Eurybia’s incandescent and fluorescent lights are showing their age. And several were not working – for instance the galley lights had suffered some water damage from some years back and no longer turned on. So I have been cooking before it gets dark and doing most of my cleanup in the morning. It’s just depressing to wash dishes in the dark. It was time for some new LED lights.
A couple of years ago we had researched LED lights in depth for use on Phoenix. There are two routes you can go – replace the old bulbs with LED bulbs or replace the whole fixture. If your existing fixtures are broken, or if you want some features of the new lights, you will want to consider new fixtures. If your existing fixtures work fine you can save some money and avoid most mounting issues.
We had replaced Phoenix’s lights with new LED fixtures because the existing fixtures were very old, and because there were not enough lights for our old eyes. We knew we wanted to use the same lights on Eurybia since they had worked so beautifully for us on Phoenix. On Eurybia we had to replace some fixtures so we decided on the modern, unified look of changing all living-space lights. (The engine room will get an even brighter and more utilitarian solution.)
The LED Lights We Chose and Why
Lunasea “Elegant Wall Mount Lights” can be mounted on ceiling or wall and are quite minimalistic with no bezel. They come in three wattages and two shapes. We chose the 4.5 watt circular fixture (seen at left) for smaller areas and the 6 watt rectangular fixture when more light was needed. There is also a 3 watt small rectangular fixture but we did not get that size. The circular fixtures are 4″ across and .5 inches “thick”. The larger rectangular fixtures that we selected are 8″x3.5″ and are also .5 inches “thick”.
The LED lights are operated by touching the metal button in the center of the light. The first touch turns on the blue light, the second touch turns on the white light, and the third touch turns it off. A sustained touch, whether in blue mode or white mode, turns on the light and begins to brighten or dim it. The light remembers what brightness the light was at last time it was turned on. I love these fancy features! And the lights are so easy to turn off and on.
We found on Phoenix that the blue light was much kinder to night-sensitive eyes than white light. It’s wonderful (but certainly not essential) to have this option at every light rather than just the one at the nav desk. It was useful on night watches to be able to go to the galley, turn on the blue light and make a sandwich, and go back on deck with most night vision still intact. Or pop into the head and still be able to see outside. The blue light also made a nice “night light” for navigating safely around the boat at night without keeping the crew awake.
We mounted these lights on Phoenix directly on the overhead with no mounting bezel required. However on Eurybia, which has a ceiling with headliner, there were several places where there was not adequate room for the wiring underneath the light. We could have have chopped larger holes to hide the wiring but we chose to make varnished bezels. The round lights proved to be somewhat of a pain as the bezel required at least a 4.5″ hole cutter which is rather large. We made our bezels from sapele which is a reasonable visual match to teak while being far less expensive.
These fixtures can be found online at Star Marine Depot for $40 and $45 each, which is a substantial saving on the list prices of $60 for the round ones and $70 for the rectangular ones. They are a substantial upgrade for your boat both visually and in utility which is why we decided to splurge on them. Choose them for important living areas and I think you’ll find they are worth it. The warm light, dimmable to what you need, and choice of blue or white are really wonderful options to have.
Please share your experiences with interior LED lighting. There are so many attractive options these days.