Over the past year I've purchased a half dozen or so different LED bulbs trying to find the most cost effective replacement for my G4 Xenon bulbs. I've got a total of about 50 lights so before buying
a small fortune in bulbs I wanted to try out a number and find ones that worked well. Here's what I found:
- There are a number of different style LEDs (the individual LEDs) used in bulbs. The older style are domed and are not so great. There are small LEDs and large LEDs, but both styles are domed tops. The newer (and brighter) LEDs are square with a flat face and are called SMD5050 LEDs. These are the brightest I've come across so far.
- The bulbs brightness is measured in Lumens. If a web site or manufacturer doesn't say how many Lumens a bulb is, I'd go elsewhere. Don't be fooled by the number of LEDs since there are several different types of LEDs. Only compare LED count if you are sure you are comparing the same type of LED.
- Anything less than about 120 lumens is pretty dim. My boat came with 10W and 20W xenon bulbs which are pretty bright. 120-140 lumens I think is the same or perhaps a bit brighter than a 10W xenon. I haven't found and LED bulb that compares to a 20W xenon, but I can live with that.
- The brightest bulb I've found has 15 SMD5050 LEDS and is about 200 lumens. It's real bright, but the disk that makes up the bulb is about 1-3/4" in diameter and doesn't fit in my light fixtures.
- I got two of the Imtra bulbs at teh Ft Lauderdale show and like them, but they are a bit expensive at $16 or so each. The have 10 SMD5050 LEDs and are pretty bright while still fitting the fixture without issue.
- The other day I did some hunting around and found another 10 SMD5050 LED bulb for $8.99 from Scintiluna. I bought 30 of them and installed them today. So far so good. Interestingly, they appear to be identical to the Imtra bulbs except for the "Imtra" silk screened on the PCB.
In the pictures below, you can see the Imtra and Scintiluna bulbs side by side. The Scintiluna has a physically larger capacitor, but they are otherwise identical.
My light fixtures have a metal reflector/heat sink which makes sense for the hot xenon bulbs. But it's unnecessary and gets in the way of the LED bulbs, so I've removed them all. In the pictures you can see the before and after. The reflector easily pries out with a screw driver. Last you can see the bulb inserted.
I hope this helps others avoid some failed experiments and the associated costs.