Recommend additional lights? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2006, 08:25 AM   #1
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Just returned from a nice (nearly 70 degrees in Jan.!!) but too short little trip to the Smoky Mountains and decided I need to add a few lights. I have a 16' Scamp with front bath. Everytime either my wife or I needed something out of the 2 closets next to the door, we had to get out the flashlight. Plus when I went to lock the door, it was hard to find the hole for the lock pin so again I needed a flashlight. Any recommendations for just a small light in these areas? I thought I would search for some 12v lights but thought somebody has surely done this and would share their efforts. Thought about those battery stick-ons but hate to worry about batteries.
Thanks for any help.
Chris
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Old 01-31-2006, 04:26 PM   #2
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We had the same situation, also in the bathroom.

What we did was pretty simplistic (if that's a word).

We just bought several of those small LED flashlights and hung them in places where when turned on light the area needed temporarily. Then when we need a flashlight for any other reason, we know where to find one.

The LED flashlights have been in this service for 3 or 4 years now and only one has needed a battery change.

Another idea for a more permanent light. The local Home Depot (and probably other stores) have an under-counter fluorescent that uses a wall wart plug in. It turns out the wall wart puts out 12 volt D.C. Those units don't know the difference between electricity coming from a wall wart or a 12 volt trailer battery. It's all the same to them.

They are slightly over an inch wide by about 2 deep and less than 12 inches long. Toss the wall wart and connect them directly to the trailer 12 volt and you should be good to go.

For closets you can go to the wrecking yard and get those under-hood and trunk lights that turn on when the hood or trunk is opened. They just have a pendulum operated switch and they could be mounted to work properly for doors with hinges at the top or bottom.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:48 PM   #3
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I don't know if these are the same units to which Loren is referring, but just this weekend I noticed two reasonably priced fluorescent lights at Home Depot, in the display with the night lights (which is what I was buying). They are battery operated, with jacks to plug in DC power supplies and run on a voltage depending on the length of the tube. The longer 8-watt unit needs 12 V, so it is one simple cord (no voltage converter or anything) away from being a $18 (Canadian) high-efficiency light source, with the option of battery backup (or just don't put batteries in). The smaller unit runs on a lower voltage (fewer batteries) so I would be careful to check which one I chose to hook up to trailer battery power.

I have no idea how well these work, since they were not in the display of powered and working fixtures, just on the shelf in the package. They are certainly cheaper than premium 12VDC units such as the proven Thin-Lite fluorescents often used in RVs.

By the way, I just learned that a "wall wart" is an AC-to-DC power supply that hangs on the AC outlet. Never heard the term outside of this forum - we call them power supply cubes and the ones with cords on both ends "bricks" - is it one of those regional terms that belong in the Speaking "American" while traveling topic?
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:36 PM   #4
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I had a similar situation, as well. I bit the bullet and bought a conventional RV 12 volt light that matched the others in my rig. Running the wiring from a nearby circuit was tedious, but the final result was worth it. While I was at it; the Fiber Stream did not originally have a porch light so I added one of those, also.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Tap lights are a very simple solution.

http://store.diyhut.com/taponliglika.html

If you want to make the batteries last longer you can replace the bulb with an LED

http://www.ledtronics.com/ds/ffs303/
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:17 PM   #6
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Sorry about the wall-wart confusion. They are commonly given that moniker by the electronic musician crowd. They are a pain for setting up for gigs because they usually take up at least two spaces on a power strip, tend to fall off and have fragile cords.

An axe (synthesizer keyboard) with a real power cord is a real benefit for these folks.

A gig is a performance, usually jazz or rock and usually for pay, similar to a concert for an orchestra.

I just assumed the term was universal, but I'm obviously mistaken. Sorry!
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
...I just assumed the term was universal, but I'm obviously mistaken. Sorry!
Hey, I'm not complaining!
Discussions in this forum are often an opportunity to learn something new, and in context the meaning was clear anyway. When this subject (of unfamiliar terms) came up before, several members expressed the same sentiment. I'm happy to now have "wall wart" in my vocabulary.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:28 PM   #8
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Sorry about the wall-wart confusion.

I just assumed the term was universal, but I'm obviously mistaken. Sorry!
...

I'm with you Loren I thought wall wart was a universal term too..I'm glad to have my misconception pointed out.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:06 PM   #9
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I don't know if these are the same units to which Loren is referring, but just this weekend I noticed two [b]reasonably priced fluorescent lights at Home Depot, in the display with the night lights (which is what I was buying). They are battery operated, with jacks to plug in DC power supplies and run on a voltage depending on the length of the tube. The longer 8-watt unit needs 12 V, so it is one simple cord (no voltage converter or anything) away from being a $18 (Canadian) high-efficiency light source, with the option of battery backup (or just don't put batteries in). The smaller unit runs on a lower voltage (fewer batteries) so I would be careful to check which one I chose to hook up to trailer battery power.

I have no idea how well these work, since they were not in the display of powered and working fixtures, just on the shelf in the package. They are certainly cheaper than premium 12VDC units such as the proven Thin-Lite fluorescents often used in RVs.

I bought one of these tonight at Home Depot, for $10.95 USD. It takes 8 AA batteries and does have the jack for a coaxial plug. The wall-wart is not included with the light.
The smaller (shorter) version uses 4 AA batteries and thus needs a 6V wall-wart.

I plan on putting it in my trailer, so I'll need to either scrounge in my junk box, try and find a prewired plug at the next hamfest, or just buy a plug at Radio Shack that matches the receptacle. I figured right above the dinette would be a good place for it, and there are already two 12V lights there that I can tap into to supply power. To get a feel for how much light it will provide, I put batteries into it and took it out into the trailer with the other lights off.

I was a little disappointed in the output. It's just not very bright. It will probably be OK for playing cards or something like that but I think you'd need something brighter to read or eat by. I don't know since I haven't tried it yet, but I doubt it will be any brighter running off of the coach battery, since 12V is 12V no matter the source. I guess I shouldn't have had such high expectations from only 8 watts. I still plan on installing it, as it will greatly decrease the drain on the battery when away from shore power, and it will be bright enough for less demanding tasks.
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:52 PM   #10
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It's too bad that the 8-watt unit isn't what Lee was hoping for, but it might still be more than enough for Chris's original light-in-the-closets requirement.

I have a 16-watt Thin-Lite fixture in the middle of the ceiling of my 17' Boler, and it lights the whole trailer reasonably well. I expect that an 8-watt similar unit over the dinette would be adequate. Perhaps the cheap Home Depot unit just doesn't have good enough electronics to be efficient?

Now I'm curious enough that I might try one over my dinette - Home Depot is pretty generous in their return policy...
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:41 AM   #11
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Tap lights are the way to go....cheap....small...bingo-bang-go !
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Old 02-11-2006, 01:44 PM   #12
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OK, update. I loaded the light up with 8 brand-new AA batteries for my test. Later, I was still thinking about how low the light output was, so I grabbed my voltmeter and checked each battery individually. lo and behold, all but 6 of them showed about 1.5 volts as they should have but one of them was a little less than a volt and one of them actually had the polarity REVERSED. That's right, + was - and - was +. I have never seen this happen. I think the one "backwards" battery caused the other low one to drain and it certainly didn't help on the light output any.

I swapped in 2 more batteries that checked good and it then gave off more along the line of what I was expecting. I haven't brought it back out to the camper to see what it looks like in a real situation, but it is much better than it was at my first report.

Only thing I can think of is that when the battery was assembled, they somehow got the innards in 180 off or somethig like that. These were standard run-of-the-mill Energizer alkaline cells.

In my line of work, I have come to embrace a mantra that I thought up over years of experience, and it certainly came into play this time.

"New means not used. New does NOT mean good"

Lots of people equate new with good, but that is just not so. All it really means is "untested".
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Old 02-16-2006, 09:07 AM   #13
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Just a note: Our GW thrift has several of the push on/off and even one still in packaging. I bought new a couple of the small Florescent w/plug/or battery. Usually there is a boxfull of several kinds of DC converters at GW also and often a universal one. I seem to have a collection of these including one universal. I hope to put the ones I won't use on here soon for anyone. Oddly enough, many years ago, we called these "transformers" for toy train and car tracks.
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Old 02-16-2006, 09:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Just a note: Our GW thrift has several of the push on/off and even one still in packaging. I bought new a couple of the small Florescent w/plug/or battery. Usually there is a boxfull of several kinds of DC converters at GW also and often a universal one. I seem to have a collection of these including one universal. I hope to put the ones I won't use on here soon for anyone. Oddly enough, many years ago, we called these "transformers" for toy train and car tracks.
Renee
Renne
Thanks. Probably the shipping cost verses getting something local is prohibitive. I'm still looking around. Saw some at Lowe's but want to check Home Depot too.
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