A Busy Day

After fitting four of our nine new lights in Bandit's radar arch, we quickly decided that we might as well fit the remaining five down below to get it out the way. It was a job we were putting off because we were reluctant to take down the ceiling panels. We have taken these two huge panels down once before to run some cabling for the 12v TV and said that we would never do it again as it was so incredibly difficult to put them back up again. But we had just spent nearly 200 quid on these LED lights so we had to put them eventually. Dad dropped me and the tools off at the boatyard early this morning and then headed off to work. Meanwhile, I would spend the day fitting these lights. Fun...

The first thing to do was to take down one panel and fit the lights on the port side. It's amazing how large the ceiling panels turned out to be. To add to the difficulty, they were also incredibly flimsy (which is why they are so hard to put back up). No matter, I dropped the first one down after 30 minutes of struggling and drilled small pilot holes for the larger 52mm circular cutter tool we had. Luckily, we had this tool as we made a new dashboard for our previous boats and the gauges we bought requited a 52mm cut out.

Holes cut, it was then time to fiddle with the LED lights and fix them to the ceiling. This was a job in itself. They were incredibly fiddly and ideally, you needed two people to do it but as it was just me, I continued to persevere and finally got all three lights in and wired up. Then it was time to do the same on the starboard ceiling panel. This one was far easier as I knew what I was now doing and the panel itself is a lot smaller than the port side one...thankfully.

I wired those up too and then dived into our wiring cabinet to connect them to a three-switch light switch we had fitted to the bulkhead not too long after buying Bandit (in preparation for fitting some lights which we didn't realise would take us so long to get round to doing). I then had to wire the switch itself up to our new 110amp/hr leisure battery. We ended up wiring the three lights above the galley to one switch, the two above the saloon on the second switch and the third switch I left unplugged for reasons I'll explain in a second. Overall, a good four to five hours spent doing this job and only one hour spend fitting the lights themselves. The majority of time today was spent on putting the panels back up, using our telescopic boat hook to hold up the other end as I screwed one end up. Not ideal but it worked after some patience.
My phone clearly doesn't pick up the lighting too well... You'll' have to trust me when I say they look good. :)

Now, onto this last switch. Last week, we ordered three lots of 5 meter LED strip lighting in blue along with a remote dimmer and plastic clips. A total of £30 spent including postage - not bad. These LED strips will go under the pelmets down below in the saloon and over the galley in an attempt to create some mood lighting. Our neighbouring boat at the marina (a lovely Sealine 220 Senator) had done exactly this on their boat and it looks fantastic! The three 5m strips arrived today so I'll begin fitting them at the weekend. We're still awaiting the arrival of the plastic clips to hold the LED strips up but hopefully they should be here during the week. More to come regarding that.
New blue LED strips and dimmer remote


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