Are there any benefits to Low Voltage Boat Lights? Many boaters and operators rely on low voltage units on their vessels. By definition, low voltage equipment are tools and systems that run on 30 volts, or less, typically 12V DC or 24V DC for marine luminaries.
In some cases, the lights leverage a transformer to step down or convert voltage from mainstream line voltages, including 120V AC or 240V AC (for example), to low voltage DC. This configuration is more common in land-based lighting systems, such as low voltage landscape lighting for residential homes.
At this range of operation, individuals can power lights using a standard cigarette plug or a battery. Most small or medium-sized boats don’t offer mainstream AC power, making low voltage DC units more compatible with vessels that use batteries to power their equipment.
Safety and Heat
Perhaps the main reason low voltage lighting matters in marine environments is due to safety. To prevent electrical-related accidents, most LED boat lights come with waterproof ratings and water tight builds. This is because water is a forceful electrical conductor; and boats are surrounded by it 24/7. In the event these protective features fail, the units pose less risks of electrocution. Furthermore, this level of protection is ideal for boats that conduct repair work or utilize a wide range of sharp tools on the vessel. Accidentally striking a low voltage light or cutting a connected wire with a metal object will most likely not result in lethal damage.
Low voltage also equates to lower levels of heat emission during operation. As you might already know, abnormal levels of heat can cause luminaries to malfunction or fail prematurely. Hence, low voltage features may help preserve LED boat lights, allowing operators to use the luminaries for its entire intended lifespan.
Compact Builds and Portability
Low voltage boat lights usually come with smaller, more compact builds. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for boats, since the vessels need to be able to maximize their limited space. Direct compatibility with batteries also lets the lights become more portable and mobile. They don’t always have to be plugged into a power source during operation (for lights that offer portable, wireless features).
To conclude, low voltage luminaries are great options for boaters who are serious about fully functional, reliable lighting systems. The combination of low voltage and LEDs can ensure huge energy savings, as the US Department of Energy highlights that low voltage LEDs consume up to 90 percent less power than halogen units.