New LED Fixtures And Lights Installed

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.

Four different light fixture styles on the boat.  Now we're down to two.

Four different light fixture styles on the boat. Now we’re down to two.

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:

It's too bright to look at.

It’s too bright to look at.

It's going to take some getting used to not seeing that big round fixture in the head.

It’s going to take some getting used to not seeing that big round fixture in the head.  Looks like I’ve got some cleaning and touch-up to do on the paint where it was mounted.

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.

Just this one lamp had spade connectors.  Can't figure out why, and I don't remember doing it.  Maybe a previous owner.

Just this one lamp had spade connectors. Can’t figure out why, and I don’t remember doing it. Maybe a previous owner did it.

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.

 

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7 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    I went another route..bought 4 outside rv fixtures @ $10 a piece..then bought the leds at $8 a piece..a 6′ led rope light installed down the center line of the main cabin overhead for $20..also bought leds to replace the running light bulbs..total cost for all under $150!!

    • You got a great deal. I’ll be interested to hear how your rv-purposed LEDs work out. I’ve thought about that approach a good bit, and decided to venture towards the conservative. Please let me know how you like them as time goes by.

  2. ShimonZ said:

    It’s amazing how much light we can get from the LED lamps. There seems to be a great change that’s already started regarding the use of electricity. We may get by with much less in the future.

    • As energy becomes more expensive, many people are using power-saving techniques like this. It’s especially critical for a boat owner, whose on-board electricity production and storage capacity is limited.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Rick, where’d you find your new 12V LED fixtures? Thanks for posting the pics. Really helps me with ideas on my W27.
    Greg W.

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