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Old 12-12-2012, 18:47   #46
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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It will be interesting to see how long they last. The underwater LEDs rely on the water for cooling. You may find the life is short.

We replaced our 4-1/2 inch dia sealed beam lights (50 watts & 200 lumens) with Marinebeam Replacement LED bulbs for your existing boat fixtures Marine Beam. solo LED. 10 watts, 800 lumens. It is a single Power LED. very birght and doesn't care what voltage you give it. (PWM control). You can read a phone book at arms length anywhere on deck.
Are all you guys with $2-300 spreader lights angry or something?
Seriously.... .25A at 12v is 3watts....How hot do you think 3 watts will get these fairly substanial LED lights I have in the open air? I believe i read they were rated for out of water use as well. They sure wont get water in them....which was the problem I had with the older stainless units They were on a few weeks ago for over an hour... so I guess time will tell.

Honestly, I hope they last. I was running short on money and wanted some spreader lights. I figured why not, they bounce around on my buddies boat trailer for 2 years now....still work great. My 55w stainless units were shot. These have lasted about a year now, been on and off several times for short durations and a hand full of times over 30 mins. They cost $40 bucks total....if they don't last so be it, so far so good though. easy fix if need be. If they do last then what? will all you naysayers say hey maybe I wasted my money on $300 units? Doubtful, you paid more for it...it has to be better.....please!
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Old 12-12-2012, 18:56   #47
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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These automotive 12V LED "back-up" lights can still be found on Ebay.


I bought a pair for about $20 and fixed them to my spreaders with a SS hose clamp on a former base. They've suited me well for about two years. I've also used the same lights for my new engine room LEDs


what are you thinking Capt??????? you are on a boat....there are no deals or frugal ways to do anything....you must get in line, not use your brain and a little ingenuity and you MUST pay big buck for "marine" LEDs.......or else they may fail on you in.......well I don't know how long, both our cheap setups seem to still be working...maybe someone can tell us. Lots electrical engineers and LED specialists on here. I am sure they can pin point the exact failure date of our setups
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Old 12-12-2012, 18:57   #48
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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Are all you guys with $2-300 spreader lights angry or something?
Seriously.... .25A at 12v is 3watts....How hot do you think 3 watts will get these fairly substanial LED lights I have in the open air? I believe i read they were rated for out of water use as well. They sure wont get water in them....which was the problem I had with the older stainless units They were on a few weeks ago for over an hour... so I guess time will tell.

Honestly, I hope they last. I was running short on money and wanted some spreader lights. I figured why not, they bounce around on my buddies boat trailer for 2 years now....still work great. My 55w stainless units were shot. These have lasted about a year now, been on and off several times for short durations and a hand full of times over 30 mins. They cost $40 bucks total....if they don't last so be it, so far so good though. easy fix if need be. If they do last then what? will all you naysayers say hey maybe I wasted my money on $300 units? Doubtful, you paid more for it...it has to be better.....please!
The solo is reduced to 89. Still a lot for a light bulb. Hope yours work out and let us know.
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Old 12-12-2012, 19:07   #49
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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The solo is reduced to 89. Still a lot for a light bulb. Hope yours work out and let us know.
isn't that 89 a little misleading since a pair would be about $140? so I could buy 3.5 sets.....is that right?
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Old 12-12-2012, 19:18   #50
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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Be aware with automotive LEDs. Most are set up for 14 volts and usually have a choke resistor in line to drop the voltage to the correct level for the LEDs. This means you are turning power to heat...........................
Please help me understand. Are you saying that there is a problem with heat produced from these LEDs? I may be sensitive enough to notice some heat when firmly pressing my hand against the lamp, but it may just be my body heat. I know that my incandessant spreader lights which drew about a thousand times the amperage were to hot to keep my hand pressed to the outer lens. I must have been turning some power into heat, right? I want to take your caution to "be aware" seriously if there is some risk, but you'll need to explain this to me in some way how the heat from this choke resister is more of a concern that the filament resistor within the old vacuum tube light bulb.
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Old 12-12-2012, 19:55   #51
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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Please help me understand. Are you saying that there is a problem with heat produced from these LEDs? I may be sensitive enough to notice some heat when firmly pressing my hand against the lamp, but it may just be my body heat. I know that my incandessant spreader lights which drew about a thousand times the amperage were to hot to keep my hand pressed to the outer lens. I must have been turning some power into heat, right? I want to take your caution to "be aware" seriously if there is some risk, but you'll need to explain this to me in some way how the heat from this choke resister is more of a concern that the filament resistor within the old vacuum tube light bulb.
not a danger. The point is that cheap lights usually consume your battery power to make heat instead of light. LEDs are 'amp' specific devices. Most LEDs want 3 to 5 volts in order to result in the correct amps. Sometimes automove lights are wired in series or strings of series LEDs in parallel to get close to the correct voltage. In a vehicle, the alternator is always running so voltage is nearly constant. If the LEDs are not well matched, the current will not be spot on for some emitters. If there is a singel LED invovled, there must be a large drop accomodated to control the volts/amps. This is done by placing a resister in line with the LED in cheap lights. In a 12 volt system and a 3 volt LED there needs to be a 9 volt drop produced by the in line resistor at the current draw of the LED. In this case, 3/4 of the power fed to the light is waste heat. The LED uses small current so the waste is small ralative to an IC light. The next issue is that on a sailboat, your battery may vary from discharged low to high during charge by several volts. This can over-current the LED and shorten life. If, as on our boat, the systemm is 24 VDC then the waste power is big and the voltage variation is seriously high. The PWM marine bulbs have a switching circuit that turns the LED on/off at aout 20 KHZ and modulates the ratio of on to off time so the average amps is as needed for the LED. Virtually no power is wasted. These systems will opeate at no difference in output from the minimum drop-out voltage to the top rated voltage. My lights work on a 12 volt boat as well as on a 24 volt system. They will continue to work on a seriously discharged battery.
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Old 12-12-2012, 20:27   #52
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

I may be saved by my own dumb luck. I'm pleased to be at anchor and leave in the evening by dinghy with my cheap spreader lights on. I like them on along with my anchor light because it makes it so easy to distinguish my boat when we are returning late at night. Even when I leave them on all night I don't see any indication of a voltage drop on my battery monitor. I formerly had an old 1amp incandessant anchor light and this on all night would cause more of a drop in my battery voltage indicated by my monitor than the three LED's,- anchor light and two spreader lights. I would be disappointed to have LED's that caused me a problem with my batteries maintaining their voltage,- lucky and cheap so far!
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Old 13-12-2012, 09:42   #53
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

C.Force-
The thing to understand is that there are tradeoffs. The cheap "automotive" bulbs are designed to be sold cheap, period. Nothing beats them for that purpose. And they are designed to run at 14.4 volts, alternator voltage (in our "12" volt market) no more and only slightly less, alternators rarely dropping below 13.8 and only a parked shut car going down to boat battery voltages. So when you use a cheap automotvie LED on a boat, where the voltage will be more typically 12-12.4 volts, you lose brightness and gain bulb life. And since there is no digital power controller (PWM or otherwise) there is also no digital noise, no RFI, from the bulbs. Just not possible, LEDs alone simply don't generate any RFI. Which might be handy.

How much battery life will they suck? Odds are, still way less than what you replaced with them.

Now, for something like spreader lights, the picture gets even better because many of the light makers, searching for ways to make 'em cheaper, use strings of LEDs and no dropping resistor, no power control at all. Stick three white LEDs in series, each drops 4.5 volts, the string drops 13.5 volts, and that's close enough. So you cna get away with three (or six) white LEDs with no voltage drop resistor at all, or just one small one. Same thing with white and amber LED "arrays" that replace cabin bulbs, if you put the right number of LEDs in each string, you can leave out the dropping resistor entirely. Shaves a penny off the cost, uses less power, and if the while thing is cheap enough, no one cares if it burns out a couple of years sooner.

Me, I got spoiled by fluourescent bulbs at home years ago, before CFLs existed. What, change a light bulb?! You gotta be kidding, I changed that bulb less than ten years ago! <VBG>
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Old 13-12-2012, 10:33   #54
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

I should say that my cheap spreaderr lights are not nearly as bright as my old power hogs. I appreciated an earlier post where concerns of light pollution at the wilderness anchorages was mentioned. I don't use my spreader lights in areas other than the crowded anchorages in communities where the existing surrounding lights prevent me from easily finding my boat. My LED spreader lights are no substitute for the anchor light. They are not easily seen from a horizontal distance, but they do present an illumination of the deck; not in a manner that would allow reading a phone book at arm's length, but well lighted to allow easy walking about on the deck. They still cause my genoa to glow if I want to be noticed by other vessels at night for critical bit of time. Even without the less evergy used from my battery supply, I would still prefer my more subtle lighting. I always have a hugely powerful hand held spotlight to draw upon if I want a very bright light.
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Old 13-12-2012, 14:11   #55
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LEDs are such low power consumers, why fly a kite when you can fly a plane, dependant upon no string?

In other words, why string wiring, unsightly wiring, to lights, when small AA batteries will power LEDs quite nicely? For spreader lights, yes I would still run wires, and for signal lights, you need to control from one location. However, for other LEDs, for lighting around the sailboat, I have gone wireless.

Wal-Mart sells LEDs that have a built in timer, if you want that function. Turn on, and it turns itself off in 1,2,or 5 minutes. Lasts years on a set of batteries with occasional use. Costs about 8 bucks a fixture. Mounts on ceiling or walls, or move them around and set them anywhere. Have used them in my RV for years. Anywhere you want additional lighting without the mess and expense of wiring in an additional fixture. They are great! !!

WM also sells real candles with flickering LEDs in them to replace a flame. Sented candle wax. Those have a choice of on, or a 4 hour timer. Using one four hours a day, battery has lasted going on one year.

I have gone LEDs on my 36 year old William Crealock design, but wireless in most cases.
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Old 13-12-2012, 14:46   #56
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

Gary,

I did the same on my boat before I installed the electrical system and it worked, but just barely. The battery lights were pretty dim and the stickum on the back kept giving out so we were always fishing leds out of cook pots and dinner plates. It was a real treat to finally put 12v leds in the boat using Bebe's throughout. All those battery leds are now in cupboards and such where they are very handy.
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:37   #57
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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Then again... how often do you use your spreader lights and for how long...? for me I would say 5 minutes every month or so...... so I guess they would last about 1000 years for me!
I never use spreader lights. If I don't know my way around the foredeck blindfolded I shouldn't be at sea.

If I am up there working and do need to see something I come back and grab a torch. Makes me feel for the solution first
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:49   #58
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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I never use spreader lights. If I don't know my way around the foredeck blindfolded I shouldn't be at sea.

If I am up there working and do need to see something I come back and grab a torch. Makes me feel for the solution first
I don't want to deal with a torch in my hand when I'm trying to do something important like tying a hammock from my headstay to the forward lower. All are good choices!
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:59   #59
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Gary,

I did the same on my boat before I installed the electrical system and it worked, but just barely. The battery lights were pretty dim and the stickum on the back kept giving out so we were always fishing leds out of cook pots and dinner plates. It was a real treat to finally put 12v leds in the boat using Bebe's throughout. All those battery leds are now in cupboards and such where they are very handy.
My days of reading mint marks on coins are over. Faint lighting, most often, like comes off the LEDs in the candles, is my comfort level. The interior lighting that came with my boat, I will be removing, if it can be removed gracefully. I want the two inches of additional headroom. I agree, the self stick pads are useless to hang lighting.

The candles come in white, blue and red.
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Old 13-12-2012, 16:14   #60
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Re: Spreader Lights! Whatcha think??

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I don't want to deal with a torch in my hand when I'm trying to do something important like tying a hammock from my headstay to the forward lower. All are good choices!
You've been a very bad boy if you have to set a hammock on the foredeck at night!


Try this next time.


But it never worked for me?.
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