SInce we plan on doing a fair bit of of boondocking
and will be depending on our 50 watt solar panel
for much of our electric power, I've been converting our trailer's lights
to low-energy LEDs. Recently I have been trying out various LED light
options for converting the track-light lights
I bought at Home Depot into replacements for the factory reading lights
that the Scamp
comes with. The plan is to have four reading lights, one in each corner over the dinette and one in each forward corner of the 5er's loft. (I've already converted a fifth fixture into a sconce-type thingie for the loft, but it's not LED-lit yet.) I also wanted to find LED lights
that would convert our porch and standard incandescent-bulb 12v interior lights into LED-lit versions.
One of the track lights I've already converted into a "sconce" with an incandescent bulb. Eventually it'll be LED-lit, too.
Here's what I found:
For converting the Porch light
and Bargman 12v interior lights I hit it lucky on the first purchase. V-LEDS
, an eBay merchant, has a $20, 48-LED "Warm White 48 M-SMT" flat panel light that
puts out one heck of a lot of light
, as much or more than the 1156 auto light
bulbs that regularly fit in the fixtures do, and dims only minimally when battery
voltage drops below 12 volts. Power consumption is 0.15 amps at 13.5v (2 watts) and 0.06 amps at 11.5v (0.7 watts). (Standard 1156 bulbs suck down 1.33 amps or 18 watts.)
The "warm" light these LED panels put out is cooler in color than the IKEA puck lights I bought last fall
, but don't have that blue color cast so many other "white" LED bulbs have. As a reference point, the color temperature looks to be somewhere between the color cast of a "cool white" and "warm white" fluorescent bulb. The light come with adapters that allow you to use the flat panels in a variety of different light fixtures without re-wiring them, though you do have to find a way to mount the panels in the fixture.
I was less lucky in finding bulbs that would work in our reading lights. I tried several options that I won't mention before stumbling on something that works, but did find five LED options that are very much worth mentioning, all from eBay merchant LEDWholesalers
. This light puts out a warmer but dimmer light than the 48 LED light panels from VLEDs, about the same color as my IKEA puck lights, but the light intensity is a bit less than light than a 1156 incandescent bulb. On the upside, the light from this LED bulb is more focused than the incandescent bulb, so I think it's a fairly even trade-off for a reading light. Like the 48 LED panel, this light doesn't dim a whole lot as voltage drops off, and consumes 0.15 amps at 13.5 volts (2 watts) and 0.08 watts at 11.5 volts (0.9 watts).
that comes in this light separately, without the MR11 housing, for $12. You could turn them into tiny under-cabinet "puck" lights if you wanted to. If you want more light, LEDWholesalers also sells a larger, MR16 9-LED version of the same light with "white" (not warm white) LEDS that puts out twice again as much light (plain "white" LEDs put out more light than the "warm" LEDs do).
jpg]The other thing LEDWholesalers sells is a $5 24 LED MR11
and a $9 32 LED MR16 warm-white LED
lights that use traditional LEDs that are somewhat bulb-shaped. I tried their 24 LED MR11 bulb and found it put out a very focused, really warm (almost yellow-colored) light that was bright enough to read by when the battery
was fully charged at 13.5 volts. The problem I ran into with this light was the light level dropped off dramatically as the battery
voltage declined; at 11.5 volts it wasn't anywhere near enough light for comfortable reading.
I suspect the 32 LED version of this same bulb would probably work pretty well. I wanted a more compact bulb for my application, but could easily see how using these more "yellow" colored bulbs as reading lights would create a really comfortable light balance in the trailer when combined with the cooler-colored LED light that come off my IKEA puck lights and the 48 LED panels from VLEDs.