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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I need it. I've been using a wretched painter's lamp via shorepower as my main cabin light for the 2 years and counting that I've been dockside. Sure, all the berth lights, LED strip lights, and even small salon table overhead light make for nice mood lighting and I can even cook (as long as I don't need to read a label or recipe!) and perform most of life's basic tasks by them, but it's still a ******* cave in here without that painter's lamp. Sometimes I just want to to be able to read, or splice a line, or read a label without have to grab the headlamp or position things just the right way under a fixture.

What solutions do you have, or have you seen, for really good cabin lighting? I don't know how room brightness is measured, but I know I've never been on a small-medium cruising sailboat that had lighting that was anywhere near on-the-grid-like brightness.
Yes, boats use batteries, and the builders know that no new buyer will be aboard after dark to complain about lighting until after the sale.
But I don't see why I should have to slowly turn into a mole just because I'm on a boat.

What you got?
 

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I replaced the dome light bulbs with LED clusters maybe 8 years ago. A significant improvement. Still not as much as I would like.

I have recessed area lights in the galled and behind one setee. I converted them to LED also, again helps.

My Wife is part bat and doesn't like bright lights, I can find reading stressful, especially a small font. Really small font, like the fine print on a can, may require a flashlight assisstance.

Bottom line, for us the LED bulbs were sufficient but not great.

Also we have a lot of white walls with mahogany trim, Some boats have a lot of woodwork which doesn't help.
 

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You might have add more LED dome lights, wall lights, or use a temporary LED work light. If the head liner is light colored bounce the light off of it. Boat interiors are dark and tend to not reflect light and make the interiors "dark" or as some say,,, cosy.

You can get some pretty bright LED head lamps w/ magnifying for close work. Look on Amazon
 

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Beneteau 393
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Add double. LED light aapears thin. Maybe not scientific but it's doesn't light like proper lights light.

I have so many LEDs in the saloon it draws as much as a hologen.
 

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Moody 376
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Baja,

I put these in my (new to me) moody this winter

and I put three of these in my engine bay

the dome lights are even brighter now that ive put the proper headliner in the boat, more reflections with all the lights on, even V berth and aft cabin and heads, i'm still drawing less than my incadecent running lights, maybe 3 amps, and each dome light has a switch on it.

138718
138719
138720
 

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The problem with the new high lumen LEDs is usually the designs... they are no really compatible with "traditional" boat interiors. My boat had OEM brass framed domes. Similar designs are available in polished chrome of stainless.

Or... you can re lamp the OEM fixtures with LED lamping... which is hit or miss until you get the right color balance and output.

My salon has a single dome light... two in the galley and one in the nav station. In addition it came with 4 bulkhead fixtures. All domes were re lamped with LEDs a 2nd LED dimmable fixture which can be also blue was added to the nav station (quite bright). Headliner is white gelcoat GRP the rest in teak and the upholstery is navy blue. Bright enough... but for detail work you need task lighting or a work light. Something like this:

 

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I had the same problem and have improved things a lot by converting to LED’s. I had a bunch of those fluorescent fixtures that are about 10”x2” and don’t work half the time. I replaced all of them with this:
Lumitronics RV LED Lights Interior – Soft & Cozy Warm Light - Camper Ceiling Light Fixture 12 Volt LED Lights for RV Interior with 3-Way Switch for RV Lighting (1-Pack)
1-Pack
Lumitronics RV LED Lights Interior – Soft & Cozy Warm Light - Camper Ceiling Light Fixture 12 Volt LED Lights for RV Interior
$11.99$11.99
FREE Delivery
Sunday, Mar 14
Sold by Northbay Products and Fulfilled by Amazon.

I chose them because they’re pretty low profile and about the same dimensions as the fluorescent lights they replaced. They are very bright and I can actually see what I’m cooking now. I also replaced the big fluorescents in the engine room with these and the heat hasn’t bothered them.

For the dome lights I got some little flat squares of LED’s that have about 3” wires leading to a plug that twists into where the old bulb was. But part of the problem with the bulbs besides being too dim, was that the contacts on the bulb would corrode and need to be cleaned or at least jiggled. So, I removed the socket from my dome lights and cut the bulb shaped plug on the LED squares off and crimped on those little round plugs on the wires which make a much better connection so no more flickering. The LED squares are about 2”x2” and just lay on the dome lights glass dome. LOTS more light and the way I have them semi-hard wired in, are very reliable.

Not sure whether you have experience working with LED’s but unlike incandescent bulbs, some LED’s are sensitive to polarity so before you permanently connect the wires, check to see if the light comes on and if it doesn’t, reverse the polarity and try again.
 

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I suppose the other thing you could do is to install some bulkhead lights aimed at the ceiling.

I did this in a small cabin. Works fairly well for nice even distribution. Assuming the ceiling is white.
 

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Looking at replacing some 12" fluorescent tubes (F8T5) with LEDs. What I can't work out is whether the overall power consumption would be less if I get the type that require removing the ballast from the circuit (like this: https://www.amazon.com/LEGELUX-Florescent-Replacement-Motorhomes-Trailers/dp/B0795MTW7R ) or the ones that are direct drop-ins (like this: https://www.amazon.com/F8T5CW-Repla...=f8t5cw+led+replacement&qid=1615655683&sr=8-8 ).

I think the issue is how much power is dissipated by the ballast, and I can't seem to find a figure on that. Anyone know?
 
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