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Old 22-01-2015, 06:48   #1
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Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I'm curious to know what boaters think about lighting ... leaving out ambience(sp), emotions, and the like.

My feeling is that, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, safety for safety and even light for light, that nothing really beats LED.

Not to say I enjoy a nice oil lamp ... I have two.

But I can't hardly stand the lamps even when I use the purest of the purest, most costliest of the costly oils.

I do have interest in using oil lamps, but only as a backup for the most unlikely situation where, between the wired-in, battery operated, or built-in individual solar lights stop working.

Doesn't the idea of using oil lamps involve nothing more than "romantic", and "emotional" ideals?
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Old 22-01-2015, 07:17   #2
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I feel exactly the opposite.

I have been of the opnion that folks who are rushing out to spend big bucks on LEDs are folks who forgot about trawler lamps and candles.

Wanna read? Hop in the V berth or wherever you sleep... Or swap out one fixture.

Maybe I'm still remembering my mother, who always said: "If you leave a room, turn the lights off!"

Now I try that on my son!

On the boat, we have little need to have more than one light on after dark except for reading. And none in a cabin we are not occupying.

Some folks "just like to light up da joint," I guess.
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Old 22-01-2015, 07:40   #3
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I had about 50/50 led/incandescent lighting on board. In December 2013 there was a major ice storm that left 70 000 without power for about a week. It was -22. The ice storm resulted in 27 deaths. We were In the water living aboard, very dependant on our shore power at the time.

We actually managed to stay fairly comfortable as we have a good old boat. However, I upgraded my lighting to include kerosene lamps, which the boat was probably originally equipped with. Oil lamps produce both light and some heat.

I'm also in the process of upgrading her to include solid fuel heat. I don't think my experience is unique. I think cruisers are exposed to natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes from time to time.

My thought is, I want my castle to be comfortable when the environment or misfortune lays siege.

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Old 22-01-2015, 07:41   #4
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

BIG bucks on leds?

Led lights only cost a lot if one goes to West Marine or get lights specifically made for marine-use, in marine looking packaging at other stores.

I have found solar lights for less than 5-10 or so dollars that give more than enough light to use for cooking, reading, or whatever.

By disassembling the fixtures, I have made the solar panel operate from the deck top, wired into the actual fixture(also disassembled and reconfigured), inside the boat.

Since the lights are generally only used a few hours, there's more than enough power in the recharged batteries(daily), to give all the light needed.

So essentially, beyond the 5-10 dollars and a little time, my boat is adequately lit.

I also replace the wired-in cabin lights with LED replacements for as little as 4-5 dollars on line. 12 volt led lights often will light(fully bright), down to as little as about 7 volts ... way, way past the point when the battery is considered dead, which means a 12 volt battery(for this specific use), probably has twice the longevity of batteries that must deliver 12 volts.

The question, I'm posing is that with emotions aside, is the led light the most efficient, given costs and all.

Even so, I will always want other options for backup ... even oil lamps.
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Old 22-01-2015, 07:50   #5
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
... My feeling is that, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, safety for safety and even light for light, that nothing really beats LED ...
Indeed.

Approximately two billion people (one third of humanity) still have no access to electricity, and thus relies on fuel-based lighting, that is unhealthy, expensive, and offers very poor levels of illumination.
This lack of light makes it difficult to perform most evening activities, including studies by children and adults alike, and therefore represents a significant barrier to human development.

Consider, for instance:
"... There are an array of risks associated with fuel-based lighting, including: burns caused by a wide variety of factors, indoor air pollution, non-intentional ingestion of kerosene fuel by children, suppressed visual health, and compromised health services and outcomes in facilities lit with fuel-based light. Each risk factor results in illness, and most in mortalities. Lighting is the dominant and sometimes only use of kerosene (paraffin) in rural areas, although kerosene plays a large role for cooking in urban areas or areas without solid fuel supplies...

... A survey of 3,315 users of kerosene lighting across five sub-Saharan Africa countries found 26% to have health concerns related to the kerosene lighting. Many studies report that accidental ingestion of kerosene is the primary case of child poisoning in the developing world. In South Africa alone, over 200,000 people are injured or lose property each year due to kerosene-related fires, in addition to 79,750 very young children unintentionally ingesting kerosene (in 3.6% of all households), of which 60% develop a chemically induced pneumonia. In Bangladesh, kerosene lamps are responsible for 23% of infant burns..."
Here ➥ The Lumina Project: Health Impacts of Fuel-based Lighting
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Old 22-01-2015, 07:59   #6
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

Not sure about the oil lamp discussion but LED vs incandesant vs other styles...It's the cost that balances them out. A high quality reliable LED is expensive and not easy to replace in out of the way places.

Unfortuantely, you can't do and apples to apples comparison and leave out ambiance. The complication that is hard for people to wrap thier heads around is LED lights put out very specific wave length of light. For some applications that can be fine for others they are not as nice. For a bathroom where you will only be in thier once or twice an night for a few minutes, a cheap LED can be fine. For a reading light, many people will find a cheap LED to be very uncomfortable.

On the positive side, they are making better LED's that better match the full spectrum of an incandesant (which is our best available mimic of sun light, which is what we evolved to use). The downside is they are even more expensive than cheap cheap LED's which are more expensivve than incandesant bulbs.

Now on a boat where electricity is limited, the cost of adding more electrical storage/production can justify the expense of LED but it depends on how limited your system is and many lights you use.
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:19   #7
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I have had very good success with the plug in replacement bulbs, warm white gives slightly less light but nicer. Had them for about 7 years with no failures
Benefits. Filament bulbs fail regularly due to vibration if used underway so very short life
Don't go dim if the battery is below 12v or burn out if used when charging
Use 1/4 or less power for the same light output.
Yes they are dearer but last years and swapping all lights including nave light was less than the price of a halyard. Lighting is now insignificant in the energy budget.
Oil Lamps. Fitted as part of making the boat function (including navigation) with total power failure. Electrical failure is one of the most common serious breakdowns on a boat. If they smell check your ventilation? check wicks and don't turn up to high. If the glass soots up they will smell as you are not fully burning the fuel.
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:33   #8
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I'm a big supporter of LED lighting, especially for all Nav lights. Down below we have converted/ replaced all incandescent/ fluorescent lights to LED. We leave a few strategically located small red LEDs mounted near the floor on all night to aid night head visits or fast response to things that go bump in the night. All flashlights and headlamps are also LED. My night sailing 'buoy finder' is a rechargeable 900 lumen $35 Black & Decker hand spotlight. While I agree about not leaving lights on when not in a room... I'm also a big believer/ user of lots of light during engine room inspections and doing any repairs... I like the work area almost as bright as an operating room. It helps see things I might miss, not drop so much into the bilge and quickly find what I have. In fact I usually light-up all the areas down below because invariably I will need to go or ask someone to go find a spare part/ less used tools that are hidden away/ stowed away somewhere. With this level of all light on... the total current draw is 2.5A... about the same current draw as only two incandescent bulbs!

One factor not yet mentioned in the posts is the RFI noise to radio systems generated by most LEDs. SSB/ on-board ham operators suffer the effects more, but weak (safety of life) FM signals are also affected. My LED tricolor is only 9" from the primary marine VHF mast top antenna & and 2' from the end of the backstay antenna. The LED bulb can create a S4 hash signal across wide areas of the ham /marine SSB spectrum. Down below LEDs also generate radio noise. Dr LED is one of the worse offenders even though their packaging says otherwise. (I've had conversations with Dr LED about this but so far no action). I keep one incandescent gooseneck light by the radio equipment that I'm forced to use when working weak SSB stations.


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Old 22-01-2015, 10:49   #9
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

I stripped out every cabin and deck light and replaced with bright strip leds. The result was fantastic twice the light for less than half the amps. I even put 2 full strips under the spreaders which light up the entire deck. I removed all the old bulb fittings from inside the existing light enclosures and replaced with leds see attached photos. The Cost was tiny, less than 2 euro per fitting. Make sure when buying rolls of led strip that the brightness is suitable for your needs.
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Old 22-01-2015, 13:41   #10
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

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Originally Posted by W3GAC View Post

One factor not yet mentioned in the posts is the RFI noise to radio systems generated by most LEDs. SSB/ on-board ham operators suffer the effects more, but weak (safety of life) FM signals are also affected. My LED tricolor is only 9" from the primary marine VHF mast top antenna & and 2' from the end of the backstay antenna. The LED bulb can create a S4 hash signal across wide areas of the ham /marine SSB spectrum. Down below LEDs also generate radio noise. Dr LED is one of the worse offenders even though their packaging says otherwise. (I've had conversations with Dr LED about this but so far no action). I keep one incandescent gooseneck light by the radio equipment that I'm forced to use when working weak SSB stations.
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That's interesting. I had Dr LED lights originally, now all gone because they failed but I tested the SSB with them on & off, made know difference. Also checked the current lights, again no difference. If you get lots of interference from LED's might be worth checking you ground and aerial setup. You make a good point about the tricolour being close to aerials, not checked that one.
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Old 22-01-2015, 13:52   #11
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

Cruised/Lived Aboard for four years in the early '70s. In SoCal, relied on flatwick gimballed lamps. Crappy light, some heat and so wonderful ambience. Pretty quickly developed an early to bed, early to rise life style. When we got to the Marquesas, found the oil lamps put out too much heat to use. Ended up with more engine run time than we liked to keep up with the juice to the incandescent lights.

Fast forward to today, have sold off all the oil lamps but the trawler lamp. Kept that primarily for heat on SF Bay but it does put out light as well. Replaced every incandescent light with LED's and installed 260 watts of solar. Sailed 15 days to Hawaii without running the engine to charge batteries in the four years since though no longer living aboard.

Essentially no need for oil lamps with the advent of LED's and solar power.
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Old 22-01-2015, 14:11   #12
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

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Cruised/Lived Aboard for four years in the early '70s. In SoCal, relied on flatwick gimballed lamps. Crappy light, some heat and so wonderful ambience. Pretty quickly developed an early to bed, early to rise life style. When we got to the Marquesas, found the oil lamps put out too much heat to use. Ended up with more engine run time than we liked to keep up with the juice to the incandescent lights.

Fast forward to today, have sold off all the oil lamps but the trawler lamp. Kept that primarily for heat on SF Bay but it does put out light as well. Replaced every incandescent light with LED's and installed 260 watts of solar. Sailed 15 days to Hawaii without running the engine to charge batteries in the four years since though no longer living aboard.

Essentially no need for oil lamps with the advent of LED's and solar power.
I'm not against LED lights but the solar panels are the game changer. We haven't bothered to change out the incandesant and our 110watts of solar is all the keeps the batteries up unless we are motoring when that adds a few amps but it's not unusual to go a couple weeks without running the motor (we never run it for routine charging).
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Old 22-01-2015, 21:37   #13
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

As allways there are pros and cons

There are lots of electric devices today that can make living on bord more comfortable.
Unfortunatly and for what ever reason many boats have not enough power storing-charging capacity to handle the extra demand.
Changing that fact is expensive and many times limited to design features of the boat.
Using LED can free a considerable amount of that capacity

I think under that aspect LED is a very effective choice and easy to implement.

Energy for me equals to comfort....donīt need it but itīs great to have it
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Old 22-01-2015, 22:23   #14
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

Can't wait until these are available:

GravityLight | doing more with less
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Old 22-01-2015, 23:01   #15
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Re: Cabin lighting by cost ... and safety

Regarding LED RFI noise to SSB reception... to be fair to Dr LED, the worse/ strongest broad RF interference from their LED lights was up in the 50 MHz band (6 meter ham band) and not on the typical channelized marine SSB bands. But they also emitted specific spurious interference on certain ham frequencies. Most of the time in ham radio you can just move up or down the band to find less interference areas. But sometimes the noise falls right on areas of ham bands where specific nets or on prearranged scheduled contacts that had to be changed. How do I know the noise came from specific (Dr LED) LED lights? Because when the light was turned off at the light... the RFI noise stopped... back on... RFI noise returned. Different (Dr LED) lights created slightly different RFI signature/ frequency peaks... but each light was always consistent with its specific signature. I can tell which light is on just from it's radio noise/ frequency signature. Lights that caused more interference to my most used areas of the ham bands were removed and reinstalled in areas not usually on while I was on the radio (closets, engine room,...). By the way this issue is not limited to marine LEDs. As I drive closer and closer to road intersections using LED traffic lights the noise/ interference is picked up/ increases on my mobile ham radio equipment in the car. Same at home... I've had to undo some of my early adoption of home LEDs and go back to incandescent and CFL bulbs.


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