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Old 01-16-2015, 09:39 AM   #1
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Thin Lite LED Upgrade

I found a rather easy and high quality method for updating all the Thin-Lite fixtures in our 1992 Beaver and thought I might share the products and simple process I used to upgrade them. Thin-Lite fixtures are really high quality but I never considered the pop in replacement bulbs as they are expensive and not widely available.
On eBay do a simple search for 50CM 12V 5050/5630 SMD 36 LED Aluminum Alloy Shell Strip for the 18" fixtures and 25cm 12V 5630 18 SMD Warm White Aluminium Rigid LED Hard Strip Bar Light.
The above listed items are surface indoor LED strips about 19.5" and 11.5" respectively...I chose the Warm 3K 5630 as they are super bright...I spent $80 or so for 10 11.5" and 12 19.5" free shipping one from China and one from CA...the China ones arrived 2 days after the CA units.
Installation is super easy..remove the fixture from the ceiling and I began by drilling the rivet heads off the back of the fixture which held in place the old Ballast and Florescent and scrapped the whole mess. The 18" fixtures are not quite long enough to the whole strip in there so I simply clipped off 3 LED's at the cut mark and did the same to the aluminum mount rail...clip the 2 sides and simply fold a few times and the extruded aluminum shears nice and neatly. Note the 2 small sections I saved for later and simple side cutters used for the mods.
These are so bright you may want to bench test to see how much light you want or think about room requirements or a dimmer addition. For example my two bathroom ceiling fixtures got only one strip and under the cabinet by sink got 2 and light is wonderful and balanced.
Anyway...with all the old junk removed you now have a shell with the ground feed from the switch leading out still attached but the end attached to the ballast removed.
Strip a bit back on wire leads for the lighting and add pigtails with a female 16-18 AWG shielded spade connector on the feed end and a 3/8" bare strip on the other. I am going to say here as well that I have a pretty strong background in automation and am a huge advocate for high quality connectors and again search eBay and order them at the same time...you will also need union connectors to splice the wires and the ones I suggest are caps that look a bit like a small plastic thimble with a sleave inside..16-18 AWG...only one end is open and you splice the LED connections and pigtail with your spade...positive to positive and negative to negative...again for your MH get a good set of leveraged crimpers...
You should now have both LED strips crimped together with a shorter ground connector and longer positive lead coming out. Test on a 12V powersource!
Next I used some small self tapping screws to attach the LED bars to the housing...connected the short ground with spade I spliced in to the switch on the Thin-Lite housing and re-installed...DONE!
These 5630's are super bright, warm light and only moderately warm temp and use almost no power...got to love the fact they last a lifetime as well. Aluminum rails make for nice and tidy install!..I did some 18 fixtures for less than $100 and a few hours time.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:24 PM   #2
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Very nice, indeed.

1995 Coachmen Santara 360MB 36' w/slide.
Ford F53/460 chassis, 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee "toad"
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:46 AM   #3
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Thank you jmm2020! That is a really neat way to get rid of fluorescent tubes. Our motor home only has one tube on each side of the "living room" above the window in the valence for "mood lighting" If they quit working I think I'll do your conversion. I discovered a similar product at a little electronics shop in Beaverton Oregon near us, but it doesn't have any backing material. It is just a strip of LED's in a roll like a roll of tape, and it works on 12 volts. You can cut it where marked to get the length you need, and it still works the same, on 12v. Isn't modern technology a hoot ?
I said "I'll own a motor home when pigs fly"...Well I now own the "pig", and love it!
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:25 PM   #4
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That.s the same thing I did but I installed a third row in the middle as I like lots of light.
Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:01 AM   #5
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I just wanted to point out these are quite different LED's than the standard roll type with adhesive backing...they are larger LED's and are mounted to an aluminum strip that slides into an aluminum track..they are really quite nice and very versatile. Other advantage is if you have to solder these they are far broader contacts and they are metal backed making for a far better substrate...I took several pieces I had cut off and made various accent and in-cabinet lights that worked out really nicely.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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Nice job! ... thanks for the details !!

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