If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.

11/7/12

Energy Efficiency on a Boat: upgrading to LED bulbs

Beautiful weather and a lot of fantastic boats at the Annapolis Boat Show
In October, Don and I went to the Annapolis Boat show to look, touch, test and ask questions about at all the latest boat gear. We enjoy the historic maritime atmosphere of Annapolis and we also get to see friends who live nearby.  One of the items we wanted to look at was LED lighting made by IMTRA. Florian arrived in California with incandescent bulbs throughout, which had a significant impact on our battery levels after only a few hours of reading time with two lights on in the evenings. In the interest of energy savings, and brighter output, we ordered and installed a few single LED bulbs from other manufacturers online with mixed results. We had heard about IMTRA, but hadn't seen their product first hand, so we visited their booth, and knew instantly that we found the new LED's for our boat (at "show special" pricing too).

The first LED bulb test during the summer - from a different manufacturer than IMTRA
After the boat show, a box of IMTRA LED lights and adapters arrive!
s/v Florian has screw socket reading lamps and dual contact bayonet down lamps
The dual contact bayonet incandescent bulbs (on the left)
 required an adapter (right) before we could replace them with the LED
The dual color LED bulb on the downlamp over the Navigation desk.
With the on & off cycle of the Nav desk light switch, we can illuminate the navigation area on Florian with a red or white light. The Dual Color LED uses a smidge over 1.5 watts (vs the 8 watts in the old bulb). Pretty sweet.

These bad-boys are my favorite bulbs. 
IMTRA makes these awesome Corona bulbs that put out serious lumens in either cool (200 lumens) or warm (181 lumens) light. I've got two cool (brighter) lights over my galley area on Florian, so instead of supplementing my previously dim incandescent bulbs with two or three candles to chop salads & sauté dinner in the evenings, I have what looks like squinty-bright sunlight washed evenly over my stove and sink.  I'll take a photo this weekend and add it here so you can see. (Update: see IMTRA lit photos below)

Before LED's - evening in the galley on Florian with an incandescent bulb and a candle
Oh, that? It's a Rum & Tonic - a wonderful little drink our friend JH introduced us to. He also supplied the ingredients, and joined us for an inaugural tasting of this concoction:  put ice in  a couple of glasses, pour a few fingers of Pampero Annivarsario Rum (a richly fragrant, dark rum, distilled from fermented molasses) over the ice, and squeeze a *generous* slice of lime into each glass, dropping the remnants of the rind into each drink. Top with tonic water and enjoy.

A benefit of bright Corona LED bulbs in the galley;
Hey, look at the mildew growing around the fixture base. Ew. 

Even in daylight, boat interiors can be a little dim. 
 This photo above was snapped mid day in early December when we were looking at Florian with the dealer. All the lights in the cabin were on so we could survey her bones and lines and particulars to see if she was the boat for us, but even with the lights on in the middle of the day, there were lots of dark and shadowy areas. By upgrading to LED's, we'll reduce the draw on the batteries, while simultaneously increasing lumen output. We can control the color and temperature of each light, depending on where it's located and what it's used for, and the life of the bulbs are significantly longer, and run much cooler than their incandescent cousins.

The starboard salon just after sunset, with Imtra LED bulbs (corona) installed.
Much brighter than the daytime & incandescent bulb photo above.

The galley and starboard salon just after sunset, after installing IMTRA LED bulbs
Walking in Annapolis, on our way to the sailboat show
If you've not been to a boat show, but you own a boat, I highly recommend attending one. In the course of a day or two, you get to touch, test, try on, ask questions & read literature about, and compare various manufacturers of the latest advancements in boating supplies and merchandise, all in one place. You can research like crazy online (I have my hand up), but there's a lot of efficiency in looking at so many offerings, side by side, in your hands, face to face in one place. An added benefit is the reduced show pricing; everything we purchased in Annapolis was discounted, and shipped from the east coast to California - either for free, or at the most (in our case for a generator), $15. And if you're not in the market to buy anything for your boat, it's still fun to walk the show, explore the newest boats and talk to fellow boating enthusiasts and experts. If you do attend boat shows, which are your favorites? Should we go to the Miami boat show? Because, well, you know, a trip to Florida and the Atlantic isn't a bad way to spend a few days in February, right? :)

4 comments:

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Great post! I am collecting posts on lighting for future reference because it is so important to me. I would love to attend the Annapolis boat show. Maybe we'll do that when we get another boat. We have gone many times to the Seattle boat show, but in the last few years they have had precious few sailboats at the show, even though sailing is huge up here. You are right, there is nothing like looking at the stuff first hand when you are trying to make a decision.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that there are new Led Dome Light and reading light Fixtures that have finally change from the old boring designs to a new high end look, and saw them by SOURCELED at Columbia Marine exchange in Portland Oregon.
They are going to be at the Seattle Boat show I was told. might be worth a gander :)

Belinda Del Pesco said...

@anon - Thanks for the tip on the new lighting designs. I'm pretty sure we saw them at the Annapolis Boat show. Nice fixtures, but if I recall, a bit higher priced that the IMTRA LED's we bought.

Dane said...

Upgrading to LED's in a boat is one of the greatest effort-to-return investments one can make. In Cadence I spent ~$50 on a few IMTRA LED's a few years ago and I still think, "How cool is that?" nearly every time I flip one on. Lighting went from being a power-consumption tyrant to being negligible. I only wish I'd bought more, or taken notes on what type the other bulbs were so I could buy some to bring back to the boat. Though I find the 'cool' ones to be a little off-putting in their spectrum, I like the 'warm' ones, which are a pretty good analog to the good ol' incandescents, which deservedly are going the way of the dinosaur. Why waste 90% of the battery output on generating heat? Especially in the tropics!