Date: 14 December 2018. Energy
Efficient Christmas Lights.
I absolutely love Christmas. The
whole season is lovely. Right now I'm listening to Bing Crosby sing
to me about Christmas in Hawaii. It is totally wonderful. The music
brings joy to my life. The festive holiday lights always make me
happy. I had about 300 lights inside Seaweed. Those Christmas tree
lights, even though small, were using a lot more power than I had
imagined. Here is how I solved that problem.
Christmas is a time for showing off
our spirit. S/V Grace ↓ looked
pretty last year:
In addition to the covering the
tree with lights, I circle the windows.
My home looks festive for the
holidays. I've had friends visit and they usually like decorations.
One year fellow boater Tina came by to help me put ornaments on my
tree. That was a favorite year. It is more fun when there is someone
to share the experience with...
This is my friend Tina
↓ of S/V Oramae. I met her back
in Pensacola. She's a gem.
I bought this set of lights
↓ to circle the pilothouse
outside. They were attached to eyebolts with twist ties.
Our boat was in the Fort Lauderdale Boat
Parade one year. That would have been back in the early 60's. There
was a lot of booze involved. In those politically incorrect days
Fort Lauderdale was known as Fort Liquordale. It was a different
Now boat parades are a lot fancier.
The boats are incredibly well-decorated. It is fun to watch.
The Madeira Beach Boat Parade has a lot of boats
participating. They look amazing!
Aboard Seaweed I
concentrate on the interior. That is the part of the boat I see
every day. I do put up lights around the windows so that outside
folks can see how cute my boat is.
Have I mentioned
how much I love my home lately?!?
This is my favorite tugboat.
↓ It was a gift from my Baby for
me ten years ago.
This tugboat was sold by Lowe's Hardware chain. The
boat is called The Robin and reminds me of
But I digress...
Inside I had fifty lights around the galley window. Another 100
multicolored lights were in the tree and around the window by my
dinette. An additional fifty clear lights were in the tree. My tree
was bright. What I did not realize was the amount of power those
itty-bitty lights were using.
The issue was that my inside lights used 134 watts. Ouch. The
outside lights used almost as much power.
I use my
A Watt meter to check power consumption.
(Amazon affiliate link)
When I saw some lights at Walmart
purporting to use far less power I was intrigued.
I bought a couple of packages to test.
Frankly I was concerned. These
Christmas tree lights are so tiny when compared with the "standard"
LEDs, that I was concerned. Fortunately they are so much more vivid
that even though smaller I believe them to be better looking than
what I had originally. They are definitely brighter.
One set looks like this:
I can't tell which is clear and which set is
multi-colored without powering up the strands.
These are LEDs, and polarity
is important. The plug part fits only in one direction. Then the cap
part is screwed tight to make a waterproof connection. I would not
use these outside though. At a cost of $12 per strand, I am keeping
mine inside and out of the weather.
I intend to use these lights for
many years into the future.
This is one strand ↑ of lights.
There are 200 in the set. The lit part extends nine feet.
I bet they would look mighty spiffy
on a sailboat. Sailboats are lucky. The masts are like a Christmas
This is Keith and Janet's Schucker.
↑ They named her Grace. The
photo was taken in Gulfport last year.
The problem was that my
original Christmas lights took too much power. What boats can manage
at a dock differs from when living off the grid. At anchor, having
energy efficient lighting is important.
Each strand uses 2.8 watts, which is a huge
difference when compared with 134 watts.
My six strands of lights use *At most 16.8 watts of electricity. I
believe the little lights look better.
*At most: Because I have the
lights set to stay on they use the maximum amount of power. There
are other settings where the lights twinkle, fade in and out, and
chase each other. I prefer a solid steady light versus the ones that
move. That's why I'm using the most power.
What is wrong with these
lights? They cannot be piggy-backed onto the
next cord. In other words, each light set must plug into its own
slot on your power strip. That part is a pain in the transom.
Learning about power boils down
to this: Use less and/or make more.
This is a motorsailor
↓ lit up for Christmas.
Someday Seaweed may again be lit up outside too, but
not this year.
For now I shall concentrate on
making the interior of my home spiffy.
The new lights are one facet of the Improved version
of Christmas aboard Seaweed.
What you need to know:
These special low-power consuming lights were bought at Walmart. They
were located on the bottom shelf near the battery operated and solar
powered Christmas lights. Those lights have the same white with green
lettering on the packages. I paid $12 per package, which is a lot of
money. I absolutely love them though. They are bright, beautiful and
the power used is negligible.
As Christmas rapidly approaches I'm back at writing my holiday
greeting cards. I am late this year. Usually I try to get them out
the first week in December. I missed that deadline by being under
the weather for about a week. I'm better now, and playing catch-up.
More upcoming -- I wanted to get
this article out so that you too can hunt for these lights. I did
not see them online but found the boxes in the local Walmart super
center. Good luck, and thanks for reading.
dated 17 December 2018. I received an
email from Noel. The letter said "I
do not see how LED lights could draw 134 watts. That would be
almost 1/2 watt per bulb. The bulbs would be burning things. The
LED lights that I have use 1/10 of a watt per bulb. 300 bulbs
would draw about 30 watts."
Now it's been over
ten years since I bought that original set of LED colored
Christmas lights from Target. I am almost certain they
were advertised as low power LEDs. They were high dollar
when compared with regular lights sold at that time. As to
the other strands that brought up the total to 134 watts,
well, I cannot be certain after this many years if they
were indeed LEDs or simply smaller lights.
↑ light set
From Noel's experience, mine were not LEDs. Though small
they sure did use a lot of power.
Thus, I updated the original paragraph (replacing "LEDs" with
"small" for clarity. Frankly, I'm not certain what they were,
and too, I have been known to be wrong. Thanks to Noel for
catching the mistake. I appreciate that.
I'd love to hear what you do for Christmas decorations at
And, do you send out Christmas cards?
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