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Old 12-19-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
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Warm-white vs cold-white LED lights?

I am curious how many people prefer warm-white LED lights vs the "cool-white" LED lights in their airstream?

We just bought a new 2015 International Serenity 23D. We drove it off the lot without ever seeing it in the dark. When we got to a campground, and turned on the interior lights at night we were shocked and dismayed to find all the internal LED lights are of the "cool-white" variety. Both my wife and I find this lighting to be cold-white and sterile, like an operating room. This lighting is most unworthy of the name "Serenity" in our opinion, and we cannot imagine that Airstream designers would ever choose these lights to equip new trailers, or that customers would buy them without complaining loudly. We had upgraded our '07 Safari 19' to warm-white LED's which we find provides a much more comfortable light.

Our next shock came when we returned to the dealer to have the cold bulbs replaced with warm ones. These LED lights are hard-wired into the fixtures, not replaceable bulbs. The parts cost to replace all of the cold light fixtures with warm ones is over $2000!!! So the honeymoon with our otherwise wonderful new trailer was a short one...

Dan's website at led4rv claims "9 out of 10 women prefer warm-white LED's." What do others think?


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Old 12-19-2014, 08:43 PM   #2
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When I got my trailer one of the first projects was to switch all the interior bulbs to LED. I use bright white in the over heads and warm in the spots and in the galley. Everyone perceives the colors differently.


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Old 12-19-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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I do a fair bit of lighting design in my work, and have been using LEDs a lot recently. I prefer warm white because it is, well, warmer and more like what we're all used to, from incandescent lights. It may be possible to "warm" them up with orange colored filters. I found this with some outdoor lighting I used on a project that came with filters. I tossed the filters and the lamps were cool. With the filter, they looked good. Depending on the fixture, you may be able to insert something- what do the fixtures look like?
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:55 PM   #4
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I agree, I dislike the "bright white" color Airstream has chosen for their LED lighting.

What I am doing now is using 120 volt residential LED bulbs in residential stile fixtures, powered by a small inverter. The residential bulbs are inexpensive, available in the warm white I like and look good, work good, and take no more power for the light output than the original ones. See my thread on the subject:
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:29 PM   #5
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We prefer the cool white LEDs ,once you get use to them you find the warm whites to orange coloured . Note not all led cool whites are the same color

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Old 12-19-2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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You could always cut out some lighting gels to slip into the fixture. Much cheaper than replacing.

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Old 12-19-2014, 09:57 PM   #7
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I wonder if I am the only one who does not like the "warm" LEDs either? We only tried two but they are just too harsh for us.

We may keep one or two. I plan to put some in the cargo boxes when they burn out.

While we are on shore power, current draw does not matter, and when on batteries we would rather just conserve and light a candle.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:10 PM   #8
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We prefer the warm-white which isn't uncommon for our generation as we have lived with incandescent for more than a semi-century. That lighting also accents the beige coloring so dominant in our trailer. However, I do have a cool-white, goose-neck fixture in the bedroom that is great for reading at night.

My conversations with the younger generation who prefer contemporary styling with greater color contrast interiors seem to indicate they prefer the cool-white but it certainly wouldn't qualify as a scientific poll.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:41 PM   #9
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I replaced all my halogens with swap-in LED's in cool (daylight) white for the ceiling lights and bathroom fixture, as it feels like sunlight to me, and colors are truer under this light. But the replacement reading lights are warm white LEDs, on the theory that those are the "winding down at night" lights, since the body doesn't want to experience daylight at night — artificial sunlight messes with circadian rhythms.
The lights in my home kitchen are also daylight white, because food looks better to me under accurate light. But then again, I'm a designer.
Maybe if you tell yourself it's "daylight" white light (same color balance as sunshine at noon), not "cool" light, it will feel better? ;-)
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:58 PM   #10
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There are also a lot of variations in "cool white". Better LEDs will have a color rendition (CRI) number, and the higher the number the more normal stuff will look, fuller spectrum whether it's cool white, more like daylight, or warm white. Cheaper cool white LEDs tend to be cold, like cheaper fluorescents. You get what you pay for, at least at this stage of the technology.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:59 PM   #11
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Warm, not HOT!

Hi, definitely warm whites.

(1.) Burnt headliner caused by incandescent bulbs.

(2.) Light fixture that overheated.

(3.) Type bulb that caused the heat.

(4.) Temporary bluish white LEDs. One of these found it's way into my step light.

(5.) Bluish LEDs with lenses on.

(6.) Larger, [proper size] warm white LED. This one happened to be defective, but was replaced by the seller. [One side not working]

(7.) All of my incandescent bulbs replaced. Same warm look/feeling as the bulbs without all of the heat.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:47 AM   #12
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Thanks for the comments. I will follow up on whether to try filters. Most of the lights are the flush mount type, in the ceiling or in the overhead storage, behind the sliding doors.

I realize this is a personal taste issue, and that we must be on the wring side of the issue from whomever is making these choices at Airstream, but It is good to hear the range of opinions on the forum.

We will not enjoy our new trailer with the lights A/S put in there, so we will either add filters if practical or swap the lights. Maybe we can sell the cool white fixtures to someine who likes them and wants to upgrade from halogen...

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Old 12-20-2014, 04:06 AM   #13
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Count me in as another warm white user, probably because I come from the incandescent age group. I use some daylight white LED's in my shop. Travel trailers are all warm whites. FWIW don't particularly like fluorescent in any form, the frequency bothers me.

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Old 12-20-2014, 06:21 AM   #14
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I use a combination of bright white and warm white.

I first bought warm white because I liked the color and it felt better on my eyes. DW complained about not seeing well in some areas where she performs tasks. So a compromise had to be found. We now use bright white over the cooktop and over the kitchen sink, over the lavatory, over the toilet, and inside the shower. She was right! Now we can see better where we work/clean. The rest of the warm lighting isn't so harsh on the eyes at night.

The only thing I do not like in either color is for the reading lights. Bright gives too much reflection off of the pages. Warm is not bright enough for my old eyes. I'm still looking for something in between bright and warm. Maybe I need new light fixtures or a combination of different colors?

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