Boat Lighting

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Fanie, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Hi guys,

    There's no electrical forum. Unbelievable, even the sailboats run on power :D


    What lights you are using in your boats, ie in the hulls or cabin to make light for after dark activities... whatever they may be ;)

    An indication of the amount of power they draw would be interesting to know too.

    I intend to use 12V compact fluorescent lights in the boat for their low power consumption and bright light. Any overlooked reason why these won't work ?
     
  2. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    I am planning for LED as they now come in 'navigation' colours as well as 'white' and use very little current for the photon emission. (both inside and for nav lights) and where high levels of light are needed, (Galley), I may consider using 12v fluro's.... I have led torches fitted with rechargeable AA & AAA batteries....
     
  3. NordicFolkboat
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    NordicFolkboat Junior Member

    I guess the OnBoard Electronics & Controls forum is as close as you get.

    I can't see any problem with fluorescent lights other than perhaps the aesthetic factor, but that really depends on what style of boat you have.

    I don't have any electric lights at all and I'm thinking of putting some warm white LEDs in some nice teak and brass fittings in my boat. Another advantage of LEDs is that they also come in red, so it won't ruin your night vision when sailing in the dark.
     
  4. Autodafe
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    Autodafe Senior Member

    Hi Fanie,

    I've never used a 12V compact fluoro, but I haven't heard of any problems, and the 12V non-compact seem fine.

    That being said, I recently replaced a 20 Watt fluoro with 3x 3 Watt LEDs in series. The LEDs produce a lot more light for less then half the power draw. LEDs also have no glass to break and last essentially for ever.

    If you do install LED lighting though, a couple of points to note:
    1. Use a constant current driver. This regulates the supply to the light and prevents overcooking if the battery voltage is high. Prepackaged drivers are available, and a very small, <15x20x20mm.
    2. Install each LED on a heat sink. The hotter a LED is running the shorter its lifespan. Exactly how much varies with manufacturer, but typically aim to keep the LED under 55C and they should last 10000 to 100000 burn hours before losing significant output.

    ADF
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  5. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I just went through this on a 60' power yacht, and wound up switching everything over to LEDs for the following reasons:

    1) LED lights use a very small amount of power relative to the amount of light they produce

    2) Since LEDs don't generate heat while on there is a minimal risk of fire or burns from the lights themselves. Though as with any electrical device the wireing can of course be a problem

    3) Because of their long life spans you really don't need to carry spares, reducing the amount of spare parts on board.

    4) Manufacturers now make LED replacement bulbs to fit into existing bulb fixtures, minimizing the need to replace fixtures to convert to them.

    We also looked seriously at CFL or regular FL bulbs. While they share many of the characteristics of LEDs they do have a few draw backs.

    1) CFLs use mercury in the bulbs. While it is a very small amount and the risk of mercury poisoning is small, this risk is increased in small confined areas.

    2) the bulbs are much more fragile than LEDs, and burn out, require carrying spare parts that are prone to breakage

    3) They normally require custom fixtures

    4) Becuase marine power is often not very 'clean' they are more likely to lead to headaches more reminiscent of older style florecent lights than at home.


    If you do decide to go with LEDs just PM me. I would be happy to share the suppliers I used here in the states.
     
  6. Wynand N
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Fanie, the best place to buy light in SA is at C-Dynamics in Cape Town and speak to Robert Cook. They have the whole spectrum of boat lights in stock in all shapes and sizes - fluorescent, halogen, Led - you name it. Phone him and he would send you brochures, Cd etc of what you are interested in.

    I will phone you tomorrow at the shop with his tel number.
     
  7. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Thanks Wynand and everyone else.

    I played with various types of lights. The old filament globes are out, huge current and very poor light per wattage.

    LED's is an option, but very expensive and also limiting. Another problem is that each LED is like a little spot light, very blinding to look at and if you put any kind of defuser over the LED cluster it dims it quite a bit.

    The other thing about the new super duper LED's is because of their high power output, their currents are huge too. I have some 5W LED's here, they require considerable heatsinking and the expected lifespan is a few hundred hours (manuf spec sheet) :( To get their power up you cannot run them at the continuous 350mA, they have to be pulsed at 1A for a specific duration. Cost per led is way off.

    I made a 100 LED cluster for a client a while ago, it was for medical purposes, but the LED lights used were 20000mCa LED's drawing 20mA each. The cluster generated so much heat that some of the LED's desoldered themselves. This cluster made quite a light, but again the total current drawed, heat generated and the cost...

    So LED technology is not currently where it can compete as a light source.

    CF (Compact Fluorescents) are one of the best light per watts there is.
    Normal fluerescent tubes break too easy.

    The metal halide and the low and high pressure sodium lamps are not practical for our app (maybe on big ships) but just check that lumens per watt and lamp hours of the sodiums eh :D Impressive.

    I can hear the disagreeing groans about my statement on the LED's :D

    I made up some test LED light units to compare to the CF's. The LED clusters doesn't compare, really. I have a 5W CF (smallest I could find) but they go down to 2W. A single LED's heat is quickly absorbed by the PCB, in a cluster, it's something else. A friend has a LED torch, allu for heatsinking. If it's on for a few minutes it begins to burn your hand.

    The LED's make pin lights and the light is very limited. The 5W CF on the other hand makes a surprisingly amount of light, not bright bright light, but it lights up my office.

    I am going to use LED's as well. They have to make light at ie stairs and to light up the floor area so you don't trip over stuff. I also like NordicFolkboat's idea of using red for nightly activity. How would green work ?

    So for the boat's lights, CF's it will be then.


    Thanks Wynand, I will talk to you by the morrow ;)
     

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  8. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Just to confirm my previous post, a simple graph to indicate luminance advance over some time.

    As you can see semiconductor (LED) has a very steep gradiant. There is a lot of research and development done to enhance it's possibilities.
     

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  9. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Part of an article I coppied (probably illegally :D)


    Incandescent lights are basically electric space heaters that give off light as a byproduct.
    They are VERY inefficient, wasting most of the power they consume as heat.
    Since lights are one of the biggest power uses in a remote home, pay close attention to
    what kind you use. If you replace all of your lights with efficient versions, you may be
    able to get by with fewer expensive batteries and solar panels!
    You may have noticed that we've made major changes to this page. This is because of new information
    given to us by some lighting experts regarding lighting efficiency. Our thanks to Don Klipstein and Victor
    Roberts for the engineering lessons...
    Otherpower.com's lighting recommendations in a nutshell: For best efficiency, use fluorescents of any
    type. Install standard fluorescents in workspaces where you can stand the blue-tinged light, hum and
    flicker. Use compact flourescents in living spaces for a more 'friendly' ambiance. Use halogen lighting for
    outdoor applications where temperature causes problems with fluorescents. Use white LED lighting for
    applications that normally use dismally-efficient small incandescents...task lights, nightlights, pathway
    lighting, exit signs, and flashlights. Don't use incandescent lighting at all if you can afford to avoid it.
    Lighting Efficiency Ratings
    A standard way of rating lighting efficiency is in lumens per watt--this figure accounts for all of the light
    produced by a bulb. This rating does not necessarily reflect how much usable light is is thrown on your
    work area. The reflector and fixture will have a large effect on this. So be sure to read our guidelines for
    each type of lighting discussed below--lights that show a lower efficiency may still save you energy
    depending on the application.
    l 32 watt T8 fluorescent--85 to 95 lumens/watt
    l standard F40T12 cool white fluorescent--60-65 lumens/watt
    l compact fluorescents--low 30's to low 60's lumens per watt, usually 48-60
    l T3 tubular halogen--20 lumens/watt
    l white LED--15-19 lumens/watt
    l standard 100 watt incandescent--17 lumens/watt
    l incandescent night light bulb (7w)--6 lumens/watt
    l incandescent flashlight bulbs--dismal, less than 6 lumens/watt


    But wait!What about all the white LED high-efficiency claims that are all over...including the
    claims that used to be on this site? Unfortunately, much of this information is incorrect. Comparing the
    efficiency of a white LED light with a compact fluorescent by measuring the intensity of a tiny spot
    within the beam does NOT give proper efficiency results. We got much of our data for efficiency claims
    from an article in Home Power Magazine (click here to see this testing article) and in literature from LED
    distributors. The problem? All of the light from our LEDs is concentrated in a 20 degree beam, while the
    incandescent and compact fluorescent lights were tested without fixtures...and most of the light they
    produced was never measured in the test, since it sensed only light falling on the sensor. It's OK to
    compare different lights by how brightly they illuminate a certain size area...but put a reflector behind the
    compact fluorescent and incandescent bulbs in the test rig and the data would change significantly.
    Therefore, while the LED lights in this test may illuminate a small area as brightly as other lights, they are
    NOT significantly more efficient. LEDs can still be a good choice for illuminating your workbench,
    for example, as long as the light cast onto your small work area is as bright as you need--in this case
    your LED light could be a good investment for saving power, especially if your old incandescent
    fixture is also lighting the rest of the room where you don't need the light (like in the Home Power
    experiment link above). If you try and light an entire living room with an LED fixture, though, you are
    not saving much--in that case you want a wide dispersal of light, and a fluorescent fixture would be the
    hands-down winner for efficiency, cost and practicality.
     
  10. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Very illuminating, Fanie. I had always assumed that the LED lights were actually far more efficient. ANY light source can be focused or spread using lenses or reflectors, so there's no excuse for not having a real comparison between lighting types when considering wattage.
    So if an LED light is asked to spread its light in the same way as incandescents or CFLs, you're saying there's no (or little) gain in overall wattage/lumins efficiency?
    ...Which to me says that the type of lighting device you use has more to do with what is being illuminated. Meaning you have to decide which type is most efficient in all areas of usage, including function, initial cost, maintainence (long term cost), safety, and aesthetics.
    This sounds like that familiar claim of electric room heaters, that they are so efficient (which I've heard people say who justified buying them), but of course they only are efficient if you stay close to them.
    But the manufacturer is happy to have you believing you could save money by putting ten of them throughout your house.

    Alan
     
  11. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    The reason for asking which lights are used on boats is it seems very few do use CF's, and maybe there was a reason for it.

    For making light the CF's are far far better than LED's. Inside a cabin or a hull, especially if the paint color is white, you should get awesome lighting for very little power. I intend to use different CF lights to suit the occasion, the wife will want decent light when working with food, then switch to smaller ones makes less light and use less power like when you relax in the lounge so to speak.

    The life of a CF greatly depends on the quality of the driver you use. If it switches the fluorescent gas one way only (cheap lamps from the east is famous for this) then you will notice one end of the glass blackens quickly with switch-on's. That is because the citcuit doesn't change polarity properly and the one pole has a high voltage while the other has a lower voltage. The switching frequency also makes a difference to the gas illumination.

    If you want a light shine ie on your chart, you could consider a LED light. They do use little power and these rechargeable batteries like NiMiH's are quite nice for small torches. I have one of these headband thingies myself which is handy for tying tackle out in the dark ;) Feel like cyclops ET with the darn thing on my head :D You saw monsters inc.


    On heaters, the only commercial type that can exceed 100% efficiency is the air con units, elemented heaters needs amps to work. IR space heaters work only when you're in their area. When you move out the area or switch them off, it's as cold as ever. I personally prefer air heaters more.

    Of course there is nothing like Old Brown Sherry and a hot woman to get you heated up :D

    I was going to elaborate on the hot woman there and put some pics up :rolleyes: but then we'd have to go to another forum. You know Jeff :D
     
  12. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    Thanks Fanie, I will now revise my needs and considerations for lighting on 39'C....
    Posting the images (empty bottle of) "old brown sherry" and her hot sister as opposed to a commercial space heater would be on topic to illustrate the different approaches to solving some problems.... Everyone asks for pics of the build/project... :D:D:D:D - - - - - - You posted images relating to the LED - so - complete the .....?
     
  13. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Centence ? My answer is 'complete the centence'

    Did I win anything Mas ? :D



    When you have the bottle and the blond, you won't need light or heat Mas...
     
  14. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    Post - Your post that is, which is in need of completion....

    I sentence you to complete the sentence, and everyone else will win having a bit of eye-candy to ogle..... :D:D:D:D

    I was hoping you would illustrate this phenomena for all to enjoy..... - empty bottle and bottle blond would be OK?
     

  15. Autodafe
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Autodafe Senior Member

    Fanie,

    Take sales spiels with a grain of salt.

    For comparison, wikipedia has an article on relative efficiencies:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficiency

    Note that even measuring total light (not spot intensity) LEDs are around 50% more efficient than a typical fluoro, and compact fluoros are less effiecient than average (as a rough generalisation, fluoro efficiency goes down as tube diameter goes down).
    The LED's I installed give 85lumens/watt, a low voltage compact fluoro at best 55lumens/watt. I consider a 50% gain significant. The article you found obviously disagrees.

    Have a look at Cree's products
    http://www.cree.com/products/xlamp.asp. Ignore the sales bumph, but read some data sheets and see the life span and light output as experimentally measured.

    Power LEDs are very bright to look at, and don't mount them pointing into a walkway at eye level, but they do not actually produce a narrow "spot". Different cones are available but typically you get an pretty even circle of light of around 100degrees, ie 1 meter away the "spot" is 1.5 meters across, 2m away 3m across.

    Once you have bottle and blond close to hand lighting is an optional extra anyway :)
     
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