Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Light and Air- 2 very useful things to have

Palm trees, cause sometimes refit photos are just too boring
It took us a few weeks to finally decide on the interior lighting. Actually, it took Mark a few weeks. His engineer's left brain kicked in on him and he began to over think the various options available. He spent hours checking out the lighting on friend's boats and pouring over technical specifications weighing power consumption against luminosity and output and considering the aesthetics of the fixtures.

LED lights are a popular choice but Mark just thinks the technology is not quite there yet. (Here's a link to an article by Nigel Calder if you really want to know some of the issues, how far the technology has come and how far it has to go.) We don't know a single person who has had them on their boat without some issues, usually a failure and since these lights aren't exactly cheap and aren't in ready stock in many places we were hesitant to use LED for the interior lighting. I just want to turn on a light when needed and have it work and not be a blindingly blue white color. We are putting LED nav lights on Ceol Mor but that is because there really isn't any other power efficient option at this time.

So we began to look into other options. Halogen and incandescent lighting, along with not being terribly power efficient produces a lot of heat. When you are living your life in a wee box, a small amount of heat can quickly make things unbearable. Traditional fluorescent lighting has drawbacks as well and we did not want to be revisiting this topic again in 2 years. We want to to be done with this.

After seeing the CCF lights on our friend Tim's boat and looking at the technical data, Mark became convinced that what we need is cold cathode fluorescent lighting for the general lighting and reading lamps. Easy peasy, right? WRONG.

Our order-except one fan which was out for testing and 9
linear CCF lights which have yet to arrive.
After 4 emails and one or two phone calls to Taylor Made to ensure that all of the lights we needed were available, we put in our order ( 7 chrome Futura reading lamps, 4 bicolor linear lights and 9 linear lights) and waited.  Instead of our order, what we got was an email letting us know that the bicolor CCF lights were no longer available. Even though we had assurances from Taylor that the were, turns out the were kidding. They aren't available. Apparently Taylor Made is phasing out its CCF lighting. We would have to instead go with 4 bicolor LED lights which were not only NOT CCF but were round. Round lamps interspersed with linear lights. This would be fine with me, but Mark has issues with things not matching and being exact. Its an engineer thing, you wouldn't understand.

After agonizing over whether to change all the lights to matching LEDs or just let it go, Mark decided to let it go. So we have dome lights in the head, galley and chart table which do not match the other general lighting and that is ok. (but if you want to wind him up, come aboard and point it out ;) )
I am so proud of him.*sniff* He has come so far from the man I first met with the white house-white walls, white floors, white furniture etc. Done sometimes is as good as perfect.

Now its on to fans. We live in the subtropics and have endured 100+ Fahrenheit days in the summer. A boat can get stupid hot. Since we are planning to spend time in the even hotter tropics, fans are something a bit more important than just a nicety. Steve on Siempre Sabado is in Baja, Mexico which is really stupid hot so when he sang the praises of the small Caframo fans, I paid attention. I even went so far as to dutifully stand in front of the fan display at West Marine seeing which model produced a stiff breeze and was impressed by the windage of the small and unobtrusive looking Caframos. These things are great. So when Mark asked me what my preference for fans was I told him.

When our shipment arrived I was surprised at how enormous the box was. When we opened it, I was greeted not by boxes full of the small but mighty Caframos but by seemingly huge Caframo Sirocco fans. 9 of em. The lack of a cage on the smaller Caframos apparently bugged Mark's sense of aesthetics and he thought that these much larger fans were an even better choice. I know from my trials at West Marine that these were in fact good fans but man oh man are they big. HUGE. I suppose the good news is that if we ever encounter no wind we can just open the hatches, use the gimbal feature to point the fans at the sail and begin to sail with the gale force winds generated in our saloon. I also no longer need to worry about the decor in the boat, our decor theme is now fans.

We have quite a bit of installing to do in the next week or so and we are still awaiting the arrival of our linear lights. I'll post photos of the installed lights and fans as soon as we've completed the installation.


  1. That Calder article is 4 years old... and if you take into account dinosaur print magazine publication times that's maybe another year added. I guess what I'm saying (without having read the article because I do want to stay awake) is that the technology has changed A LOT in the last 4-5 years. We have all LED on board and they have worked flawlessly and give off loads of lovely light. We decided elec load and aesthetics trumped all.
    We have a few old school flourescents here and there. My question is why are 99% of the fixtures for those things plastic with wood stickers on them!? ACK! You walk on to a 3/4 of a million boat and there is a light fixture that looks like your dad's station wagon. Blah!

  2. I know the article is a bit old, but there are still some of the same issues. Sure they've gotten better but maybe not there 100%. These are a bit nicer than old school fluorescents- chrome mounts, thin and dimmable, lower amp draw plus no EMI interference. I know LED has come a long way but Mark thinks we are still a few years out from the technology being really dependable.
    I just want the light to work when I turn it on, I don't care what technology is in use. Mark however, does care and since its important to him but not to me- he can have whatever lights make him happy. I still think we have way too many and the boat will look like Vegas when its all light up but I guess it really doesn't matter so long as Captain Perfecto is happy. :)

  3. I'd love to hear further reports on the mega fans. Its something Dani and I are going to be looking into soon.

    Can't wait to see some light shots of the boat.

    1. We will be finishing up the front cabin installs this week and will get photos up ASAP. I am dubious about the size of the fans but will let you know how they work. I will tell you that I love my . We used it on a few overnights last summer and they made a HUGE difference. If you are crafty you can make your own but we all know I am not crafty so I just purchased 2. :)

    2. oh yeah! Can't wait to hear the fan report...We need fans..

      Will work for Fans..

    3. Currently my thoughts on the Siroccos is that while the put out quite a bit if air, they sure take up a lot of room. They do fold away as you can see in the photo. Should be able to give them a good work out on a few overnight trips this summer and will report back.

  4. We want photos, too. And want to hear about how you like the quality of the lights you got - like the actual light quality in terms of color and brightness. I'm sure there is an engineering term for that. We read about Tate's lights with interest. I've never met an LED that I could get along with, but his look pretty good. Lighting is important to me, maybe because up here we don't have much in terms of sun. The idea of the boat lighting up like Vegas is actually pleasing. I aspire to sailing to a place where that is not true. I've been on Steve's boat. Yes, the fans are very nice.

    1. Will do! The actual install of the CCF lights will be a bit as we had planned to install them once the headliner is back up (after the deck hardware is done). oe 3 other boats with Bebi lights who are happy with them.
      I do know 2