Our New Affordable, BRIGHT Light Fixtures!

  • January 14, 2012 12:19 PM
    Message # 797738
    Hello all,

    A while back, during the full rewiring of our W32, we built wood light fixtures from douglas fir mimicking Alpenglows. We originally affixed cold cathode fluorescent lamps within them, but they proved to be unreliable on an unstable battery bank's voltage. Over the recent holidays I had the opportunity to replace all of the CCFLs with LED strips.

    I purchased two five meter rolls of waterproof SMD 5050 LED strips (300 LEDs/5m) via eBay for $36 each. From these two rolls I outfitted six of my home-built 12" fixtures with three 1' strips each, as well as two 5', one 3', and one 2' long douglas fir strips with grooves routed in the faces for recessing a single continuous strip of LEDs each.

    The 5' wood strips were mounted on the overhead of the vee berth for brightly illuminating that area and are controlled by a switch mounted in little panels I had previously built for DC outlets and fan mounting, the 12" fixtures are mounted throughout the boat, the 3' wood strip is mounted diagonally over the galley to provide additional light to the 12" fixture, and the 2' strip is mounted over the main hanging locker and chest/dresser area adjacent to the head. The 3' and 2' strips are switched on via standard in-line rotary switches that are traditionally used on small household lamps.

    Pictures say way more than words, so you can check out a bunch via the link to the album below, and I've attached a few key pics to this post. Suffice to say, the boat is VERY well lit and we are EXTREMELY satisfied!

    Photos of the LEDs here.

    With the cost of building the fixtures, including wood, switches, lenses, wire, and the LED strips, I estimate to have spent $140 total in lighting the interior. Each 12" fixture draws .4a and puts out a LOT of light (~900 lumens.) The 5' strips draw .5a, the 3' .4a, the 2' .3a. With all of the lights in the boat turned on, there is 7.1 amps being drawn.

    In addition to these larger, bright lights, I also previously built small 6" fixtures in which I already had mounted lower-lumen white and red LEDs that provide excellent low-level lighting. These probably cost in the realm of $60 total, with the low-power lights coming from mastlight.com (although I think better LEDs are now available for less via superbrightleds.com) There is ample red light available in every area of the boat for functioning at night, and when you need the bright guys, they are a click away and amazingly bright!

    Hopefully other can outfit these great LEDs to their boats and save $$!

    Happy sailing!
    Aaron N.
    Last modified: January 14, 2012 12:20 PM | Anonymous member
  • January 15, 2012 8:06 AM
    Reply # 798110 on 797738
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Aaron: Nice write up and images -- I've cross posted to the Westsail FAQ blog.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software