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Old 07-01-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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LED lighting in A126

When we camp, we often settle in before bedtime and watch a little TV. The original room ceiling lights are harsh and we wanted a soft ambient light for that time of day and TV viewing.

I've tried removing a bulb from each fixture, but the brightness still wasn't quite right and also the fixture put off a lot of heat.

In the past there have been threads on this forum with mods using LED light strips along the peak edge and LED replacement bulbs in existing fixtures, so I got curious to see what I could find...

While Google searching last winter I came across this item from a seller on Amazon. Shipping was more than the cost of the light strip, but with a combined total of $12.48 it met our budget.

Jobs and family health stuff got in the way the rest of the Winter and this Spring, so the project was shelved but not forgotten. Today Gary and I started and completed this mod to our Aframe.

Here's the LED light strip details and info:





It has small unobtrusive lights along the 16' strip that can be cut to length as well as a peel and stick backing.



Gary hooked them up temporarily by cutting and stripping the ends off a 12V plug in wall phone charger that we no longer use. He and I agreed the stip offered just enough ambient light for evenings relaxing in our A126:



So we took steps to hard wire install the LED peel and stick strip lighting. More details in the following posts.

Deb
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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike._ John Muir
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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Ahh yes, you'll love em. I posted last year on the same setup.

Those are now the only lights we use.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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We decided on hard wiring the LED strip lights into the area that the ceiling light disconnect is located. This way if the strip lights are accidentally left on when breaking camp and closing the roof, they will get disconnected.




Gary used lineman's pliers to release the compression nut between the hot wire going from the disconnect to ceiling lights as well as the nut for the neutral wire. The hot wire was still electrified with 12V so Gary was careful that those wires didn't touch anything metal. After using wire nuts he added a little black electrical tape for a little movement prevention.



We had purchased an on/off switch which Gary installed on the LED strip light ends. He put a "jump" wire from the LED red end because the wire seemed a little thin and he worried it wouldn't wrap around the screw terminal in the switch.

He wire nutted a length of white (14GA) wire from the LED black neutral wire for a continuous run (through the switch) to the camper's neutral. Then Gary connected the switch hot terminal with red (14GA) wire to the camper hot wire.



I used a small zip tie and some black electrical tape to attach the wires along the top of the side wall. I also used some sticky back Velcro tape to attach the on/off switch to the wall at a reasonable height. It seems pretty secure and should not move or vibrate off when traveling. Strictly utilitarian and not very pretty, but it got the job done.

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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike._ John Muir
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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I peeled and stuck the LED strip along to top portion of the side wall. We decided on using about 11' of the 16' because that seemed to be plenty. The shorter run also keeps the light farther away from the small opening at the roof line end where the connections are. We had some concerns the light would draw bugs at night. The peak at the top may need some insulation because of the same issue.







Many thanks to Jeep4Two and any other contributors for the LED mod idea.

The white light is quite nice and the project cost was very reasonable.


Now if we can get that worry-some Magic Mesh door installed...
*sigh* perhaps manana,
Deb
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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike._ John Muir
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Just plain white? No disco dancing colored lights?

Actually very nice. A great place to conceal the lighting strip for that perfect, romantic mood.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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They do make strip lights that are lilts colored and with the controller you could have any color under the rainbow, or dancing lights.

Al-la Oleg's bedroom from Three Broke Girls.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:54 PM   #7
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But the floor space is a bit tight to let go much while moving to the beat.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:39 PM   #8
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Heheh, its a family forum so ill withhold.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:05 PM   #9
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Ambient Lighting

We too wanted some lighting to watch the tube by, so we chose to go with something about the same, but different in where we actually placed a set of amber tape led's that operate from an under counter light switch:
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #10
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You may find that eventually the switch will get wonky and have to be replaced (I'm on our second one after we did this mod in 2011). The problem is with switching very low current circuits. There's not enough current to get through any corrosion that may--will--build up on the switch contacts. If you were running, say, a couple of amps through the contacts, a little corrosion wouldn't be an obstacle. But running only a few dozen milliamperes there means even a little corrosion has too much resistance to current flow.

The problem is enhanced by high humidity. My switches got so bad they'd make the lights change brightness constantly. In the rain forest in southeast Alaska last summer, the humidity was 100% for the entire week we were there. The lights stopped working reliably at all.

After replacing the switches I originally used I took them apart to see what they looked like. There was only a trace of corrosion, probably built up over time from the infinitesimal sparks that would jump the contacts as they opened and closed. But it was enough to block the low current. Gary might just need to spray some contact cleaner in the switches on occasion--I see he wisely used switches that screw together so he can open them up again without destroying them. My originals were extreme cheapies that snapped together tightly.
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