Fixing cockpit lighting

Oia‘s cockpit is wired for some LED lighting, one adjustable lamp and one small array of LEDs kind of like mini, super energy efficient versions of the old fluorescent tube lights in offices everywhere.  The lamp and the array are side-by-side and part of the same circuit.  They’re mounted just above the companionway on the hard dodger.

Near the end of the trip down from Langkawi someone managed to smash their head into the lamp hard enough to rip its screws out of the dodger and all of its wiring off.  Since everything was wired together neither the lamp (obviously) nor the array have been working.

Tonight I rolled in a bit late and instead of working on fixing my second speaker like I’d intended I somehow ended up looking at the cockpit lighting.  It’s actually kind of complicated and it looks like the previous owner actually designed his own circuitry for some of the LED fixtures.  I spent a good hour just trying to figure out which wires are for what.  Testing leads are quickly becoming my new best friend:

I did generate a fair number of sparks in the process.  Thank god for circuit breakers.  In the end I decided there’s probably something permanently wrong with the lamp: even after giving it a standalone connection straight to some batteries it was only lighting up very dimly.  With some more tinkering I managed to eliminate it from the circuit so the array could work by itself and after a little soldering, heat shrink, and reassembly things are looking a bit better:

I may tinker separately with the lamp some more to satisfy myself it’s really dead.  I did find quite a bit of corrosion on the switch for the array, so I’ll probably need to revisit this fixture again at some point, but for anything more complicated than I did tonight I think I’ll need to unmount it since it’s hard to work on the ceiling.  At least it’s working now and is bright enough to read by.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the LED lighting on the boat.  There are only one or two incandescent bulbs left anywhere.  The entire load with all the LED cabin lighting on (6 arrays and 4 lamps now) is less than 1A.  The only downside is it’s not all that bright, and not very warm.

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