I think we can all agree that the easiest way to convert your boat lights to LED is to just stick one of these adapter bulbs in the socket.
However, not long after a recent “conversion” one of my dome lights quit again. I pulled out the multi-meter to see if I was getting power to the socket, and I found this.
One of the contacts was missing. After 33 years the spring-loaded plastic bottom of the socket had become too brittle and finally snapped. While my dome lights aren’t particularly pretty, they at least all match. I was faced with either repairing this one or replacing it with a new style light that wouldn’t look like the others and would require me to drill new mounting holes.
Instead of replacing the socket I decided to just wire an array of LEDs to the switch. Since I wanted it done that afternoon, my only option was West Marine.
The Dr. LED dome light conversion kit came with two sets of pigtails, one with bare wires on the ends and the other with a double bayonet connector. That seemed a bit unnecessary because anyone attempting this who didn’t need the bayonet could have just clipped it off and used the wires, but I guess they have to justify charging $30 for LEDs somehow.
I turned off the 12-volt power, removed the light fixture from the ceiling, clipped the old wires, and removed the broken socket.
Yep, it’s still broken.
I then connected the positive leads to the switch and the negative lead to ground. Then I plugged the pigtail into the LED array.
Time to turn the 12 volt breaker back on and test the setup.
The LED Conversion kit comes with two pieces of double-sided foam tape to stick the array into the dome. I only used one. I guess the other one is there in case you mess up.
Then I just had to re-attach the lens and screw the fixture back into the cabin top.
Theoretically I should never have to mess with this light again. I’ll let you know how it works out.