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Old 01-14-2018, 05:54 AM   #1
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DIY Installation of Ground Effects LED Lighting

The following serves to chronicle my recent DIY installation of ground effects surround LED lighting on the underside of my 45' Diesel Pusher. I am posting this to possibly help others contemplating a similar installation of their own.

Some Background

Having seen undercarriage surround ground effects lighting on other coaches, we liked it and decided we'd like to have it on our coach. After a bit of research, we choose to go with Boogey Lights Inc, in the form of their Under Glow series LEDs which are designed for outdoor use, are weather/water resistant and have a proven track record of performance.

Boogey Lights

https://www.boogeylights.com/rv-mult...low-light-kit/

Once the decision was made to go with Boogey Lights, I contacted them and spoke with Brian Butler, lead engineer at Boogey Lights to discuss my project. Brian was very helpful and gave me a number of suggestions to consider including my wiring layout, controller options, and mounting advice. He also reviewed a wiring diagram I developed ahead of my installation and provided feedback. I choose to go with their single-color, soft white LED lighting together with use of their HD-M7 RF controller all to be direct wired to my 12v DC circuitry.

Materials List

Materials supplied/purchased for this project from Boogey Lights included:

10-ea separate pre-cut sections of the LED lighting strips (2-ea 16' + 2-ea 4' for the span between my steer and drive axles on both sides of the coach, 2-ea 8' sections for the front and rear fascia/bumpers, 2-ea 3' sections for the sides ahead of the steer tires, and 2-ea 4' sections for the sides behind the tag axle.), 14 ea sections of the pre-cut Aluminum Channel extrusions together with diffuser panels, 1 ea HD M7 RF controller with remote, and 1-pint of 3M primer which is recommended for use with the backing tape on the LED light strips. Total cost for material from Boogey Lights was $589.00 including shipping.

Additional materials purchased for this project included the following:

100' 1/2" split loom conduit along with the 1/2" plastic mounting clamps
3-ea 8-pole marine grade terminal blocks
1-ea marine grade junction box
4-ea Sika RVT black silicone caulking/sealant
4-ea 3/4" x 8' aluminum angle extrusions
2-ea 8' 3/16's x 8' aluminum flat bar stock
1-ea Aerosol can of electrical terminal/connector sealant
Misc. parts such as screws, tape, tie-wraps, etc.

Example photo of Finished Project:

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In the following threads, I will post various photos and other information pertaining to the installation.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:05 AM   #2
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To get started on this project, I determined one of my first key steps would be to develop a layout plan that would serve to 1) determine the material requirements for the installation, 2) determine the best wiring plan that would result in the least amount of potential wattage/amperage drop or loss owing to the wiring run lengths, 3) and provide the most trouble-free installation as possible. Let me add here that I'm a bit OCD when it comes to this kind of stuff so my installation may be a bit "over the top" in terms of minimum requirements but again, I wanted something that will be trouble free.

My Wiring Plan

Once drawn up, I sent it to Brian at Boogey Lights for his review and feedback. Some changes to my original wiring plan were made after speaking with him all of which served to improve the installation and reduce total labor requirements. To develop the plan, I spent a bit of time underneath my coach inspecting the undercarriage and determining where I would mount each section. I wanted to ensure all sections (particularly the side sections) would be in alignment such that when completed, would provide a uniform light pattern down and across the front/rear of the coach.

In the attached schematic, indication of the wiring runs (both Pos (+) and Neg (-) are provided along with the location of the pole terminal blocks, common chassis ground locations and positioning of the central junction box and HDM7 RF controller. This plan included taking my primary power source for the LEDs from a spare (unused) 20-amp terminal located on my main 12v DC fuse panel located inside of the coach's electrical bay (cord reel bay) while using common chassis grounds throughout the entire under-carriage/chassis.

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Old 01-14-2018, 06:19 AM   #3
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To get started with my installation, I began at the front of the coach with installation of the front fascia/bumper LED light strip. Here I used the 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion and some stainless all thread to provide a base for the aluminum channel extrusion and LED light strip to be installed. As shown, I also installed a brace between the center of the 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion and the generator slide rails for added stability. When doing such an installation, it is important to check clearance both with the generator slide open and closed to ensure the bracing will clear any obstructions such as was the case with my coach as my HWH hydraulic pump/reservoir and solenoids are all centrally located on the right lower side of my Generator. Clearance between the 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion and the HWH pump/reservoir frame is approx. 1/2" when closed.

The next 2-photos indicate my use of 1/4" SS all-thread (replacing OEM bolt securing fog lamp bracket) to mount 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion. Also note use of 1/2" split loom to protect wires which are also tie-wrapped along with existing wire runs for headlamps - maintaining flexing capability for when generator slide is opened/closed and run back up to the fire-wall of the main coach body.
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This picture denotes the 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion with the LED lighting channel and LEDs installed running from the DS to the PS across the front fascia and positioned just above the bottom of the fascia such that it is not visible from the exterior of the coach.
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Opposite side (PS to DS) showing 1/4"x 3/4" flat aluminum brace added to provide additional stability.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:33 AM   #4
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My next steps following installation of the front fascia LEDs was move to the rear of the coach. Here I installed the 3 sections comprising the rear 8' section that runs the width of the rear and located above and just behind my rock guard and the 2 ea 4' sections which run the length of the coach sides from the tag axle to the rear corners. To install the DS rear section I used 1/4" x 2" aluminum bolt stand-offs and a 2-wire quick disconnect that will maintain and allow easy service access to the radiator without having to remove the LEDs. They are mounted using the 3/4" angle aluminum extrusions and bolted to 2-radiator support frames which run along the bottom of the radiator.

For the rear fascia/bumper, I similarly used the 1/4" SS all thread and attached them sheet metal panels at the rear of the engine compartment which allowed me to adjust the height and level the LEDs.

All wiring for these three lights are run into my chassis battery compartment and connected using a 8-pole terminal block with the Neg (-) ground to the chassis. This resulted in my having to only run 1-one 14 AWG Pos (+) wire forward to the mid-ship of the coach.

Denotes use of 1/4" SS All-Thread Bolts for support rear facisa/bumper span of the 3/4" aluminum angle extrusion with LED aluminum mounting channel with LEDs installed bolted to it. Use of the all thread permits them to be mounted at different locations across the rear underside of the coach while maintain a straight line/level from end to end. Power leads for these 3-light strips were all run to the RR side of the coach where the are fed through 1/2" split loom conduit into the chassis battery compartment.
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Use of 8-pole marine grade terminal block positioned inside of chassis battery compartment and commonly grounded to chassis.
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Following the installation of the pole terminal block and wiring, I applied multiple coats of aerosol electrical wiring protector to the exposed terminals to protect against both water and corrosion.
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Old 01-14-2018, 06:59 AM   #5
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The next step was to figure out how I was going to run the 1-one 14 AWG Pos (+) wire from the terminal block located in the chassis battery compartment forward (ahead of the both the tag & drive axles) into a midship basement compartment - for tying into my selected location of the junction box and HD M7 RF LED lighting controller. This became quite a challenge as what I discovered was:

1) the back of my coach house is completed sealed eliminating the ability to run wire into it and through it (without drilling "blind" holes which I did not want to do
2) my chassis frame rails are both sealed closed (preempting my ability to fish wire through them)
3) all existing wire runs (engine, lighting, etc) which extend from the front of the coach to the rear are tightly bundled, enclosed in loom conduit (further restricting my ability to fish the wire through them or the area in which the are routed forward into and along the chassis (as there was no visible openings to be found even following my efforts to shine bright lights from inside the basement toward the rear of the coach underneath the house flooring and as well as the top of the basement near the frame rails).

4) running the wire on the underside of my chassis was not a possibility as my belly pans are fully closed allowing no feasible way to fish wire through them from one (entry point) to another (exit point).

5) pulling my engine hatch cover in the master bathroom also did not reveal an means of access (as again, the backside of the house ahead of the drive axle is completely sealed).

4) becoming frustrated by all of the above, I was beginning to think there was no way to do this only to finally discover an open frame channel that runs the length of the coach from the rear forward at the top of the basement doors. This channel spans the rear wheel wells also and thus allowed me to run my wire & 1/2" split loom through it from the chassis battery compartment forward to the basement compartment just ahead of my wet tank bay basement. Note: My coach is a Newmar Essex, 2017 model wherein I would suspect that all Newmar 45 DPs , i.e. MA/LA/EX and KA have the same channel but cannot speak for other brands or models of coaches.

Entry point for fishing wire/conduit from chassis battery/DEF compartment forward along inner side of coach body across rear tag/drive axles into forward basement compartments
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Another view of entry point
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Indicating 1/2' loom conduit laid inside of frame track inside of rear axle wheel well. Note: the conduit was later secured using 1/2 plastic loom clamps and then sealed with both spray foam and coated with undercoating to further secure and protect the wire/conduit from road/wheel splash.
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Photo indicating the exit point of 1/2" split loom (and wiring) ahead of rear drive axle. In my case, I ran it forward of the basement compartment which houses the wet tanks into the next basement compartment where I also chose to locate the main junction box and HD M7 RF controller.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:06 AM   #6
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Installation of the main junction box and HD M7 RF LED Controller. Located inside the basement compartment ahead of my wet tank bay compartment and positioned on the rear wall adjacent to my Girard Awning controllers. The master power POS (+) feed wire was then run from the Controller back to my electrical/cord reel bay on the DS and attached to a spare fuse terminal located on the main 12v DC fuse panel together with a 20-amp fuse. In this position, I found that my RF remote control for the LEDs works well from anywhere near the coach include from inside the coach.

Location of Junction Box and Boogey Lights HD M7 RF Controller
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Indication of master on/off power switch installed in junction box in basement compartment (Passenger side)
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Final configuration with all split loom secured in place.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:08 AM   #7
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:21 AM   #8
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What has not been chronicled in this series of post is the actual installation of the 20' ft of LED lighting strips along both sides of the coach between the steer and drive axles or the 3' sections located ahead of the steer axle. These were all installed using only the aluminum channel extrusions purchased from Boogey lights and secured with self-tapping screws to the outer edges of the belly pans in straight uniform runs as to align with those installed at the rear of the coach. I also used small 1/8" ID o-rings between the aluminum channel and the belly pans when attaching them with #8 self tapping tapered head screws as to form a water seal.

Completion included my going back and sealing each end of each LED lighting strips with black Sika RTV sealant to preempt water intrusion. I also used tie-wraps to secure the split loom conduits run throughout the basement (from front to rear) together with existing coach wire looms. All in a complete and secured installation that is proving to work well and has been trouble free.

Hope this helps some of you contemplating a similar installation. The job in itself is easy enough but is clearly labor intensive. My installation took me the better part of 10-days to complete and totals over 1,400 LEDs having been installed.

I should also mention that the HD M7 controller does include a dimming function that allows me to adjust the brightness desired including matching my OEM LEDs installed on both passenger side slides and the Girard canopy awnings.

The installation of the LEDs was a personal choice and will be used with discretion. They also provide additional safety when walking in close proximity around the coach at night, i.e. such as to working in the wet bay, etc.

The finished product is shown below; Hope you all enjoy.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:27 AM   #9
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Amazing coach and amazing job. My dream!
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NealC View Post
Amazing coach and amazing job. My dream!
Thanks Neal.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:02 AM   #11
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Attached from my previous posts in another section of the IRV2 forums are some additional photos including comments of how I fished/ran wiring from the chassis battery compartment forward


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Old 01-14-2018, 09:33 AM   #12
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Hello Rick,
Amazing job!
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:55 PM   #13
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Side runs (between front steer axle & rear/drive axle). For these section runs on both sides of the coach I used the 2 ea. 16' pre-cut LED light Strips and 2 e. 4' pre-cut sections with the leads (wiring) at each end near the tires (front and rear). Had I choose to butt them together at mid-ship the space required for the wiring leads would have created a void space in the led illumination. For these 1st installed the aluminum extrusion channel supplied by Boogey Lights and screwed them to the underside of the edges of the belly pans beneath my coach. I used #8 self-tapping stainless screws and installed 1/8" ID o-rings between the aluminum and the belly pans as to form seals and prevent against water intrusion into the belly pans. Afterwhich, I used the 3M primer and then installed the tape backed LED strips. Final steps were to install the diffuser panels then seal up both ends of each light strip & channel with Sika RVT silicone sealant. Wiring from these LEDS strips were then routed up and into my house battery compartment (DS), 1st cargo bay on PS, as well as the rear basement doors just ahead of my wet tank basement & wet bay. These wires were all run using the 1/2" split loom conduit up to the underside of the house (in the top of the basement areas), then run to the junction box & controller location as previously shown. That completed all wire runs whereby the final steps were to terminate all wiring leads at the junction box, connect the HD M7 RF controller and run the power feed wire from it (controller) to the electrical bay/cord reel bay on the DS where I connected it to a spare/un-used terminal on my 12vDC fuse terminal block along with a 20-Amp fuse.

Other Notes:

When performing an installation such as this (or with any LEDs) prior to installing them, it is important to do a "dry run" test by temporarily connecting them to a 12v source prior to installing them - in order to confirm they work and that there are no burned out or faulty LEDs.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:08 PM   #14
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Terrific write-up and the lights look fantastic. Well done!
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