I’ve been trying different sources for LED lights on board since 2005 and have gone through several different types. For the past 3 years I have settled on LED assemblies sold by SuperBrightleds. We’ve settled on only those assemblies that have on board regulators as they seem to be flicker free, do not suffer from periodic diode burnout, and are extremely reliable. We replaced the lamps in our overhead salon lights with this style LED assembly over 3 years ago and have yet to have even one fail.
We prefer the Warm White assemblies as the light output is not harsh and has just a slight bit of yellow tint.
We use the Superbright 1156-PCB-WWHP9 assembly in our salon overhead light fixtures. The overhead light fixtures on our boat are a rectangular unit that are covered with teak. The fixtures swivel over about 360 degrees and also tilt out by up to about 45 degrees.
The LED assembly is installed by first plugging in the single contact base (1156 style) bulb base. The base is covered with a piece of heat shrink tubing which may have to be trimmed in order for the base to fully screw into the bulb holder.
Once the electrical connection has been made, I use 3 thicknesses of 3M double sided tape on the inside edges of the upper and lower portions of the fixture to hold the circuit board in place. The board is installed by forcing the upper edge against the upper piece of tape and then sliding the lower edge in and letting the tape capture it. If the board is not flush with the face of the fixture it can be easily adjusted.
We also use these assemblies in the small smoked white plastic fixtures under the ledges in the berths and the head.
Since publishing this page I have found another light that works just as well in the wooden light fixture. The items are available from Scintaluna on eBay or Amazon.com. With the adapter the lights are very easy to install.
15 Led Bi pin Leds
We use Festoon style LEDs and mounts, also from Superbrightleds, as replacements for the over mirror lights in the head and for behind salon cushions and under counter lighting.The Festoon mounts are screwed in behind the seat back bulkheads and wired in to the boat lighting DC power circuit.
I used an automotive style rocker switch to control the seat back lighting – this switch has a red led to indicate power on – not necessary as the festoon assembly itself put out enough light that you will know when the switch is on.
Taking the LED lighting one step further I fabricated a cockpit light with a dimmer that uses one of the G-4 base warm white light assemblies. The dimmer uses a small low dropout regulator chip that allows you to adjust the current (thus brightness) level.
The dimmer is housed in a small fiberglass cylinder. The dimmer control is visible in this photo. We now have dimmable mood lighting in the cockpit – suitable for an evening cocktail or dinner or bright enough if we want to play cards.