LED lighting (again)

Has it really been 5 days? Well, a couple of those were taken up with running up and back to the comfort station. Apparently soy milk does not agree with me and my stomach!

I’ve been doing some more research on the LED lighting situation – how to design the system. It would normally be an easy thing – you simply buy the white/red LED lights that have a built in switch. But… (there’s always a “but” to make things difficult, isn’t there?)

Those lights that have the switch in them are 6 1/2 inches across. The current holes in the headliner is 3 inches across. The lights with the switch in them requires 3 inches of clearance. The current headliners have 1 1/2 inches of clearance. If I used the lights with switches they would require I enlarge the holes in the headliners AND they would protrude a bit from the headliner. Not an aesthetically pleasing installation. Oh, and did I mention that they are almost twice the price of the LED one I was considering?

So after doing some poking around, this is what’s been decided:

The lights under consideration have three wires to them. There’s a common ground and then two power lines. If you apply power to one of the power lines, the white LED turns on. If you apply the power to the other power line, the red LED turns on. Don’t apply power to BOTH of them at the same time. The manufacturer warns against that.

At the nav station I have two switches. One switch energizes the starboard cabin lights. The other switch energizes the port cabin lights. All the cabin lights are run in parallel like a christmas tree where if one light burns out, the rest keep working.

What we’re going to do is use an external switch at each light. Push the switch to towards the bow of Opus and the red LED will be selected. Push the switch towards the stern and the white LED will be seleccted. Put the switch in the middle and neither light will be selected. The switches at the nav station will still energize port or starboard, or maybe I’ll put all the lights on one swich, freeing up a switch to use for other things (I can run all the lights off one switch since the LED lights draw far less current than the current incandescent ones).

Most other things are just waiting for supplies to arrive, although hopefully tomorrow I’ll be taking Opus over to the boatyard so that it can be worked on there. Having a professional working on it will make the work go a lot faster (plus there is stuff I just can’t do alone).

I also had a talk with the border folks to see if I can, somehow, commute back and forth rather than living on the boat, but I’l write more about that in the Captain’s Corner blog.

Leave a Reply