1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Engine Room LED Lighting

I was looking for the brush for my shopvac and, after checking everywhere else, dropped down into the engine room. After fiddling around with a fluorescent light I keep down there and not finding the brush, I decided to take a break from polishing stainless and install strip LED lights in the ER. The boat originally came with two standard-size 12v incandescent lights, which are more like heaters that just happen to put out some light. The LEDs throw a lot of light everywhere and a great upgrade.

Waterproof 12v LEDs in warm white

Waterproof 12v LEDs in warm white

Peel back the 2-sided tape protector strip

Peel back the 2-sided tape protector strip

Scrape off the 2-sided tape at the copper contacts

Scrape off the 2-sided tape at the copper contacts

Tin the copper and the connector wires separately

Tin the copper and the connector wires separately

Solder the wires to the contacts

Solder the wires to the contacts

There are snap-together strip LED connectors for sale, but I’ve never seen one for the waterproof LED version that can maintain a waterproof connection. I’ll apply clear silicone to the soldered areas to make sure the water stays out.

The original engine room light switch

The original engine room light switch

The wimpy light I've been using in the ER

The wimpy light I’ve been using in the ER

The wimpy light illuminates, but barely

The wimpy light illuminates, but barely

Wipe the attachment area clean and firmly press the LED in place

Wipe the attachment area clean and firmly press the LED in place

And another, and another...

And another, and another…

Much better!

Much better!

I’ll need to add another strip at the back of the engine room, where I’ll be installing the fuel manifold soon. But for now, I’m satisfied with the lights and happy I won’t be messing around with the fluorescent one anymore.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Still More Chrome!

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10 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Engine Room LED Lighting

  1. Mark Balcaen says:

    Hi Q,
    I installed very similar waterproof strip lighting to my ER two years ago. I attached three 5 meter (15 feet) foot strings together. This was the manufacturers stated limit. I noticed that the last string’s brightness level was less than the fist two. Mine is a 12 volt system. Something to keep in mind as you continue adding lights in your ER.

  2. Kent says:

    Why isn’t the original engine room light switch Re Chromed? I’ll bet once you can get Fuel to the Diamonds– You’ll fire’em up..

    I have a case of 12V Bulbs– Guess I should throw them out “Properly of Course”.. They’ve been sit’n on the shelf for a Long Time.. Funny what you said about 12V Bulbs– Very True..

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hey Kent.
      The ER switch doesn’t need rechroming…just polish. I’ll maybe get to that after I splash and have absolutely nothing more to do! 😉
      Cheers,
      Q

      • Kent says:

        Well– I’ll guess the ER Light Switch will never get Rechromed then.. Lol.. As long as the “Button” Switch works– That’s what counts..

        One day I’ll get down your way and see Her..

  3. Bill Large says:

    I hope the adhesive holds up on your LED strip lights. I installed them in our galley three years ago and the adhesive has failed in several places. We tried inserting some Superglue and pressed the strip back up in place but eventually even that didn’t work. Good luck. Love your blog!

    Bikll

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Bill, I’ve had the same sort of LEDs on my Commander 42 for 4 years and the double-side tape hasn’t given up yet. But I plan to apply a sealant on the Roamer so I’m not relying on only that tape. When you installed yours, did you make sure the surfaces were perfectly clean and avoid touching the tape? It’s amazing how just a bit of oil that your skin produces can ruin the tape adhesive.
      Cheers,
      Q

  4. ndawg12 says:

    Nice, LED’s are the best thing since sliced bread, I’d imagine you plan to use more throughout…? I don’t know how you go into that engine room, look at both of those white beasts, and not fire those babies up!! That would be killing me!!

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks! We plan to use them as mood lighting throughout the boat. They’ve worked very well on our Commander 42. And yes, indeed, it’s killing me not being able to fire up those engines. All in due time, though…all in due time.
      Cheers,
      Q

  5. alloyed2sea says:

    better to light one candle,….

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