Originally Posted by Dockhead
P.S. -- on operating temperatures.
I measured the temperature of the fixtures lenses with Ryobi infrared thermometer:
20 watt halogen -- 158 degrees C (yikes!!)
Imtra LED -- 34 degrees
Sensibulb -- 44 degrees
Superbright multi -- 37 degrees
-- 39 degrees
The Sensibulbs are significantly hotter than the other LEDs despite their bulky heat sinks.
The Superbrights have heavy solid heat sinks.
The Imtras don't have any heat sink at all and yet run the coolest.
The halogens are frighteningly hot.
Excellent observations, Dockhead, and thank you. I think there are competing philosophies here, actually: quality of light versus quantity of light versus power consumption
Might as well throw in "heat" there. Ever stepped aboard a plugged in boat at a boat show
? The heat in the cabins is not just from the bodies window-shopping. Putting a 20 W halogen in a "pot" fixture at the 6 foot 6 level means "toasted head" for the taller sailors among us.
Back in the day, or currently on any boat of the Pardeys, a single oil lamp
with elaborate reflectors would constitute the totality of the interior lighting
. Throw in a couple of oil-lamp nav lights and a narrow cabin
with tiny portholes, and the "bat cave" effect was complete. Later, flashlights and 12VDC auto-type lights ruled. Later and into the present, fixtures of "cold fluorescents" and halogens came in. People wanted their boats to resemble condos (and new condos, at that) in terms of lighting
and in some models, layout and furnishings.
The net effect, however, is that most modern showroom cruisers are more brightly lit than my home. This is a function of an intense illumination of a relatively small area: A halogen fixture in a nine-foot ceiling needs to be brighter than one in a six-six foot one. But the nine-foot celing keeps the heat off the head
of a six-foot sailor.
So I wonder if any of it is even necessary. Daylight and the (generally) larger area of portlights
of both fixed and opening variety certainly make the modern boat brighter than 50 years ago, and activities aboard abate in the evenings. Do we need
strong area lighting? I find LED strips under cabinetry and shedding indirect light create an almost lantern-light effect (ironically, perhaps) amenable to socializing and evening mood. A single strong halogen over the galley
, even on a gooseneck fixture, and the "high-end" focused LEDs for reading in bunks, seem to suffice for me. If I need a lot of light in a dark corner, I have plenty of strong spotlights and headlamps to dig about in far reaches of the bilges. Same for the engine
bay: if I only need five minutes of strong light, I can have anything, even stock 120 VAC worklights run via inverter
. What I don't need, especially in the tropics, are heat-shedding lights in the evenings, nor do I need to run the engine
to charge the batteries to run the hot pot lights.
"Dimness", which is relative and for which one can eat more carrots, seems a small price
to pay given the advantages of LEDs in other respects. Thus the argument for me is "what halogens do I keep" (galley, engine, workbench and head
goosenecks) and which LEDs makes and types are appropriate elsewhere? As I said, I like strip LEDs in funny
places, so you see the light created but not the strip itself. I also really like LEDs, as I'm mentioned elsewhere, for "occasional" illumination, such as companionway
steps and inside lockers.