Are LED Boat Lights For You?


Are LED Boat Lights For You?

There is no denying that LED lighting is here to stay. In fact, most estimates put LEDs as the dominant form of lighting technology with 10 to fifteen years. This isn’t to say that LED lights are something being foisted on us that we’ll simply have to learn to endure living with, far from it. In fact, there are excellent reasons for why LEDs have become so popular, and nowhere is this popularity more apparent than in the boating industry. In the following article we’ll explain some of the reasons why this is and what you can likely expect should you too decide to give LEDs a try on your own boat.

The biggest reason for the explosion of LED popularity within the boating community has of course been the extreme efficiency with which they operate. In the boating world, onboard power is a critical concern and the focus of many efforts to improve efficiency and increase the effectiveness with which power is produced and stored. Unfortunately, most options for improving power management onboard involve creating and storing more power, which in turn generally means higher operating and maintenance costs since additional equipment must be installed as well as more fuel is required to run it. Some options such as solar arrays and wind generators offer the ability to improve power generation without the added expense of higher fuel consumption, but these options are very limited in how much power they can generate and are subject to environmental conditions which aren’t always reliable.

LEDs offer an alternative that completely sidesteps the TCL Google TV standard focus in improving power generation and storage, and instead offer benefits in the form of greatly improved efficiency. Now normally a switch more efficient equipment doesn’t provide a performance enhancement of significant proportions. For instance, when you replace your old refrigerator with a newer unit designed for high efficiency, it might take a month for you to notice any difference in your utility bill. This is because although the new unit is indeed more efficient, it is essentially still a power hungry refrigerator that works only a bit more efficiently than your old unit. LEDs on the other hand are entirely different from the tradition incandescent bulbs they replace, and their efficiency is many times greater, so much so that the improvement is almost immediate and dramatic.

A typical 25 watt halogen deck light produces around 375 lumens of light output and draws about 2 amps of power. This equates to 15 lumens of light produced per watt, which is a pretty low figure in practical terms. LEDs on the other hand produce on the order of 60 to 80 lumens per watt in actual production fixtures, which means you could produce that same 375 lumen output or more using an LED fixture of only 7 watts. Even better, a 7 watt LED fixture is going pull barely half an amp of power. LEDs are this efficient because they produce light through process called electroluminescence rather than the process of resistance, which is how the typical incandescent operates.

Whereas an incandescent bulb uses electrical current to heat a wire filament until it becomes hot enough to radiate energy as both heat and light, and LED produces light by passing electrical power through a specially designed chip constructed of semi conducting materials. As this electrical energy passes through this semi conductor, electrons flow through the material and interact with the material in such a way that when the energy is emitted from the material it radiates as photons, or light.

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