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Old 09-19-2018, 07:44 AM   #1
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I love LED'S

While walking ‘Ziva’ our fur baby, around the campsite during our last visit of the Summer to Florida’s East Coast before it becomes overrun with Snowbirds, our conversation turned to Oooh’s and Aaaagh’s as we passed several majestic rigs we can only dream of.

One feature that sets them aside from everyday campers is the exterior lighting.





We’ve always referred to these as ‘Happy Lights’. Long before we were absorbed by the RV lifestyle we would comment on how a home looks ‘happier’ with outside lighting. Simple carriage lights or a glow from a lit room adds a certain warmth and visual attractiveness don’t you think?

Our Zinger ‘Harvey’ came with the standard white LED strip tucked up under the awning and blue accents in the exterior speakers, we decided he needed more.

A quick internet search led me to a distributor offering packs of (5) pre-wired panel mount LED strip lights, each has six LED’s and can be lit with 12 -24 volts. They are approximately 5” long x 1” wide and ⅜” thick. They are available in white, blue and red, each pack of five including shipping cost under $7.00.

I ordered three packs of the blue to match the speakers, and the decals over the otherwise silver/grey sides of Harvey. The intent is to create a warm blue glow from under the hull which we hope would be aesthetically pleasing.





They arrived about five days later and I set about mounting them to the bottom edge of the tin skirt facing downwards along the kerb-side.

I measured Harvey and planned equal spacing, in my case about 30” between each LED. This step helped me determine how much wire I would need to route around obstacles under the floor such as the fold down steps, and wheel arches etc.

LED’s are polarity critical, the ones I bought have a white and black wire. The white has to be connected to the positive 12V DC supply, the black is negative, and in my case ground. This meant I only had to run one wire from the battery, via a 5 amp fuse and switch to the white wire on each of the LED’s to have them in parallel. Each of the black wires is connected on the back to one of two small nut, bolt and washers I used to hold the LED to a 5” bracket I made from 1” aluminum angle I had laying around. The bracket will be fastened to the skirt with self-drilling screws thereby providing a path to ground since the skirt is grounded to the trailer chassis.






I assembled the LED’s and wiring, soldering and heat shrink wrapping each connection on the bench, minimizing the time spent on my back under Harvey.






I threaded the assembly up under the folded bottom edge of the skirt, secured the brackets and the supply wire to the frame using insulated cable brackets and self-drilling screws, and connected it into a spare terminal on my 12V buss behind my battery box.

I mounted a waterproof illuminated switch on the skirt next to the entry door for convenience.

Flushed with success, I hit the internet again and bought a pack of the white LED’s. Three of which I installed flush mounted on the inside of the left stringer of my newly acquired MOR/Ride entry steps, the remaining two will go inside my pass through storage when I get around to it.





Overall, the two jobs cost around $45. I think the result is very pleasing, and when sitting outside of an evening I won’t be surprised to hear the occasional Oooh’s and Aaaagh’s.
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:55 AM   #2
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John, you are sure a bundle of energy and enthusiasm!

It looks great.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:07 AM   #3
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Thanks Lloyd. I just really enjoy doing stuff..
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:24 AM   #4
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Smile

You are welcomed to come up to my rv and do the same. Refreshments will be served.
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:28 AM   #5
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I did something similar with a 20 foot flexible strip of blue leds that I plug in by the wheels. I bought a second one to wrap around the other side, but I have not installed it yet. I did this because when we were camping in the Land Between the Lakes there was an albino skunk hanging around and I didn't want to be sprayed nor did I want my dog to be sprayed. And I think it looks cool.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:50 AM   #6
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Nice job. I like that.
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:17 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your kind words.



If someone had the inclination, bought a bunch of these in various colors, a couple of spools of wire, some switches and heat shrink, I dare say there's business out there at every campsite.....


Just saying, not offering......
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:46 AM   #8
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I love them too. They are cheap, useful and a lot of fun. China has finally learned how to make them dependable too, I think. I lightened up the dim bathroom with a set under the vanity and some remote control variable colored ones under the unit.

Nice job on yours.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:25 PM   #9
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Labbie, I bet your albino skunk looks really cool under blue lights....Hee hee.


Good luck.
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:37 AM   #10
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Some shots of Harvey at New Smyrna Beach, 'Old Sugar Mill Ruins' campsite with the new lights.....








In't that pretty..
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Old 11-09-2018, 02:19 PM   #11
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Biggles607, could you tell me what the current is per blue 6led light? Ordered these today but see no amount of current they draw. Ordered a 20 pack, should need 13-15 depending on a few things, plus having a few spares, did you wire your set-up to 1 string 16 gauge wire, i switch, 1 fuse (?amp). OR did you split your demand to 2 strings, 2 switch, 2 fuse? I confess I'm no electrician but love to tinker but still want it done right as I'm sure you also strive for... Thanks in advance... I guess the biggie is the draw and how many lights can be added per string and 16 gauge wire..
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Old 11-09-2018, 07:51 PM   #12
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Hi Aceallenk,

I had to do some guestimation as I too could find no published data for these units.

When lit with 12 volts these units have a similar brilliance to a 40 watt incandescent bulb, the LED equivalent of a 40 watt incandescent bulb is 6 watts.

Using this as a rule of thumb, and since I have 10 units in parallel, my total power consumption is approximately 60 watts, divide that by the voltage which is 12, gives me a total current draw of 5 amps.

Just to be on the safe side, I calculated this for both 40 and 100 watts of power use, and those numbers yield a current draw of 3.3 and 8.3 amps respectively.

I protect the circuit on the hot side with a 10 amp inline fuse on 16 gauge stranded wire with crimped on connectors at the switch and buss terminals, and all other connections soldered and heat shrink insulated.

The two switches you see in the photos are for the under hull blue lights, and the white stair lights. Each has it's own fuse. The white lights have a 5 amp.


I hope this helps.

Good luck.

John
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:33 PM   #13
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Biggles607, Thanks, really appreciate the fast reply back. I'm the same, solder + heat shrink, but I believe I might run 2 strings and a couple markers around tongue and 3-4 lights down left side, maybe 18 total. Now another thing that came to mind tonight while out to the rodeo bull riders and will investigate or Utube, but I think my multi meter is able to read the draw being used, something I will check into tomorrow to learn how to do that. My lights won't be here till January, ebay via HongKong to Canada, otherwise LED's in Canada are insanely priced, like there rare and going instinct for some reason, lol. I feel comfortable adding a few LED's as everything else has been switched over to LED. Reality is could probably turn every light on after I'm done, and still be using less than the old incandescent days but never one to push my luck... I'll post draw per light if I get an accurate reading or answer from manufacturer.
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggles607 View Post
Some shots of Harvey at New Smyrna Beach, 'Old Sugar Mill Ruins' campsite with the new lights.....








In't that pretty..
Nice job...where’s the pics? Didn’t come up on my computer.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:20 AM   #15
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Aceallenk and Biggles,
I'm no electrician either, but I know the current draw for an LED is a somewhat less than you estimated. I bought replacement LED clearance lights, 14 of them altogether, and they did have the current specs. I am unable to find the specs again, but I know they were along the lines of .06 amps per LED.. NOT 1/2 amp, but one-tenth of that.
Now, most LED light fixtures, like yours and mine, have more than one LED, mine had 4 in some, I have two on the top of the cap that have 14! Some quick math, and you can figure that my very intense 14 bulb clearance lights draw around .86 amps.. less than a tenth of an amp. Most have some circuitry that add a little.
I did a little research, and the general rule of thumb for the current draw on a multiple LED fixture versus an incandescent is usually about 1 to 10.
That was one reason I changed all my exterior lights, including the taillights. They are much brighter, and they have insignificant draw on my tow vehicle.
The only issue I have now is the lens is not well sealed (yet), so moisture gets in, and there is not enough heat to dry them like the old incandescence fixtures. The price of these has become very reasonable if you shop around.
I replaced the bad blue 3 foot LED string that was on the cap, cost me $12.
I also bought some LED dimmer units for the interior, from China, and have yet to receive them, but I don't care, because my TT is in storage for the winter.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:34 AM   #16
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If you really want to annoy your RV neighbors, here is a great way..
I took an old RV plug that goes to your tow vehicle, available cheap to buy, and wired the 12v+ terminal to the running lights terminal, and plug it in. Now all your clearance lights and taillights are on.
The terminals are the 'top' two on the plug, as shown in the attached picture.
With all my new LED clearance lights, it's so well lit up, I really have to limit my use to avoid getting beer bottles thrown at me.
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File Type: jpg 7-way-trailer-plug.jpg (174.7 KB, 12 views)
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Old 11-10-2018, 07:03 PM   #17
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I connected my multimeter into a simple 12 volt circuit with one of the LED 'clusters' and got a reading of 0.07 just slightly under one tenth of an amp in other words.

Therefore my string of 10 will draw just over .7 amps, (under three quarters of an amp) which is infinitesimal in the greater scheme of things.


I apologize for my earlier statement which thanks to Wingerdinger I realized was in error. I'm glad someone's paying attention, thanks WD..
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Old 11-10-2018, 07:40 PM   #18
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Perfect to know. That pack of 20 LED's on order draws under 9 amp and I won't be using that many, so can easily run 2 strings different directions off 16 gauge (16gauge handles 13Amp}, 1-10 amp fuse, and 1 switch, and not even close to limits on anything. limiting factor is the chance the trailer runs out of places to install or starts looking like a Christmas tree. Had to run my game plan across Momma Bear today as to my complete plan and she just loved it , plus her favorite color is blue. Good thing, ordered everything yesterday, lol. Measurements today take 18 blue LED, and will switch our canopy AC clear bulbs to blue since they'll be readily available now for Christmas. Granted it'll take a little time and fun but those just look sharp... Thanks again Biggles, my multimeter must have been dropped or mis-used before, that function wasn't working so ordered a new handy dandy for next time for a not-so-pro multimeter user.
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:14 PM   #19
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I find sometimes it's easier to get forgiveness than permission....but I fully understand running your game plan past Momma.

If Momma aint happy, aint no-one happy....or so they say....I've never been brave enough to test that theory......Hee hee.

Make sure you post some photos, I'd love to see your end result. I've a good mind to run red and green ones just for the Holiday Season............

Honey, what d'you think ?
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggles607 View Post
I connected my multimeter into a simple 12 volt circuit with one of the LED 'clusters' and got a reading of 0.07 just slightly under one tenth of an amp in other words.

Therefore my string of 10 will draw just over .7 amps, (under three quarters of an amp) which is infinitesimal in the greater scheme of things.


I apologize for my earlier statement which thanks to Wingerdinger I realized was in error. I'm glad someone's paying attention, thanks WD..
These numbers are even better, a 5A fuse services a 20 pack of those led's. One thing I was planning to do was use 16 gauge extension cords,reason is I intended to run both positive and negative, never have to worry about loosing ground from rusty contact, and should be a tad easier to how I want to mount my wiring. Plus I just hate 16 gauge cords and always only use 14 gauge now a days. One thing guaranteed, it don't matter how many days it takes to do the job, as long as I never have to touch it again because something failed or fell off. That's not happy camping....
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