We did a quick upgrade last night. Following the examples from the Skelton Crew and Wright Away, we final converted our cabin lights to LEDs. Between these two cruisers-in-the-works a lot of the research had been done for us. The real choice comes down to the type of light with warm white, cool white and natural light being the most common that people use for cabin lights. The warm white is the “softest” color of the three and the cool white is the brightest but can be a little harsh. The natural light is in the middle.
We ordered through M4, following the lead of Skelton Crew. The prices were great and they have free shipping. I ordered on Monday and received the bulbs on Wednesday. Can’t beat that. We got 5 natural light and 5 cool white. The initial thought was we wanted the brighter light for the 3 main cabin lights and for some reading lights.
The actual work of putting them in was harder than I thought it would be. With the back pin style you can’t see the pins and the pin holes so you have to do it by feel. And taking out an LED required a knife blade or something thing like that because there was nothing to grab. Once installed my Bride did not like the Cool White. It was too bright and harsh for the main cabin lights. The Natural Light was nice though. I liked right off but it took a little time for my Bride to decide it was OK. Here are some shots, not that great but I think they show some of the difference.
So in the end, the 5 lights we use the most got the Natural Light LEDs. The Cool White went into other lights that only get used occasionally.
From a power management perspective, we used approximately 17-25 Ah per day to 1.4-2 Ah per day for under $100. For some perspective, a typical 100 watt solar panel is rated for 5.6 amps per hour of charging. You won’t get that because panels are not 100% efficient. So maybe you get 4.5 amps per hour or a little less on average. So this could save about 3 hours of a 100 watt panel per day.
Another really nice side benefit is the reduced heat. I was reading when we went to bed last night with the new LEDs. When I reached up to turn off the light it was noticeably cooler in the area of the light fixture.