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Old 21-12-2016, 11:42   #1
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The lights are on but no one is home

There are four 120v florescent lights in our engine room. They are plugged in and on all the time. The previous owner said he left them on all the time because they gave off a little bit of warmth and that helped keep the engine room dry. I didn't buy it at the time but didn't worry about it because there were bigger fish to fry.

Now that most of the bigger items have been repaired or replaced, I'm getting ready to turn my attention to these lights. I plan to replace them with 12 volt LED strip lighting and a switch wired directly to the house batteries. I'd like to reduce the need for 120 v.

My question is: How many of you leave lights on in the engine room all the time, for this or any other reason, even when no one is aboard? Is there a legitimate reason to do so?

Thanks.

John
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Old 23-12-2016, 01:35   #2
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

I've never heard of anyone doing that. You can get moisture absorbers or something if it is always damp in there. I'd replace with 12v like your planning.
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Old 23-12-2016, 01:39   #3
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

Make sure to put a fuse between the lights and the house battery though.
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Old 23-12-2016, 01:39   #4
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

I would be asking why is it damp? and if so then sort out some ventilation. Add LEDs with a switch, bit pointless running lights 24/7 when you don't need to.
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Old 23-12-2016, 06:06   #5
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

Okay, so we're all on the same wavelength. The engine room isn't really damp and I don't buy that the minimal heat produced by the fluorescents is keeping it dry. Going to unplug them for now and monitor the lack-of-dampness situation. Herreshoff, good point about fusing the new lights.


Thanks everyone.
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Old 23-12-2016, 09:41   #6
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

I'd likely be inclined to leave the 120V lighting in place, even if unplugged most of the time. Can't have too much light in an engine room, sometimes...

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Old 23-12-2016, 10:11   #7
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

Leaving a light bulb (or small heater) on is a common way to keep moisture and condensation at bay. It requires very little power as a tiny bit of increase in temperature over ambient is all that is required.
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Old 23-12-2016, 10:30   #8
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

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........... Herreshoff, good point about fusing the new lights. .
If installing overcurrent protection in an electrical circuit isn't second nature to you, you probably shouldn't be doing electrical work on your boat. Or anywhere for that matter.

Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to connect the new lights to a new circuit breaker on the boat's electrical panel, rather than directly to the battery?
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Old 23-12-2016, 11:27   #9
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

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Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to connect the new lights to a new circuit breaker on the boat's electrical panel, rather than directly to the battery?
Ha! Good point, Ron. I had been thinking about the 120v lights so much that I forgotten there are also two old 12v incandescent lights in the engine room that pretty much don't get used since the 120v lights are always on. No doubt they are connected to a breaker on the electrical panel. Replacing those old incandescent lights and repurposing the existing wiring and breaker is a great idea. Thanks. That simplifies things a bit.
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Old 23-12-2016, 13:14   #10
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

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Ha! Good point, Ron. I had been thinking about the 120v lights so much that I forgotten there are also two old 12v incandescent lights in the engine room that pretty much don't get used since the 120v lights are always on. No doubt they are connected to a breaker on the electrical panel. Replacing those old incandescent lights and repurposing the existing wiring and breaker is a great idea. Thanks. That simplifies things a bit.
LEDs use about 10% of the power of incandescent lamps. You can put a bunch of LEDs on that circuit. Light it up like an operating room.
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Old 23-12-2016, 13:25   #11
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

I think the last owner was just lazy or stupid to install a light switch!
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Old 23-12-2016, 13:27   #12
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Re: The lights are on but no one is home

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Light it up like an operating room.

Thass the plan!!
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