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Old 12-04-2018, 04:06 PM   #1
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Undercarriage LED Wiring

I've been wanting some lights under my mh for awhile now. Decided on these
http://www.m4products.com/under-rv-l...bright-lights/
and now need to hook them up and looking for some suggestions as to the best way to do it.

I was thinking it might be a good idea to wire them into the salesman switch, but I'm not sure. I assume most people have them wired into the house batteries? I haven't looked at the 12v wiring around the house batteries. Is there some kind of block for attaching accessories? If not, should I add one? I'm somewhat handy, but haven't done a lot of 12v stuff.

Your thoughts/input will be much appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:21 PM   #2
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LED lights take very little power to operate. One idea would be to wire them directly into your baggage compartment lights. Probably would be the easiest way. Not sure if your baggage lights each have a switch so you can turn them off and still have power running through the 12 volt lines. Also you have to make sure the positive goes to positive and negative to negative as LED lights will not work if hooked up backwards as regular incandescent bulbs would.


Happy wiring
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrahn View Post
LED lights take very little power to operate. One idea would be to wire them directly into your baggage compartment lights. Probably would be the easiest way. Not sure if your baggage lights each have a switch so you can turn them off and still have power running through the 12 volt lines. Also you have to make sure the positive goes to positive and negative to negative as LED lights will not work if hooked up backwards as regular incandescent bulbs would.


Happy wiring
That is what I did with mine. It works great. I turn off all of my cargo lights and use the cargo light switch at the entrance door to turn the undercarriage lights on. If I need the a cargo light I just have to remember to turn on the undercarriage lights.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:42 PM   #4
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Our coach has designated locations for 12VDC distribution.

I elected to add a self-resetting breaker which is on the disconnect side of the salesman switch relay. I added it inline with the existing self-resetting breakers. It powers a four fuse terminal block, Next to my LED controllers...each controller has it’s own fuse off that small block.

I also updated the schematic diagrams that came with my coach to show the updates that I’ve made. Nothing is worse than a tech wondering what all these wires attached to the battery are for.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the quick input! bkrahn & Rodg495, I do have a switch at the entrance door that controls power to the cargo lights which also have switches on them. That sounds like a good option. C.Martin, what you did sounds kind of like what I was thinking. Pretty much leaves the factory wiring untouched.

Keep the input coming. I'm learning already and want to know more ways to do this.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:45 PM   #6
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KxBronco,
Just some information for ya. I wanted the same thing for our coach. I've dealt with a few series of LED light strips for various projects. I decided on some LED strip lighting that comes in a roll. They're what's called "5630" LEDs. The numbers refer to the size of each LED chip. The rolls can come water proof or, non waterproof. You have to make sure when you're looking at them, that it's the waterproof ones. And, I wanted "Cool white", not warm white. I like the color better.

As for powering them up, well, I've got power all over the place. Just inside our door, we've got a bank of switches that operate all kinds of things. So, I simply removed the panel and got behind all those switches. I found some power that I really didn't care if it was controlled by the battery shut off switch or not, I don't plan on leaving those lights on for an extended period of time anyways.

I simply cut them to the length I needed, about 14' or 15' or so and, peeled the sticky tape backing off and, stuck them up to a bottom reveal at the base of the outside compartments, done. Then, I drilled a hole in the floor, right next to the panel where I mounted a toggle switch and ran the power wires down through that floor.

I tied the power wires into the LED strip and, it was done. A little Silicone where holes were drilled and needed sealing up. So, we've enjoyed those lights now for a couple of years. It's nice to have a lighted walking path or, some ambiance for just sitting in the evening. If folks think they're maybe a bit too bright, off they go. I have an almost identical set up where the awning is mounted to the coach. That set is dimmable.

The LED strip lighting is easy to deal with. I think you'd be happier with the strip than what you picked but, your choice. Good luck and have fun with that project, I do all the time. In the pics, you'll see the LED strips just lying on the floor, testing them out. then, they're mounted.
Scott

You'll also see some LED work I did for my entry steps to light up that area for night passage too. This stuff's fun for me.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:42 PM   #7
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@FIRE UP.........show off


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Old 12-05-2018, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
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@FIRE UP.........show off


Hey bkrahn,
Thank you! As I stated earlier, LED stuff is fun for me. Our coach came with what's called "Isle lights". Those had in them, "festoon" type bulbs and, like many other bulbs that came with that coach, they got hot, real quick. So, I decided to goof around with some LEDs there too. Below are some pics. And even before that project, I'd already changed just about all other interior lights to LEDs.

I just (about 6-8 months ago) did a complete change out of the guts of our "Thin Lite" overhead fluorescents in the living room area to LED light strips. I used four strips in each fixture. I gutted all the electronics out of the casings and just installed four strips of LEDs. Wow, those things are bright. Not only that but, they turn on RIGHT NOW, as compared to the fluorescents that were in there. Since that turned out so well, I figured I'd delve into the compartment lighting. Yep, used some LED strip lighting in there too. Again, wow, they're bright!

When you get old like me, you need LIGHT! So, it's nice to really light up a compartment to get what you need.
Scott
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
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Hey FIRE UP


Nice job. Love what you did with those ceiling lights. You should patent that. Some of the LED lights that come in the factory units today are well......crap. Might have to try playing around with that myself. Could probably sell those in our shop. I will say I have never liked the fluorescent lights in coaches.


and Hey Kxbronco......you can get some good tips from FIRE UP here


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Old 12-05-2018, 04:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Hey bkrahn,

Thank you! As I stated earlier, LED stuff is fun for me. Our coach came with what's called "Isle lights". Those had in them, "festoon" type bulbs and, like many other bulbs that came with that coach, they got hot, real quick. So, I decided to goof around with some LEDs there too. Below are some pics. And even before that project, I'd already changed just about all other interior lights to LEDs.



I just (about 6-8 months ago) did a complete change out of the guts of our "Thin Lite" overhead fluorescents in the living room area to LED light strips. I used four strips in each fixture. I gutted all the electronics out of the casings and just installed four strips of LEDs. Wow, those things are bright. Not only that but, they turn on RIGHT NOW, as compared to the fluorescents that were in there. Since that turned out so well, I figured I'd delve into the compartment lighting. Yep, used some LED strip lighting in there too. Again, wow, they're bright!



When you get old like me, you need LIGHT! So, it's nice to really light up a compartment to get what you need.

Scott


That LED replacement for fluorescence ballast bulbs is nice. Just the other day, I replaced two 4í fluorescent bulbs with an LED direct replacement set from Walmart. No adapter modification. They were cheap and very bright white..I was impressed. I didnít look but I wonder if they make them in other various sizes.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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Under coach LED

I found a 6 pack of battery operated round tap lights and remote control. They have a round base that uses 3m tape or screw,was thinking of placing along bottom of compartments,could turn on with remote then could see along sides if need to go out at night. $36.00,no wiring.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:49 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input FIRE UP. I can definitely tell you like doing this. I like the lights on the steps and already have some lights to go under the cabinets like you did. Will put them in the same time as I do the undercarriage lights.

Wrapped, your idea sounds good, but I wonder how the lights would hold up underneath.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:02 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input FIRE UP. I can definitely tell you like doing this. I like the lights on the steps and already have some lights to go under the cabinets like you did. Will put them in the same time as I do the undercarriage lights.

Wrapped, your idea sounds good, but I wonder how the lights would hold up underneath.
Kx,
Those water resistant or, water proof LED light strips have been under the coach now for over a year. And, they've been involved in quite a few rain storms while traveling. So far, they haven't skipped a beat. The supposed 3M double faced tape that comes with those strips, usually is not all that dependable. So, knowing that, I just devised my own little tiny clips, made from 1/16th aluminum welding rod and, some tiny stainless sheet metal screws to augment the retaining of that strip.

With about 10 seconds of research, I found some nice, little plastic clips that do the same job, that are made for those LED strips. they come in a pack of 100 with screws (ultra small self threading screws). I used them in both the living room lights and the compartment lights. It took me about 5 minutes to add them to give me piece of mind that those little LED strips will not fall due to junk glue/tape.

As for the other nice comments from the other responders, thanks a great deal. Just for your own enjoyment, here's another little project I did. Doesn't really have too much to do with RVs but, it's along the LED line we're talking about and, it might inspire some to goof around with them like I do. In short, many cars/trucks/some motorhomes etc. come with LED "ARROWS" imbedded in each rear view mirror. You don't see them when they aren't flashing but, when the flashers are used, they light up.

Well, I wanted that same effect on my Honda GL 1800 Goldwing mirrors. So, I goofed around with a little plan. My mirrors have a plastic backing on them. Most mirrors use a silver type coating that, is reflective (duh, thats why the call it a mirror) but, you can almost see through it, from the back side, the plastic side. So, I experimented. I purchased some stand-alone LED chips and, some resistors.

Now, just in case some of you are not aware of it, LEDs or, the LED diode itself, cannot operate on 12V. If subjected to 12V, it BLOWS UP, like a little fire cracker. I know, I did it once or twice. So, a resistor is used in line. If you look at many LED light fixtures or, even the LED light strip I use, you'll see those tiny resistors, every few inches.

So, I consulted a couple of buddies who know more than I do on this stuff and they advised me on just what kind and size of resistors to purchase, along with my stand-alone LED diodes. Most LEDs operate on around 3V or so. Hence, the resistors.

Now, all I did was, make up two tiny LED harness's, made of 7 LED chips/diodes. They're 5mm flat faced chips. I made a template, in the shape of an arrow. I then laid that template on the backside of those mirrors and traced the circles where the LEDs were to be inserted.

The next step was critical. I had to drill those holes in the back side, only a couple of mm from the backside of that silver. Once that was done, I inserted those 5MM LED chips, one in each hole. A little hot glue was used to only additional security to keep them from coming out.

The final step was to attach each little harness to the turn signal wires that are in the mirror housing since there are turn signals on the front side of the mirrors. Done.
Scott
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:31 PM   #14
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This what I did.
I brought 4 rolls of the 5030 led water proof lights, cleaned the motorhome frame and applied the strips, then used some good clear caulk every three inches over the top. By being on the frame it makes a nice under glow not to harsh.
I also put some under the hood and around the edge of the doghouse. I have had trouble with mice and rats getting in the engine compartment.
I hooked up the lights to one of the compartment lights, fused, turn on the compartments light switch at the entry.
This works for me. Only cost about $25
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