Panbo

Imtra PowerLEDs, & greening Gizmo

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 13, 2009
Imtra_LED_Eric_cPanbo.JPG

That's Eric Braitmayer, Imtra's marketing guy, and he's got lots to be happy about.  The years of having to carefully explain the relative pros and cons of LED and halogen marine lighting are over.  He's confident that the Ventura PowerLED upper left is as bright as a similar size 20 watt halogen fixture while being fully dimable (without RFI issues), much cooler, and much, much more power efficient.  In fact, Imtra is phasing out of halogen lighting altogether, and recently announced significantly increased LED sales despite the 'downturn'.  In other words, lots of boaters and boatbuilders apparently agree with Imtra that LED technology has advanced beyond the confusion area.  Not that I would just go buy any old LED...

One thing I've learned from talking with Eric and others over the years is that LED has been a rapidly changing technology, and that fixtures and/or replacement bulbs that seem similar may not be.  While most any LED, even inexpensive Ikea light strings, can be a benefit aboard a power constrained boat, getting a fully satisfying, and long lasting, lighting system may not be easy.  Eric, for instance, is not very bullish on replacement bulbs, though Imtra was a winner in the Practical Sailor bulb test you can download from Sailor's Solutions.  He argues that dedicated fixtures are much better at managing LED heat and mazimizing LED light beams.
    At any rate, Gizmo, though only nine years old, is full of especially inefficient incandescent light fixtures (see below), and has not been plugged into shore power since I brought her to Maine.  I'm very interested in LEDs!  So I'm going to try everything I can find in terms of replacement fixtures and bulbs, and will be on the look out here at MAATS show in Orlando, Florida (where I'm playing da judge again).

Gizmo_bicolor_ceiling_fixture.JPG

Comments

Upper right, not left or picture is deceiving.

Posted by: Ron Rogers at July 14, 2009 12:57 PM | Reply

Eric is a great marketing guy and was very helpful when were fitting out New Morning. Imtra didn't have the best LEDs at the time so we went with I2 Systems.

LEDs are great, low power and cool. Halogen's are a distributed system that throw off light as a byproduct of generating heat.

Additionally, LED lights draw so much less power that you should be able to use much smaller wiring. Unfortunately ABYC hasn't caught on and still insists on a minimum of #16 wire.

Posted by: Russ at July 14, 2009 5:13 PM | Reply

I am not at all suprised that Eric is not very bullish on replacement bulbs ... he wants to sell costly LED fixtures!

I also note that their "replacement" LED bulbs cost $US 40/each ($NZ 67/each). I can easily purchase 2 replacement bulbs from other suppliers at that price! While they may not last as long, the technology has improved sufficiently that of the less costly bulbs will surely last longer than one at $US 40!

Posted by: 'The PIRATE' at July 14, 2009 5:18 PM | Reply

Ron, If you click on the top picture, you'll see that the Ventura PowerLED is top left, 20w halogen top right. But in real life they seemed to have very similar brightness, and I believe Imtra has a lot of test data to support that.

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2009 5:47 PM | Reply

The picture is deceiving because the camera does not see things exactly the same way as the human eye.

LEDs only radiate light in very specific bands whereas the halogen radiates a much wider spectrum with a lot of infrared as well as visible light. Most digital cameras have infrared filters but still it does not block everything, especially at close range like this. The camera, therefore, makes the halogen appear brighter even though they are probably the same to the naked eye.

Posted by: Chris Ellingsen at July 15, 2009 12:40 AM | Reply

I have replaced over 40 light fixtures on my boat with LEDs. I went from over 20 amps house draw to 2.5 amps. Replaced the spreader/arch lights this year the LEDs. They are brighter and draw 1.8amps a piece instead of 10 amps a side. I replaced all my navigation fixtures 2 seasons ago again a huge savings in power. I find the LED lighting to be fine and brighter. What I really like is the extended time I have between charges from my house bank. I would never turn back. When we 1st bought the boat I had a very small house battery and Fero-resonant charger, I remember sitting at the dock with some equipment on hooked to dockside power and low voltage alarms gong off. I have come a long way, 3 stage large battery chargers, 3-8D AGM house batteries and the LEDs truly a winning combination.
Bill
Wireless One
40 Mainship Sedan Bridge

Posted by: Billlentz at July 15, 2009 9:36 PM | Reply

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