Increasing Efficiency: Swapping out Halogen Bulbs for LEDs

February 22, 2012 — Portland, OR

There are two things that give me pause for thought on Pearl: water use and power use. While I haven’t spent a lot of time evaluating either  of these from living aboard before going cruising, I am trying to make a bunch of optimizations around these issues based on what I hope is common sense.

While not establishing a baseline is generally a bad idea — i.e. undetermined starting point — I’ve purchased a bunch of LEDs that were delivered yesterday to replace the halogen and incandescent bulbs on board Pearl.

The incandescent bulbs are primarily used in the Navigation lights. The Halogens are used in the interior spaces (salon, cabin, etc). While I expect power consumption from lighting to be more of an issue while at anchor than under sail, the idea of using only about 10% of the power we’d otherwise be using is pretty attractive — particularly since I found a relatively inexpensive source online for the bulbs at Super Bright LEDs.

Note that while you will have to poke around the site a bit to find what you are looking for, the prices are pretty darned good. Also, I’ve tried out several different bulbs. The conventional wisdom seems to be to get as many LEDs as you can on the “bulb” mountind surface. This hasn’t worked out so well for me. The lights end up being too bright and that requires installation of a dimmer. Super Bright has some slightly lower power LEDs that I think should work well.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how all of this experiment turns out.

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