What is the best LED type for interior lighting? Answered
I am wanting to improve the light quality in my sailboat. I would like to build fixtures and controls myself and this looks like a good place for DIY ideas.
I have a mix of light bulbs and none are serving all that well. All are 12VDC. All lighting will be powered from the 12V house batteries. The best light I have comes from halogen 20 watt bulbs but they generate too much heat and consume too much power. LED replacement bulbs I have tried so far are not so great for interior light quality and cost aprox $40 to $50 USD each and I have 10 fixtures with both red and white bulbs plus 5 reading lights. Total replacement cost could be aprox $1000 USD. Then the other problem is the light is a bright point and can be a bit blinding if your look in the direction of the fixture. I am thinking of wash lights for most lighting and keeping the reading lights for... well, for reading. I do have an acceptable LED for the reading lights but always on the look out for a better one.
I have been on aircraft that used all LED interior lighting and it was the best LED lighting I have ever seen. The systems used a combination of white LED dome lights and RGB side wall wash lighting. The wash lights could be tuned to an impressive range of color including very pleasant white. So I know it is at least possible get really good light from LED's. Downside to this is it's expensive and designed for 28VDC from aircraft power. The controller was a dedicated cabin interior control module and computer.
The other requirement for the boats interior lighting is to have red light for use while underway at night to help keep the night vision. Red LED's I have used for this are very harsh and poor quality for getting around in the cabin.
I would like to try RGB LED's for a wash lighting system that will give either white or red. Preferably with both variable and dim-able so it can be tuned or programed as desired. The control modules I have found so far make a lot of claims for their multi-color capabilities but not about their steady on white light quality. Again I am interested in white and red lighting however if a large variation of colors is a side effect that can be turned on for fun thats fine but not needed.
I would be happy to document my project and post it here if I find a good DIY solution. So far I have found a couple of RGB controls here and may try one but I would like to hear about the white light quality before I start buying parts.
My homework for now will be to calculate an actual quantity of light needed and how many controls I would need/want.
Thanks for your ideas.