Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beware LED lights!

Some weeks ago, we bought three LED replacements for the halogen lights in Kantara's dinette. The halogens are rated at 20 watts, whereas the LEDs are just 1.4 - fourteen LEDs consuming the same energy from our batteries as just one halogen. It makes sense to replace all of the halogens on the boat, so we trialled with these three from Maplin, at under £5 each. They seemed fine. The light was not as warm as the halogens gave, but it was bright, and compromising the warmth of the light didn't seem like such a big deal.

A week or so later, our smoke/carbon monoxide alarm went off without apparent reason. We could detect no smoke ourselves, nor could we identify any possible source of CO. It happened again some days later. Odd.

Then Grace was reading a boaters' forum on the web, and came across warnings that LED lights have been known to overheat and burn. Ours were removed straight away...
Front
Back
...and we found much evidence of overheating.

These units were sold as replacements for the bulbs we had. 12 volts. No comments about application. It turns out that the batteries in a boat do not supply a smooth enough current for lights like these. The voltage sometimes rises above 12 volts, and causes them to overheat. There were no warnings on the box about this. They went back to Maplin, and our money was refunded.

We have since bought five LED lights from Bedazzled, who sell LEDs especially for boats. These have circuitry which smooths the voltage they receive, and prevents the overheating. They are more expensive, but the difference is, of course, worth it. We like them, and will soon replace all of the lights on the boat with units from these people. The result will be that we no longer have to keep our lighting to a minimum at nights when we are away from a landline. Any single room in the boat can be lit by all of its lights for less power consumption than just one of the previous lights.

And without the risk of setting fire to the ceiling!

12 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for posting. I had learn a lot about it.

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  2. Hi have you had any problems with interference on radio or television reception?

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  3. No, none whatsoever. We've had Bedazzled's LEDs throughout the boat for over two years now, and have no problems of any kind with them.

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  4. Thank you for posting this on the net. We are about to have a new boat built. We have seen the Bedazzled chap at Crick Boat Show He was v helpful.
    We have LED lights in half of the fittings on our current boat nb. Eliza Jane. They are impressive. Jill

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    1. I'm sorry, Jill. I've only just got a message from Google, telling me you'd made this comment! I'm glad you're pleased with the LEDs. Ours have been no problem in the three years we've had them, and I'm expecting them to last years amd years more. I hope things are going well with your boat!

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  5. Very useful info guys as I am preparing to replace some older LED bulbs on my boat. Some of the current ones block the signal to my DAB radio. Cheers. Mike

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    1. Thanks, Michael. I'm glad that was helpful. I hope Bedazzled LEDs don't block your DAB radio!

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  6. Thank you we were just about to replace all our bulbs, we now where we will get them.

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  7. Excellent! And you read this so long after I published it! I'm very glad you did.

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  8. We got bedazzled as a result of this article and have had them for 2 years now without an issue.. recently as a added safeguard we also put in a 12v dc regulator which makes a lot of difference.

    there only £8 on ebay and can be fitted easily.. search ebay for "12A Buck Converter Step Down LED Car Power Supply"

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  9. Good! Thanks for the converter info. I'll look into that. What difference does it make, though?

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