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Old 08-01-2012, 01:34   #31
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

The likes of these are great onboard as well. I have some over the chart table and in the fridge connected to a little switch & 9v battery.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:07   #32
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
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

Superbright single -- 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 versus expense.

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.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:19   #33
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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The Good:

Power consumption
Temperature
Life

The Bad:

Cost
Quality of light
Quantity of light
My argument all along. We still have 10+ year old incandescent that work just fine; can't get them out of the fixture, but they still work. Bought new fixtures costing less than 1 LED bulb.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:22   #34
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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The likes of these are great onboard as well. I have some over the chart table and in the fridge connected to a little switch & 9v battery.
That's how I roll with the locker lights. Given the price of even light gauge copper wire, why go wired at all? The one I have in the medicine cabinet has been running on the same trio of "coin" batteries for four years and is on a magnetic switch. Open the cabinet door, and the contents are bathed in cheapo bluey light. Which is all I need to find a bandage at 2 AM.

Best not to ask why I need a bandage at 2 AM, but it's sailor stuff-related.

This thread is more useful than most. I'm hearing names of LED makers, like Array, that are new to me. My broad understanding is that the Cree firm is also good. They certainly dominate the "tactical flashlight" and "120 VAC LED fixture" market.
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Old 08-01-2012, 17:40   #35
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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This thread is more useful than most. I'm hearing names of LED makers, like Array, that are new to me. My broad understanding is that the Cree firm is also good. They certainly dominate the "tactical flashlight" and "120 VAC LED fixture" market.
Cree is indeed a quality company, but they make mostly LED components that others use to manufacture complete assemblies, and not completed products. Many companies selling LED bulbs and fixtures tout that they are selling "Cree" gear.

Sounds like putting some LED lights around places OTHER than your med cabinet might help keep you out of that cabinet at 2am

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Old 08-01-2012, 20:35   #36
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

True. Hence my idea for the IR "eye" + 9V + LED + delay switch. Cross the beam and the light goes on, illuminating the step. When the beam is re-established, the light goes off after 3 seconds. Repeat as needed.

I haven't figured out if the IR beam part has to be wired, but I have figured out that that circuit should be on a timer so the beam is off in daylight. I figure I can salvage a circuit from one of those lawn light LEDs (and maybe the LED itself behind a red scrim) to get this to activate at dusk and turn off at sunrise.

Your point about Cree is correct. They seem to be the go-to shop for decent LEDs that don't look like a 1996 headlamp. Obviously, what they connect to in the way of circuitry matters, but if you have a decent LED to start with, the actual rest of the circuit is pretty simple for even the average electrics hobbyist to assemble.

Whether one wishes to "home brew" light fixtures is another thing entirely, but I can see where I would want to have better contacts and conformal sprays for salt air, for instance.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:27   #37
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I bought a few cheap IKEA LED puck lights and stuck them inside some lockers for extra "find-it" light. Another one is a night light for our toddler in the v berth. They take 3 AAA batteries and so far after 2 years of intermittent use only a couple need batteries replaced. No, wouldn't want to read by them.....
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:54   #38
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

We have replaced all of the recessed lighting on our boat (fluorescent) with LEDs from ledsupply.com. We are VERY happy with this. They are bright, and as they are in a recess, there is plenty of room for a heat sink. That being said...

If you have a bulb based fixture (such as most of us have), you just plain aren't going to find a GOOD replacement for a halogen bulb. To get that kind of light, the LEDs HAVE to have a large heat sink. If they don't, they are either too dim, or they will fail. This makes it impossible to replace a halogen bulb with an LED of similar output. It's just plain not possible with current LED technology.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:43   #39
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

Bill,

I'd encourage you to take a look at the Array G4 1 watt lights colemj and I are using and mentioned previously. These tackle the heat sink challenge by attaching individual 1/4" cooling wires to each LED. The whole thing is hardly thicker than a bare halogen bulb and fits in standard G4 overhead fixtures. Light output is extremely bright - very close to a 10 watt halogen with a uniform 90 degree flood beam. In a few fixtures I soldered two together for a bulb that gives off close to 20 watt light. No failures in two years. And just $10 a bulb.

Array Lighting - Premium LED lamp bulbs utilizing Selective Heat Sink Technology
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:59   #40
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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Bill,

I'd encourage you to take a look at the Array G4 1 watt lights colemj and I are using and mentioned previously. These tackle the heat sink challenge by attaching individual 1/4" cooling wires to each LED. The whole thing is hardly thicker than a bare halogen bulb and fits in standard G4 overhead fixtures. Light output is extremely bright - very close to a 10 watt halogen with a uniform 90 degree flood beam. In a few fixtures I soldered two together for a bulb that gives off close to 20 watt light. No failures in two years. And just $10 a bulb.

Array Lighting - Premium LED lamp bulbs utilizing Selective Heat Sink Technology
Those are interesting...

However, I'm using a 130 lumen single LED (that costs $5) versus their TWELVE LEDs, that TOTAL less than 1/2 (65+/- lumens) light that a single LED puts out.

Online specs show a 10w halogen puts out 130 lumens, and a 20w 350 lumens. So, you are getting, at best, 1/2 the light output of a halogen. This is why people say their cabins are getting darker with the changeover.

I use 5 or 6 of these 130 lumen LEDs to replace a 12" fluorescent - and get OUTSTANDING light.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:27   #41
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

I bet a bunch of 130 lumen LED lights are plenty bright.

My problem was to find an LED that could fit in my Imtra overhead fixtures. I find the Array LED seems to "hit well above it's weight" in terms of brightness. I think part of this is because the Array is unidirectional while more than half the halogen 130 lumens are going up into the fixture - where the reflector may or may not do a good job at getting the lumens going in the right direction. The Imtra reflectors are not particularly shiny.

Maybe something else is at work too. In any case, after changing from 10 and 20 watt halogens to the Array's my reaction (and more importantly my wife's reaction) was not that we had a dimmer cabin. Of course this is subjective and we didn't try an "A-B" comparison. But I later installed a dimmer because my wife found the Array LED's too bright when eating dinner.

Again, this was just a solution to these fixtures (of which I have many). I use other brands elsewhere with good results.

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Old 09-01-2012, 13:10   #42
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

I've replaced the 10 watt halogen bulbs with warm white LED's in all my fixtures. Haven't noticed much difference in individual lamp light output. Overall the boat is much brighter because I turn on more lights and still have minimal amperage drain compared to a single halogen bulb.
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Old 09-01-2012, 14:56   #43
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

Well, of course that is one solution. You can have a greater number of fixtures to equal the lesser number of halogen lights, and still be 50% ahead on amp usage.
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Old 09-01-2012, 15:51   #44
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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Online specs show a 10w halogen puts out 130 lumens, and a 20w 350 lumens. So, you are getting, at best, 1/2 the light output of a halogen.
That is correct - to a point. For our fixtures, the top of the fixture is shallow and isn't a reflector. So the 65 lumen directional LED is just as bright as the 10w halogen. We have two fixtures side by side and made sure this was the case before switching.

So the array bulbs are directional (120* light beam) and focus their light accordingly. If your fixtures are efficient at reflecting light, then the array bulbs will be dimmer than halogen and you will be better off with a different type of bulb design.

But I'm happy our fixtures are cheap, shallow, plastic ones because I can buy excellent LED bulbs for $8!

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Old 09-01-2012, 18:32   #45
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Really nice thread. A lot of good information . I would like to hear more about led navigation lights. Which brands ? How it compare in range with incandescent bulbs? Thanks
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