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Old 10-31-2012, 02:51 AM   #1
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New LED Lighting

I thought of this as I was posting in another thread. Rather than hijack that thread, I though I would go ahead and create a separate post.

We recently replaced all our inside lighting with new LED light strips. In our case, the lighting inside was 12 inch long fluorescent tubes inside recessed housings. I don't know how many other boats of our vintage (1978) use similar lighting. The lighting was so poor, a previous owner had tacked aluminum foil inside the housings in an attempt to get a bit more light.

We found LED light bars the same length as our existing fixtures from Lunasea. It took less than five minutes per fixture to make the changes. The warm white strips are really bright and make a world of difference. And of course, they use much less power.

If you are curious, or a bit bored, there is more info and a few photos on our little blog at http://blog.mvarchimedes.com/2012/10/light-power/
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:34 AM   #2
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LED lighting is a great improvement for those who need to conserve power. It looks like you found a great fit for your boat.

The lights you chose wouldn't have fit my boat. I did mine differently, but the LED replacement "bulbs" don't have the driver circuits yours have and I'm a little disapointed with the light output. And although they are supposed to be warm white, they are not all the same degree of warm white and it shows.

At some point, I'll have to do it over again with higher quality materials.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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I retroed my fixtures with LED stips that can be cut to length. They dont need drivers and work well. The cost is reasonable.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Most of the lighting on my IG was 25 watt Edison screw 12v bulbs sitting in square recesses in the saloon roof, painted white inside the recess. I got from Ebay some 3.5watt "wide spot" screw in LEDs which go straight in. 5 of them use less than one of what they replaced. I also replaced the anchor light, and some other bulbs.
Aluminum foil works as a reflective background, I used it (not on this boat), it works. Used it in some lights on the porch at home to increase output from those wretched compact fluorescents we are forced to use. BruceK
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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I converted all my existing light fixtures using cheap LED's from Ikea about 18 months ago. Much better lighting than we had before and much cheaper than any "marine" LED we could find. check out my How To
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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I retroed my fixtures with LED stips that can be cut to length. They dont need drivers and work well. The cost is reasonable.
Fryedaze - Lighting upgrade
Drivers for LED lighting are not a bad thing, they are a good thing. Short explanation:

The light output of an LED (Light Emitting Diode) is proportional to the current flowing through it. More current, more light. The problem is, more current produces more heat and more heat eventually (or immediately) destroys the LED.

The conventional (and cheap) way to control the current through the LED is to use a resistor in series with the LED to drop the voltage (and reduce the current). This works fine with a fixed voltage source like you might have with a piece of electronic equipment or even a battery powered flashlight, but the "12 volt" power on a boat or car is anything but fixed.

A fully charged 12 volt boat battery should have an output voltage of about 12.6 volts, but when the engine is running and the alternator is charging the battery or when the battery charger is on, that voltage can be 14 volts or more. A partially depleted battery with no charging voltage could be outputting 12 volts or less.

To keep from destroying the LED when the battery is being charged, the designer would have to select a series resistor for 14 volts or more. That means that when the battery is not being charged, the light from the LED will be dimmer than expected. The light output will actually fluctuate with battery voltage and loads such as the water pump. Also, any high voltage spike, even for an instant can destroy the LED.

A driver circuit avoids all these problems by providing the correct, constant current to the LED(s) regardless of the supply voltage.

Given the choice, drivers are a much better solution.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:12 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info Ron. I will do a little more research on the effects of 2-3 volt changes on the LED I installed. Here is the product I used. I cut the 22" strip in half for the fixtures. It looks like there are dropping resistors on each LED. RLBN-x30X3SMD series Narrow Rigid Light Bar w/3-Chip LEDs | PCB Light Bars | Rigid LED Light Bars | LED Light Strips & Bars | Super Bright LEDs

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Old 11-01-2012, 10:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info Ron. I will do a little more research on the effects of 2-3 volt changes on the LED I installed. Here is the product I used. I cut the 22" strip in half for the fixtures. It looks like there are dropping resistors on each LED. RLBN-x30X3SMD series Narrow Rigid Light Bar w/3-Chip LEDs | PCB Light Bars | Rigid LED Light Bars | LED Light Strips & Bars | Super Bright LEDs

Dave
I have found superbrightleds.com to be excellent people to deal with. Their products seam to be high quality. You can easily talk with them about applications. I have switched out all lighting to LED on Moonstruck. All in all a very satisfied customer.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:36 AM   #9
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I have swapped most of mine out as well and found it to be very nice overall. You do have to be careful with the color temperature of some LEDs though. They lean towards the higher 'blueish' end of the spectrum.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #10
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I converted all my existing light fixtures using cheap LED's from Ikea about 18 months ago. Much better lighting than we had before and much cheaper than any "marine" LED we could find. check out my How To
We also like IKEA lights. We bought 4 - 12" light strips advertised for under the counter, got rid of the transformer and wired them direct. We have one lighting up an electrical panel. It's hard wired with a 2 amp fuse and has been on 24/7's for 5 years including when we equalize the batteries. We also bought a $10 IKEA 110 VAC halogen light. We removed the transformer, instant 12 VDC light. Recently I got rid of the G4 halogen bulb and went LED. (I did have to add some fishing sinkers in a sock to give the base some weight once the transformer was removed). Lots of options out there.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:46 AM   #11
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Recently I got rid of the G4 halogen bulb and went LED. .
If you're halfway handy you can also do well at your local big box store with LEDs. They sell G4 LED replacements at Lowes for $7. A simple bit of soldering or a crimp fitting easily adapts them for 12V use in lots of cool places.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:06 PM   #12
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I have found superbrightleds.com to be excellent people to deal with. Their products seam to be high quality. You can easily talk with them about applications. I have switched out all lighting to LED on Moonstruck. All in all a very satisfied customer.
superbrightleds.com sells products with and without drivers. The ones with drivers cost more but they would be worth it.

All my boat lighting is LED, but as I posted above, I'm not happy with the cheap ones I adapted for cabin lighting and I'll have to do it over at some point.

Not too long ago, I installed automatic lighting in my hanging locker. I used a 12 volt strip (no driver), a micro switch operated by the door, and to save wiring back to the DC panel, a battery pack that holds 8 AA cells.

Given the low current draw of the LED strip and the occasional use of the locker door, I figure the batteries should last a year or more. Cost was under $20.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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I know that LEDs are coming to my boat, but most of them give me the heebee jeebees. I don't mind them for outside or maintenance spaces, but inside a warm teak interior, the hardly complement the ambiance, even the so-called "warm" ones. Still, I know I gotta do it. They are just too practical to avoid.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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I have found superbrightleds.com to be excellent people to deal with. Their products seam to be high quality. You can easily talk with them about applications. I have switched out all lighting to LED on Moonstruck. All in all a very satisfied customer.
I've purchased all of my LED's from them as well. Good products, good prices, and good service!!
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:04 PM   #15
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I know that LEDs are coming to my boat, but most of them give me the heebee jeebees. I don't mind them for outside or maintenance spaces, but inside a warm teak interior, the hardly complement the ambiance, even the so-called "warm" ones. Still, I know I gotta do it. They are just too practical to avoid.
Tex, go on superbrightleds.com They have dimmable LED's, so when you want to romance your blushing bride....you can set the mood....
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:28 PM   #16
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As a new trawler owner, I have looked into changing over to LEDs. One site I came across provided alot of useful information to consider in migrating to LEDs. I don't know anything about this vendor, but this seems to cover the points brought up by rwidman and the impact of voltage fluctuation.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-...diotsGuide.pdf
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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Thanks for the helpful information
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:49 PM   #18
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A few months ago I replaced about 45 halogen g4 type bulbs...total cost about $110 and about 45minutes of my time. The light is warm. Not quite as bright as halogens, but certainly acceptable with much less power draw and no heat.

Direct from China factory floor

g4 - Free Shipping - DX

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Old 03-16-2013, 07:14 AM   #19
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As a new trawler owner, I have looked into changing over to LEDs. One site I came across provided alot of useful information to consider in migrating to LEDs. I don't know anything about this vendor, but this seems to cover the points brought up by rwidman and the impact of voltage fluctuation.

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/yhst-...diotsGuide.pdf
Nice link...

I wonder if it would be worthwhile to tie all the lighting together at the junction blocks in the electrical panel (easy on many boats, imposssible on others), and feed them with a stable power supply so you could use inexpensive bulbs throughout the boat?
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:23 PM   #20
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Nice link...

I wonder if it would be worthwhile to tie all the lighting together at the junction blocks in the electrical panel (easy on many boats, imposssible on others), and feed them with a stable power supply so you could use inexpensive bulbs throughout the boat?

This is a great question/suggestion. Would be an easy retrofit on our boat. What about it LED experts...any ideas or sources for such a power supply??
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