LED Lighting for Sailboats – How to Choose a Quality Marine Grade LED Bulb Replacement

How mariner should know before installing LED Lighting on his vessel.

What should I buy? So why should We buy? My friend acquired LEDs for his vessel and they all perished in the first month, draught beer all like that? Those are generally legitimate questions that our customers have asked. This article should clear the air on the subject. LED Driver

The dilemma takes root in the fact that every low volt quality LED lights are not made equal. We have a wide range of sources for LED lights on the market, almost no honest technical information exists on them and the price range is extremely wide. The large quantity of products and the lack of precise information has incited us to write this article. This kind of document is based on information that comes straight from the engineers and manufacturer of our product line and is also complemented by our own experience of LED Lighting in the Marine Environment. 

This article will make an work to spare you the physics behind the product while giving you enough facts to carefully choose what product you should install on your ship. I’m sorry to all the engineers that will not find this document complete and precise, nevertheless the aim is merely to provide our fellow sailors with the basic knowledge necessary to make a smart decision when purchasing LEDs for their boat.

In the beginning, it would appear to all of us that LEDs were made with your own boat in head. They have a great life span, don’t brain vibrations, produce much less heat than their amoureux or halogen counterparts and use a lot less energy – about a tenth of the power draw of a halogen – for a similar end result. So, where is the situation you ask? Why no longer they work with my vessel?

Historically, it was simple. The color output was BAD! Nobody liked the dull, low-output blue color of the early LED’s. Well, that has altered and LEDs now have a similar light end result and color to that of low-wattage halogens we find on our ships.

The problem nowadays is different. The marine environment with its various power options is very hostile towards electronic components, especially LED lights. Voltage variations we witness on our vessels are the greatest opponent of LEDs. Being INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE TO VOLTAGE VARIANTS, MOST LEDs found on the market are generally not IDEAL for use on our boats.

I have stated to never get into the physics of powering LEDs, but i want to try a few simple principles that apply to LEDs. Here are some doesn’t require advanced consumer electronics knowledge, I will call this segment BOAT LED PRE LIT 101.

All LED’s are semiconductor diodes. They create their light at the junction of their positive and negative sides. Once power is applied to an LED, the bad particals jump from one part to the other liberating light in the form of photons along the way. Several types of semiconductors produce different wavelengths and therefore produce different light colors. The warm white signals that we prefer in yachts is created by Indium Gallium Nitride (InGaN). Put other materials, like phosphors and you get a pleasing incandescent light color.

Now, what are the results when we apply voltage to the semiconductor is what we really need to look at. Apply the right volts – in our software 12V – and the necessary current will travel through the semiconductor and we get a lovely, high efficiency, bright light that will glow for thousands of hours. However we need the right voltage, exactly 12V.

You and I understand for a fact that boats do not offer lab quality power! Start off the engine, the electrical generator set or hook up to shore power and your environment has suddenly become hostile to your LEDs.