What does Christmas Cost? | Sailing Blog - Technical Hints and Tips - Sailing Television

What does Christmas Cost?

So many boats down here in the Caribbean have been hanging up Christmas lights, occasionally up the mast but more often in nice arrangements around the cockpit. They look very cheery and bright, but how much power do they consume? What will this cost the power conscious cruiser who is hanging at anchor and must generate all their power to run everything?
We went out to the local ACE hardware in Grenada to get some lights and find out!

We got two strings of outdoor lights - important if you plan on hanging them outside!! Strangely in Grenada which is a 220V country - they only seem to sell 110V Christmas lights. This means that anyone like us with a 220V boat will also need a transformer to step down the 220 to 110....

Purchased - 2 X strings of 50 LED bulbs (each 12 feet long) = 24 feet long by with 100 bulbs. + 1 small transformer

The lights cost $26 and the transformer was $19 (US$)

Testing - sadly our first test didn’t work - the bulbs lit for just a couple of seconds and went out. A test with my voltmeter showed the transformer was defective and output 220V when its supposed to output 110 - it blew the bulbs...

Back to ACE hardware in Grenada where the very friendly staff replaced the transformer as well as the lights and tested the new transformer to see worked properly.

Back on board again for a test.
We string the lights and plug in. Perfect.

But what does it COST us in power to run this.

Checking the ship’s main power monitor - the MasterVolt Shunt display indicates the whole setup is using just about 6 watts - thats half an amp at 12V. Whoa!! That is great!

Comparing it another way - our old anchor light used a 10W bulb and we ran it every night at anchor - but all these 100 christmas lights together are just 6watts and that even includes the transformer. One of our old reading lights on Two-Step used more power than this!

So what does it cost to decorate the cruising boat with Christmas lights? Not as much as you might think!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
blog comments powered by Disqus