What sailors need to know before installing LED lights on their boats.
What should i buy? Why should you buy A friend of mine bought LEDs for his boat, and they all died in the first month, are they all like that? These are all legitimate questions asked by our customers. This article needs to clarify the problem.
The confusion lies in the fact that not all low voltage LED lighting products are made the same. There are countless LED light sources on the market, there is little honest technical information available about them, and the price range is very wide. I decided to write this article because of the abundance of products and the lack of accurate information. This document is based on information provided directly by engineers and manufacturers in our product range and is complemented by our unique experience with LED lighting in marine environments. This article attempts to preserve the physics behind the product while providing enough information to carefully select the product to attach to the boat. I apologize to all engineers who don’t think this document is complete and accurate, but the purpose is to give fellow boaters the basic knowledge needed to make wise decisions when buying LED boats. Just provide to.
At first, the LEDs LED Christmas Lights appear to be built with the ship in mind. They have a long life, are vibration free, emit much less heat than light bulbs and halogen counterparts, and have much less power for similar output (about one tenth of halogen wattage). )Use the. So where is the problem you are asking? Why aren’t they working on my boat?
Historically, it was simple. The color output was bad! No one liked the low performance and dull blue color of early LEDs. Well, that has changed, LEDs now have the same light output and color as the low-voltage halogens found on our ships.
The problem is different these days. Marine environments with a variety of power sources are extremely hostile to electronic components, especially LED lights. The voltage changes seen on yachts are the biggest enemy of LEDs. Most LEDs on the market are very sensitive to voltage fluctuations and are not suitable for use in boats.
I promised not to touch on the physics of driving LEDs, but let’s try some simple principles that apply to LEDs. The following does not require advanced knowledge of electronic devices. This segment is called BOAT LED 101.
All LEDs are semiconductor diodes. They create their light at the junction of their positive and negative sides. When energy is applied to an LED, the electrons bounce back and forth, emitting light in the form of photons in the process. Different types of semiconductors have different wavelengths and, as a result, different colors of light. The warm white light we prefer on yachts is made from indium gallium nitride (InGaN). Add other materials such as matches to get a nice sparkling bright color.
What is happening now when we apply voltage to this semiconductor is what we really have to see. When the right voltage is applied in our 12V application, the right amount of current passes through the semiconductor, resulting in bright, beautiful, energy-efficient light that glows for thousands of hours. But you need the correct voltage, exactly 12V.
You and I know the fact that the ship does not provide laboratory grade power! When you start the engine, generator set, or ground yourself, the environment suddenly becomes hostile to the LEDs.
Why is this? simply! When a generator, alternator, or converter is activated, the voltage often reaches 15V or higher. The higher the voltage, the more current will pass through the semiconductor, more electrons will jump back and forth, more light will be produced, and more heat will be generated. And what do you think is the biggest enemy of LEDs? hot! You need to control or dissipate the heat generated. When a large amount of current is passed through an LED, a very bright light can be obtained in a very short time. A little application will give you a dull and useless light. This is what happened to your friend’s LED.
In this application of semiconductor physics, it has been found that the current measured in the connection of materials is proportional to the voltage supplied. Controlling the voltage and the resulting current is very important for the life expectancy of the LED. Most of the cheaper 12V LED bulbs on the market today use ballast resistors that draw power to limit the current. This ballast resistor limits the current according to the simple formula voltage / resistance = current. In that world, LEDs can be supplied with the right amount of current by using a ballast that has the right resistance to the applied voltage. The problem is that on a boat, the voltage is not always the same, it fluctuates. As a result, when the voltage drops, the current drops, and vice versa, the resistance is determined. Conclusion: Low voltage = dim light and high voltage = fried LED.
The result is the disappointment of LED lighting that I’ve heard from all my voyage friends.
The cheapest car LEDs are based on the ballast resistance model. These work well in the car because the voltage fluctuations are smaller than those found in the marine environment, and due to the fact that most LEDs in the automotive world are used in flashlights or brake lights. Heat is not an issue as these signs do not light for a long time. You can also use a resistor that handles 14V while maintaining an acceptable current level for the LED to produce enough light. This makes car LEDs cheaper, but not suitable for marine environments.