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Old 11-03-2016, 11:10   #1
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Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

I've had a long, long odyssey with conversion of my boat's 35 G4 halogen fixtures to LED.

Every year I bought a few and tried them, and I kept trying different ones.

I bought Sensibulbs which were very expensive, gave little light, and died within a couple of years.

I bought a lot of different G4 inserts.

I bought G4 inserts from SuperBright LED which literally exploded.

I struggled with my horrendously carpy Cantalupi recessed G4 fixtures, which break when you remove them. I finally figured out how to repair them by inserting the discarded stub from a pop rivet, through the inside of the spring.

I finally settled on a source for the LED units -- bedazzled. Bedazzled LED Lighting Home Page

These units are of top quality, with fuses besides buck regulators, and good LEDs. Sold at probably a 500% markup from the Chinese source, but what can you do. Still less expensive than much worse quality from other sources.

So I converted my remaining Cantalupi fixtures with G4 units obtained from them. But I still have a patchwork of different LED units, each giving a different kind of light, left over from my experimentation.

Then I started experimenting with a different type of fixture -- MR16. The reflector is part of the bulb, so the fixtures are dirt cheap. These require more room behind them than G4 fixtures, and there was no glass over the LED's, which was a bit weird. But they produced a great deal of light output, more than any of the G4's, so I put a few of them in strategic spots where I needed more light, and I have been well pleased with them.

So when I bought my ritual two or three new fixtures this spring, I went with a new type of MR16 unit which Bedazzled is selling, with a new high efficiency LED's, and finally with a glass (or plastic) cover over the LED's, this one: 12v & 24 volt Replacement LED Light Bulbs - Bedazzled UK (the MR16-15L).

Eureka! The best light of any fixture on board, a warm, natural looking tungsten color with none of the typical sickly green tone, and nice light distribution, as the LED's sit further back in the unit, allowing some of the reflector to be used. Perfect!

So I just ordered 10 more of them (they cost 7.50 each), and 10 simple fixtures off EBay, for -- 1 pound each.

The patchwork quilt of different lighting colors in my salon will finally come to an end! And the pleasure of throwing 10 more of those horrible Cantalupi fixtures in the trash will be -- orgasmic.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:24   #2
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

I've had good success replacing G4 bulbs with Cruising Solutions LEDs in Beneteau fixtures. About $18 each, the earliest are now ~ 4 years old and none have failed.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:40   #3
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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Originally Posted by Utahsailor View Post
I've had good success replacing G4 bulbs with Cruising Solutions LEDs in Beneteau fixtures. About $18 each, the earliest are now ~ 4 years old and none have failed.
Who makes the Bene fixtures? Do you have a photo?


These Cantalupis were used -- for some reason only God knows -- not only in Moodys, but in Princess motor yachts and in Oysters, Perini Navi, Benetti, etc.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:50   #4
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

I've used three different types of cheap Chinese MR16 fixtures. They have all been excellent, with very robust spring mounts, the thing which flies to pieces in the Cantalupis. Here is one:

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Frustrating that a $1.50 Chinese fixture is 1000x better engineered than this $150 Italian one:


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Old 11-03-2016, 12:04   #5
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

I just replaced some halogen bulbs with leds from nauticLED.
Important thing to look for for use on a boat is its voltage range, these are 10 to 35 volts, so they won't break when you for instance start your engine. (voltage spike) And another very important dealmaker is the CRI of the leds, minimum >90. this indicates the warmth of the lights. Most led lights are very cold white. A higher CRI and it gets warmer white color.

+ they are dimmable
Really satisfied, just hope they wil last long.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:50   #6
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

You don't mention issues with RF interference. Many of the LEDs I've tried have significant RF issues.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:59   #7
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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You don't mention issues with RF interference. Many of the LEDs I've tried have significant RF issues.
Bedazzled have always been very good on the front. I got a handful a few years ago which are almost EMI silent, now they say they are EMI free.
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Old 11-03-2016, 14:24   #8
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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Frustrating that a $1.50 Chinese fixture is 1000x better engineered than this $150 Italian one
Kanlux is a Polish company (or at least the domain is owned by a Polish company, where they source their products is a different matter) so I am pleased that you liked their fixtures.

As for light sources exploding etc.. a general engineering remark: luminaires are always designed with a specific light source in mind. This is especially important when one tries to use LED light sources in places designed for classic incandescent ones. For LEDs hate heat and their lifespan is greatly reduced when they run hot. With LEDs heatsinking is everything (and a proper driver circuit too, but it won't help if heat has nowhere to go) and their work best when the luminaire is designed with them in mind from the start.

And for living spaces (and even more importantly, for food preparation and dining areas) aim for light sources with a CRI > 90. This is really important. Picking colour temperature, whether 2700K or 3000K is more a matter of individual taste, although again, going much higher is not generally considered OK for living areas.
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:39   #9
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

I finally settled on a source for the LED units -- bedazzled. Bedazzled LED Lighting Home Page

So when I bought my ritual two or three new fixtures this spring, I went with a new type of MR16 unit which Bedazzled is selling, with a new high efficiency LED's, and finally with a glass (or plastic) cover over the LED's, this one: 12v & 24 volt Replacement LED Light Bulbs - Bedazzled UK (the MR16-15L).
I have used Marine Beam https://store.marinebeam.com/ and Imtra PWM replacements. These look identical to many of the Lights you found. I sometimes wonder if they all come out of the same factory in China.

In my research, any of these that run on 12 - 30 volts will have a PWM circuit for current regulation. If they are EMI free or controlled it is done by operating at very high switching frequency and with a few electronic do-dads, probably capacitors. We have bee well satisfied with the color and performance of these. All LEDs on sail boat systems especially need to be tolerant of wide variation in voltage. The best way is PWM. LEDs with poor current management may blow out on battery charging or drop out with a very low battery. Festoons of LEDs on a replacement bulb that are not matched may also fail prematurely. Go to the bottom of the Marine Beam page and follow the TECHNICAL links to become an almost expert.

Thanks for the lead. Nice to have another source.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:26   #10
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

I have replaced all my 15 G4s with warm white LEDs up to 30w equivalent from UltraLeds The UK's No1 LED Light Tape & LED Bulb Supplier | Ultra LEDs and have not had one failure in 5 years and no intereference. They usually have a sale discount over the holidays, so one coming up. They do all the usual halogen replacements (MR11 etc plus aquasignal tri and anchor replacements).
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:33   #11
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

Dockhead, What problems with Sensibulbs?

I replaced 6 ten watt halogen G4 lamps in my saloon and galley several years ago with Sensibulbs and have had no issues at all.
They give great light, even slightly brighter than the halogens they replaced with a perfectly even wash of light. There are no bright or dimmer spots as with the halogens. No RFI either. I'm a happy camper.
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:58   #12
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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Dockhead, What problems with Sensibulbs?

I replaced 6 ten watt halogen G4 lamps in my saloon and galley several years ago with Sensibulbs and have had no issues at all.
They give great light, even slightly brighter than the halogens they replaced with a perfectly even wash of light. There are no bright or dimmer spots as with the halogens. No RFI either. I'm a happy camper.
Well, they are steam-powered generation 1.0 LED inserts, HUGE, horrendously expensive, very hot running, dim. I was amazed to see that they're still sold (only $34.95, whee!). They cite 2008 (!) test data on the current site.

Of the 6 Sensibulbs I bought 5 or 6 years ago at great expense (about $300 from memory), one is dead, one has become so dim that it's effectively a night light, two are just really dim, and two are working normally, that is dim and very hot. I have about 10 different types of LED inserts on board, and the Sensibulbs win the world record for high temperature. I will throw them all away pretty soon.
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Old 12-03-2016, 16:06   #13
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

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I have replaced all my 15 G4s with warm white LEDs up to 30w equivalent from UltraLeds The UK's No1 LED Light Tape & LED Bulb Supplier | Ultra LEDs and have not had one failure in 5 years and no intereference. They usually have a sale discount over the holidays, so one coming up. They do all the usual halogen replacements (MR11 etc plus aquasignal tri and anchor replacements).
I bought some decent LED inserts from UltraLED's.

I see that they have something completely new -- a single high flux LED insert which is similar in size to a halogen G4 bulb. See:

G4 Warm White 120 Lumen 1.1W 12V AC/DC IP65 Same size as Standard G4 15W Output

This is really cool, why? Because you can use the reflector of the original fixture.

Note the cost -- about $7.50. Compared to $35 for the Sensibulb!

That's about the normal cost of quality, recent generation G4 LED inserts.
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Old 28-06-2016, 20:56   #14
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

We have just bought a boat that has the NauticLED lights installed. They are nice, but we have this annoying issue with them: whenever our generator is running, they start turning off by themselves. It seems to happen when our voltage hits 13 or more. Very frustrating. Occasionally they also randomly turn on and off. Does anyone have any insight into what might be going on here and/or how we might deal with it?

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Old 28-06-2016, 21:29   #15
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Re: Long Odyssey with LED Lights at an End

Sounds like the voltage to the led's is too high. If they are all wired on one power supply line, try adding a current limiting device.

You will have to identify how many circuits you have, how many fixtures on each circuit, and how many watts (?) each fixture draws. Then talk to the tech support folks at one of the suppliers for a current limiter for each circuit.
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