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Old 08-06-2014, 12:35 AM   #1
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Talking Just upgrade my 18" fluorescents to LED!

Just thought I'd share about my good experience upgrading one of my 18" ThinLite fluorescents to LEDs (it's the one in my kitchen that I use the most when dry camping). I've seen people using LED strip lights, and was going to go that route, when I watched a video about LED tube lights that looked simpler:

Converting RV Lights to LEDs, Part 3: 18-inch Fluorescents

I really liked the look (and apparent easy install) of the M4Products.com tubes (plus the 5% discount mentioned in the video didn't hurt, either Use the code "rvgeeks5" during checkout to get it... I don't think it expires), so I went ahead and ordered a couple in Natural White.

They arrived a 2 days ago and I installed them yesterday. The install was as easy as the video made it look... I had no problem identifying the switched power and ground leads then wiring them up to the sockets of the fixture. The LED tubes slip into place, just like the fluorescent bulbs they replaced. In about 20 minutes I was all done... admiring the new (and brighter) lights!

Used them last night and LOVE them! They're really nice... a bit whiter and brighter than the old warm white fluorescent bulbs that I had in there (which is good for my aging eyes). If you like the brighter, bluer-white color, they have a "cool white" 18" bulb at M4, too.

All-in-all, I'm thrilled. Eyeing up a couple of other fluorescents that I may bite the bullet on and upgrade, too over time.

Just thought some out there might want to know if they're itching for an upgrade!
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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Thanks John! I have been thinking about getting those and it's good to know about the 5% discount!
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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I watched the video and it looks pretty simple to do and the light that the unit gives off after is great.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #4
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M4 =
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbounders View Post
Just thought I'd share about my good experience upgrading one of my 18" ThinLite fluorescents to LEDs (it's the one in my kitchen that I use the most when dry camping). I've seen people using LED strip lights, and was going to go that route, when I watched a video about LED tube lights that looked simpler:

Converting RV Lights to LEDs, Part 3: 18-inch Fluorescents

I really liked the look (and apparent easy install) of the M4Products.com tubes (plus the 5% discount mentioned in the video didn't hurt, either Use the code "rvgeeks5" during checkout to get it... I don't think it expires), so I went ahead and ordered a couple in Natural White.

They arrived a 2 days ago and I installed them yesterday. The install was as easy as the video made it look... I had no problem identifying the switched power and ground leads then wiring them up to the sockets of the fixture. The LED tubes slip into place, just like the fluorescent bulbs they replaced. In about 20 minutes I was all done... admiring the new (and brighter) lights!

Used them last night and LOVE them! They're really nice... a bit whiter and brighter than the old warm white fluorescent bulbs that I had in there (which is good for my aging eyes). If you like the brighter, bluer-white color, they have a "cool white" 18" bulb at M4, too.

All-in-all, I'm thrilled. Eyeing up a couple of other fluorescents that I may bite the bullet on and upgrade, too over time.

Just thought some out there might want to know if they're itching for an upgrade!
John & All..
I too just did the upgrade on 2 12 inch and 1 18 inch. The 18 inch conversion is MUCH easier.. But I am electrically challenged! My wife is thrilled.. She has been complaining about the light level of the 2 12's right over the sink area.. So after talking with G4 I ordered the "bright White" level for those and the natural color for the 18..
My 12 inch conversion on the first one would have been LOTS easier and cleaner if I had watched the RV geeks YouTube on it.. They have both the 18 and 12's shown in 2 separate videos.
What makes the difference... Well it has to do with the "Power Drivers" for the 12's.. The 18's have these built in because there is more room..
May end up doing more as time goes on.. Not cause we dry camp so much.. But the light quality is so much superior to the old Florescence.
Best upgrade since my Trav'ler!
Ron
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thanks John! I have been thinking about getting those and it's good to know about the 5% discount!
If you decide to go ahead, I think you'll be really happy you did. I dry camp a fair amount, so the power and heat savings are a big help for my battery life. But even without that, I really like the light output of these LED tubes better than the old fluorescents. And they come on right away... no flicker.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:45 PM   #7
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I watched the video and it looks pretty simple to do and the light that the unit gives off after is great.
Agreed, Fred. I was holding off doing the upgrade because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it right. The video from the RVgeeks was a HUGE help (I learn much better by watching than by reading)... and the process for the 18's was a snap. I didn't even need to buy any new tools! LOL!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:46 PM   #8
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M4 =
I'll second THAT sentiment!

M4 had my lights shipped out to me the same day! Couldn't believe it!
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:49 PM   #9
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John & All..
I too just did the upgrade on 2 12 inch and 1 18 inch. The 18 inch conversion is MUCH easier.. But I am electrically challenged! My wife is thrilled.. She has been complaining about the light level of the 2 12's right over the sink area.. So after talking with G4 I ordered the "bright White" level for those and the natural color for the 18..
My 12 inch conversion on the first one would have been LOTS easier and cleaner if I had watched the RV geeks YouTube on it.. They have both the 18 and 12's shown in 2 separate videos.
What makes the difference... Well it has to do with the "Power Drivers" for the 12's.. The 18's have these built in because there is more room..
May end up doing more as time goes on.. Not cause we dry camp so much.. But the light quality is so much superior to the old Florescence.
Best upgrade since my Trav'ler!
Ron
Agreed, Ron. Best upgrade I've done on my RV in quite a while! And now that I have the 18" upgrade process under my belt, I feel pretty confident I can handle the 12" upgrade, too (watching the RVgeeks' 12" upgrade video helped too, LOL!). I've got two 12" lights in pretty strategic, heavily-used spots that could really use the "more-light-and-less-power-usage" upgrade ASAP!

Off to place my order for 4 12" bulbs!
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:17 PM   #10
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Pricy at around $50 per fixture for the double 18" fixture. But they do look good.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:27 PM   #11
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Pricy at around $50 per fixture for the double 18" fixture. But they do look good.
Don,

That's true... they are not exactly inexpensive. But M4's tubes are cheaper than most of the other tube options out there (Starlights replacement tubes are twice the price AND have a wire hanging out the side of them, so they're not as clean an installation). And it's also cheaper than replacing the whole unit!

A friend of mine converted his 18" fluorescent lights using cheap strip lights (he followed the steps in another RVgeeks video: How To Convert Fluorescent RV Lights to LEDs), and while the light output is good, the strip lights don't have any of the built-in circuitry to make sure they last as long as the M4 tubes do. So I figured I'd rather do it "right" the first time and not have to worry about doing it again later.

Different strokes for different folks, right?! A couple months from now I won't remember how much I paid for the upgrade... but I bet I'll still be thrilled I did it!
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:37 PM   #12
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Don,

That's true... they are not exactly inexpensive. But M4's tubes are cheaper than most of the other tube options out there (Starlights replacement tubes are twice the price AND have a wire hanging out the side of them, so they're not as clean an installation). And it's also cheaper than replacing the whole unit!

A friend of mine converted his 18" fluorescent lights using cheap strip lights (he followed the steps in another RVgeeks video: How To Convert Fluorescent RV Lights to LEDs), and while the light output is good, the strip lights don't have any of the built-in circuitry to make sure they last as long as the M4 tubes do. So I figured I'd rather do it "right" the first time and not have to worry about doing it again later.

Different strokes for different folks, right?! A couple months from now I won't remember how much I paid for the upgrade... but I bet I'll still be thrilled I did it!
How long are these tubes supposed to last.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:58 PM   #13
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How long are these tubes supposed to last.
Mine have worked quite nicely for about 3 days!

OK... seriously... I'm not sure what the specs are on these M4 tubes, but typically speaking, they usually say that an LED will last about 50,000 hours. Which is about 5x longer than a fluorescent tube... and about 50x longer than an incandescent. The M4 tubes are very heavily engineered, with aluminum heat sinks that remove any heat generated by the LEDs... so the LEDs should easily last their predicted lifespan... if not longer.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:59 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info.....I need more projects..........!
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