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Old 05-03-2015, 02:56 PM   #1
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LEDs in my '68 Caravel!

After our amazing trip to Yosemite, I immediately came home and started planning another trip to Yosemite in the fall. Since the campgrounds in the valley are ‘dry camping’ – no electric or water, I started researching how long my battery would last. When the battery runs out, my lights and furnace stops working, and the Airstream becomes an aluminum tent! So I decided it was time to bite the bullet and invest in LED lighting for the trailer.



I had looked into this two years ago, but wasn’t ready to spend the cash. I contacted Dan at LED4RV.com because he was highly recommended here. People reported back that he helped them pick out the right bulbs, and if there were any problems he made it right. I only want to do this once, so that sounded good to me! We discussed it via email, and finally over the phone to work out the details on which bulbs would fit my vintage cone lamps, and a week later it was in my hands!


The list:
4 x 1156 Warm White 18 SMD LED Cluster Light SKU597 (B1156SMD18WW) - For the reading lamps over the dinette and the bathroom vanity lights.

3 x LED strip light kit for the Square 60 s Model SKU680 (TSLM_kit) - for the square ceiling fixtures

1 x Warm white spot with Aluminum base SKU1505 (B1156SpotWW3) - for the cone light over the couch

The square ceiling fixtures were the only tricky part – the kit consists of mixed color LED strips that are adhesive backed, so they need to be stuck into place. But that only took about 15 minutes per fixture. The rest of the bulbs all just plugged in exactly like the 12v bulbs had.


The finished product has just the right color of light to give it the same cozy feeling inside it has always had, and the quality of the light itself feels even brighter.
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Old 05-03-2015, 06:10 PM   #2
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The LED's look great and they are a good idea. Big battery users are not the lights so much as the furnace and water pump. You might consider getting a solar panel and controller to pump up the battery in the daytime when dry camping. Just a thought.
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:34 AM   #3
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Yup, haven't decided yet if we will go solar panel or little generator. I'm looking forward to seeing how long it lasts at Trout Lake. Also trying to determine how quickly it charges back up while being towed. We'll find that out on the way home from the long weekend.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:16 PM   #4
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Good idea. It's pretty easy to rig a solar controller to your battery and use a panel on a length of cord that plugs in when you want it rather than mounting on the trailer. Advantage is being able to deploy in the sun when you are camped in the shade and no noise.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:04 PM   #5
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A way to save power for the 12v water pump is to install a air proessure tank instead; these wwere routinely common on 50s AS but bu now, most all those old systmes and theri metal tank would have been replaced. About 20 years ago, I replaced my metal tank under the curb side twin bed) with a 5' section of 12" diameter Schedule 80 PVC pipe, caps, saddle clamp to inlet, re-used original air-valve inlet, and the tank also fills via a water valve from (and to) the shore water pipe system. One "charge" of 40 to 50 psi lasts for more days than I've EVER needed but it's easy-peazy fast to re-charge/add more air at any time with any 12 volt compressor. I haven't even had any need/use for a 12 volt water pump in the last 20 years and always have pressure driven water while on the road or when dry camping.
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rsjmcg View Post
I haven't even had any need/use for a 12 volt water pump in the last 20 years and always have pressure driven water while on the road or when dry camping.
I have never heard of such a thing! I'll read up on it - thanks
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:33 PM   #7
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Indeed, A Very Nice Improvement

Stef,
That really looks nice. Your TT is very cozy looking. You have decorated it very nicely. With the LEd's, you are probably using 1/8th of the power that you were using with the old lights. Well worth the $. Dan is awesome to work with.
I too am debating solar vs generator. Both are expensive routes to follow. I have many shinies to save for either route we choose. Maybe next spring. Now it's time to get out there and see this great country.
Sea ya down the road,
Gavin
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:41 AM   #8
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Stef,
I just came upon your thread.
You did just what I will be doing in a month or so. Or when spring comes.
Thanks so much for posting part numbers and a contact person.
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:23 AM   #9
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I was just out today doing spring cleaning and oiling/waxing the woodwork. The LEDs are all still working fine. I'm really happy with them. Good luck with your conversion.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
I was just out today doing spring cleaning and oiling/waxing the woodwork. The LEDs are all still working fine. I'm really happy with them. Good luck with your conversion.
I don't want to change the topic of your thread but what do you use on the woodwork? I've been looking for something that won't harm the old finish.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:24 PM   #11
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Stef,
Thanks for posting the specific bulbs you used. I'll be doing this also, hopefully soon. Your Caravel is looking great!

Dingo,
You weren't asking me but I wanted to share what I used. Watco Danish Oil. If you read your original owners manual it was what Airstream recommended back in the day and it is still made today. It is great stuff that penetrates the wood and leaves a rich finish. If yours is original it is what would have been used originally.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:45 AM   #12
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Watco Danish Oil. Thank you!
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:15 PM   #13
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I just did spring cleaning, and that involved a round of wood care as well. I use the Howards Restore a Finish, followed up with the Feed-n-wax, which is beeswax and orange oil. Looks beautiful and smells great in there when it's done.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:29 PM   #14
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The inside of our Bambi II is 100% LED. But I bought all the bulbs on EBay for less than $2 each. They're all Chinese, no matter who's selling them. All the sockets in my trailer take 1156 bulbs. I power them with dual 6 volt batteries. So far we've boondocked up to 5 days in summer without draining the batteries.

We also use only Watco Danish Oil on its woodwork.

All the interior lights on our 2010 FB are also LED. Those sockets are both 1156 and 2-pin high intensity.

In addition to the low electricity pull of LEDs we also enjoy the absence of the heat the original bulbs put out.
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Old 08-05-2018, 09:17 AM   #15
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Ordered half my bulbs today.
Thanks again for all the info @stefroberts & the courage to tackle this Caravel project.
You don't know how much I appreciate your thread. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:06 AM   #16
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Started installing the LEDs in the cone lights.
The first one popped in jack rabbit.
The second & third would go in but not twist & lock in place.
After looking at the difference between the two it was apparent that the reflective cone inside the shade on the one that would NOT go in was not pushed in as far as the reflective cone on the good one.
After much struggle & an imprint in my hand that will be there awhile I was able to push it on a bit further. The bulb went right in and locked in place .
It was a matter of about a 1/16 of an inch or less.
I only had to take the nut off the switch and pull the guts of the light out a bit to work on it.
Hope this helps someone with the same issue.
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:30 AM   #17
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:07 AM   #18
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That's how it is with old trailers - always some little surprise! Glad you got it to cooperate!
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:53 PM   #19
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Hi Stef,
could please you tell me if your cone spot lights have the double contacts in the socket?
I noticed the new leds bulbs are single contact but my light sockets have double contacts.
Same with the square ceiling lights.
I don't want to plug the trailer in and do harm.
Thank you!
Sherri
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:01 PM   #20
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Hi Sherri, I just went and looked at the cone lights over the dinette and the square ceiling light, and they are both single center contact. Odd that yours would be different! I dont know if it would hurt anything, most likely they just wouldnt work.
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