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Old 08-07-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
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LED upgrade

My coach has four large overhead lights, each with four flourescent lights. One of the lights would not work (bad ballast) so I decided it was a good excuse to do my first LED upgrade. I have never worked with LED's and took some hints from others on IRV2 who have done similar upgrades.

I ordered two 15 meter LED strips from Amazon. The strips can be cut at a marked spot between each group of 3 LED's. You can either solder wires on the +/- spots on the strip or use a special connector. I ordered a few connectors to avoid having to solder the wires onto the strips.

I decided to mount the strips on pieces of luan plywood I painted white. Each piece is 16" x 36" which fit nicely into the overhead light openings. This allowed me to wire the strips together, screw the panels to the openings, and simply connect the +/- wires.



I mounted 5 strips to the first board (250 led's). It was a bit too bright when installed so I actually removed the center strip. Four strips were fine with the end result of a bit more light than with the four flourescent tubes.

I had been warned that the self adhesive on the back of the strips was not great so I used a bit of Geocel All in One clear sealant/adhesive on each strip to make sure they stayed put.

This is what the panel looks like once mounted in the overhead light opening:

Finished work with the light cover installed:


I did all three of the overhead fixtures and am satisfied with the results. I paid about $40 for two 15 meter rolls of LED's and the little snap connectors.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:00 PM   #2
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That's one sweet light, Gary. Nice job. You'll be so happy with the LED's. We've swapped bulbs in multiple fixtures w/LED's & have been very pleased with the results.

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Old 08-07-2013, 08:08 PM   #3
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Nice!
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:09 PM   #4
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Nice! This is on my short list, and I already have the rolls of LEDs. Would you mind posting a link for the connectors you referenced? In my test light, I found it difficult to solder the little pads.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:20 PM   #5
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That's one sweet light, Gary. Nice job. You'll be so happy with the LED's. We've swapped bulbs in multiple fixtures w/LED's & have been very pleased with the results.

Lori-
Thanks Lori. I have a bunch of overhead puck lights with those hot halogen bulbs. I may start replacing those with LED's but I need to find a direct LED replacement bulb.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
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Nice! This is on my short list, and I already have the rolls of LEDs. Would you mind posting a link for the connectors you referenced? In my test light, I found it difficult to solder the little pads.
These are the connectors I used.

Amazon.com: HitLights LED PCB Strip to Strip Connector, 2 Conductor, Any Angle Turn, For SMD3528 LED Strip Lights (4 Pcs Pack): Patio, Lawn & Garden

They work fine but the LED strip is a bit too wide to fit easily in the clips. So, you have to trim about 1/16" off each side of the strip just where it slips into the connector.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Thanks Lori. I have a bunch of overhead puck lights with those hot halogen bulbs. I may start replacing those with LED's but I need to find a direct LED replacement bulb.
Got my LEDS from Steve at M4 Products
Prices were good and lights work great. Amazed this summer at the difference in heat that those halogens put out. AC units actually had periods where they cycled off this trip.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:33 AM   #8
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Hey Gary,
Extra nice job on that changeover for the fluorescents. As you've most likely read, I've done about 95% of the lights inside our coach and, I've changed ALL the compartment lights on the outside. The ones you mentioned that you want to find a replacement bulb for, the "Puck" lights, those were the first ones I changed out. I used a "wafer" style, G-4 based, 6 LED bub for each of those puck lights. I first ordered two of them in "cool white" and tried them out. The Dear wife put the kibosh on that, she "ORDERED" me to get them in warm white, she said they're more like the original lights and not like HOSPITAL lights.

I said fine. So, I put the "HOSPITAL" lights in the bedroom, over the bed and, the rest came in as Warm white. Waaaaay cooler and just as bright as the HALOGENS and waaaaaay less juice too. The site I use is:

www.superbrightleds.com It's a great site, they've got all the LEDs you'll ever need. In all colors, lumens and CCT (Color Core temp). They're very good at explaining to you what you need for certain applications. Anyway, good luck. Those look great.
Scott
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:03 AM   #9
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What is the benefit to going to LED lights?
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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Less power consumption, long life average of 50,000 hours before a failure.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:53 AM   #11
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Less power consumption, long life average of 50,000 hours before a failure.
Don't forget less HEAT! You'd be surprised how much heat your lighting generates.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:55 AM   #12
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What is the benefit to going to LED lights?
dwbyrd,
Well Sir, there's at least two major reasons for converting. One, an LED consumes considerably less electricity than its counterpart, the incandescent. Two, in just about 99.99% of the cases, the LED produces seriously less heat than its counterpart. In both benefits, many folks are quite happy and, in need of them. The consumption of less electricity is of real benefit to those who "dry camp" or, "boon dock" or, what ever you want to label it. It makes their house batteries last quite a bit longer between chargings.

As for the "heat" factor. Take our "puck" lights for example in our 2004 Itasca Horizon with the C-7 330 CAT. Those puck lights originally came with a 10 watt, Halogen bulb. They're in the ceiling just in case you weren't aware. You could turn those on, and, within approximately 10-20 seconds, you could literally burn yourself if you touched the outer bezel. When you've got SIX of them in the living room, that amounts to some unneeded HEAT!

Not only that but, many folks have experienced damaged fixtures due to the heat produced by those bulbs. So, I replaced them with what's called a "Wafer" style LED bulb. It's about an inch in diameter and has 6 SMD-LEDs on it. Each one produces the same lumens, the same light as the Halogen did only you can run them for a dozen years and touch them and they're barely luke warm.

As far as length of duration on how long they last, well, the jury's still out on that one. Most of the manufacturers claim "50,000" or "100,000" hours. Well, that's stretching it a bit. We had brand new fire trucks with the "New" LED lighting, including tail lights, side and upper cab marker lights and more. Well, after only two years, many of the individual LED bulbs, inside many of the tail lights had burnt out.

I've seen that on aftermarket tail lights too when buddies have installed them on Jeeps that we ran for years. The individual bulbs will burn out and the entire light has to be replaced. Now, all this doesn't mean they'll all burn out. Many of them last for quite a long time. It's a hit or miss thing.

But, the primary pitfall of changing out to LEDs is, COST. Many guys have gone to ebay and purchased directly from China and have had some success with them. I personally like www.superbrightleds.com . They might be a bit higher in price but, if you check that site out, they've got more information on LEDs than you can shake a stick at.

So, there's some info on LEDs for you.
Scott
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:25 PM   #13
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What is the benefit to going to LED lights?
dwbyrd
A LED conversion, along with $4.00, will get you a gallon of diesel fuel.

Unless, like the OP, you have a bad ballast in a florescent fixture...(in that case you get a working light of unsatisfactory color and intensity).

I converted one 12" 2 tube Slimline fluorescent ceiling fixture using 2 $30 each LED replacement tubes and was "underwhelmed" with the result.

Like Mom often asked: "Would you jump off a bridge just because your friends did"?

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Old 08-10-2013, 01:06 PM   #14
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My puck lights are on a rheostat. When you replaced your puck lights did your rheostat still work as a dimmer?
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