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Old 01-12-2016, 05:33   #1
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LED light fixtures and voltage

I'm looking to replace my cabin lights with LED fixtures. While researching the lights, I've found that there is a huge price difference between battery powered LEDs, 110v LEDs and 12v LEDs. In each version, the current ends up being DC (the 110v all come with transformers). So, can I rewire the battery/110v LEDs to run directly off 12v DC? Will this affect the brightness? Other considerations? Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:42   #2
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

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Originally Posted by CPO View Post
I'm looking to replace my cabin lights with LED fixtures. While researching the lights, I've found that there is a huge price difference between battery powered LEDs, 110v LEDs and 12v LEDs. In each version, the current ends up being DC (the 110v all come with transformers). So, can I rewire the battery/110v LEDs to run directly off 12v DC? Will this affect the brightness? Other considerations? Thanks.
ideally you want led's that can run off 10-30volts,a bit more expensive than the lower cost leds that are designed for a stable 12v that comes from a regulated supply as you get from a 110/220v transformer.

they will work,but life is shortened and they can heat up when running at 13-14.4 volts when the battery is charging

using 110/220 means running an inverter,which can be a power hog,and if it goes down you lose all your lights on that circuit.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:51   #3
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

You cannot rewire 120 volt LED lamps to run on a 12 volt boat electrical system.

atoll has it right, buy the 10-30 volt lamps with built in regulators.

Although we refer to our systems as 12 volts, the voltage varies with charging and loads and lamps designed for just 12 volts will quickly fail on your boat.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:22   #4
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

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ideally you want led's that can run off 10-30volts,a bit more expensive than the lower cost leds that are designed for a stable 12v that comes from a regulated supply as you get from a 110/220v transformer.

they will work,but life is shortened and they can heat up when running at 13-14.4 volts when the battery is charging

using 110/220 means running an inverter,which can be a power hog,and if it goes down you lose all your lights on that circuit.
Ain't that the truth! Shortened life span and generating heat. Did an installation on a 40-meter yacht a few years ago where the owner insisted on 12-VDC LED's in the main salon (78 LED lamps in total) using the available 220-VAC power. Each LED had to have it's own transformer....talk about a pain to install! The heat generated started to dis-color the vinyl covered ceiling panels. And then! I was replacing 5 or 6 LED's every day. Took 3-months to convince the owner that we needed a dedicated 12-VDC power supply for the LED's (with battery back-up). Had to do a cost analysis of purchasing a power supply vs. the existing system that he had insisted upon. Just handed him the estimate to recover ALL of the ceiling panels in the salon and show him one panel where an LED had become so hot that it had caused carbon charring around the LED fixture. Eventually converted the entire yacht's lighting systems as a result.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:37   #5
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

http://www.bedazzled.uk.com
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:12   #6
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

Am I missing something?

On your 12V system, replace incandescent with LED. On your 110V system use 110V LED. If you are running the 110 just off shore power there is no rush to be replacing them. I can run all the 12V LEDs off a 2 battery bank all night with very little drop.
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Old 02-12-2016, 09:40   #7
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

If you are practical and want to save some money, build you own, read this.


Honeywell makes an extremely bright 120v LED 4 ft shop light to replace fluorescent shop lights. $34 cost. They have 120 LED's and are almost too bright, they only use 42 watts. I would say they are equivalent to about 8 100 watt light bulbs. They have a 5 year warranty. I tore one apart to see if it is possible to make them work on 12v. The 2 linear LED arrays are made up of 2 sets of 2 each 30 LED arrays, so that they mimic the look of 2 fluorescent bulbs. Each of the 4 arrays has 6 series sets of 5 LED's in parallel. The 4 arrays are wired in series and operate on 72 volts DC, so basically you've got 24 LED's in series at 3 volts each. It should be easy to cut the linear arrays to operate on any multiple of 3 volts. I expect I will also cut the aluminum housing down to the length of the 12 volt arrays and make 3 shorter with more reasonable light output for my application, 12 volt units.

Check out my website for more stuff like this. I will most likely make an almost factory looking fixture for these from the cut down housings, I bought 4 of them.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:30   #8
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

I installed all new LED strip lighting in boat that is 12 volt. 18" with 18 LEDs and a aluminum case with clear plastic lens. Work great, in galley wired 3 together, over dinette wired 2 together and have single strips all over the boat. Cost $20, free shipping. Chinese for sure, but I'm not complaining at that price.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:31   #9
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

Just replaced 4 12 volt led lights on my boat. $19.99 each on Amazon. Capped the 120 volt wires as I'm running all lights on 12 volt . very bright and modern looking.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:43   #10
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

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I installed all new LED strip lighting in boat that is 12 volt. 18" with 18 LEDs and a aluminum case with clear plastic lens. Work great, in galley wired 3 together, over dinette wired 2 together and have single strips all over the boat. Cost $20, free shipping. Chinese for sure, but I'm not complaining at that price.
I love a practical solution.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:07   #11
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

Again, if you don't install LEDs with drivers to limit the current, you will be replacing them sooner, not later. LEDs are very sensitive to excess current (voltage) and your boat's electrical system can reach 14 volts or more.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:52   #12
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

Sensitive or not 1 year later and still working fine and I live aboard, so in use constantly. Mainly cause I'm getting older and need light for the tired old eyes.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:53   #13
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

While I have installed Home Depot 12V puck light on my galley all the above comments about LED longevity and over voltage are true. As LED's have gotten more mainstream there are plenty of bargain ones from Amazon like Seasense fixture's for about $16 with built in voltage regulators. So much easier than Kluging one together which I have done plenty of..best luck, F
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Old 02-12-2016, 13:30   #14
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Again, if you don't install LEDs with drivers to limit the current, you will be replacing them sooner, not later. LEDs are very sensitive to excess current (voltage) and your boat's electrical system can reach 14 volts or more.
What exactly are you recommending? Can you give an example before I install the interior and exterior lights? Are these components durable?

Thanks for the heads up. I read the stuff I am installing is good for a range of DC volts but a limiting action can only help life expectancy particularly when I will not require any additional brightness.

By the way, why would anyone sacrifice the safety and low cost of a DC installation over an AC?
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Old 02-12-2016, 14:27   #15
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Re: LED light fixtures and voltage

I replaced all cabin, nav and deck lights through www.ledlight.com they had everything I needed and I didn't have to change bases at all!
Suggest you identify all of your base & bulb types and take a picture of your existing bulbs then send it to them. They will advise you as to what to order, They have nav light bulbs that meet the 2 nm visibility.
Highly recommend these folks.
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