Show Me The Light

Upgrade Any Ordinary Light Fixture to an Efficient LED with a Simple Replacement Bulb

Capt. Mike Genoun December 9, 2011

If you spend as much time on the water as we do then you know marine lighting has a large role in enhancing our fishing and boating experiences. Cabin lights…deck lights…cockpit lights…they’re important to all of us, so when I recently stumbled upon an innovative line of products while researching a sponsored segment of Florida Sport Fishing TV, I couldn’t wait to share what I discovered.

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Nowadays, it seems as though everyone in the marine industry is head over heels for LED technology…and for good reason. Light Emitting Diodes are much more energy efficient than standard light bulbs (up to 90 percent more energy efficient), run substantially cooler than all other bulbs with barely any thermal output, have much better color rendering, and yield brightness levels on par with nearly any other light source currently on the market. Plus, they are impervious to vibration. And while some of you may already know what I am about to reveal, surely not everyone does.

…they typically provide ten times the lifespan of ordinary bulbs and don’t need to be changed for the life of the vessel…

Thanks to modern technology it is now possible to convert any ordinary interior or exterior marine light fixture into a bright, super-efficient LED with a simple and affordable replacement bulb. Just discard the existing halogen, fluorescent or incandescent bulb and replace it with the appropriate LED, making your conversion a one step process.

LED replacement bulbs cost more but considering they typically provide ten times the lifespan of ordinary bulbs and don’t need to be changed for the life of the vessel, they actually save manpower and money in the long run. Keep in mind that nearly any size or shape incandescent light bulb can be replaced with an LED in warm white, cool white, blue or red. Boat owners can also purchase LED replacement bulbs in two-color configurations, thus upgrading a standard light fixture into a white and red fixture without replacing the housing, changing the wiring or upgrading the switch. With these new LEDs you’ll get white…off…red…off…white…off…red…etc. with each consecutive flick of the switch. Really cool stuff and ideal for bridge areas and helm stations where you don’t want to sacrifice night vision.

LED replacement bulbs are also safer, especially when it comes to navigation lights. When a typical incandescent bulb breaks or burns out you have no light at all. With LEDs, if a single LED fails the remaining diodes continue to illuminate.

Never really given a second thought, lighting is an important aspect of boating for all of us. Sadly, many other more glamorous aspects of our favorite pastime often overshadow the topic, but it is nonetheless equally as important. Now, thanks to modern technology you can enhance your vessel’s appearance and functionality easier than ever before.

Shed Some Light

Until recently, common marine light fixtures primarily utilizing halogen and incandescent light sources were rated by wattage—a consistent measure from one manufacturer to the next. With the rapid development of Light Emitting Diodes the technology is different, and a standard 75-watt light bulb may soon be a thing of the past. This means luminous flux, efficacy, luminance, and beam angle must be scrutinized when selecting the correct replacement bulb. In order to make informed decisions, it is important consumers understand these terms and it’s not a bad idea to consult a reputable marine lighting retailer before handing over your payment information.

Luminous flux is the power of perceived light, measured in lumens. Luminous flux is a good platform to base your purchasing decision because it is an accurate representation of how much light you can expect to achieve from the bulb. And remember that two LEDs are not twice as bright as a single LED.

Similar to efficiency, the efficacy of a light is the amount of light it produces per unit of electrical power. This could be considered lumens per watt.

Illuminance is important and can be described as the intensity of light at one specific point. It is also known as visible flux density.

Beam angle is the angle light output is distributed. However, beam angle can be deceiving. A light can have a wide beam angle, yet at the outer perimeter of the illuminated area the illuminance can be extremely minimal.

Socket type is also crucial when selecting the appropriate LED replacement bulb with bayonet, bi-pin, festoon, and wedge all popular options. Obviously you must replace your existing bulb with the correct socket. See you on the water.

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