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Old 13-12-2015, 07:55   #1
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LED interior lighting.

I bought a 1998 contour trimaran and looking to upgrade the old fluorescent lights in the boat to LED. I'm sure there has been prior discussions on this subject but given how quickly new products are coming out would like opinions on what lights have or have not worked for the folks out there. Thanks in advance folks!

Fair winds!
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Old 13-12-2015, 08:22   #2
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wolf.
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Old 13-12-2015, 08:35   #3
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Thanks much Bourne I appreciate that. This is my first contour prior to this I owned a Corsair f24So I'm a little apprehensive about how the contour will hold up vs a Corsair which I found extraordinary
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Old 13-12-2015, 08:55   #4
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf3386 View Post
I bought a 1998 contour trimaran and looking to upgrade the old fluorescent lights in the boat to LED.
The market for LED lighting continues to mature; you have alot of choice now.

On our small boat, I went cheap: warm white LED strip similar to this, glued inside side shelving and beneath overhangs. For the stuff I used, about 12 ft of it used just over 1A at full 12v, but that's usually too bright so I put a PWM (switching) dimmer on it which knocks the average current to under half an amp. It's really nice light, and sexy. This stuff may not be long-lasting in a salt environment but you can do things like give it a few coats of clear urethane to protect it.

You can also buy cheap strip lighting that comes inside clear plastic tubing.

Going upscale, I see that IKEA now has several models of LED light strip for kitchen under-cabinet lighting. I've found it fairly easy to convert other IKEA LED lights to 12v, so I expect these would be simple as well.

And finally, if you have the budget to buy things with "marine" in the title , you will find options there too.

I've dwelt on strip lighting cos it's my favourite, but of course you have lots of choice in more conventional fixtures with LEDs, too.
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Old 13-12-2015, 10:34   #5
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Re: LED interior lighting.

I also just bought two spools of similar waterproof LED strips, and you can cut them to lengths. As short as three LEDs, or as long as 15 ft.
Triangle bulb strip lights

Need to do a little soldering microsurgery to connect wires to the cut ones, but if I can do it, anyone can.

And I have been.
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Old 13-12-2015, 10:39   #6
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Re: LED interior lighting.

I went a bit cheap and bought a spool of LED lights that looked waterproof. It was from Chinatown in New York a few years ago.

The lights started to flicker within a few weeks and the last one died with 6 months.

I wondered if the needed a regulated power supply. Or just better quality.

So of you go v cheap test them for a while before cracking the champagne
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Old 13-12-2015, 10:41   #7
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post

Need to do a little soldering microsurgery to connect wires to the cut ones, but if I can do it, anyone can.

And I have been.
I think there's teeny weeny clippy things that connect without soldering.

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Old 13-12-2015, 10:45   #8
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Re: LED interior lighting.

I have replaced all my lights in my Jeanneau 39i with lights and replacement bulbs from www.led4rv.com 866 244-6591 Dan was a lot of help service was great. prices were very good
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Old 13-12-2015, 10:47   #9
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf3386 View Post
I bought a 1998 contour trimaran and looking to upgrade the old fluorescent lights in the boat to LED. I'm sure there has been prior discussions on this subject but given how quickly new products are coming out would like opinions on what lights have or have not worked for the folks out there. Thanks in advance folks!

Fair winds!
What kind of interior fixtures do you have?

I had 12" fluorecents which I replaced...just gutted the old fixture electronics and installed LED 12" strips. Kept the fixtures. Way cheaper than buying new fixtures whichcare stupid expensive in the "marine" market. I think there are even direct fit replacements available for 12" fluorecents now.
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Old 13-12-2015, 11:23   #10
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I went a bit cheap and bought a spool of LED lights that looked waterproof. It was from Chinatown in New York a few years ago.

The lights started to flicker within a few weeks and the last one died with 6 months.
Do you know where/how they failed? visible corrosion, breaks in the traces, etc?

Were you using those solderless connectors you mention? They seem like the weak link to me, so I soldered all my connections (as mentioned, not hard; use a smallish pencil iron ~ 25W and fine solder. ). Strain relief is very important, the soldered connection won't tolerate much force or motion.

My strip-lighting has been OK for two years so far, but I'm not on saltwater. They do experience condensation and thermal cycling.
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Old 13-12-2015, 11:34   #11
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Re: LED interior lighting.

No I didn't use the connectors because it was the first run with the wires built in.

One of the LEDs would start flickering and the surrounding plastic would turn brown.
So they were individually burning out, but at random, not progrssivly from the cut end.

Mark
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Old 13-12-2015, 11:48   #12
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf3386 View Post
I'm sure there has been prior discussions on this subject but given how quickly new products are coming out would like opinions on what lights have or have not worked for the folks out there.
Another way to say the market is "maturing" is that LEDs are now commodities. As a result, it's now the time to begin to recognize that asking "What LEDs work?" is like asking "what car or boat should I buy?" The possibilities are endless.

You can go cheap, you can get inventive and use household fixtures from Ikea or Home Depot (which many if not most of the time are 12V with 120/12V bricks, so just use the lights or replacement packs - just like in the hold halogen days), or go for marine rated stuff (like www.marinebeam).

Like all commodities, you need to do your own homework, because while our experiences may be helpful, only YOU know what your threshold for pain is: pocketbook or failure of cheap products for starters.

I did a lot of reading over the years and found that not much has really changed in the past five: there's cheap stuff that doesn't have regulation and can start fires quite quickly and there are good vendors who have products that actually work. Imagine that!!!

If you like strip lights, go for it.
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Old 13-12-2015, 11:52   #13
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Re: LED interior lighting.

I have tried a ton of lights to find something I like. Here is my hall of fame:

- Alpenglow overhead lights. Love these lights.
- LED strip lights and accessories by LEDwholesalers.com (also sold on Amazon)

And things I would not buy again:

- Alpenglow reading/berth lights (have not been very durable and are very expensive)
- Aqua Signal Gaborone led chart light. Love this light, but the switch is soldered to the unit and is very fragile. We have not had one last us more than a year yet (they sent us 2 more for free). If they have fixed this defect, which they may have by now, then I would strongly recommend this light.
- Any drop in led bulb replacement for general purpose lighting. They are fine for a cheap upgrade of a task light you don't use that often. Poor light quality and distribution.
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Old 13-12-2015, 12:21   #14
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Re: LED interior lighting.

I replaced four of the boat's reading lights with new LED ones, spending lots of money in purchase, international shipping, clearance charges, and customs. Then installed them.

We haven't used any of them once. Dumb me, never considered that everything we read these days has it's own light.

But I also am finding myself putting little LED strips everywhere I used to have to grab a flashlight. And replacing the incandescent bulbs in existing fixtures with LED substitutes.

The Lord said "Let there be LIGHT!" and by jesus you could see for miles!!
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Old 13-12-2015, 12:23   #15
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Re: LED interior lighting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I think there's teeny weeny clippy things that connect without soldering.


I saw those, and considered them, but in my experience when there's an issue between ocean stuff and electrons, Rule #1 is "It's Always Connectors".
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