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Author Topic:   Cockpit Lighting
jimh posted 04-24-2006 12:44 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Please give me a suggestion for lamps to use for cockpit lighting in a classic Boston Whaler boat.

My initial thinking on cockpit lighting is to install the lamps under the gunwales so they are hidden from view, creating valance lighting. The lamps would be protected from most spray, so they would not have to be special water-proof lamps--or at least that is the hope.

It would also be interesting to use lower voltage bulbs in these lamps and wire them in series. This would reduce the amount of wiring needed. The lamp string could be fed from the helm and run aft under the gunwale, connecting to the battery negative at the far end. You could even use LED's in place of incandescent bulbs. I have given some thought to making my own lamp using LED's wired in series-parallel.

Should the lamp color be white, red, or something else? I think blue would be quite attractive--it would go with the canvas.

I have been admiring nice cockpit lighting on LHG's fine Whalers. It is time to upgrade my boat with some, too! But you know I am frugal, so please no suggestions of $50 fixtures.

PMUCCIOLO posted 04-24-2006 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    

These are the best: productid=51

andygere posted 04-24-2006 02:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I've been considering the same thing for my Outrage Cuddy. I think LEDs are the way to go since they draw less current and are now priced reasonably. The trick set-up would be to have both white and red units, on separate switches. I think the cheapest way to go may be to buy some LED units marketed for automotive or trailer use, as opposed to marine use. "Marine" products tend to carry a price premium, and with LEDs, there's probably no real difference.

A quick Google search yielded dozens of sources, including these websites, which show many interesting LED units that may adapt nicely to provide under gunwale lighting on a classic Whaler:

jmorgan40 posted 04-24-2006 05:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I have been thinking of doing the same. I also like Andy's idea of red and white lights. I found several options of LEDs. One option is to use LED rope lights or strips. Low voltage and you can mix the red and white. Below are a few links of vendors I found on eBay. The first makes a 14 bulb strip that would work. If you finishe before me which is highly likely, let me see pics of the finished product.

http:/ / cgi. ebay. com/ ebaymotors/ OptyX-Lighting-14-inch-Flexible-LED -Light-Tube_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ6755QQitemZ4612036052QQtcZphoto ADAMICH-ACCENTS_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm

Speedo66 posted 04-24-2006 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Speedo66  Send Email to Speedo66     
If you search for this post "New 150 Sport Modifications and Pics", in Fishsticks first post he has a link to photos amoung which are several re: cockpit lighting with LEDs. Very nice.
Speedo66 posted 04-24-2006 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Speedo66  Send Email to Speedo66     
Try Their "accent light" section has many nice small LED lights that might be what you're looking for.
davej14 posted 04-24-2006 08:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I recommend against designing your own. These new super bright LED'S run hot and you need to have good thermal management to avoid reducing their life. Regarding a serial approach, there is about a 3V drop per LED so this would limit a string to 3 or 4 LED's with a 12V system. You are also going to need a current limiting resistor in the string.
Bulldog posted 04-24-2006 10:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Jim, I had installed cockpit lighting on my Newport and really liked the units I bought from Cabela's a waterproof strip light with about 5 leds in it, cost was about 12 bucks each. I had wired them up to a push pull switch and also included one under the console. It was really nice, but I fell in love with some guy's old Revenge and sold the Newport before really using them much. I did add a "map light" to my Revenge by using the existing wiring hole covered by a clam shell that was in the side of my dash by the ladder, it does work great for iluminating a chart laying flat on the ladder "walkway". Adding a red LED in the cabin would be a big benefit for night fishing when ducking in to get something......Jack
Fish Stick posted 04-24-2006 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Fish Stick  Send Email to Fish Stick     
Hi Jim,

Attached are pics of the installation on the 150 sport to make finding them easy. sort/1/cat/500/page/1 sort/1/cat/500/page/2

The console lights are these:

The rear deck lights are these:

Very clean and easy to install. The strip lights can be angled with small plastic shims to light the intended area.

I mounted the strip style lights under the seats of a 130 Sport at each side and aimed them back towards the center. It looked even better than the 150 Sport becaus the light was even and uniform across the entire deck.

Coming out from under the seats is really a great look.


deepwater posted 04-24-2006 06:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
Red LED's,,it will help save your night vision
drd posted 04-25-2006 08:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for drd  Send Email to drd     
I just got finished installing led cockpit lights on my outrage. I bought the lights from I basically have a string of white lights and a string of red lights under the gunnel on both sides. All strings consist of 3 sets of lights, wired in series. I also installed LED lights in the console and rear compartments. I usually use both the red and white lights togeather. They provide plenty of accent lighting along the floor. They also don't eliminate your night vision while driving the boat.
jmorgan40 posted 04-27-2006 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Keep us in the loop on what you decide. I would love to see the final product. DRD, can you post any pics.
where2 posted 04-28-2006 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
In my 15' Sport, I mounted a pair of red LED side marker lights designed for use on a boat trailer. Conveniently water proofed, and ready for 12V power. They run about $8 each at Walmart and come in either red or orange... I mounted them under the console in such a way that they splash light on just the deck, rather than shining in my eyes...
cwolf posted 04-29-2006 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for cwolf  Send Email to cwolf     
Recently installed white LED Utility Strip Lights I found on clearance at WalMart one day. Installed just under both sides of gunwhales facing counsole seats on 91' Outrage. They don't put out enough light to blind at night. Just enough to see the deck. They come totaly encapsulated in epoxy and expect they will last for years. Ran wiring to spare rocker switch mounted on counsole. Below is a link to same Srtip Lights at Cabelas. jsp?id=0019049015545a&type=product&cmCat=search& returnPage=search-results1.jsp&QueryText=led&N=4887&Ntk=Products& Ntx=mode+matchall&Nty=1&Ntt=led&noImage=0
swist posted 05-07-2006 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
The previous comments about color are very important. LED technology has made major advances in recent years but a good bright white LED is still a bit behind the development curve - they actually emit a kind of blue light which is a little weird looking and doesn't seem nearly as bright as the equvalent colored lights.

There was a test in some magazine, might have been Powerboar Reports, on LED running lights - the red/light port/starboard lights rated very well, but the white LED all-around lights were noticeably harder to see at a distance.

davej14 posted 05-09-2006 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
The blue tint of a white LED is caused by the LED chip itself. The chip actually emits a high brightness blue. The LED emits white because the lens contains phosphorous that is excited by the blue emissions of the LED chip and emits a secondary emission of white light. Other LED colors are direct emissions of the LED chips.

This does not mean that white LED's are inherently less bright than other colors, but they are more expensive. Therefore it is likely that manufacturers of fixtures are using a less bright (less costly) white LEDs.

towboater posted 05-09-2006 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
Doin the same here.
I guess my eyes are more sensitive to light than most, I fear ambiant white lights on a white deck. I plan to use amber and separate the fwd & aft loops.
Sure does look good tho. Nice job.
Is it possible to adjust the voltage on LEDs to dim em similar to auto dash lights?

My present mast light nearly doubles as flood/cockpit lighting.
You know, the bluish tint mast light might be a good thing for open cockpit boats in regards to night vision. Tho the USCG might argue this is not a white light, I would counter that the light itself is far more important to be visible relative to the positions of the red/green to determine a vessels heading than being a perfect white. Bluish is close enough for me as long as it is moving the same speed/direction as the red/greens...hehe. I hate it when one suddenly goes a different direction...

Does anybody have a LED mast?
How much light is spilled on deck?
Or, how does it compare to the incandecent?

Michael K.

davej14 posted 05-09-2006 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Current flowing through the LED will determine brightness. If you put a variable resistor in series with the LEDs you can vary the brightness. Make sure the variable resistor is rated to carry the lamp current at the minimum resistance (maximum current) of the lamp.

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