LED lighting in Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-26-2008, 01:38 AM   #1
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I ordered one Warm White (92 lumens) and one Cool White (120 lumens) "bulb" (actually bulb base connected to printed circuit board with LEDs on it) from SuperBrightLeds.com and tried them out in the camper. The Cool White really puts out the light, but it's too harsh. So I ordered all Warm White "bulbs" for the camper and put two Cool White ones on the outside lights. As you can see by the pics on my website, the interior is lit up beautifully at night with LEDs. When turning on the factory incandescent bulbs in the camper, with just two lights on the battery voltage dropped 1/10 volt, another light would drop it another 10th, etc. With all 7 interior lights on, the voltage would drop almost immediately half a volt, and in a few minutes it would drop a full volt. With the LEDs I can turn all the lights on, inside and out, (a total of 10 lights) and the voltage doesn't drop at all. NOw I can stay up half the night with all the lights on and still have enough battery power to run the furnace all night. See my latest mod on the my website and click on "Led Lighting." You can click on the pictures to enlarge them and you can download them.

http://web.me.com/dr.pepper007/Site/Casita...asita_Mods.html
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Old 11-26-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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I've had good luck with those LEDs from SuperBright. The ones that look like little printed circuits are much more robust than the ones that look like little plastic bulbs. Although I prefer the cool whites as I find them easier to read by. I agree that they are a little harsh.

Although I haven't had much luck getting the velcro to hold them in place inside the fixture. I probably should have cleaned the surface some. None the less, they run cool and they just sit on the plastic cover without problems.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:09 AM   #3
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I also have those same lights - a bit pricy, but worth it - they are not as bright as 1156 bulbs, but you can run 5 Led's to one 1156

Ken J.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:53 AM   #4
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one more project for spring. I'll be able to go the entire summer without charging the battery. thanks for the link.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:27 AM   #5
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LED's are the way to go!! We found some warm white rope lights that were designed for decorating a car, and installed them under the upper cabinet over our sink. We also plan to add a few of the LED puck shaped lights around the inside, eventually. I think a mix of cool and warm white will do nicely as I like the extra brightness of the cool white, but they can be hard on the eyes after a while. It would be cool to mix them together in a single fixture if that is possible, I don't know much about actually wire them so I don't know how that would work out, but it seems like a good idea in theory to blend the two together to balance the lighting out.

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Old 11-26-2008, 11:40 AM   #6
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I've been thinking about ordering some of those for awhile. Glad to see they work so well.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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one more project for spring. I'll be able to go the entire summer without charging the battery. thanks for the link.
As good as you all make these LEDs sound, I'm worried that my battery may have to be serviced sometimes just to let the extra volts out!

Parker
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:09 PM   #8
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We went all LED and Cold Cathode lighting in our 81 Scamp redo over a year ago. We can go 10-14 days easily without recharging on normal lighting use and including running the water pump periodically. We added a 15W briefcase solar unit off eBay and were off the grid in Yellowstone this summer for a week with only the briefcase solar out all day and the battery never dropped below 12.6 volts the entire week. The external trailer lights were replaced with all LED as well.
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:37 PM   #9
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I've had good luck with those LEDs from SuperBright. The ones that look like little printed circuits are much more robust than the ones that look like little plastic bulbs. Although I prefer the cool whites as I find them easier to read by. I agree that they are a little harsh.

Although I haven't had much luck getting the velcro to hold them in place inside the fixture. I probably should have cleaned the surface some. None the less, they run cool and they just sit on the plastic cover without problems.
You mean, the LEDs aren't retained by the socket, rather they dangle against the fixture? That sounds less than optimal for their longevity if they're going to be subjected to motion stress all the time during travel. Please elaborate.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:25 PM   #10
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Here's my take on LED lights and the cost and battery life trade-offs.

Whether or not LED lights are a good deal depends on how you use your trailer. If you're a hookups-only kinda person (or people), LEDs make no sense at all. At $10-$35 a bulb they're just too pricey.

If, on the other hand, you do a lot of dry-camping and depend on solar panels to supply your electricity, LED lights are a near necessity, and here's why: A used 55 watt solar panel costs around $280 on eBay and provides about 27 amp-hours of electricity, the exact amount of electricity required to run four regular RV light bulbs for 4-1/2 hours. In other words, you have to watch how many lights you turn on and how long you use them very carefully or you'll use up all the electricity your $280 solar panel makes in a day on just those four light bulbs and have nothing left over to run other nicities like your water pump or forced-air furnace.

Now consider your standard $20 two-watt LED flat panel. They put out the same amount (sometimes more) of usable light as a regular light bulb, but use just 1/9th the electricity of a regular RV light bulb. That means spending $80 to replace your four most heavily used regular bulbs with LED flat-panel lights allows you to leave those four lights on for nine hours each night and still use just 4 of the 27 amp-hours your solar panel generated. That $80 in LEDs saved you from having to buy a second $280 solar panel. (And from needing a second deep-cycle battery to store the solar panel's elecricity in, too.)

If you don't have solar panels and depend on battery power LED lights become even more valuable. For $80, the cost of a single deep-cycle battery, you can buy four LEDs and extend the length of your stay by several days without buying that second battery.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:57 PM   #11
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I'm reading all of this with interest, but, in 30 years of camping, I generally sit by the fire, if we can be bothered to make one, and go to bed when it gets dark.

Probably that's because I didn't have electric lights in the tent trailer. We'd generally light a Coleman lamp for maybe an hour at bedtime, as much to take the chill off as for the light.

Now that I have Toad, with all the amenities, I'm going to have to monitor my usage before investing in solar panels, LED lights and batteries. I'm just not sure I need any of that stuff when I can just go to sleep or sit outside and marvel at the night sky.

baglo
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:01 PM   #12
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The question I have for everyone because I am considering this move next on my rig is this "How do the bugs act with this kind of lighting?" "Do they respond to it like the old florescent style lamps being attracted to it or is it more like incandescent lamps?" "On outside lighting does the yellow diffuser still work to lower bug attractions to the light with L.E.D.s"
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:31 PM   #13
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Good question Harry!

We've used white LED lighting in our kitchen tent with out noticable bugs buzzing around. Maybe that is because I leave the propane light on a pole outside. Never really thought about it until you asked. I've seen Steve L's lights and agree with the others on the harshness of the cool white.

I work under bright lights most the day and seem more sensitive than others to harsh glares. For that reason I've decided to use the cool white only over the sink/stove area and warm white under the end cabinets. I was tossed on what to use for the porch light till I read your post. Since we have a clear lens, I'll go with the warm white there too.
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:32 PM   #14
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As with many other appliances, what you do depends greatly on YOUR camping style. Personally, I like to read in bed, and as a FullTimer I rarely made campfires, so the lights were important to me.

BTW, I have read that the bugs aren't actually attracted to the lights -- What's happening is that they navigate by the light from stars or the moon, always keeping one side pointing at that distant light -- When we introduce a closer light, they start flying in circles around the light, eventually getting to it and being very confused.

http://archives.stupidquestion.net/sq72601.html

The above suggests that the lower a light is towards the ground, the fewer bugs will be fooled by it.

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