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Old 20-08-2010, 05:59   #1
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Location: Cruising Florida and the Bahamas
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Best Place to Buy G4 LED Bulbs

Looking at replacing all our lights with LED. This will be a considerable cost. Does anybody have experience with the quality of some of the cheaper units coming out of China?

I could go with one of the US based marine stores (sailor something or other) and easily pay 3X the price - what I'm wondering is are these guys just reselling the same thing? If I have to pay $24 per bulb the changeover isn't going to happen as my order will be for about 20 bulbs. What distinguishes a good LED from a bad one and can anyone recommend a reputable US based sellor with a reasonable return policy if I start blowing bulbs after 10 hours?

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Old 20-08-2010, 07:59   #2
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SailNet Link

You may want to read this excellent head-to-head comparison of the more popular LED bulbs. Although it's now a couple of years old, my understanding is that the winner, the SensiBulb has only gotten better (more lumens for the same or less amps) and the others still have not caught up.

I'd also question why you'd want to replace so many bulbs at once. I know people have different needs, but on most boats there seem to be a handful of interior lights that get used constantly, others used sometimes, and the balance used only occasionally. If it were me, I'd go for the high quality LED bulbs for the most frequently used lights and upgrade the rest as budget allows.

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Old 20-08-2010, 09:03   #3
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Dr LED bulbs burn out quickly.
Sailor's Solutions are expensive, but have wonderful light with no harsh spots and NO RF interference.

No financial link, just a happy customer in the second case.
First case? At least I only bought a few from the "bargain bin" at Fisheries!
"I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned,
but not greed to want to take somebody else's money"

-Thomas Sowell
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Old 20-08-2010, 10:11   #4
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Why not use the high quality ones (SensiBulb) and only order them for the most frequently used lights first and then upgrade the other lights as budget allows?
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Old 20-08-2010, 11:09   #5
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I am just about finished replacing all of my cabin lights. They were dome stlye lights with festoon bulbs and were terrible light, got hot as hell, and consumed truckloads of energy. I used Alpengow's with compact flourescent bulbs. They cost about $100 each so I just got a few here and there till I did them all. The light is tremendous and on high power they consume about .8 amps. I cant say enough good things about these lights and the decision to buy was based exclusivley on the advise of this community. For the reading lights I used the sensibuld LED conversions bought from Defender. These too are fabulous. Light quality is very good and warm and of course they consume nothing.

I have experimented before with cheap LED conversion bulbs and every one dissapointed me. Sure they dont draw much juice thats a given but the light quality from every one I tried just plain sucked. Either not enough light, too focused in one tiny area, cold blue/white etc. Of course your mileage may vary but in my experience there is no free lunch. You get what you pay for in these lights.

My goal was to achieve good lighting at an acceptable amp consumption. Last night I was working on the boat with 8 of the alpenglows on. My link read -6.4 amps and the boat was lit up like a christmas tree, I mean lit up! One on high power will do a pretty good job for the salon but 4 and your asking for sunburn. I suggest you do some more searches on this board and you will see what others have said about this well covered topic.
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Old 20-08-2010, 12:34   #6
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I replaced all my interior lights with sensibulbs. Nice warm light and the amp draw is so low I dont even worry about it any more. Not cheap but well worth it.

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