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post #1 of 16 Old 11-04-2012 Thread Starter
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AC light fixtures

I've gotten tired of dodging lamp cords at night and want to look into permanent 120v fixtures. But for some reason, I'm having trouble finding any.
Are there light fixtures--flourescent or incandescent--that are made for 120v AC boat cabin lights? Or, is there a DIY way to 'marinize' non-marine light fixtures to limit corrosion?
Or is it better to wire in an inverter and run the existing 12v lights off the AC that way?
Thanks for any help.
John V.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

Inverter takes e.g 12v and turns it to e.g 120v. You want, if I am reading your post correctly, to tone down your 120v to 12. That requires a transformer not an inverter.

Hardwiring in 120v luminaires seems like a singularly bad idea to me. At a guess 120v marine grade would be hellishly expensive and what happens when you are not on mains power ?

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

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Originally Posted by VallelyJ View Post
I've gotten tired of dodging lamp cords at night and want to look into permanent 120v fixtures. But for some reason, I'm having trouble finding any.
Are there light fixtures--flourescent or incandescent--that are made for 120v AC boat cabin lights? Or, is there a DIY way to 'marinize' non-marine light fixtures to limit corrosion?
Or is it better to wire in an inverter and run the existing 12v lights off the AC that way?
Thanks for any help.
John V.
Normally when on AC power your battery charger will be operating and supplying 12V to your whole system. It simultaneously charges your batteries and powers your loads (unless your loads happened to be excessive and then your batteries will start supplying current). So a regular charger essentially does what you call an inverter (which is the wrong term, as TDW says).

You're not providing a lot in the way of context here. Why do you have AC cords running through your boat?
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

Some folks have been very happy shopping at Ikea, where they have have strings of 12v "cabinet" lights that plug into a 120V transformer. On a boat? You just lose the transformer and you've got lights at an Ikea price.

But if you ever run on battery power, you'll behappier looking for brand-name high efficiency high performance LED lighting. Even Alpenglow has gotten into that. More money up front, yes, but less money charging batteries. And the good stuff really is brighter, and a nice color. The cheap stuff? Well, cheap enough to replace painlessly since it won't last as long, either.

But if there's an Ikea around you...go look at the cabinet lights.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

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Normally when on AC power your battery charger will be operating and supplying 12V to your whole system. It simultaneously charges your batteries and powers your loads (unless your loads happened to be excessive and then your batteries will start supplying current). So a regular charger essentially does what you call an inverter (which is the wrong term, as TDW says).

You're not providing a lot in the way of context here. Why do you have AC cords running through your boat?
Battery charger not connected to shore power maybe ?

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

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Some folks have been very happy shopping at Ikea, where they have have strings of 12v "cabinet" lights that plug into a 120V transformer. On a boat? You just lose the transformer and you've got lights at an Ikea price.

But if you ever run on battery power, you'll behappier looking for brand-name high efficiency high performance LED lighting. ......

But if there's an Ikea around you...go look at the cabinet lights.
We did just that in 1998! Diss the transformer and use the 12V lights. In fact, they used to have what they called "replacement" sets of just the lights with no transformer. Planned obsolescence? Who knew? OTOH, we STILL have the replacement lamps sets.

LEDs are nice, but you have to prove it makes sense with an energy budget. We hardly use any regular lighting to make any kinda dent in our daily use - the fridge is the "culprit."

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: AC light fixtures

Thanks for the responses.
This year was the first time I was in a slip rather than moored, so I'm new to the shore power thing. I have a couple of 120v lamps that I plug into various AC outlets, hence cords in the way when I move around. Been bringing a battery charger from home and plugging it in.
I thought it would be good to have 2 or 3 hardwired 120v lights around. You're right, though--a battery charger running the 12v lights would accomplish the same thing as using an inverter to step 12v DC up to 120v AC.
120v marine wire is pretty expensive--buck and a quarter/foot at WM for 3-14.
A hard wired charger is the way to go.
Thanks for the Ikea idea.
John V.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-27-2012
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I've bought all my LED lamps at a chinese "free shipping" website, except the mast top one. All 12v and all working fine for more than an year. Very very cheap and very good light.
I bought the warm white ones and got a quite cozy light. Never needed to install the LED strips because the lamps were more than enough but they're a very good idea because they may solve some wiring issues as well.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-28-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

We have two Alpenglow Cabin fixtures which is pleanty of light red or white. Each has two level;s and the Alpenglow LED are a soft white color. Best lights I have seen as far as color and brightness

http://www.alpenglowlights.com/compo...12393c80ff.jpg

Dave


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post #10 of 16 Old 11-28-2012
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Re: AC light fixtures

We have one regular 110v lamp aboard. It is in the salon, bolted through the bottom to permanently secure it to the shelf between our side settee. It is then hardwired through its base, presumably to a nearby 110v receptacle. It was professionally installed, so I don't know exactly where. Of course, it only works when on shore power or with the genset running (which we would never turn on just to power this lamp).

The 110v incandescent light bulb is much warmer and it operates on a dimmer. Its nice to have when you really only want a dim light to see enough to walk, say when returning from dinner or watching a movie or, on the other hand, when you really want to flood the cabin with light for a project or cleaning.

When we leave the boat at night at the dock, whether at home port or transient, we sometimes feel safer to leave a light on and give the illusion of someone aboard. We sometimes put the TV on too. Lots of unknown dockwalkers around. I am never comfortable leaving the 12v lights on, as the bulbs get extraordinarily hot and are buried inside the overhead. The 110v lamp is not in contact with anything.

Not a must have, however. You should have sufficient 12v lights to not require 110v.


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