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Old 02-23-2020, 06:49 PM   #1
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2019 Ventana Lighting Projects

There have been a few threads about lighting the drivers overhead cabinet switches so you can see them in the dark. Some of the threads were of higher up models and the switches were backlight capable from the factory. Not so in my 2019 Ventana.

When I removed the face for the cabinet I could see that the controls for the FWS and kitchen slide were etched so that a light behind them would show through. The security light / step control switches were similar, but the face hadn't been cut away enough for those to show through. So I removed that gang of switches and cut away the face with a Dremel spiral bit. I then added a strip of blue LEDs to a backing board mounted to the face but behind the switches so it would show through. Next I added a strip of white LEDs to the cabinet door that would show all of the panel well. Picture 1

Disclaimer: We have 5 kids, two of them are always with us, sometimes we have all of them, and/or a grandparent, and we have 4 dogs. One goal of this set of mods was to be able to find things and hook up leashes without turning on the bright overhead lights.

I next added a strip of LEDs between the front of the overhead cabinets and behind the window shades to illuminate the top of the dash. Dog leashes wallets, keys and glasses tend to collect here when enough of the kids join us that sometimes you want to know what you are grabbing. Picture 2 shows it dark in the RV (slides in) and this windshield light on.

Picture 3 is a LED strip light I added with a motion controller over the entrance door. The motion controller needs some tuning or I may remove it and just rely upon the remote / switch on the panel. This light is enough for me to take the dogs out in the middle of the night without turning on any other lights up front. Because we are not retired the dogs are still on my work schedule and wake up between 4-5am every day, our oldest dog is really regular and it's worth getting up for 10min to get up to keep from dealing with that.

Picture 4 is the completed panel with the bank of switches I added in the top left. Ordered them from https://www.otrattw.net. From left to right they control;
  • A weather radio
  • The wifi network (I am not a fan of a device that has a recall being on a self-resetting breaker)
  • the LED strip on the cabinet door
  • the windshield LED strip from picture 2
  • the entrance door LED strip from Picture 3
  • A control for all of the backlights - sometimes you just want it dark

I did have a door sensor (seen in the lower left hand corner of the completed face picture) in the path for the cabinet door LED strip - but it wasn't reliable so I have removed it.

Next lighting project is my wet bay and electrical bay. When you are out there at the wet bay sometimes you realize you should have turned on the basement lights before you left the coach. One of my specials was to run 12v power to the wet bay so I could add lights on a switch there. In addition to an overhead light in the bay I will also provide the ability to light the campground in that vicinity. The electrical bay requires removing the stock light and moving the cable box to make room for my auto former.

The warm winter in Maryland hasn't been good for my trees / bulbs they think we are starting spring - but it has helped me get more done on the RV than I expected.

- Richard
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:26 AM   #2
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Very nice!
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:10 AM   #3
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Nice job with the switches. The windshield light can be a nice accent light.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:16 PM   #4
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A few notes in no particular order while I'm remembering for anyone who plans to open up this cabinet.
  • A spare 12v power supply was available (again 2019 Ventana) - there was a grey wire with a black stripe already hot and paired with an unused ground.
  • The existing wires in this cabinet are exposed to the upper windshield defrost fan. While I had the cabinet open I took a thin sheet of plywood and provided a shroud (with vents) so that as I was pushing wires back into the compartment or bouncing down the road they couldn't get wrapped in the fan motor shaft.
  • Before I lowered the panel I decided I was going to do all of the work in-place by just unscrewing the front panel and folding the top down to rest horizontally. I first put painters tape on all of the edges so I didn't scratch up the woodwork - I also taped the edges of all of the lower switches.
  • I used a cabinet door restraint wire on each side of the front panel to support it while I worked on it - I mounted those permanently to the panel on the back side because I'm sure I'll be in here again for something over the years. https://amazon.com/gp/product/B06WD5...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I ran that grey 12v wire to a fuseblock and then put individual fuses for each of the circuits. I had good luck with the Blue Sea systems fuse blocks - I had to send back some very popular but cheaply made other brand fuse block because it was transmitting power without any fuses installed (yes that defeats the whole purpose of the fuse block). https://amazon.com/gp/product/B000TH...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I mounted the 12v to LED control units up in the woodwork finding existing gaps in front of the front cabinets that were large enough on each side if you look carefully. I Velcro'd them in place - but wanted them accessible because these are the most failure prone parts of LED strips in my experience. The jury is still out on the WiFi controller I used for the windshield because you have to connect to the WiFi it is broadcasting to control it and I have to have an account with the vendor to use the remote it came with. So test things out before you mount - and if you aren't sure you will keep it for a long time have a plan to be able to swap it out.
  • I used spare LED strips I had in my inventory from other projects at the sticks and bricks, but if you are buying new and want both multi-color and the ability to have a bright white make sure you get a RGB+W strip as the white is typically much brighter than combining the colors in an RGB strip.
  • Lay down towels / sheets across the seat / wheel / dash, you will be surprised how much dust / dirt gets on stuff from this cabinet if you don't, also it gives you a place to put tools while you are working without worrying about scratches.

- Richard
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:45 AM   #5
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2019 Ventana Lighting Projects

Quote:
Originally Posted by RandDescape View Post
A few notes in no particular order while I'm remembering for anyone who plans to open up this cabinet.


  • A spare 12v power supply was available (again 2019 Ventana) - there was a grey wire with a black stripe already hot and paired with an unused ground.
  • The existing wires in this cabinet are exposed to the upper windshield defrost fan. While I had the cabinet open I took a thin sheet of plywood and provided a shroud (with vents) so that as I was pushing wires back into the compartment or bouncing down the road they couldn't get wrapped in the fan motor shaft.
  • Before I lowered the panel I decided I was going to do all of the work in-place by just unscrewing the front panel and folding the top down to rest horizontally. I first put painters tape on all of the edges so I didn't scratch up the woodwork - I also taped the edges of all of the lower switches.
  • I used a cabinet door restraint wire on each side of the front panel to support it while I worked on it - I mounted those permanently to the panel on the back side because I'm sure I'll be in here again for something over the years. https://amazon.com/gp/product/B06WD5...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I ran that grey 12v wire to a fuseblock and then put individual fuses for each of the circuits. I had good luck with the Blue Sea systems fuse blocks - I had to send back some very popular but cheaply made other brand fuse block because it was transmitting power without any fuses installed (yes that defeats the whole purpose of the fuse block). https://amazon.com/gp/product/B000TH...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I mounted the 12v to LED control units up in the woodwork finding existing gaps in front of the front cabinets that were large enough on each side if you look carefully. I Velcro'd them in place - but wanted them accessible because these are the most failure prone parts of LED strips in my experience. The jury is still out on the WiFi controller I used for the windshield because you have to connect to the WiFi it is broadcasting to control it and I have to have an account with the vendor to use the remote it came with. So test things out before you mount - and if you aren't sure you will keep it for a long time have a plan to be able to swap it out.
  • I used spare LED strips I had in my inventory from other projects at the sticks and bricks, but if you are buying new and want both multi-color and the ability to have a bright white make sure you get a RGB+W strip as the white is typically much brighter than combining the colors in an RGB strip.
  • Lay down towels / sheets across the seat / wheel / dash, you will be surprised how much dust / dirt gets on stuff from this cabinet if you don't, also it gives you a place to put tools while you are working without worrying about scratches.



- Richard

Richard, thanks for sharing this informative thread and nice work!
I also added a LED strip light for this cabinet connected to a motion sensor. My next project is to add a dual port USB/12V outlet surface mounted to the back of the cabinet. It’s function will be to power my dash cam with either a USB or 12V cable. I will install a single pole rocker switch mounted in the removable cabinet face for on/off operation. I ordered the cabinet door restraints you used and will use the spare 12V power run through an in-line fuse.
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Bob K...2019 Ventana 4037
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not Grounded View Post
Richard, thanks for sharing this informative thread and nice work!
I also added a LED strip light for this cabinet connected to a motion sensor. My next project is to add a dual port USB/12V outlet surface mounted to the back of the cabinet. It’s function will be to power my dash cam with either a USB or 12V cable. I will install a single pole rocker switch mounted in the removable cabinet face for on/off operation. I ordered the cabinet door restraints you used and will use the spare 12V power run through an in-line fuse.
Attachment 276638
Bob K...2019 Ventana 4037
Thanks for the compliments.

Since you brought up dash cams... My original plan was to mount my dash cam up high behind the front cabinet so I couldn't see it while driving. Then I realized that if I lower the sunshade when driving West in the late afternoon / evening I'd be blocking the camera. So I looked at how I could mount it at the base of the windshield w/out really seeing it. I located it down below between the wipers and drove for the whole summer of '19 to convince myself that I really didn't see it there.

I found 12V power from a unused blue wire that had a matching ground. I used the blank switch location on the front console next to the door lock for a switch to turn on the USB for my TPMS and to keep my phone which runs CoPilot GPS as well as the dash cam.

After these picture when it got warm, I cleaned the condensation marks off the dash and secured the exposed wire with a few stick on wire mounts.

Pic 1 is the overall dash. Pic 2 is a close up on the dash cam between the wipers. Pic 3 is the USB and Ram Mounts for the TPMS and Phone. Pic 4 is the switch for the dash cam.

- Richard
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Old 03-03-2020, 05:23 PM   #7
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Hi Richard,


Thank you for your post. I have been planning on a similar upgrade and purchased a new panel to replace the existing one as I'm not pleased with the location of some of the controls - several that are used the most are the furthest reach while other used infrequently or never, are the closest. I was aware of the extra 12v wiring as well as the switches being capable of being lite from the back and was planning on doing just that. Just haven't started the project yet.
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Old 03-03-2020, 06:20 PM   #8
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2019 Ventana Lighting Projects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken C View Post
Hi Richard,


Thank you for your post. I have been planning on a similar upgrade and purchased a new panel to replace the existing one as I'm not pleased with the location of some of the controls - several that are used the most are the furthest reach while other used infrequently or never, are the closest. I was aware of the extra 12v wiring as well as the switches being capable of being lite from the back and was planning on doing just that. Just haven't started the project yet.

Finding a way to light the project while you work on it is part of the challenge. I used a head lamp. I also found that because I left the old panel in place and wired up I needed a 1’ high stool to see what I was reaching in the back corner without leaning on the panel.

I also use painters tape to temporarily label wires if I’m removing them - it doesn’t leave a residue.

Having a self adjusting wire stripper is very useful under the dash or in this cabinet. Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper and Cutter, 10-20 AWG Klein Tools 11061 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CXKOEQ6..._n32ldYjn2OlE9

- Richard
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Old 03-21-2020, 06:56 PM   #9
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Water Bay

Finally got a chance to finish my water bay lighting project today. One of my specials was having Newmar provide 12V power to the water bay. I wanted to be able to turn on lights from the wet bay even even when I'd forgotten to turn on the basement lights when I left the coach.

Picture 1 is the set of switches I added, #2 is the wet bay lit up with a LED strip along the top of the bay, #3 is a strip on the door that shines toward the back of the site to light up where the water connections are, and #4 is the electric bay lit up with the strip of LEDs I added there too.

- Richard
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