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Old 05-11-2014, 12:36 PM   #1
de NO1PC
 
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How-To: An LED Lighting Upgrade

Attached is a write-up of a cost-effective, relatively quick, not-too-custom/DIY LED upgrade of 12" fluorescent tube fixtures.

The article consider replacement options - whole fixture, tube replacements, and details lower-cost off-the-shelf stick-on strip replacements.

With this and some other careful LED choices and little mods, as with our 1988 Excella, our newer 2004 Excella is now 99.9% LED (the in-oven light will still be a challenge for awhile)

Some soldering and wiring required but definitely a do-able project with some very nice battery/bulb/bug-saving results. A must for dry-camping.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf LED-Strip-Lighting-Upgrade.pdf (572.4 KB, 386 views)
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:47 PM   #2
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We have been playing around with doing the same upgrade, thanks!
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:07 AM   #3
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LED upgrade for fluorescent s lights

To add a little to this good concept. Fluorescent s are the second most efficient lights on the market. If someone is wanting to change over to LEDs and is on a budget fluorescent s is not the place to start. Halogens and incandescent use the most power.
Jim is surely right. Strips are they way to go. The greatest misconception about fluorescent bulbs (tubes) is that they are plug and play. Nope, you still have to go inside of the light fixture to by-pass the ballast. And, by-passing the troublesome Ballast is worth it if for no other reason. Fluorescent bulbs going bad is a sign the ballast is bad. If you changed them less than two months ago and they need changing again it is a sure sign that the ballast is bad.
Great post!
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:35 AM   #4
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Thanks Jim!

I found the LED strips you used on the Lowes website:

Utilitech 2-Pack Plug-In Cabinet LED Tape Light Kit
Item #: 406066 | Model #: AC1013-WHG-12LF0-U


For that price I think I will go ahead and replace more of the fluourescents in my trailer. I just replaced two 18" units with LED because the ballast was going bad. I think I paid $22/ unit. I was interested in replacing some of the 12" lights but it was going to add up at $40/light. You have managed to cut that cost in half thank you!

-Alden
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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Thanks Dan and Alden. Indeed our first upgrade was in an 88 Excella full of incandescent bulbs. I started with ALL of the marker/clearance and tail lights, then attacked the interior. I have the current (power draw) measurements here someplace but believe I reduced the dry-camping load by 70-80%. The 2004 Classic is already LED outside. I think I mis-read the fluorescent draw too low and may have 60-75% savings with LEDs. Next I need to attack the Silverado. Nevertheless, if the sticky-backing holds in the heat I'll be very pleased all around. For the wire-timid I may find myself doing a lot of soldering on the road. :O
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
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Jim, any tips on switching the marker lights to LED? I'd like to do that but at $8 - $10 each I was looking for a less expensive way.

-Alden
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:38 PM   #7
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I used the complete molded assembly from ODMRV, which I suspect are same/similar to those Dan has at LED4RV. I could have tried a variety of the small wedge bulbs, but the lenses were so tarnished it didn't seem 'right.

If your lenses and lamp connections are in good condition then simply replacing the wedge or bayonet bulbs with, well, I would use warm-white since the bright-white LED modules are too blue.

To install the whole potted assembly I had to 'drill' into the potting material to get to the embedded solder pads rather than mess around with the blade/bullet connectors of the old lamp bases, and add (-) wire since there was no chassis(-) tab.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:09 PM   #8
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Jim, Alden.

Great info here; thanks a lot.

Is there a similiar kit for the 18 " floresent fictures??
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by woodytwo View Post
Jim, Alden.

Great info here; thanks a lot.

Is there a similiar kit for the 18 " floresent fictures??

I didn't see one at Lowes but if you need 18" LED strips they have them at LED4RV.COM and ODMRV.COM.

-Alden
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:14 PM   #10
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I didn't see one at Lowes but if you need 18" LED strips they have them at LED4RV.COM and ODMRV.COM.

-Alden
I stand corrected. Looks like you can get two 18" lights for about $30.

I looked on the Lowes website and found this:

Utilitech 2-Pack Plug-In Cabinet LED Tape Light Kit. Looking at the specs it appears to be 18" long.

-Alden
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:45 PM   #11
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I did all the lights in my 34 for about $22.00 and a few hours of soldering. You can buy 16 ft. rolls of the LED strips on E Bay for $11.00 per roll. The strips are cutable in 4 bulb increments so you can cut to length and wire in parallel as you want. I used 3 strips of 4 bulbs each in the 4 in. square fixtures. In the florescent I wire 4 strips 12 in. long to the low side and 6 more on the high side of the switch.

The only draw back I have found was the LEDs I bought where much higher in the color scale than the old bulbs and thus give off a bluer light. I am sure some investigation would turn up LEDs closer to the cool white light we are used to.

As for the exterior. Purchased sealed fixtures are about the only way to go for the marker lights.

The brake lights I set 6 64 LED commercial tail lights into the Airstream lenses and have them controlled by a sequencer that flashes them 1,2,3 on both directional and brakes. This did away with the back up lights, but those I had replace sometime before with fog lights mounted just forward of the center axle on each side of the trailer. They light the side of the trailer which is what I am interested in while backing up and turning into as site.
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Old 07-26-2016, 05:59 PM   #12
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Cool Finding one's Normal, one day at a time! =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TavnAsh View Post
We have been playing around with doing the same upgrade, thanks!
Love your signature line to wit: Finding one's Normal, one day at a time!
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:08 PM   #13
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Cool Addition of mod/upgrade cost(s)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Miller View Post
Thanks Jim!

I found the LED strips you used on the Lowes website:

Utilitech 2-Pack Plug-In Cabinet LED Tape Light Kit
Item #: 406066 | Model #: AC1013-WHG-12LF0-U


For that price I think I will go ahead and replace more of the fluourescents in my trailer. I just replaced two 18" units with LED because the ballast was going bad. I think I paid $22/ unit. I was interested in replacing some of the 12" lights but it was going to add up at $40/light. You have managed to cut that cost in half thank you!

-Alden
Thank you for adding in location of materials and pricing! Too cool!

1991 Airstream 34' Excella 1000 tri-axle
2005 Ford F350 Super Duty 4x4 Diesel Quad Cab Lariat Edition TV with MoNsTer/eLePhAnT winch (yes, ported AND chipped)! LOL!
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:22 PM   #14
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Is light as bright after the upgrade?

I have bought a couple of the UTILITECH 0406066 strips to try in my trailer, but was wondering if the light seems to be as bright after the upgrade. I noticed that the fluorescent lights have about 800 lumens, and the UTILITECH strips have about 224.

Thanks,

Stan
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