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  #1  
Old 09-19-2013
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How many lumens do I need

So my boat has no interior lights, I'd like to set it up with at least 6 zones. By zones I mean areas, galley, nav station, head (enclosed), forward v-berth/ dinette, port and starboard reading bulkhead mounted lamps, engine room and aft cabin. Some will have white/red LEDs. I am totally clueless on how much light (lumens, candels, watts whatever ) are required for each area. Can anyone offer some advice on this? I will use LED lighting.
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Old 09-19-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

This could be an interesting thread because some of my LEDs are deteriorating, some are old so dont provide good, or deffused light etc.

I dont think LEDs even come with lumen ratings.

My perception has always been they are one of the worlds great rip offs! The only ones I got that are any good were from some back street in Singapore in the computer manufacturing district.

Some of my downlight replacements (from a chandelry) for halogens as so direct I just get a spot of light and cant see a thing outside their 6 inch pool.

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Old 09-19-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

" I just get a spot of light and cant see a thing outside their 6 inch pool."

Mark, that is exactly what I am concerned about. We've done 4 houses and I have never been satisfied with the lighting. A house room is large enough to spread the mistake around. A boat cabin, well, bad lighting will stand out like a sore thumb, if you can see it.
Either too bright, not spread out enough, too dim.
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Old 09-19-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

It's not just the light itself, but also the housing. LED's are highly directional, and you need a housing (even within the bulb itself) that will diffuse and redirect some of the light. That's why many of the better replacement bulbs have LED's in a circle, pointing outward. They assume the light will bounce off an internal reflector (like in a reading light in your cabin). So, the number of lumens isn't the only issue - lumens being "just" a measure of light output. You also need to look at the shape and orientation of the emitters, and the type of light fixture in which the emitter/bulb will be placed. What you might find more pleasing, rather than having point-sources of light, is to use a rope light. That will give you more uniform lighting throughout the boat. If you have the room for it, you might also toy with orienting the rope light to shoot "up" rather than down toward the cabin floor.

I want to re-do the lighting in my cabin, and the rope lighting is high on my list of things to try. I still want reading-type lights, too, but in some cases I just want a nice, diffuse light throughout the cabin.
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Old 09-19-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

Generally speaking LEDs simply do not have the output of a halogen and if I had my druthers I'd druther have halogen, but power consumption issues do sadly come into it.

For a reading light you are going to need something in the order of 400 lumens but to get that and get it with a decent beam spread your consumption will be in the order of 6w LED. I've used some 5w halogens on the Womboat and found them quite satisfactory although they dont project their light very far. The lumen output of the 5w halogen is circa 300. The specific luminaire does have a pretty good reflector.

Most 12v LED retro fit lamps are more in the range of 1-3w which is great for power consumption but not so crash hot for light output, though on a boat of course with smaller spaces light tends to 'feel' brighter.

Whatever you do make sure you get warm white.

As to quality of LEDs ..... the newer are better in the main than older generations though yes, where they come from is important. Korea makes some excellent LEDs, they are definitely the leaders in Asia while even many of the Euro manufacturers are using Korean.

Don't expect to get quality for chicken feed.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

LEDs most definitely come with lumen ratings. All of my experience with LED ratings comes from cycling experience. All cycling lights are lumen rated. From this experience I can tell you that 300 lumens is friggin' bright. 300 lumen lamps in your cabin will be awkwardly bright, by a lot. I would guess you could probably go as low as 30 to 50 lumen to get your cabin "in a mood." Even then it might feel bright.

To put all this in perspective, my main road cycling light is 300 lumen and I use it when it is pitch black out and I want to see 80 feet in front of me, like a car headlight. You'll want a lot less.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

A standard 21W marine reading light is about 200 lumens. If you look around you can get LED bulbs to replace them that are about the same. I have 4 of them in my small salon on my 31ft er, 2 more in the head, and 2 in V berth. They seem about right, although more light in the salon wouldn't go amiss.

You are also looking for a colour temperature spec that is 3000K or so (incandescent is about 2700) Terms like warm white are meaningless - I've seen it applied to 5000K, which is very cold - but the actual temp spec is usually correct.

The bulbs I used look like this ;

Amazon.com: LED 12V AC/DC 3.5W G4 Omni-Directional Lamp Bulb: Home Improvement Amazon.com: LED 12V AC/DC 3.5W G4 Omni-Directional Lamp Bulb: Home Improvement



To Matt : 300 lumens might seem a lot at night on a dark road, but it is not much in a room. For example, an ordinary 60W light bulb is about 800 lumens.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

Not to be a smart a$$, but to answer the original question "how many lumens do I need" only has one correct answer:

Enough to see by.

We went with these- nice temp and plenty of light. Irwin Yacht LEDs they are direct replacement for standard sized Florescent tubes and draw, per my monitor .5 amps.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

As an electrical engineer whi deals in lighting design I want to pipe up here. In my experience dealing with commercial installations of large LEDs you are only going to get the manufacturer's rated lifetime out of them when the temperature never exceeds 21 degrees C and you install the LEDs into an actual LED type housing with a heat sink.

Which basically means if you retrofit an LED bulb into an existing fixture on a boat I would expect 1/2 the lifetime or even less and junk performance.

Look for full replacement fixtures. They will give the proper light diffusion without blinding you. There's a big difference between an LED light that is a point source at 300 lumens and one that is a diffuse source at 300 lumens. Of course they are also $$$. Look for ones with 2 year warrantees. A lot of LED units crap out in the first year. It's a bathtub curb for failures.
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Old 09-20-2013
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Re: How many lumens do I need

I have two sens-a-bulbs in the original Cal 29 bulkhead fixtures that had 10 watt incandescent lamps and if anything there brighter

There is certainly plenty of light even with only one on to read and it is almost like daytime with both on

The sens-a-bulbs are fully heat sinked and do not seem to have any lifetime problems



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