12 volt re-do/Jumbo LED lights install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-10-2009, 02:14 PM   #1
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Name: marvonw
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 13 ft
Great Lakes area-US
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Part One

I have just completed re-doing the interior 12 volt system on our 1978 Trillium 1300. The old wiring was a mess. Everything was wired with too light a guage wire. With more than one light on, the volts droped to a dangerous level. I also wanted to switch to LED lights. So, I decided to gut the whole thing. I removed all the lights, switches, wiring and the old converter. I carefully disconnected the Fantastic Vent/Fan - new last Spring. I used 12 guage stranded wire for all leads. I replaced the lighting with LED's from Autolumination. I installed five Jumbo 24 LED fixtures around the cabin and three 28 LED fixtures under the cabinet above the kitchen area. I installed toggle switches for all lights. I left the outside light alone for now, except for running new lead wires to it. I installed a new Iota DLS 1215 Converter/Charger.

During the course of my research and planning, I struggled with coming up with a schematic for doing the re-wire. I read Managing 12 Volts cover to cover; I scoured the FGRV Forum for tips and schematics; I checked books out of the library. Finally, I constructed a plan and drew up a schematic that I could work with. After I gathered most of the parts and tools necessary, I started the project (this took over 5 months!).

The gutting of the old system was fun. (I love demolition!) By the time I had all the lights out and carefully removed wires I had a good sense of how the trailer was wired. I also discovered that some wiring bundles were shared with wires for the exterior lights. That made me nervous.

First I installed the new converter/charger, placing it in about the same spot as the old one.
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Next, installing the Jumbo LED's was fairly simple. I mounted them flush under the shelving. The tricky part was drilling bolt holes in just the right spots (4 per light). I mounted the lights with hardware I got at Home Depot that was the correct size for the screw holes, just long enough for a nut and washer, so there is not much protruding through the shelf. I taped over all of the bolts/nuts.
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See "Part Two"
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 13 ft
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Part Two

Once all the lights and switches were in,
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it was time to do the wiring. I decided to set up a fuse block in the open area near my new 110 volt breaker box, where the old furnace used to be. This was near where I could fish wire in behind the counter and into the cabinet above, allowing me to go in either direction from there. I bought a fuse block with 8 connections that also had 8 connections for negative wires.

My plan called for five separate runs: One for 3 Jumbo 24 LED's and the outside light; one for 2 Jumbo 24 LED's and the trio of 28 LED's; one for a 12 volt socket; one for the Fantastic Vent/Fan and the voltmeter; and one for the radio/CD player. I have 3 empty circuits for future additions, like solar panels.

The actual wiring seemed to take forever. Fortunately, we had a very mild, dry November here in the Great Lakes area, and I had many days of 50+ degrees and mostly sunny. Some days were almost too nice to be cramped up inside the closet of the Trillium. I was very careful and tried to be meticulous with the wiring and all of the connections (I started this as a complete novice with 12 volt wiring).

Anxious to see if I was wiring correctly, I ran a tempory negative wire from my first light so I could check it. Imagine my total delight at having the light work on the first try! After that, it was one light, one switch,
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one negative wire at a time until I had all 5 circuits completed.

This was very taxing, tedious work. Hardly any wire connections were easy to do because of working inside of cabinets, the closet or on the long shelf with sliding doors.
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I'm short enough that I had to stand on a stool or benches for most reaches, but then I had to crouch - backache at the end of each day. I didn't keep track of the hours or days this all took. Hey! It's a hobby, right?

The picture below is of the ceiling where one wire run is under the ensolite. Temporary tape held it until all wiring was done.

See "Part Three"
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:32 PM   #3
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"Part Three"

I checked each circuit when it was done, before going on to the next one. One by one they each worked the first time.
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(I did have a loose connection in the "trio" wiring bundle, but soon found it and corrected the problem.) After I finished the wiring and tested all the circuits, I went back and tidied up the wiring, zip tying and taping it along the edges of the shelves as best I could. Here's what it looks like with the new lights ON.
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See "Part Four"
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
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Part Four

And the best part - look at the Voltmeter now!


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Can't wait to road test it (probably not until early February).

Finally, (thanks for your patience) here is the schematic for this project:


Trillium_12V_Schematic_Interior.pdf
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #5
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I'm not sure how your fuse board is made, but it appears that you have the load wires attached to the positive buss instead of at the upper end of the fuse.

Try removing the fuses and see if the lights still come on.

Or ---- perhaps I am seeing it wrong.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:25 PM   #6
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I saw the same thing with your fuse bus. It might be a good idea to check and make sure your fuses are wired up correctly by removing a fuse and making sure the lights, pump, furnace, or whatever else is supposed to be connected to that fuse will no longer work.

I am also concerned about how your wiring junctions, where three wires come together, are connected with a screw, nut and crimp connectors. While it looks to be a good way to make an electrical connection, I worry about how those junctions are insulated to prevent short circuits. There's no indication of how you've insulated them.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:03 PM   #7
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I worry about how those junctions are insulated to prevent short circuits. There's no indication of how you've insulated them.
Thanks for the scrutiny. I believe both you and Judith found a serious flaw with the fuse bus, which I'll fix when it thaws in a couple days (If there are two ways to do something, one right, one wrong I always do the wrong one first! No such thing as a 50-50 chance for me). I fully coated all connections (after the picture) with liquid electrical tape. May do more of that when the weather warms.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:08 PM   #8
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You are going to love those LED fixtures Marv. I replaced almost ALL of my fixtures with the ones you have and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:43 AM   #9
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Gina & Marv: Are those LED fixtures a "warm" white color, or blue-ish?
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:21 AM   #10
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mine are the warm white

piccies
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
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Gina & Marv: Are those LED fixtures a "warm" white color, or blue-ish?
Autolumination calls them "warm white". I do not detect any blue-ishness to the light I see. But, I wouldn't call it as warm (yellowish) as from an incandescent light. My pictures of the lights ON show the light pretty true to what I see.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:59 PM   #12
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Gina & Marv: Are those LED fixtures a "warm" white color, or blue-ish?
Peter,

I put two of the warm white in our Fiber Stream. The light is bright and warm, just as good as the old incandescent fixtures. The draw is about 1/10 per fixture. We love them.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:47 PM   #13
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Hi Marv,
In the photo of the back of a switch, what is the red-orange wire? Looks like it might be your 110v wiring going to an outlet. What kind of wire is that?

-Fran
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:33 AM   #14
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Hi Marv,
In the photo of the back of a switch, what is the red-orange wire? Looks like it might be your 110v wiring going to an outlet. What kind of wire is that?

-Fran
The red-orange wire is 110v wiring that was in the trailer when I bought it in 2008. It is a "Romex" type wire (solid copper wire, not stranded). I've since added another circuit with a couple more outlets, using stranded 10ga. wire, but didn't mess with the existing circuit, except to route it to my new breaker box.
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