My 1983 Excella has fluorescent lights instead of the incandescent bulbs earlier models used. However, I have been less than pleased with the fixtures, especially in the ceiling vent/light combinations. Instead of using the commonly available 12" F8T5 tube that the rest of the fixtures (Thin-Lite 112
) use, they use a 14" F14T8 that is difficult to locate and has limited choices about the color of the light.
I finally located some "warm white" F14T8 tubes at a local designer lighting shop, and they are extremely cool. Very bluish. Even if they are better than the original cool whites they are still unacceptable, like being in an aquarium. They were also dimmer than the F8T5 fixtures.
I decided on an approach similar to aquionb's in his $5 Retrofit LEDs for 6-light ceiling lights in '73 Overlander
thread. Zep has also posted a different strategy for LED conversion in the same thread. I had originally planned to post my conversion there, but decided to start a new thread since my fixtures were originally fluorescent rather than the similar 6 light incandescent fixtures, hoping to avoid confusion. (I did link the two threads together on purpose, though.)
I used 5 rows per side of 120/Meter (600 for 5 meters) 3528 Warm White
LED strips from ebay for the primary light and added a strip of Blue 120/Meter 3528 LEDs on the inside near the vent in sort of a "U" shape. I got waterproof LED strips thinking that they might get water on them being near the vent openings. It did make soldering much more difficult, though. Had to remove the clear plastic coating where I cut the strips. Upon completion the soldered connections were globbed liberally (that's a technical term
) with white liquid electrical tape
from my local HD.
I mounted a pulse width modulation (PWM) dimmer where the ballast was and moved the knob from the box to the frame of the fixture. The output from the dimmer goes to a DPDT switch also mounted to the frame to choose between the warm white and blue LED arrays. The blue lights dimmed make perfect conditions for watching a movie. Enough light to move around in and it keeps the screen from glaring so much. Plus, the blue is really pretty
The first photo is a comparison of a completed conversion and an original fluorescent fixture. The next two show the connections to the DPDT switch and the wiring joining the strips.