Panbo

OceanLED & Lumitec, better spreader lights

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Sep 28, 2009
LED_spreader_compare_masthead_cPanbo.JPG

Temporarily mounted on Gizmo's scruffy masthead are two pretty neat LED flood lights. At right, facing aft, is a Lumitec Caprera, which purports to replace a 55 watt halogen while only using .9 amp and retailing for about $150 with a 22,000 hour output life.  It's sealed into a deeply powder-coated cast-aluminum housing, comes with the tilting stainless bracket shown (but not the jury-rig strap), and seems very solidly built.  At left is an OceanLED Amphibian A6, which is mainly meant as an underwater light but somehow dissipates heat well enough through its polymer housing (and Tritonium lens) to be used anywhere. The bracket shown, which can cleverly fix the A6 any which way, is a new OceanLED accessory (so far not on its web site). Amphibian A6's draw .5 amp, claim a 40,000+ LED life, and retail for about $330.  To my eyes, and to those of several Gizmots, the Lumitec is a brighter light...

In fact, I'm pretty sure I could read a book sitting on Gizmo's boat deck, about 12' under the Lumitec, and it does a great job of illuminating the swim platform and any dock or float I tie up to. But then again, the OceanLED does not seem the 40% less bright its power draw suggests, and might be the right choice for someone seeking the lightest, most corrosion resistant and power efficient flood available.  And, by the way, Gizmo's old pair of sealed beam incandescent flood lights -- which didn't seem much brighter -- drew 2.7 amps each, one was blown when I got the boat, and changing its bulb would have been a major pain.
   OceanLED is the market leader in underwater lighting (and, yes, I am going to try a pair of A6's on Gizmo's stern, "eco nazis" be damned), and its technology seems to be admired by all competitors. They've just announced Amphibian Pro A12's that are purportedly 75% brighter than the originals (but must be non amphibious), and will soon be showing their Liet interior LED lighting.  Lumitec is less well known, but I'd put it up there with OceanLED (and Imtra) as a company that's truly serious about LED R&D for us boaters.  I'm impressed with the tech savy of Lumitec CEO John Kujawa (who you can meet in this Mad Mariner video), not mention his focus on getting quality LED marine lighting down to more reasonable pricing.  But I remain convinced that LED lighting is so complex, and moving so fast, that it will pay to do business with high quality vendors.  Anyone else out there tried LED spreader lights?

LED_spreader_compare_at_night_cPanbo.JPG

Comments

Anyone have the DR. LED Spreader lights? I have their interior bulbs and love them.

Posted by: Patrick at September 28, 2009 9:49 PM | Reply

I have three on my masthead that look like the Lumitecs in your article but I bought them under a different brand name. I have them oriented port, starboard & cockpit and I'm very pleased with their light output relative to their current draw. I do a bit of salvage & sidetie towing so I need to throw some light out around the boat for extended periods of time and I used to have to keep a close eye on my batteries with the conventional fixtures. However, to light up the world I still need the halogens. The LED's just don't have the horsepower for some tasks like seeing how a stern tow is doing at the end of a 200' hawser.

Posted by: Bob at September 28, 2009 9:57 PM | Reply

Thanks for commenting, Bob. I've seen other LED floods that look like Lumitec's (like Dr. Led's), and asked them about the similarity. They say that it's only because the cast casings come from the same source, and that the LEDs themselves are all theirs.

Posted by: Ben at September 28, 2009 11:07 PM | Reply

Yes,I believe they are the Dr. LED spreaders. Guess its time for a full blown Panbo face-off between the two?

Posted by: Bob at September 29, 2009 12:20 AM | Reply

I bought a Hella Mega Beam last year for the radar arch, illuminating the cockpit (with a wireless remote control from Sailors Solutions as well as local switching). Thanks for the info on Lumitec, Ben... my ancient spreader lights need to be replaced, along with the truly bizarro foot-long wirewound resistor that's in series (presumably to dim them slightly and extend the maintenance interval).

Steve
S/V Nomadness

Posted by: Steve Roberts at September 29, 2009 3:28 AM | Reply

Has anyone study the effects of a lightning strike on LED fittings. e.g. in the case of a side strike / near miss you might fry a traditional bulb but not the complete fitting. With LED's the complete unit might be gone.

Thanks for the blog, great info.

Gerry

Posted by: Gerry at September 29, 2009 8:44 AM | Reply

Ben we have installed a few of the Lumitec lights on the spreaders of a 41 foot Beneteau and they light up the foredeck like a football field for Monday night football. We got to see these and other Lumitec products at the IBEX show last year and were most impressed with the output and quality build in the overall produt. Will look for them again at IBEX in few weeks and use them again on another retro-fitting we are doing.

Posted by: Jeffrey at September 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Reply

The available LEDs were not sufficiently bright when I built my boat so we used halogen spreader lights. It's not really a major issue since we rarely have the spreader lights on for more than 15-20 minutes.

The Lumitec's look impressive, but I'm concerned about their construction. The specs on the spreader lights, and some of the other models, quite just 3,000 hrs for the powder coated aluminum cases, that's just over four months. Unlike the 22,000 LED life which is only related to the time it's powered up, the cases must endure the elements 24/7. Do they really mean to say they are only tested for a little more than 4 months? Coupled with a 316SS mounting bracket, this sounds like a quick path to an electrolysis mess.

Posted by: Russ at September 29, 2009 7:46 PM | Reply

Russ,
Lumitec is in no way affiliated with this site, but our marketing department did come across it and brought it to my attention. I am John, and am the president of Lumitec.

The 3k hours quoted on our product literature refers to the duration in an ASTM B-117 salt spray chamber, not hours in the field. The Salt Spray Chamber is a carefully controlled environment specifically designed to rapidly corrode materials. While this type of exposure testing is probably not common for our type of products, we do it to ensure a long life in the field. Powdercoating is an excellent coating for marine applications, but more often than not adhesion, cohesion, or cure issues lead to premature failure in the field.

As a general rule there is no hard and fast correlation between hours in this chamber and actual expected field service. However many manufacturers who do use this test for marine products will consider 1k hours "passing". Therefore we were very pleased when our proprietary processes demonstrated more than 3k hours in the chamber without failure.

Please let me know if you have any other general questions about coatings or LED technologies. In the interest of not making this a 'plug' please contact me directly or refer to our site if you would like product specific information.

Best regards,
John Kujawa
Lumitec

Posted by: John Kujawa at September 30, 2009 11:35 AM | Reply

Ben I have been using the Lumitec's to replace my 2 55watt Halogen lights since seeing them at the Spring Atlantic City boat show, I went from drawing almost 10amps to 2 amps and they are brighter. As far as near strike lightning I have been very close in 2 recent storms with no ill effects. Perhaps it is that I have 2 large Dyna-plates that ground my radar arch and hardtop frame. I run a single 1/0 ground from each side of the arch to the Dyna-plates on each side of the ER. Overkill perhaps but I am a ham operator and it makes for a nice ground system for my auto antenna tuner. It also makes my wife and I feel safer down in the salon under the cage. I only have 1 light left on my boat that is not LED, my spotlight. I rarely use the spotlight since installing the FLIR Navigator II.
Back to LED's my old interior lighting (fully on) used to draw in excess of 20 amps now I draw slightly over 3 amps with every interior and bridge/helm light on. I even added about 10 floor LED assemblies. Replacing all lighting with LED's is one of the best moves I ever made.
Bill Lentz

Posted by: Bill Lentz at September 30, 2009 7:36 PM | Reply

I saw Lunar LED Lights at last years Annapolis show and have been watching them. Looks like some pretty amzing technology, just waiting for them to hit the market so I can buy a couple.

Posted by: Skip North at October 4, 2009 12:46 AM | Reply

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