Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LED Deck Lighting

There's a combination deck/steaming light about midway up Scamper's mast. The steaming light is fine but I've never been happy with the deck light. The incandescent bulb draws almost an amp and is really not that bright.

I tried a "high power", single LED bulb from BulbTown.com. It draws very little current but is quite a bit dimmer than the original. In a pinch it is workable but I wanted a little more light so I poked around for parts to build a bulb I couldn't find anywhere else.

The bulb on the left is a "Miniature Reflector Bulb BA9S Base" from BulbTown.com. The middle bulb is from LEDLight.com. The assembly on the right resulted from cutting the reflector from the first bulb and attaching it to the second bulb. The bulb closest to the camera is the original bulb from the fixture.

The 5-LED bulb (middle and right) draws almost no power but in stock form puts most of its light out the side. I found the incandescent reflector bulb (left) via Googling for "ba9s reflector" and bought 5 of them for experimentation. They're cheap but not very bright. Not sure what they would be good for.

I cut the plastic reflector off with a razor saw, held it onto the LED bulb with some handy butyl tape, which also created a dam, and squirted in some epoxy using a West System syringe. I made 3 so I'd have spares.

The new bulb gives a nice glow to the foredeck, somewhat like bright moonlight. You can't quite read with it but you can do most other tasks and it doesn't affect night vision. Since it draws so little power I can leave it on all night in addition to the anchor light adding a bit of visibility.