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Old 12-29-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
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Automatic Courtesy Lights

So I braved the cold and completed a project I have wanted to do on our Georgetown for quite some time.

With all the convienience features and upgrades the Georgetown line has I was a bit disappointed that FR doesn't include a switch at the front door to turn on an overhead light if you return to your rig at night. This is something even our el cheapo Fleetwood motorhome we had before had. As we dry camp a lot we don't like to leave a light on using up battery power when we leave during the day.

FR did include some real nice courtesy lights mounted near the floor though which are turned on by a switch at the front door. However finding this switch in the dark is all but useless so we usually just enter the dark rig and feel around on the ceiling for the overhead light.

Well no more!

I purchased a DEI 528T pulse timer online. Basically it's a time delay relay. This is the same kind of circuit used to keep your dome light on in some of your cars after you close the door.

I wired the 528T to a 12 volt power supply (the batteries) and then tapped into the 12volt circuit for the courtesy lights right behind the courtesy light switch with the switched output. There is a "trigger" wire which senses the grounding or removal from ground or a change in state from one to the other which was connected to the magnetic door switch that activates the power steps.

Wala! Now when I open the door the courtesy lights come on automatically! The timer was pre set at 20 seconds which is more than enough time to enter the rig and turn on another light. However the 528T is adjustable from 1 to 90 seconds delay. I could also see other ways to use this nifty little gadget, like turing on the porch light automatically when you exit the rig.

Total cost of the project: $25 for the timer and shipping.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #2
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I wonder if they eliminated it. My 2007 Georgetown has a switch for the ceiling lights at the door as well as one just outside the bedroom door. It's a two way switch. We also replaced the outside light with a Smart Light. It can be set to come on when detecting motion. I just turn it on when we set up. It doesn't operate during daytime and doesn't stay on long when activated so the power use is minimal. It also has a LED inside that shows the status of the 12 volt system. Green everything is fine, Red there's a problem.

http://www.starlightsinc.com/thesmartlight.asp

We bought ours from Kinzer Enterprises at the Hershey RV Show for $89.95. The unit is paintable which worked out great for me. It's located in the all black area. Just tape off the areas of the sensors and the lense and it turned out great. It simply wires to the two existing wires.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info on the porch light. I like that idea, will have to add it to my "wish list". Our GT doesn't have a switch at the door for the ceiling light. We do have one just outside the bedroom door that turns on the ceiling light in the shower area as well as one just inside the bedroom for the ceiling lights in there. Also wished we had one in the throne room like our old motorhome but we don't. Out of all of them the most convenient is the one at the entry door.

We used to have a bar that mounted to the front of your step too that was motion sensitive that lit up blue all the way across. Made it really easy to see your bottom step in the dark but it ran on AA batteries although they lasted a long time. Was called an "RV surestep" Last I went to their website they didn't sell them anymore.

My next move is to link the inside lights with the amber one under the steps so that it will come on when the door opens as this doesn't work either if you have turned off your step switch.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:28 PM   #4
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its not just you our damon has no lighted panel in the entryway
the switched are there to turn on the lights....but when its dark its very easy to say... run the awning out, or turn on the compartment lights
so i pulled the panel out and put two red led lights behind it and a switch for what used to be just at night, but now i find us leaving it on all the time


i like your approach i may borrow parts of it for our rig

i dont understand how these companies decide whats not important
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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Alright, Dag nab it Charlie your costing me money again! Found the Smart lights on sale at PPL Motorhomes and they have them in black! $75 plus shipping. Kicker is I decided since I also have one on the driver side of the rig I would have to put one there too and I have been wanting to add a 3rd one farther back towards the end of the rig on the passenger side (I alread have the wire path scoped out from the switch at the door back to that location). So I had to order 3 of them. Argggg, I'm trying to stop spending and your not helping!

Love the idea though thanks for the idea. Oh and the sale price is only good till Dec. 31st. Normal price on them is $99 from the link you posted.
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Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:35 PM   #6
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Powerboatr, I discovered while I had our switch panel out today that ours is the same way. If I put lights behind it the lettering will light up. That is another project which is forthcoming but I am going to try and add a photo eye so that they will turn off automatically in the daytime. LEDs are definitely the way to go as they use so little power.
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Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWJeeper View Post
Alright, Dag nab it Charlie your costing me money again! Found the Smart lights on sale at PPL Motorhomes and they have them in black! $75 plus shipping. Kicker is I decided since I also have one on the driver side of the rig I would have to put one there too and I have been wanting to add a 3rd one farther back towards the end of the rig on the passenger side (I alread have the wire path scoped out from the switch at the door back to that location). So I had to order 3 of them. Argggg, I'm trying to stop spending and your not helping!

Love the idea though thanks for the idea. Oh and the sale price is only good till Dec. 31st. Normal price on them is $99 from the link you posted.
Guilty as charged, sorry but it is a really nice light. Besides I used your idea at the stove for the replacement of those mirrors. I'm just returning the favor.
I left the light on the driver's side alone since it would be turning on when my camping neighbors would be moving around and I didn't want to disturb them. Currently that bulb is burnt out and I plan to leave it that way. That light wasn't very useful for anything other than looks.
Our GT370 has wall switches in each bathroom and one for the bedroom next to the 2nd ceiling light switch. I just wished the bedroom switch was inside the bedroom. I have to slide open the door to turn it off then close the door. No big deal but it would have been nice to have it in the room it's controlling. They used a side by side double switch. It probably saved them a buck or two instead of two single switches.
I also added two additional dimmers like the type over my sofa. Installed one over the barrel chair and the other at the dinette. I no longer need sunglasses to sit and eat with the overly bright lights. We now have mode lighting, dim to bright. Unfortunately the brown ones aren't as cheap in price as the white ones. I recommend shopping around on-line if you're looking to add any dimmers.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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I left the light on the driver's side alone since it would be turning on when my camping neighbors would be moving around and I didn't want to disturb them. Currently that bulb is burnt out and I plan to leave it that way. That light wasn't very useful for anything other than looks.
I actually really like having that light over there. There seems to be a colliery to Murphy's Law that states that your grey water tank will fill only after dark while the wife is in the shower and only after you yourself have wet hair from your shower and are in your robe. I always find myself having to go out in the dark to pull the slice valve on the grey water tank so having that light over there has been real nice for me.
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2009 Georgetown 378TS | 1998 Jeep Wrangler | 1998 Skeeter ZX202C
Nights camped in 2009: 53 | Nights camped in 2010: 55
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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I actually really like having that light over there. There seems to be a colliery to Murphy's Law that states that your grey water tank will fill only after dark while the wife is in the shower and only after you yourself have wet hair from your shower and are in your robe. I always find myself having to go out in the dark to pull the slice valve on the grey water tank so having that light over there has been real nice for me.
I usually just turn on the Roadside or Curbside Compartment lights and take care of whatever I need to do. They really are a nice feature and light up the area very well.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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Powerboatr, I discovered while I had our switch panel out today that ours is the same way. If I put lights behind it the lettering will light up. That is another project which is forthcoming but I am going to try and add a photo eye so that they will turn off automatically in the daytime. LEDs are definitely the way to go as they use so little power.
the auto eye was my first idea but i couldn't find one that worked like i wanted,
and by then my mind had wandered
the leds are ....your gonna laugh off a three light bar you would add to a pickup on the rear
i salvaged them off my old bars that i took off the truck when i sold it
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