Zanshin I LED Lighting

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I've replaced all of the interior and exterior lights on Zanshin I with LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)with the exception of my reading lights and some night lights. The old interior halogen overhead lights have a wonderful color temperature and are very bright, but they are also very power-hungry and were a major drain on my batteries before I switched them to the new LEDs, which use less than a tenth of the power of their halogen counterparts to produce the same amount of lumens.

There are many manufacturers of LEDs and big differences in quality between the brands. The cheaper types don't use matched or selected LED components, thus producing less light and/or light with the wrong temperature (or coloration). More expensive models also use a very small and specialized circuit called a Buck converter, which ensures that differences in voltage are compensated for in an efficient manner. LEDs without this converter chip use a resistor which turns excess electricity into heat, thereby wasting energy.

The most recent project was to build my own LED strip lighting array for use in the cockpit area at night for dinner/entertaining and reading. Apart from the slight mishap of grabbing the working end of my soldering iron the project went well, even down to building a PWM (pulse width modulation) dimmer for the lights. All told, with the tools that I had to get for the project, it ended up costing more than if I had just gone out and bought a finished light, but now I have a (an almost) waterproof array that uses a maximum of 5 amps at 12V but puts out an incredible 4000 lumen of warm white light (the equivalent of 2 100 Watt bulbs). This should make reading at night in the cockpit an absolute pleasure

Making a LED strip The disparate parts of the LED lighting strip for the cockpit area of Zanshin I prior to assembly.
Making a LED strip
Making LED lighting The disparate parts of the LED lighting strip for the cockpit area of Zanshin I prior to assembly. The Epoxy glue (and heat sink) is mixed and applied to the aluminum and I'm ready to attach the LED strips.
Making LED lighting
LED Lighting The LED lighting strip for the cockpit area of Zanshin I is almost finished, just this last soldering and then closing the plastic cover and I'm done.#
LED Lighting
LED Lighting tests These strips are MUCH brighter than I ever expected.
LED Lighting tests
LED Bimini lighting My homemade LED lights underneath the bimini on Zanshin I. The experiment was a success as those lights were very bright and used very little energy.
LED Bimini lighting


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