amazon. You will need connectors to terminate to the ribbon. Watch the shade of the light, do not use the blue white harsh industrial.
I am converting my fluorescent as they go down.
What he said.....
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:24 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! That sounds like the best way to go. I understand sticking with the warm white lights but....

Reels are available in 3528, 5050, 2835, etc.... What say you? What are you using?
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:25 PM   #6
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Go with Alpenglow

I am very, very fond of the new Alpenglow LED fixtures. They are not cheap but are worth every penny. They have new square model which is 7" * 7" and which may well cover up the holes left by your old fixture.

https://www.alpenglowlights.com/stor.../catalina.html
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:58 PM   #7
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I use a hot glue stick to mount the ribbon LEDs in the fixture
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:11 PM   #8
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Matt, I tackled the same project 2 years ago with ribbon LEDs. I used 5630 strip. Here's a brief discussion of the differences between the different diode types.

https://www.12vmonster.com/blogs/pro...-5630-5730-led

I have a rectangular fluorescent light on the stbd side and a square one like yours on the port side. I gutted and changed both out for LED. I placed 4 strips in the rectangular light but it got too hot and had more light than needed, so I disconnected 2 of the strips for a just-right look and feel. The adhesive on the back of the LED strips is useless. I glued the strips with a hot glue gun and they hold great.

Fellow TFer skidgear gave me some great guidance on this project. It started as a home improvement project in the kitchen for under-cabinet lights powered by a 120V-12V power supply. The boat retrofit was done with the leftover components, so in my book, it was free!

Here are some shots of the retrofit.





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Old 11-20-2016, 05:39 PM   #9
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SteveD,

I looked at the Alpenglow fixtures...they look nice but are a bit more than I want to spend right now, especially since I would be looking at 6 of them...With the LED strip lighting, I should be able to do all of them for about $25.00.

Al,

That looks exactly like what I need to do. Thanks for the pics. Did you just keep the existing switch in the fixture and wire it in line with the LEDs?

Looks like I'm headed to Amazon....
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:35 PM   #10
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Yes, I reused the original switch. I found a non-wood grain on the cover plate flip-side that I like better than the original fake wood grain. (it's hard to tell when the light is on in the pic.)
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Old 11-26-2016, 12:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVDarlin View Post
Make metal stainless or brass plate to cover existing hole and add whatever fixture you want
I used starboard for my replacement covers and used LEDS from SUPERBRIGHT LEDS.com
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:15 AM   #12
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marinebeam

I was looking at the LED circle line lamps at Marinebeam. I have not dealt with them but these look like a quick retrofit.

https://store.marinebeam.com/8-circl...ent-fl-t9-120/
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:00 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

I did as most of you suggested and ordered some of the LED ribbon lighting in warm white. After a bit of trial and error (I don't care what the manufacturer says, the clips with the wires do NOT fit on the ribbon) and learning how to solder on the ribbon, I was able to complete the retrofit. Although the color is a little bit off (it's actually a bit warmer than the other fluorescent lights), it's great to have light back where it's been missing for a while.

Thanks for all the help!

Matt
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