It was a tremendous relief to get the old, mismatched fixtures off the boat. They’ve bothered me for years, but I wasn’t going to pay the very high price for new fixtures and LED bulbs. I knew if I waited long enough, LED technology would become more reasonably priced.
I will install a couple of the old fixtures in the engine compartment for convenience.
After some slight hesitation, I removed the round fixture in the head. It is a festoon bulb, and gives off a lot of light. And heat. Meaning, of course, that it burns through electricity at a tremendous rate. The new bulbs are rated at 3.12 watts (each). That’s .26 amps. Not much, and not much heat either. And for 3.12 watts per lamp, I get this kind of light output:
The light quality tends to be a bit harsh, especially if there are two or three lamps lit at once. However, there is no lack of bright. I think that’s good – far better than dim. So with four of these lit at once, I’m using 1 amp. That’s a phenomenal amount of light for that little power.
I made the electrical connections with butt connectors, as you can see in the above photo, except for the first lamp, which unaccountably was wired with spade connectors. I saved my self a couple of crimps, and used the existing female connectors, installing spades and then shrink tubing on the lamp wires.
Now I have a confession to make. I’ve never told this to anyone. . . I make my crimp connections with vice grips. I know, I know. I’m supposed to use ratcheting crimpers (the more expensive, the better). But I discovered a few years ago that vice grips do this really well. I mean, really well. The crimps don’t pull out. You can get the crimp almost completely flat with successive adjustments of the locking mechanism. So, I already have vice grips, but I don’t have the expensive ratchet crimpers.
Oh, one cool thing I discovered about this brand of light fixture, is that it is not polarity sensitive. The bulbs work regardless, which surprises me. LEDs are typically polarity sensitive, so I guess there is circuitry either in the bulb or fixture that accommodates reversed polarity and allows them to light up anyway.