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Old 02-08-2016, 02:41 PM   #1
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Installing LED bulbless ceiling light.

I found a LED bulbless ceiling light I want to install in my 1990 Excella but it will not run off the 12VDC. What's the easiest way to resolve this? Add an inverter with a switch, or rewire to the 120VAC outlet with a new switch?

Thank you!
Micah
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:30 PM   #2
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If there is a step down transformer which outputs 12VDC, you can wire to your 12 volt system. Thee are no 12 volt switches except for the AC, breakers and water heater. Switches otherwise are 12 VDC (volts DC).

Where are you installing?
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Old 02-09-2016, 02:11 AM   #3
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Did you mean to say 120 V for AC?

I'd like to install on the ceiling.

Thanks,
Micah
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:16 AM   #4
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Looks like you are in uncharted waters regarding knowledge of the RV systems.. Please read and understand the following completely...

Post the 'model number' of the fixture.. we can look it up online.. or do it yourself. Check what the specifications say.

WARNING: Important to note.. electricity will hurt, harm or kill you... take care working with it..even the VDC (DC) power. Note the additional warnings below...

It is possible to learn about the differences in power circuits and safety procedures.

If your LED fixture has home type screw in bulbs and no 'transformer' (which converts AC to DC), chances are it is a HOME 120VAC type and incompatible with your AS wiring at current the ceiling location. You can stop there.

Take note of the info and warnings, search for posts on this forum for more details and ways to be cautious. Learn from YouTube videos!!

Let me try to clarify your Airstream systems. This should be documented in your owners manual... but, that info assumes you can interpret the designs.

Most RV's, including AS (Airstream), have 2 electrical systems.
1- 120VAC (that is 120 Volt Alternating current like your home uses for high power requirement appliances like AC (Air Conditioning), water heater, microwave, TV, hair dryer and 'outlets' like found your home.

2- 12VDC (12 volt direct current) (battery/converter) for lighting, water pump, fans, electric vent lid opener, radio, even the TV (television, not Tow Vehicle) can/ may operate on the 12VDC circuit.. more about the TV if you want to discuss.

The 120VAC is supplied by Generator or other external power (plugging in to the appropriate power at a campsite or other outlet(properly installed), when the 'circuit breakers' are off... but always verify using a VOM.

The 12VDC is provided by the BATTERY(ies) and/or the CONVERTER.

The converter can run the 12VDC system with the batteries removed, but, without a battery, your emergency 'breakaway' power for the trailer brakes will NOT work when towing.. and it may(is) not LEGAL to tow certain weight trailers without this feature.

The batteries, 12VDC, are the source for all 12VDC when the RV is NOT connected to 120VAC(home/RV site power). When you are connected to 120VAC, and there is electricity(power) to the converter, it will provide a charging of batteries and 12VDC demands in the AS.

My experience with the converter(120VAC converted to 12VDC) shipped with each AS, is that it has marginal capabilities/capacity to operate the 12VDC systems and properly charge or maintain batteries at the same time. Each type of battery also requires proper charging method and the stock converter may not work properly with your replacement batteries when the stock ones fail.

So, the power available at your 'light' location you mention, on the ceiling, should be a 12VDC wiring/circuit. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE using a VOM (Volt/Ohm Meter) to check wiring/voltage.... Watch some 'YouTube videos' to learn first..

The available power and type can be tested with a VOM meter. Again, do not do this unless comfortable working with electricity.... YOU are responsible for your actions.. not our recommendation for folks who are not comfortable/experienced around electricity..

Be warned, be careful to not TOUCH the bare wires with hands or allow to come into contact with the AS metal. You can 'test' the power at the light location by touching the 'supply' wire where it connects to the switch (usually a spade type connector which can be pulled off the switch and carefully probed with the VOM leads.. be careful.. do not touch any of the METAL of the wires or test leads..

So, if you proceed, YOU are fully responsible... as you work with electricity...or any system... check your existing fixture wiring for 120VAC or 12VDC.

If your NEW fixture is intended for HOME use, it will most likely require 120VAC... so, if you only have 12VDC at the fixture location, the fixture will fail to operate. If you have 120VAC and try to connect a 12VDC fixture, you will have a catastrophic failure (possible fire, and it's ramifications), up to and including death...

Do I have your attention? Know and learn... be safe..

Now, after all that... learn to be safe.. learn your systems...it can be fun, but never let your guard down.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:46 AM   #5
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It sounds like you are looking at lights intended for use on 120 volt AC circuits. It is clearly not worth while to attempt to provide a system in the trailer that will accommodate this type of light.

If you could provide a picture or spec sheet on the lights we would be better off in our comments.

I converted every light in my 34 ft. trailer for less than $20.00 in materials using existing wires an switches using LED ribbons cut to different lengths to match the fixtures.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:49 AM   #6
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Forgot to provide a picture above.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info cwf and Howie. I'm actually quite comfortable with the difference in 12VDC and 12VAC systems having done electrical work on trailers in the past...I basically wanted to know if it was worth it to "invert" for just one new light. Howie I am convinced its too much trouble so I already returned the light for new ones that are 12 VDC compatible.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:45 PM   #8
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oh and Howie the stainless steel round LED lights I found are on www.vintagetrailersupply.com if you ever get tired of the plastic rectangle look.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:54 PM   #9
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cwf, I still think (and hope) you meant to say "there are no 120 volt switches" in your original reply to me, that is where I got confused for a bit.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:54 AM   #10
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There ARE 120AC SWITCHES. First, not a "switch, but sometimes used that way are the Breakers for the 120 AC.

not knowing your AS, whether it has been modified, the only "120 AC" switches are for Water Heater, Converter and possibly your Inverter (if you have one)
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:16 PM   #11
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How I installed LED lights instead of fluorescent

I just posted how I changed out old fluorescent lights for new LEDs

http://livinginbeauty.net/2016/02/17/let-there-be-leds/
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