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Spreader Lights - voltage conversion?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by petrel, Mar 18, 2021.

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  1. petrel

    petrel Member

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    I'm working my way down the list to the little stuff. Right now the boat is equipped with 120vac halogen spreader lights. I don't see many nice marine options for upgrading them in 120vac. However, there seems to be no limit to the options in size, configuration, lumens, etc. in 12v LED spreader lights.

    So, rewire for 12v LEDs or stay with old school 120vac halogens?
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Some thoughts if you don't mind;

    Is your boat 12 or 24Vdc?
    What I'm thinking is what wire gauge has already been run (120Vac) vs the amperage/voltage drop (even with LED) may offer you a more tolerant re-use with the same wire on a 24Vdc setup.

    It's still going to be hard to beat that bright 120Vac light. You could just keep using the better exterior light (still cheap) assembly from your fave supplier.
    If you not sure how bright is bright;
    Maybe grab one LED light and try a comparison, tie wrap one up and with temp wires and battery, see witch light offers better color and readability.

    I have moved all my flood lights to DCv, including LEDs where I could. Using the gen-sets less and less as we cruise.
  3. petrel

    petrel Member

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    The boat is 12v for house. The yard won't re-route the existing wiring for 12v use because of ABYC standards. I've already consulted with the yard about re-wiring the spreader light location for 12v. Because part of the restoration required them to pull the old 120vac wiring out of the hardtop, only the new circuit to the panel would be on me.

    With regard to brightness, I think my current spreader lights are 300w which could be roughly 5200 lumens. The 12v LEDs I have in mind are 6000 lumens and capable of being dimmed. Plus, I know this isn't very scientific, but I upgraded my exterior shop lights from 500w halogen to 4800 lumen LEDs and they are much brighter.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The newer LED's are quite bright and what all of the big SF manufacturers are installing. I'd go that route, the Halogens 120v got really hot and burned through bulbs quite frequently.
  5. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Out standing.
    Then ,, why did you ask us?
    :D:D:D
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  6. petrel

    petrel Member

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    I was wondering if I was missing some advantage to having 120v lights instead of 12v, or if there were some nifty 120v marine spreader lights out there that I had not found yet.

    I didn't want to rewire if it wasn't a good idea.
  7. petrel

    petrel Member

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    Looks like I will go with Lumitec H60 or H120, waiting to hear from them on a recommendation.
  8. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen Member

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    You shouldn't have to re-wire anything. Usually the modern LED bulbs have a built in power converter so you can just screw it into the socket and hit the switch. If your socket is not too common or very boat-centric then you might have to shop in some type of marine supply shop.
  9. petrel

    petrel Member

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    That would be an option. However, I want to replace the fixtures with something more streamlined. The big halogen floodlights are a little clunky.
  10. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    How far apart are your AC and DC panels? Pull the wires going to the AC panel and route them and extend to the DC panel. If you re going to LEds they use a lot less amps so gauge isn’t a worry. I don’t see why the yard is giving you trouble.
  11. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    Re-purposing white, green and black wires for DC use when the current standard is Red and Yellow for DC would be a problem fitting into the Professional and Workmanlike ambition for the boatyard. On an older boat, the DC negative can be black, so pulling a red alongside can work. And leave the next guy guessing why there's a white and green adrift in the area if not pulled out.
    The lights in question are 5 amps and 10 amps, respectively, so the correct wire gauge should be calculated for the run. It's larger than one would think, unless extended operating time and voltage drop isn't important.
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Yes obviously the wire gauge needs to be checked but it is acceptable to use colored electrical tape of reusing wires
  13. Gary Roe

    Gary Roe New Member

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    I replaced my old spreaderlights with the new lumitec Caprera2 color LED lights. They are very bright and the brightness is adjustable with your toggle switch. I also like the Blue Light feature it really gives my 26 foot Center Console a great look.
  14. Prospective

    Prospective Senior Member

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    I put the same lights on my Ocean. I rewired to my helm just for these lights and the removed the big halogens on the hardtop. Cleans up the hardtop a lot. The lumitec's are very bright and I like the dimming as well. But I can't compare to the halogens as I never used them.

    One thing I like about the conversion is I'm not a guy who runs my generator whenever off shorepower. So I hated having to start it and switch the lights on from the main panel if I was docking in the dark. Now I can just flip the lights on any time I need a bunch of light (or a little since they dim) and it's easy to put them on from the helm when getting ready to dock at night.
  15. petrel

    petrel Member

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    I'll bet they look good. I'm becoming a big fan of Lumitec products. Ended up with the dimmable Lumitec H120s to replace my halogen flood lights. Had the circuit changed out from 120vac to 12vdc.

    The panels were side by side, but the yard was pretty adamant about not repurposing the wiring.