More Light, Less Power

Archimedes came to us with fluorescent overhead lighting. The fixtures are about 12 inches long and built into recesses in the ceiling. Each fixture holds one ten watt tube. Sadly, they don’t produce much light. In fact, a previous owner went so far as to line the insides of the recesses with aluminum foil in the hope that would reflect a bit more light. I don’t think that was terribly effective. The tubes just don’t put out much light.

We have seven of these fixtures. Four in the main salon, one in the aft stateroom, and one in each head.

Coming from sailboats and having no generator (but plenty of batteries) we are always looking for ways to decrease our power usage. And we really need more light.

I found the answer at a boat show a while ago — Lunasea LED light bars. They are the same length as the fluorescent strips and simple to install. Take out the old fixture, screw in the new one and wire it up. The whole process can be completed in under five minutes. We had seven light fixtures to change so the project went pretty fast.

The light bars come in several colors. We chose warm white. The LED’s are housed in a strong aluminum housing. The entire light bar consumes only 5 watts of power and puts out the light equivalent of a 40 watt bulb. Nice.

Installation requires screwing in two small brackets and snapping the light bar into the brackets. The screws are included. In our case, the wiring is terminated in the recess with screw terminals. Connecting the power was easy.

It is tempting to shorten the wire and remove the switch. DON’T DO IT. The switch contains critical circuitry. The light bar will not work without it.

We added a red bar along with the warm white bar in a few of the fixtures for night use. I looked for a switch that would allow us to switch between white and red, but couldn’t find anything that would work. We opted to just use the on/off buttons that came with the lights. It’s a bit less convenient to take the cover off, turn one bar off and the other on, but we won’t be using the red light all that often.

The Lunasea light bars list for $39.99. We found them at a boat show in the Svendsen’s Boat Works booth. The boat show special price was around $25 each. The regular “street” price seems to be in the $30-32 range. Fisheries Supply lists them now also. At the time of this post, The price at Fisheries Supply is $32.76. We used ten white and red light bars in the seven fixtures. The total cost was around $250.

The improvement in light quantity and quality is significant. It was an easy project and we are very happy with the result.

One more project off the list …

5 thoughts on “More Light, Less Power

  1. I have a 1981 49′ GB. Ihave never pulled the light frames off. I was afraid of braking frames. Do they just pull down slowly on the edges to gain access ? Thank You.

  2. Hi,

    Your headliner seems to be in great shape for a 1978 GB.
    Is it original ?
    I’m asking because we plan to change headliner on our 1979 GB Europa 42, which is in bad shape, britle and yellowing.

    Thanks,

    • To the best of our knowledge, it is the original headliner. Overall, it’s in great shape. There are a couple of tears near the helm station where previous owners have stressed it running wiring and so on. A previous owner had mounted a radar display from the ceiling. There is a piece of wood covering that area. It is finished nicely and does not look too out of place.

      Thanks,
      Rusty

  3. Thanks for the information. I have a 1989 Albin -40 that I will do the same conversion.

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