Boat LED Lights: Retrofit vs Replacing Lights in Marine Environments|
Article - February 13, 2016 By LarsonElectronics.com
Boat LED Lights: Retrofit vs Replacing Lights in Marine Environments
These days, several lighting technologies are available for docks, boats, shipyards and other marine-based establishments. Some common options include incandescent bulbs, metal halide lamps, fluorescent luminaries and LEDs. Due to the corrosive nature of marine environments, most equipment that are used on or near bodies of water have a limited lifespan. That’s why it’s common practice to replace tools and lighting systems periodically to ensure continuous operation and safety.
In a perfect world and with an unlimited budget, you could replace marine equipment as often as you’d like without burning a hole in your wallet. But in reality, lights for marine environments are generally more expensive than mainstream fixtures, because of their waterproof and anti-corrosive build. For individuals looking to upgrade old lighting systems to boat LED lights (for example), a more practical approach to addressing maintenance issues is retrofitting luminaries.
This article provides tips for considering the full replacement or retrofit of old, existing lights in marine environments.
Retrofit Boat LED Lights
Out of the two options, retrofitting outdated fixtures is the most cost-effective option. However, certain prerequisites must be met before you can take full advantage of retrofitting lights for marine applications. First, this method is only applicable to upgrading from old lighting technologies, such as incandescent and fluorescent fixtures, to modern, energy efficient options – LEDs. With this in mind, if you’re already using LEDs to illuminate your dock or shipyard, this option may not be applicable to your needs. Moreover, if you are maintaining retrofitted boat LED lights and notice they are in really bad shape (wiring exposed, warped housing, water breach, rust and more), you may need to replace the units entirely or the specific part that is malfunctioning.
If you’ve met the above prerequisite (your current lighting system is outdated, has failed prematurely or is at the end of its lifespan and you want to upgrade them with LEDs), then the next step is understanding the retrofitting process. This practice involves updating some parts of the luminary to make it compatible with LEDs.
There are numerous ways to accomplish this. The most direct method is using an LED bulb that is designed to work with legacy lighting systems. This requires you to simply throw away the old bulb and install the new, LED bulb. Other retrofitting methods are more complicated, but offer extended reliability and operation. For example, old lighting systems that lack compatibility with LEDs may need additional components (drivers, heat-managing parts and wiring – just to name a few). In most cases, this level of retrofitting should be conducted by electricians, experts or professionals.
Benefits of Retrofitting
Retrofitting may seem like a patchy solution to a much-needed transition to modern fixtures. But from a cost perspective, this practice can be extremely beneficial for individuals and businesses with tight budgets. LEDs, with their ability to reduce energy consumption (up to 70 percent annually) and lengthy lifespans (up to 50,000+ hours), already offer generous ROIs. Retrofitting to boat LED lights can accelerate ROIs even faster, by avoiding the need to invest in new luminaries. By reusing existing housings, you are cutting significant costs while reaping the benefits of LEDs.
For lighting systems that are aesthetically integrated with the boat or dock, retrofitting allows you to maintain such layouts, designs and constructions. This is highly applicable to marine establishments with customized fixtures. Since replacing them would be very costly and time consuming, one should opt to retrofit the luminaries instead, which could help preserve the units.
Replacing Boat LED Lights
Full replacements call for the removal of the entire lighting system (bulbs, housings, lamps, wirings and poles). This practice comes with daunting upfront investments; though it is important to consider that getting a return on LEDs is almost inevitable, as long as they are properly maintained. As mentioned earlier, if your existing luminaries are in bad shape, retrofitting may not be an option. For instance, if your fluorescent fixture has failed and the lenses are cracked and discolored beyond repair, it might be better to replace the entire unit. Tracking down specific components, setting up orders and installing each part could be overwhelming and costlier than a full replacement. Furthermore, if your current fixtures are very old and incompatible with retrofit kits or LED bulbs for retrofitting, you will most likely have to replace them entirely.
Other reasons you should consider replacing your existing lights include futureproofing. If your decade-old fixtures lack waterproof protection or you are looking for units that offer higher levels of protection against corrosion, it might be worth investing in new boat LED lights. Lastly, if you’re working on a new lighting installation, new LED luminaries are the way to go. This could help you adhere to strict building codes and ensure long-term operation.
Larson Electronics is a leading industrial lighting manufacturer with over 40 years of experience serving consumers, large-scale projects, organizations and businesses. We offer an extensive range of boat LED lights, corrosion resistant luminaries, flood lights, light masts, explosion proof fixtures and portable, handheld lights for marine environments. These products come with watertight/waterproof builds, customizable options and use materials that prevent damage arising from saltwater corrosion.