Best CFL or LED cabin lights? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-01-2010
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Best CFL or LED cabin lights?

OK, I enter a fray. One of my cabin lights broke and it has prompted me to replace at least that one, if not more. It is a standard incandescent with a single bayonet bulb of 25 W I think. So 2 amps.

I've done a massive amount of reading on cabin lights, and am familiar with all the rationales for CFL and LED, but when push comes to shove, it is painfully difficult to choose from among the baffling array of choices.

What I seek is a light for above our galley sink. It must be at least as bright as the 25W incandescent.

I purchased and tried to install an Innovative Lighting flourescent with a 13W bulb but besides it having some defective wiring, it was not bright enough. Not as bright as the other 25W incandescents.

I'm really open to anyone who can seriously vouch for some CFL or LED cabin lights that give off plenty of light. I'm aware of Alpenglow, but am not convinced their 9W model gives off enough light. They say 600 lumens, but how can their 9W flourescent give off more light than the 13W fllourescent I just tried today?

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
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Old 02-02-2010
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No commercial LED will give you that much light. The CFL or fluros will give more total light over a larger area, but the spot brightness will be less.
I think your only option is a 20w halogen globe.
Their might be something in the HID range. I have a 35W one that would put out loads more light than you have at present, but they are not readily available in lower wattages.
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Old 02-02-2010
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Fortunately an enterprising Sailnetter has done the work to help you make an informed decsion. This place is better that Practical Sailor!

LED Bulb Comparison !!!
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Old 02-02-2010
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Good info

Thanks midlife and noelex. Of course I know and revere Mainsail like everyone here for his photo-documentation of projects, but that post didn't come up in my search. Mainesail did not address fluorescents, but one of the responses to his post included a link to a Nigel Calder article in Professional Boatbuilder Professional BoatBuilder - October/November 2008 that was the most useful thing I have read.

The technology is changing so quickly that even my newest editions of all the books don't cover what's happening THIS year.

I think I will follow Nigel Calder in using fluorescent for area lighting and LED for spot lighting. Now my challenge is whether Alpenglow is worth the premium price, or whether spread over time I will get similar value from another model. Part of me really likes to support small scale garage style business people, so in that regard Alpenglow will probably get my money.

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2010
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FWIW: All my main cabin lights are CFL, and we have been very happy with them. I used LEDs in the head and areas where they seemed more suited. The CFLs do take a bit to 'warm up'. the light output increases for the first 5 minutes or so; something to get used to. Taylor makes a double tube variety that give some flexibility in light output, and they can be put on a dimmer. We just run them on/off, and its OK.
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Old 02-02-2010
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I've done my cabin up in sensibulbs, except for one cfl. Compared to a 10w halogen, sensibulb is slightly brighter and more yellow. I got a no-name cfl that's so, so blue. So sensibulb doesn't meet your 25 watt equivalency standard and i'd like to know what does.
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Old 02-02-2010
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Although measurements indicate high lumens for LED's, my eyes reject their findings. I tried to read the same book under LED and hot light nearly of equal lights but failed to read iwth led and was comfortable with the filament lamp.

Please make sure you have enough light when trying to use LED's.
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Old 02-02-2010
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Two Sensibulbs in one fixture should give you the output you desire. I read books under my Sensibulbs all the time and find them quite easy on the eyes to read by bit many others are not.

There is lots of snake oil and bull sh&t specs on many of the LED bulbs out there, so be careful what you buy and try to buy from a reputable company. Sensibulb just launched a new bulb that replaces the ones I tested and they are supposed to be even brighter than the last generation while still retaining that excellent warmth.

Many overhead fixtures allow for two bulbs..

By twisting the tabs slightly I can fit two Sensibulbs in this fixture but I find I don't need two as they are quite bright.

One 25 watt bulb is burning 2.08 amps
Two Sensibulbs are burning roughly .388 amps

Using one 25W incandescant bulb is a 436% increase in energy consumption over two Sensibulbs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwindrope View Post
Thanks midlife and noelex. Of course I know and revere Mainsail like everyone here for his photo-documentation of projects, but that post didn't come up in my search. Mainesail did not address fluorescents, but one of the responses to his post included a link to a Nigel Calder article in Professional Boatbuilder Professional BoatBuilder - October/November 2008 that was the most useful thing I have read.

The technology is changing so quickly that even my newest editions of all the books don't cover what's happening THIS year.

I think I will follow Nigel Calder in using fluorescent for area lighting and LED for spot lighting. Now my challenge is whether Alpenglow is worth the premium price, or whether spread over time I will get similar value from another model. Part of me really likes to support small scale garage style business people, so in that regard Alpenglow will probably get my money.

Thanks!
Yeah the overhead lighting in my Catalina is, well its non-existant. Its one area where Catalina really screwed up in my estimation. I've been noodling over how I could add an overhead light, and most of the options that would give an OEM look, require more craftsmanship than I think I can muster.

The one option still on the drawing board is an Alpenglow unit with the CFL's and red LED's mounted above the settee table. I think I could run the wire through the bulkhead from the head and hide it under a teak trim strip and not have it look too terrible.

The other option was to use LED's in all the reading lamps, so I can have them all on to provide overall lighting in the cabin and still not kill the house bank. I also have some florescents for undercounter lighting in the galley that I might replace with led strips.
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Sensibulb

Based on what I learned here and read online, I have decided to purchase the single bayonet adaptor and sensibulb to try in one of my existing fixtures. I sure like everything I read about them, and the images from Mainesail are compelling. If the bulb works well, I will go ahead and purchase their complete fixture which has two bulbs I believe, for the area above the galley where I need to replace the broken fixture.

Thanks again for the help and links...
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