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Old 09-01-2012, 21:01   #46
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

Sorry for the length of this post. I have so many lights and studied this for so long its hard to hold back. I think I could write a very boring book on the topic.

The common error most make is shopping for LED replacements by price alone. I suggest you read and understand the primers offered at:

BIBI
Bebi Electronics-What Our Marine RV & Off Grid LED Specifications Mean
Bebi Ultrabright White LED Marine, RV, and Off-Grid Light Bulb Assemblies

Marine beam
Marinebeam Idiots Guide to Marine LEDs
- Output in Lumens

The important fact to take away from these is that LED's absolutely need current regulation. They are quite intollerant of excessive current and will burn up. These are about the best beginner's guides. Most cheap bulbs use a choke resistor to limit the current through the diodes such as those sold for vehicles. These expect constant voltage in order to get constant current and also assume massive power availability. The choke & LED uses nearly as much TOTAL power as the IC bulb you replaced. On a sail boat, your voltage will vary with battery discharge and the reason you bought the darn things is negated by the cheap current limiter you bought with it. This is drastically worse if, like us, you run 24 volts. In our system the volts may be as high as 29 and low - well, could be bad. In order to not exceed the maximum current capability of the LED the choke needs to be set for the highest voltage so with the charging sysem off, the Lumins goes down.

Also, surface mounts and the 'next generation' LEDs are brighter. The old tiny eye-ball types are replaced by surface mounts. I can't look directly at mine. Power LEDs are monsters nearly as big as a dime (see the single LED deck lights below!)

SO, as one might expect, you pay for quality. The better the current regulator, the greater the cost. One of the best regulators is Pulse Width Modulated (PWM). This system switches the LED on and off at very high frequency to control the averave current. The most efficient PWM bulbs for our use will operate from as low as 9 volts up to 50 or even 90 volts for some. The lumins and kevin rating do not vary but the percentage ON/OFF time will. These do not waste energy over resistors. Really good ones switch at 20,000 to over 30,000 Hz and have design accomodations so that your radios are not interfered with.

I have all PWM bulbs except for my BIBI lights. I run 60 IMTRA surface mount LEDs in the cabin and am very satisfied with them. They collectively pull 0.2 amps at 24 VDC according to my Xantrex battery monitor when all are on. I compared about 10 different replacements for these at the boat show befor selecting. Definitely picked the birightest 'soft' lights

There are two IMTRA surface mounts with 10 LEDs per light in each down fixture. The PWM circuitry is on the back of each 'bulb'. The AquSignal Tricolor has a Marine Beam PWM replacement. Note the reflective tape I used to enhance the fixture output. BIBI also has an excellent sysem for this fixture. I bought one of these as spare in case the radio was botherd by the PWM. BTW, the modified AQuaSignal has taken one direct lightnig hit that destroyed my Raymarine wind instrument.

Next, I show the 4-1/2 inch 50 watt 200 lumen spreader lights I replaced with a Marine beam LED Spreader Lights and LED Deck Lights Solo Deck light 10 watts; 800 lumins. THese use single monster LEDs each. I love these things! With total 6 on the mizzen and main, you can read on deck like under mercury vapor lights. I built one into the forward canted AquaSignal steaming light. They now offer a plug in replacement that fits the fixture.

The little LED cluster set in the yellow cup is a custom BIBI light they kindly made for us for the WINDEX. It has a central hole for mounting on the Windex stalk. I added the yellow shade to prevent the LEDs from appearing as an anchor light. It is powered from the nearest mast light fixture. One is on each mast. Talk to Michael at BIBI and ask to have one made for you. They have not added them to their standard listing yet.

We also added backup navigation lights at deck level from Signalmate. These are not replacement bulbs but whole PWM fixtures. They are quite pricey but we got a great deal at the Strictly Sail Chicago show. MISEA Group!, Marine Safety Energy Affiliates#

LED Fluorescent Tubes These guys offer replacement florescent bulbs. They are fantasticly brilliant. I installed them over my vanity mirrors. I hate shaving in the dark.

A word about household LEDs. I installed these in all of my 110 fixtures so to reduce power drain on the inverter. (Home Depot etc.) These ALL interfere with the VHF.

I really like my lights. I was cautioned to keep and store the IC bulbs in case a lightning strike wiped out the LEDs. Marine beam has some of the widest selection of really nice replecements. BIBI also has great stuff but may require a bit of ingenuity to apply.
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Old 09-01-2012, 22:05   #47
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
Sorry for the length of this post. I have so many lights and studied this for so long its hard to hold back. I think I could write a very boring book on the topic.

The common error most make is shopping for LED replacements by price alone. I suggest you read and understand the primers offered at:

BIBI
Bebi Electronics-What Our Marine RV & Off Grid LED Specifications Mean
Bebi Ultrabright White LED Marine, RV, and Off-Grid Light Bulb Assemblies

Marine beam
Marinebeam Idiots Guide to Marine LEDs
- Output in Lumens

The important fact to take away from these is that LED's absolutely need current regulation. They are quite intollerant of excessive current and will burn up. These are about the best beginner's guides. Most cheap bulbs use a choke resistor to limit the current through the diodes such as those sold for vehicles. These expect constant voltage in order to get constant current and also assume massive power availability. The choke & LED uses nearly as much TOTAL power as the IC bulb you replaced. On a sail boat, your voltage will vary with battery discharge and the reason you bought the darn things is negated by the cheap current limiter you bought with it. This is drastically worse if, like us, you run 24 volts. In our system the volts may be as high as 29 and low - well, could be bad. In order to not exceed the maximum current capability of the LED the choke needs to be set for the highest voltage so with the charging sysem off, the Lumins goes down.

Also, surface mounts and the 'next generation' LEDs are brighter. The old tiny eye-ball types are replaced by surface mounts. I can't look directly at mine. Power LEDs are monsters nearly as big as a dime (see the single LED deck lights below!)

SO, as one might expect, you pay for quality. The better the current regulator, the greater the cost. One of the best regulators is Pulse Width Modulated (PWM). This system switches the LED on and off at very high frequency to control the averave current. The most efficient PWM bulbs for our use will operate from as low as 9 volts up to 50 or even 90 volts for some. The lumins and kevin rating do not vary but the percentage ON/OFF time will. These do not waste energy over resistors. Really good ones switch at 20,000 to over 30,000 Hz and have design accomodations so that your radios are not interfered with.

I have all PWM bulbs except for my BIBI lights. I run 60 IMTRA surface mount LEDs in the cabin and am very satisfied with them. They collectively pull 0.2 amps at 24 VDC according to my Xantrex battery monitor when all are on. I compared about 10 different replacements for these at the boat show befor selecting. Definitely picked the birightest 'soft' lights

There are two IMTRA surface mounts with 10 LEDs per light in each down fixture. The PWM circuitry is on the back of each 'bulb'. The AquSignal Tricolor has a Marine Beam PWM replacement. Note the reflective tape I used to enhance the fixture output. BIBI also has an excellent sysem for this fixture. I bought one of these as spare in case the radio was botherd by the PWM. BTW, the modified AQuaSignal has taken one direct lightnig hit that destroyed my Raymarine wind instrument.

Next, I show the 4-1/2 inch 50 watt 200 lumen spreader lights I replaced with a Marine beam LED Spreader Lights and LED Deck Lights Solo Deck light 10 watts; 800 lumins. THese use single monster LEDs each. I love these things! With total 6 on the mizzen and main, you can read on deck like under mercury vapor lights. I built one into the forward canted AquaSignal steaming light. They now offer a plug in replacement that fits the fixture.

The little LED cluster set in the yellow cup is a custom BIBI light they kindly made for us for the WINDEX. It has a central hole for mounting on the Windex stalk. I added the yellow shade to prevent the LEDs from appearing as an anchor light. It is powered from the nearest mast light fixture. One is on each mast. Talk to Michael at BIBI and ask to have one made for you. They have not added them to their standard listing yet.

We also added backup navigation lights at deck level from Signalmate. These are not replacement bulbs but whole PWM fixtures. They are quite pricey but we got a great deal at the Strictly Sail Chicago show. MISEA Group!, Marine Safety Energy Affiliates#

LED Fluorescent Tubes These guys offer replacement florescent bulbs. They are fantasticly brilliant. I installed them over my vanity mirrors. I hate shaving in the dark.

A word about household LEDs. I installed these in all of my 110 fixtures so to reduce power drain on the inverter. (Home Depot etc.) These ALL interfere with the VHF.

I really like my lights. I was cautioned to keep and store the IC bulbs in case a lightning strike wiped out the LEDs. Marine beam has some of the widest selection of really nice replecements. BIBI also has great stuff but may require a bit of ingenuity to apply.
I need to replace both of our spreader bulbs - might give this a chance.

We have the SAME tricolor/anchor light you do. Being honest - NO WAY I'd change the bulb for LED. If someone hits our boat, some ambulance chaser would figure out that I'd "cheaped out" on LEDs, and find me at fault. Just sayin...

Also, am I the only one that thinks that Bebi's products look like they were made with components from the 80s? I again went to their website, and it looks like they are still using technology from the last century.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:39   #48
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Excellent thread. I noticed that nobody has mentioned DoctorLED replacement bulbs. Do any one has experience with this brand??
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Old 10-01-2012, 13:35   #49
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The DrLED nav light modules I bought a couple years ago were plenty bright. They are not really sealed so they need to be in a well protected enclosure. Oneof mine died when a small wire linking the base contact with the LED driver board failed, perhaps due to vibration. The other two are still functioning.

For the masthead tricolor I used a module from Lunasea, because it was found by Practical Sailor to put out the least RFI. It still puts a bit of noise into the adjacent VHF antenna.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:42   #50
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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I need to replace both of our spreader bulbs - might give this a chance.

We have the SAME tricolor/anchor light you do. Being honest - NO WAY I'd change the bulb for LED. If someone hits our boat, some ambulance chaser would figure out that I'd "cheaped out" on LEDs, and find me at fault. Just sayin...

Also, am I the only one that thinks that Bebi's products look like they were made with components from the 80s? I again went to their website, and it looks like they are still using technology from the last century.

Iv'e heard a lot of discussion in the last five or so years regarding the liability concerns. I've also never heard of anyone getting in trouble over it. We used Navigation and Anchor Light LED Bulbs by Bulb Type Marine Beam bulbs specifically listed as navigation and Tri-Color replacements. The CG doesn't really have a very high bar in regard to private vessels and in other discussions, they are OK with LED replacements. They note that the CG does not test, officially endorse or otherwise "officially approve" of any lights. I always make sure the rated output is at least greater than the IC bulb I replace. I rank mine as one of the brightest masthesads in the marina.

YUP! Bibi's stuff looks totally home made - from PVC pipe and other components. Michael is an electrical engineer and he set out to invent a product that would employ locals, used available materials and that would be totally waterproof and reliable. GO to their site and take the tour. They are doing a lot for the local economy, hiring locals to make the product. As funky as it looks, it is probably more reliable than anything else you can buy. All components are totally potted in epoxy and watertight. My Windex light (above) took a direct lightning hit and was undamaged.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:56   #51
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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Excellent thread. I noticed that nobody has mentioned DoctorLED replacement bulbs. Do any one has experience with this brand??

I considered Dr. LED but was unable to find out how they regulate current. (see my above discussioin and links) If they are PWM and high frequency with RF supression then give it a try. I saw them at the boat show and their sales guy treated me like an industrial spy when I asked the tech questions.

I would have bought Marine Beam for the cabin but Imtra had a nice booth with many bulbs to compare color and intensity AND undercut the price. They were happy to answer my tech questions and had the answers I needed. No detectible RF noise and all PWM regulated. Their bulbs looked like Private labeled Marine Beams (same factory?). Imtra had no Nav replacements.

One note on the Marine Beam deck lights. I do get RF on my mizzen antenna but not on the main mast antenna. Distance away is about 15 feet on the mizzen and maybe 40 feet on the main.
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Old 11-01-2012, 15:02   #52
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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As funky as it looks, it is probably more reliable than anything else you can buy. All components are totally potted in epoxy and watertight. My Windex light (above) took a direct lightning hit and was undamaged.
Not to be overly blunt, but it's a goddamn nav light. I want reliable. I don't care if it looks like Stevie Wonder soldered it in a junkyard. If it lights and stays lit in the middle of a gale, and uses tiny amperage, I'm for it.

One of the side benefits of long life, by the way, is NOT having to go to the masthead to change a stinkin' bulb. That's worth a premium to me.
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Old 11-01-2012, 16:20   #53
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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Not to be overly blunt, but it's a goddamn nav light. I want reliable. I don't care if it looks like Stevie Wonder soldered it in a junkyard. If it lights and stays lit in the middle of a gale, and uses tiny amperage, I'm for it.

One of the side benefits of long life, by the way, is NOT having to go to the masthead to change a stinkin' bulb. That's worth a premium to me.
I think Nicholson58 was expressing a POSITIVE view of Bebi lights.

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Old 11-01-2012, 23:54   #54
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

I just bought my first LED light, the anchor light. I'm glad I didnt' buy the trilight while I was at it, because I don't know about the type of regulator and whether it would screw with the VHF (and the TackTick).

Interestingly, the reason I didn't also get a bulb for the tricolour was that they had a demo tricolour there. When you pop in the replacement LED bulb, the green lens looks distinctly blue. This worried me, so I put off the purchase in order to do more research. I wonder if a warmer light LED would be less of an issue or if you can even get a warm LED in the right configuration to be used as a replacement for the tricolour?
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:59   #55
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Quote:
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I just bought my first LED light, the anchor light. I'm glad I didnt' buy the trilight while I was at it, because I don't know about the type of regulator and whether it would screw with the VHF (and the TackTick).

Interestingly, the reason I didn't also get a bulb for the tricolour was that they had a demo tricolour there. When you pop in the replacement LED bulb, the green lens looks distinctly blue. This worried me, so I put off the purchase in order to do more research. I wonder if a warmer light LED would be less of an issue or if you can even get a warm LED in the right configuration to be used as a replacement for the tricolour?
I think this is why you see it recommended to use same color LED bulbs in nav fixtures. My bulbs were green, red and white. I don't know how they'd tackle a tricolor though. I don't have one myself. Having a few warm white bulbs I'm inclined to think no but I don't know that for sure. They have a yellow hue which I think would have a similar effect of the cool white blue color. SC
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:46   #56
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

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I think Nicholson58 was expressing a POSITIVE view of Bebi lights.

Mark
So was I, if disregarding how "pretty" the finish is when compared to the performance and reliability is taken into account. See: Why I will never buy a SS anchor. Same concept.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:47   #57
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White LEDs are quite deficient in the red part of the spectrum. They have good blue, green, and yellow wavelengths. For Nav/tricolor lights, its far more efficient to use LEDs that radiate red and green specifically.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:48   #58
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

We have OGM LED tricolor light and love it. We are usually the brightest anchor light in the harbor.

We have replaced almost all of our interior lights from Stecktronics and are very pleased with the results. The color and brightness of his LED lights are the closest to incandescent bulbs we had found.

Next is to replace our spreader lights with LEDs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:37   #59
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

I replaced all reading light bulbs with Sensibulb and all dome style cabin lights with Alpenglow CF. Been nothing but happy with every aspect except price.
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Old 12-01-2012, 16:24   #60
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Re: Mixed Feelings about LED Cabin Lighting

Colors on our Tri-Color replacemnt is fine. Its important to pay attention to the spectrum since LEDs tend to be very narrow wavelength outputs. THe alternative is to by Red and Green emitters. The Signalmate lights we adde to deck level are NOT LED lights witha colored lense but an LED that emits in the desired color. THese are really bright and true color.

In case there was any confusion, I really like my goofy looking BIBI lights and the BIBI people are great. I also like not having to ever go up the mast to change a nav bulb.
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