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Old 27-12-2008, 06:38   #31
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Its funny, just read the PS report, then yours. Good job.
I have 2 sensibulbs ordered from defender with some cheap xenon lights to put them in. I have per the practical sailor review ordered the equipment to install a dimmer in them as well.
That is one other thing about the sensibulb, is that it is dimmable. They sell a dimmer for like 29 bucks, but PS shows how to make one for around 5 bucks.

I was going with the alpenglow lights, and still will for the master cabin, but will try these for the vberth first, and who knows, maybe just stick with them.
For 73 bucks for fixture, bulb and dimmer, should be a good deal. The alpenglow light is 105 with no dimmer feature. Could be useful.

And I disagree with illusion, even in a boat with 880 amphours, it makes a difference.

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Old 28-12-2008, 20:30   #32
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I would also like to thank you for your efforts and resultant information.

I particularly liked your past assessment of the supposed need for a separate starting battery.

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Old 23-01-2009, 21:15   #33
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Fantastic post Acoustic!!

I changed a few bulbs with sensibulbs a few months back and was plesently surprised with the difference.

Not only is the power usage great, I prefer the lighting from the sensibulb. This changeover was win win.

Now I'm looking at Led nav light replacements
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Old 13-01-2010, 23:07   #34

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I bit the bullet and installed 6 Sensibulbs to replace the ten watt halogens in my saloon.

All I can say is WOW! They're even a little bit brighter than the halogen ten watt bulbs, they have a more even wash of light.

BTW, I mentioned this Cruisers Forum thread and got the ten percent discount.

Now the whole saloon can be brightly lit for a little more than ONE amp!

Thank you Maine Sail for that great comparison.
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Old 02-05-2010, 14:38   #35
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I want to change my 4.5" sealed beam spreader lights to 4.5" led spreader lights any recommendations, Marinebeam?
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Old 06-05-2010, 20:17   #36
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Another great source for LED's is They have a wide range of LED's and something for everyone. Look at their flexable waterproof led strings. They come in bright white, warm white and the normal colours. They come in 12cm, 24cm, 48cm and 96cm. Cut those number just about half for inches. They work on anything from 8 to 36 volts.
I have no vested interest in this outfit other than letting others know about their terrific products.
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Old 21-06-2010, 06:37   #37
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Mast Head LEDs and VHF problem

Great thread - thanks to all you posters for the good gen.
Kasala has a mix of Alpenglow and LED interior lights which help keep our power consumption to a minimum. I recently made an LED strip light for the galley from one of the strips Iceman refers to. It fits under the deck and the low profile makes it invisible unless you get right down and look up at it. The light it throws is very bright and is right on the counter where you need it. Prior to this light the galley working light was an Alpenglow unit which was very good but the cook created a shadow over the working area. The LED strip is about 1 meter long and draws .5 A. I got it from an eBay vendor direct from China for $20.
Our mast head unit is a standard Aquasignal one which would normally take a 25W bulb for the Trilight and a 10W one for the anchor light. I replaced both incandescent bulbs with generic LED marine quality units. What I did not take into account was that the VHF antennae is also located at the mast head and is about 8 inches from the Aquasignal unit... the result is that the VHF is unusable with either LED lit. Possibly not an issue at anchor, but totally unacceptable underway. I was not aware that this could be a problem and neither was the chandler where I bought the bulbs. What I would be interested in hearing about is why the LEDs cause this interference and whether there are better LED bulbs available which do not cause this problem
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Old 21-06-2010, 07:20   #38
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Acoustic - can I add my thanks also. A well document and proven set of test spresente din a way even the idiots like me can understand. Well done.

And for others who infer why bother - we've 30 x MR11's below on our boat. The power saving replacing all those is enough to run our watermaker!

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Old 21-06-2010, 07:21   #39
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I continue to test and be impressed by a G4 led from a US company named Array Lighting - Array Lighting | Best in class Array LED lamps with Selective Heat Sink Technology . To my eye, these are very similar to the Sensibulb but only cost $8.95 at

They draw 1 watt and can be dimmed by a regular dimmer (I haven't tried this).

In the picture looking up at the overhead that is a new Sensibulb on the left and an Array bulb on the right. It is not quite as bright as the Sensibulb but brighter than the round Imtra in the other picture. More importantly, the color, quality and beam width of the light seem as good as the Sensibulb. They are so small that it would be quite easy to solder two together to form a really bright bulb for $18.

These are not specifically designed for boats so I was worried that charging voltages (vs. a stable 12v) might shorten bulb life. I emailed the company and their engineer responded that they had not tested it as higher voltages but that it should have little if any impact on the 20,000 hour life. I've had six bulbs installed for six months and no failures or dimming.

The bulbs I'm using are the G4 12v DC warm white bulb. No relation to the company

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Old 21-06-2010, 08:41   #40
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Doug -

Practical Sailor reviewed a few of the masthead LED units and found the product from LunaSea Lighting to be the most RF quiet. I've got the tricolor version ready to install but haven't gone up the mast to do it yet.

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Old 21-06-2010, 09:39   #41
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I have read through this excellent and informative thread and am baffled by one particular. Why is everyone calling Mainsail "Acoustic"?

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Old 21-06-2010, 09:48   #42

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LEDs by themselves do not cause any radio interference. Zero. None. Nada. Absolutely for sure.

The problem is the control and protection circuitry that some manufacturers are bundling in with them. Sometimes poorly engineered, sometimes simply defective. There have been prior threads posted about RFI from LED fixtures.

Any reputable manufacturer will discuss the issue with you, and offer to repair or replace the fixture, or take other steps to stop the RFI. If they won't--switch to a brand that doesn't have the problem, and file a complaint with the FCC, who regulate all "radio" emission devices in the US. (Or other agency in other countries, as appropriate.)

If you bought it on a credit card, you may also be able to return it and reject the charge back to the merchant. The goods are defective and unfit for the intended use. Any number of consumer protection laws (state and federal) should cover you. And the manufacturers know that as well.
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Old 21-06-2010, 10:20   #43
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Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
I have read through this excellent and informative thread and am baffled by one particular. Why is everyone calling Mainsail "Acoustic"?


Easy answer.. When I originally posted that my screen name was Acoustic. Unfortunately, it was Maine Sail on just about every other forum I frequent so I asked the admins to change it, which they gladly did. I am now Maine Sail on all the sailing forums I belong to in order to avoid confusion. Many posters, like myself, are here there and elsewhere so it keeps it easy and I only have one screen name across all forums..

Acoustic was the name of a previous boat I owned. Considering I buy & sell boats fairly regularly I stopped using my boats names...


Array G4 Bulb

Interesting find on bulbs. Some things that stick out to me though when comparing apples to apples or specs to specs.

The Sensibulb was reported by Practical Sailor to have a 150 lumens of output and a 120 degree beam width. The G4 in the link is 90 degree beam and only 53 lumens. That means that it would require nearly three to equal the same level of brightness as the Sensibulb if we are to believe the specs. Also the new Sensibulbs being shipped are now 35% brighter than the ones Pratcical Sailor tested.

Three bulbs at 8.95 is about $27.00 you can buy a Sensibulb for about $36.00 but you also get a wider beam, no radio intertference, a well designed and temperature regulated power supply that yields a 50,000 hour life expectancy, vs. a claimed 20,000, and a "brightest LED on the market guarantee". While the Sensibulbs are COSTLY they are very, very well designed and perform better than any bulb I have found, and yes I am still buying bulbs when I find them and yes there is still a LOT of snake oil going on and some very bogus temp, beam and output claims being made.

$8.95 is a great price so I may order one to compare and add to the mix. I would bet these are going to last a decent amount of time provided not supplied with lots of over current.

Interestingly enoguh you can't shoot a camera directly at bulbs to determine light output as it over exposes that part of the sensor or film, that is why I shot indirect lighting on the garage door as opposed to direct. A 150 lumen bulb and a 25 lumen bulb will look nearly identical when shot stright on with a camera due to overexposure.

Thanks for the link, I will check one out.. I'd love it if they made them in red as I am currently looking for some night vision bulbs..
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Old 21-06-2010, 10:45   #44
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Thanks Maine Sail, this is my first read of this thread and its brightened up my day. (someone had to say that too)

Ive delved into the murky world of trying to compare different LED lamps and found it difficult as they are described and refered to by a variety of names, output and input power.

Its also a fast moving market and research is leaping forward month by month, so I guess there are more options available now than when you carried out your evaluation.
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Old 21-06-2010, 11:22   #45
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Originally Posted by anjou View Post

Its also a fast moving market and research is leaping forward month by month, so I guess there are more options available now than when you carried out your evaluation.

One would think that it should have trickled down by now but the reality is that it has not and not much has changed in terms of constant current 10-30V LED bulbs in the "reasonable" price range.

I just got off the phone with Nick as Sailors Solutions and ordered one of the brand new bulbs that just started shipping last week. Sensibulb is one of the few companies that has kept up with technology. Since my review of that bulb they have had four improvements in light output. The latest bulb has only one emitter but is as wide and nearly 40% brighter than the one I tested which was already miles beyond any of the others already.

Color is still an issue with many "reasonably" priced bulbs. A good friend just ordered a couple from and they look like a 1970's black light party and render a bluish purple light which is very disconcerting in this day and age. This is one product, and perhaps vendor, whom I'd put in my "snake oil" folder based on my buddy Andy's lights.

I plan to do an update but don't hold your breath as I am quite busiy with work, family and sailing this time of year so it may not happen until fall. I will give a good written review of the new bulbs I get though..

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