Let There Be Light

Currently we have three halogen lights in the main cabin and they have earned the nicknames, “fridge”, “freezer”, and “watermaker” because, apparently, these little lights draw around the same amount of power as their names imply! Ouch!

I had tried to replace them a couple of months ago. I bought one LED bulb from a marine LED website and plopped it in. I HATED it! I couldn’t imagine having all the lights in the boat giving off this dim, sickly yellow glow. Just as the halogens are not an option-neither was this! Last week I came across the web site marinebeam and it had a great article, Marinebeams Idiots Guide To Boat LEDs, explaining LED lights and all the terminology used with them, and why there Is such a huge difference between the LED bulbs on the market. I learned things like the color emitted from the bulb and the way the light makes a colored surface look are separate things (CRI). And on boats you want to avoid ballast resistors and make sure you have one with constant-current control. I think I even understand why. But, even after reading, I still wasn’t sure which bulb to order so I called the company. I found out they have a new bulb that is not on the website yet, so I ordered that one and the one with the highest CRI rating (how objects look compared to direct sunlight). Turns out that they even sent me a third bulb to try out. Made my whole day happy!

Tonight I tried them all out and am happy to report the results. I piled up a bunch of colored objects to have something to compare, turned off my camera flash, and snapped away:

Below is my bright, happy halogen

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……and here is the first LED “light” I bought a couple of months ago-yuck!

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This one is the X-beam 10-90 CRI (has a slight pink color and isn’t as bright but objects appear true and makes the teak look good)

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This one is the original X-beam 10 warm white (nice and bright)

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And then, the Winner! The “new” X-beam 10 warm white. The difference is subtle but it had a much more pleasing color on the teak. I don’t think I will mind the switch to LED at all!

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With bulbs costing around $17.00 each, and more than 10 lights on the boat, I am happy to have taken the time to do some comparison shopping to find one I like before replacing them all!

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