During our Christmas break I had a chance to undertake a few small projects around the boat. One such project was to try out these nifty LED Strip lights.
Two places in particular called out for more lighting; the Nav station and the work shop. While both locations have nice Alpenglow fluorescent fixtures, sometimes more light is needed for the fine detail on charts or when working with small parts in the shop.
At seven dollars for 300 LEDs on three meters of adhesive film, these lights are incredibly inexpensive. They are not particularly rugged and they certainly are not waterproof but did I mention they were only seven dollars? For relatively protected interior lighting, I can hardly imagine a more cost effective solution.
Cut lines every three LEDs provides great flexibility in installation
The lights come in a number of colors, red, blue, and both warm and cool white. I ordered the warm white as it is closest to the incandescent lighting we are used to. The kit comes with a few connectors for joining multiple strips and there are short leads soldered to both ends to make hookup very easy. I had hoped that I could solder my own leads to the pads but I think I will need smaller wire and some sacrificial strips to practice with. As you can see in the photo above, there are marks for cutting the strip every three inches or so. this makes creating the five foot lengths I used in the Nav station and shop easy.
The shop without the LED lighting
The light strips come with a 3M adhesive backing which did not want to stick to our rubbery textured headliner. It did stick well to the teak trim piece however and so that is where it went. That means the lights are more exposed to damage and I don’t care for the look as much. I would prefer that they be a bit more hidden, especially at the nav station. Again some experimentation may be in order to see if I can attach them to the headliner securely.
for seven dollars and a few hours of time, this appears to be the perfect cheap boat trick. Time will tell if they hold up to the abuse of being on a boat. Corrosion may slowly do them in but I bet it will be a few years before that happens. In the shop, I am more concerned about physical damage from my manly exertions with hammers, saws and vices.