For whatever reason, the original light in the head was wired into the boat's 110V DC system, whereas most of the other lights, except for a few in the engine room, run on the boat's 24V system.
110V DC is only available to me when either the main or donkey engine is running, so using this light has never been practical for me. Besides, there is no bulb and I still have no idea where to buy regular size screw in 110V DC light bulbs.
My original plan was to switch this light over to my 24V DC system, something which is available more or less throughout the boat from my battery bank.
It has emerged that there are two issues with this change to 24V, asides from the re-wiring effort. The first being the availability of 24V DC screw in bulbs, again I have no idea where to get new ones. The second, and more importantly, is the amount of power those bulbs use. While I'm cutting back and using low energy bulbs elsewhere, it makes no sense to then go and stick in a bright, power hungry bulb just to sit/stand and do the business in the head.
It is a fact that being more environmentally, and therefore energy consumption, aware means fundamental changes in peoples personal expectations are necessary, in this case providing sufficient light for the head without going over the top.
I had, for a while, used one of those really useful 'dot' lights, but after dropping one into the bowl (it's a seawater flush so that was the end of that), realised a better, more permanent, solution was needed. Besides, while the dot provided plenty of light to use the head, it never really lit the place evenly for long term use.
The solution I've come up with, although it's still a work in progress, is to use LEDs connected in parallel and strung along the deckhead (roof) of the head, powered by rechargeable batteries and controlled by a simple switch, and all self contained in a little box.
The solution is handy for right now as:
- There is no wiring needed from elsewhere.
- More LEDs in the 'string' means more light, so I can easily match the light needed with more or less LEDs.
- Power consumption of LEDs is extremely low, so the rechargeable batteries should last some time between charges.
- The light is on a timer, so the light cannot be inadvertently left on.
I've not yet found 'professional' looking reflectors for the LEDs, so that bit still looks
I can see this kind of technology spreading elsewhere on Lady Jane, though with variations on the switching and timing mechanisms. For example, some kind of light sensitive lighting in the key parts of the boat, which should help save visitors, and me for that matter, from bumping about in the dark.