Led Lights in Main Cabin (and Nav Station)

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January 2003 -
The goal here is to light up the entire cabin with less than half an Amp.

After installing marine grade LED lights in the Mast Trim, I began to like the Amber color -- it's more comfortable to live with than it sounds. You can't read by it, but it provides nice background glow.

This LED Light Bar from
JC Whitney costs about $15 and draws
.02 Amps.

(I tested it with my multimeter.)
It's not "marine" equipment, but to be frank I've purchased a lot of high priced "marine" electrical stuff that turned out to be
ordinary stuff in a new, expensive box.

I figure if it can be mounted on the outside of a truck for ten years it ought to be safe inside my boat.

So I just "Marinized" it by taking a syringe of Silicone and sealing the holes where the wire enters the bar. This ought to provide a little
strain relief as well.

I also sealed the mounting bracket with silicone -- after taking the pics below I smeared silicone all over the metal
(I don't think it's Stainless!)

So I made a harness for each side using four bars. Because the lights don't have tinned wire, I was careful to seal the connections well (below.)

Mounted, they're
well hidden
behind the teak trim
on the cabin edges.

Here's the galley. There are
two light bars over the sinks,
and one each over the cooler and stove.

I have a hard time holding the camera still for the long exposure needed, and I don't keep a tripod on the boat. (grin.)

You can see well enough to wash your hands, find a glass, and so on.
(There are four bright lights in the galley for serious work.)

So... the results. Remember, my goal here is to light up the interior for less than half an amp.
I'm trying to set up for the "one light" rule, where you only have one power hungry light on at a time.

This does the job well. In fact, I'm very pleased. You can't read by this light, but you can hang out
and find your way around. It's like having the boat lit up by about 15 or 20 candles.

Here's the main cabin.

There's enough light to make it really cozy and to see what
you're doing.
It's like candle light.
If you want to read or do something that really requires seeing, you need to flip on
a bright light.

But this is perfect
for background light.

You can find things!

I debated a bit about making a special enclosure for the switches, but the best place for them is right in the teak trim that runs along the edge of the cabin.

So I taped it off and took a hand chisel to it.
It worked out fine.

The switches are big Cole Hersee rocker switches.

The best part is that the whole cabin, galley and mast trim lights included, is costing .312 amps.
You can leave all the lights on, and not worry about batteries.

February 2003 -- This has worked out better than I ever would have thought.
Your eyes get so used to the light level that other lights are really not necessary for normal living.
I spent this evening on the boat, cooked dinner, watched a DVD
on the laptop (plugged into the stereo for good sound),
and did the dishes without turning on any other lights.

Detail on the
switch wiring.

. . . and two red ones.

The red one were so bright that they hurt my eyes, so I put a strip of black electrical tape over them. The light you see in this picture is just from what comes out the sides.

January 2004 --

In 2003 I ripped the starboard quarterberth down to the hull and turned it into a new nav station.

As part of that I added two Amber light bars. . .