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Old 04-05-2020, 02:25 PM   #1
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Replacing Flourescent tubes with LEDS

I'm looking at replacing my 18" flourescent tubes with LEDs in my "63 Overlander. I found some on Amazon that had a little re-wiring required.
On ebay I found some LED 18" bulbs described as "plug and play"
I'm inexperienced and not handy- Is it really that easy? Since the price is comparable ( tho expensive) , it seems too good to be true. Thanks, everyone!
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Old 04-05-2020, 03:24 PM   #2
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Every fluorescent fixture I have ever seen includes a ballast that can easily be removed or bypassed for the LED.

If you are super curious or just bored, you can read up on how florescent lights work and learn more than you need to know.
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Old 04-05-2020, 03:36 PM   #3
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At home I have a fluorescent light above the kitchen sink that stays on all of the time. The ballast in the light fixture died. I too found an LED that would replace the old tube one for one.
The LED runs on straight 110 volts AC. I had to rewire the fixture (with the instructions that came with the LED) so that the LED was fed 110 volts directly. That took about 5 minutes.
I am assuming that your existing light fixtures are 12 volts DC. Just make sure that new LED’s use the same voltage as the existing tubes. 110 volt LED’s won’t work in a 12 volt fixture.

Cheers,

John
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:13 PM   #4
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We had 12" fluorescent tube fixtures (installed by us years ago) in our Airstream. Replaced the fluorescent tubes with exact physical match LED tubes (12v). The fixtures had electronic ballast which we took out of the circuit for the LED tubes. That rewiring was easy.

Tim
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:24 PM   #5
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we use the LED strip from http://www.leevalley.ca

beware of cheap Chinese knock off LED as the often fail soon , flicker, burn out, catch fire have other issues.

only use CREE certified LED lights

also look for natural 4000k lights and not warm 3000k or cold 5000k+
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:27 PM   #6
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Got our's here...many to choose from.

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Old 04-05-2020, 04:44 PM   #7
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We bought our LED lights from LED4RV. The owner is very knowledgable and great to work with. Good quality products at competative prices. He also is very familiar with Airstream, as he told me he worked for Out of Doors Mart for many years. Highly recommend this vendor. JMHO
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Old 04-05-2020, 06:07 PM   #8
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Here are instructions

Here is how to replace fluorescent lights with LEDs in older Airstreams:

https://livinginbeauty.net/2016/02/1...there-be-leds/

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Old 04-05-2020, 06:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
Here is how to replace fluorescent lights with LEDs in older Airstreams:

https://livinginbeauty.net/2016/02/1...there-be-leds/

DW hated the bright 'dots' showing thru.
I re-installed the tubes as diffusers, DW happy.😂

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Old 04-05-2020, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
DW hated the bright 'dots' showing thru.
I re-installed the tubes as diffusers, DW happy.

Bob
Good idea
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:33 AM   #11
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To answer your question, some fluorescent replacements require you to remove the ballast. Others allow direct use without removing the ballast, so it will depend on the replacement tube/bulb you buy. For a long time I was using rolled LED strips, but now I often salvage old fluorescent fixtures because the LED replacement tubes have come down in price, are easy to find, and diffuse the light a little nicer since the LEDs are inside a diffusion tube. They are also much easier to replace when they inevitably fail. You will read that LEDs have miraculous life spans, but the multi-thousand hour life of the actual diode will never be achieved because the soldering, etc., will fail long before then. This is why the current "20 year" household bulb replacements really only last a couple years on average.

EDIT: Though "direct replacement" might sound better, if you are able, removing the ballast is the best way to go, because there are then fewer things to go wrong in the future (it's also more efficient). Bypassing the ballast is a relatively simple job, but it *will* require a little mechanical savvy.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
To answer your question, some fluorescent replacements require you to remove the ballast. Others allow direct use without removing the ballast, .
I know on the home fluorescent fixtures there are a lot of replacements that allow the use of LED tubes without bypassing the ballast. And yes you don't get the same power savings as those LED's that operate without the ballast. But in my case it's easy and I don't have the nightmares of making a mistake or having to hire an electrician or replace the entire fixture.

So with all that in mind, does anyone have a link to a supplier, an outlet or LED tubes brand, that can replace our fluorescent tubes without monkeying with the ballast wiring? After over 16 years of use, I'd like to use LED tubs rather than replacing the tubes with the fluorescent technology as the old bulbs reach the end of their service life.

Jack
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:02 AM   #13
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I have done several trailers by removing the flourescent parts and replacing them with LED strip lights from Superbright LEDs. They are self adhesive and cost about $19.00 for one meter. they are much brighter and can be cut with scissors at every three LEDs.
https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/clearance-led-strip-and-tape-lights/led-strip-lights-12v-led-tape-light-with-lc2-connector-375-lumensft/1465/4153/
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:04 AM   #14
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LED Conversion

I totally agree with waninae39, whether you like the final product or not will depend on the light frequency you choose. Go for the more natural light color. Above 5000k and the light is very harsh to the eyes. Much below 4000k and the light looks yellowish. Besides that, my experience with the cheap chinese LEDs is you have to purchase twice as many as you need and hope you get enough that work to complete your project, a good number of them will be DOA right out of the box. Also, some require attention to polarity, if it does not work then switch the "+" and "-", if it still doesn't work then it's DOA.
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:38 AM   #15
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My Excella flourescent bulb fixtures were 12v from the factory. Flourescent bulbs will work on a 110v fixture if you take the ballast out. However I made 12V led light fixtures from parts on Amazon. Wired right in to the 12v wiring.
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Old 04-06-2020, 10:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by drbob46923 View Post
I totally agree with waninae39, whether you like the final product or not will depend on the light frequency you choose. Go for the more natural light color. Above 5000k and the light is very harsh to the eyes. Much below 4000k and the light looks yellowish. Besides that, my experience with the cheap chinese LEDs is you have to purchase twice as many as you need and hope you get enough that work to complete your project, a good number of them will be DOA right out of the box. Also, some require attention to polarity, if it does not work then switch the "+" and "-", if it still doesn't work then it's DOA.
Sorry to hear you had trouble with import LEDs. I've changed all my Airstream bulbs and my garage lights too, all with Amazon Chinese LEDs, and not one yet has failed.
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:00 AM   #17
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When I replace mine with new LED light I got static on the radio when they are on.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:04 PM   #18
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I bought a roll of LEDs. For, maybe $8 a 15m roll. All you do is cut the length you want on the mark. Gut the fixture of everything except the leads coming in from the TT. Then get a low heat soldering iron and connect some 20g wires to the strip being careful not to touch the bare wires or solder joints together. Don't worry about polarity. They won't work reversed, Just test them first. I did all of them in my Airstream after being unable to find 18" kits for the bathroom. The roll came with adhesive and of far, five years latter, they are still sticking even in the bathroom.
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:53 AM   #19
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Another Quality LED Source

This supplier has about every led bulb, tube, and fixture configuration available. Quality bulbs and as others have pointed out the more powerful natural light spectrum may be the best option between cool white light and warm light, depending on your personal preference. I find the cool, bright white light hard on my eyes for reading and some of the warmer diffused led light options to dim.

I changed out all the halogen light fixtures (too hot & energy thieves) in my 19' Winick, which has a darker custom walnut interior and no panoramic front window. Big difference. The M-4 elite natural light led bulbs made a huge difference. Unfortunately, this model has 24 fixtures! So a large number of bulbs to replace (a combination of side pins, rear pins, wedge bases, and traditional 1156 /1141 style bases). I'm guessing the Winick's had more fixtures per foot than all other AS ($$$)!

https://m4products.com/
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:52 PM   #20
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My only advice is measure the current draw on what you're installing. Some of the LED strips draw a lot of power and are far too bright. In the bathroom I ended up only using one strip of leds instead of the 2 since they were far to bright and far to heavy in power usage. I had a bunch left over from other projects so I just replaced different ones with different colours. Personally if they are too warm they don't look good either. You may want to experiment first before committing. Mind you I hated the florescent lights from day one. Their wavelength wasn't pleasant. BTW these led strips make great 3rd brake light replacements.
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