Friday, May 16, 2014

LED Interior Lighting Replacement

My S2 6.9 sailboat was built in 1985 so all the lighting fixtures both inside and out had regular incandescent light bulbs.  We all know that these old light bulbs are very inefficient and are a better source of heat than light.

The recent development of LED bulbs in every shape and size has made it an easy choice to replace all.  The power saving benefits of LEDs is reason enough to rid your boat of those old power guzzling bulbs. I replaced my navigation running lights with LEDs last year documented in a previous post.

My boat came with a minimal number of lighting fixtures inside the boat. The existing lights were
some tacky plastic wood grain light fixtures.  Each of these had a 10 watt bulb which meant a total of 40 watts if I had all four of them on at once.  This was a draw of over 3.5 amps from my precious 12 volts battery.

I looked around for some new LED fixtures and found some nice interior spot lights on with a polished stainless finish.  I purchased four of these to update the look of the interior and improve the lighting.

The strange thing was if I wanted to buy them with an LED bulb they were twice the price ($19.99) of the same fixture with a halogen bulb. 

I ended up buying the halogen fixture with a G4 base for $9.99 and replaced the existing bulb with an LED G4 bulb for $3.00 buck a piece. 

The LED replacement is the same M16 size with the G4 two pronged base.

The old halogen bulb that came with the fixture were rated at 20 Watts. These were replaced with the 3.5 Watt LED bulb shown on the left.

LED bulbs are more efficient and have a longer life than the halogens or incandescent bulbs.

Most LEDs are rated at 100,000 hours of use. I don't think I will live long enough to see these burn out.

The LED on the left draws 3.5 Watts or .3 amps while the halogen bulb takes 20 Watts or 1.7 amps. Now that is a significant savings.

LED bulbs will run cooler also while putting out the same amount of light. These LEDs are rated at 185 lumen's so they put out a similar amount of light as the halogens.

LED bulbs are made for almost any type of fixture these days. If you like your existing fixture you can just change out the bulbs to a more energy efficient alternative.

Here is the final assembly with the new bulb in place.  Simply pull out the old bulb and snap in the new one, a perfect fit.

So don't pay more for your fixtures than you have to.  If the halogen type is cheaper buy that and simply replace the bulb.

Now I can light up my boat for a whole lot less energy drain on my battery.  Make the move go with LEDs!

I recently ran across some LED light strips for sale at my local big box lumber store.  I picked them up and found the perfect spot for them on boar my S2 6.9 sailboat. They had a 115volt to 12 volt power supply which I did not have to use.  I wired them directly to the boats 12 volt power system with a spare dc power adapter that I had.

The strips plug into a junction box which fit behind the keel bulkhead board. The unit also has an infrared receiver that picks up the signal from the remote. I mounted this at the bottom of the keel board and drilled a small hole between the two bottom screws and installed it there.  I ran the power wires up from the bottom and back to the DC fuse panel. I connected them to the Interior lights switch.

Three of the strips were plugged into each other and mounted with the provided clips on the port side of the keel board. The other two were mounted on the starboard side. Each strip needs about 3 Watts of power so 15 watts in all for the five strips.  The red color selection is best for night vision.

Box of 5 - 3 Watt multicolored LED strips with remote control

I mounted 3 of the strips on the port side of the keel bulkhead board - Red selection shown here.

Same strip shown with green lights

Infrared Remote control for the light strips

I mounted the other 2 light strips on the starboard side of the keep bulkhead

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)