LED conversion done today
Goal was to at least convert the lights we have on a lot, ideally all of them. We mostly run the main ceiling lights and one of the above-bed reading lights.
From reading about flashlights, I know there's differences in efficiency, cooling, and regulation. Also obviously in color temperature and less obviously in color quality.
Looking online, there are a fey types of LEDs available, like the three-way 5050 or the smaller 1210. Typical brand names like Cree or any other differentiators seemed to be missing. Apparently the RV led lights don't need regulation or heat sinks.
I ordered four round 13x5050 bulbs from seller gem-led ($2.35 each), ten 24x1210 flat from ouyou2010 ($1.50 each) and four 12x5050 flat from 2011_led ($3.58 each). All T10 sockets, warm white types. I planned the round types for the overhead lights and the flat types for the other lights.
This is 2012. With a few clicks I ordered products from Hong Kong and mainland China. Amazing. Expectations weren't terribly high but if I had to write off some of my money I'd live. Fast forward two weeks and a set of padded envelopes arrive in my mailbox.
The round 13x5050s installed easily and look about as bright, a little whiter than the incandescents they replaced. With the flat types, I had not considered they only work one way, due to polarity, which sometimes meant the banks of LEDs were facing up. D'oh! Fortunately I had ordered two types, and luckily they had different polarity (or the other ones work both ways, see below).
The flat 5050s were a little whiter than the 1210s. The 1210s can look a little yellow and I have to say I slightly prefer the 5050s I got. The $1.50 1210-24 also have a little 4-pin IC pictured where in fact they had none. I don't know enough about electronics to know if that's a missing voltage regulator or not. The flat 5050 have a small IC labeled MB6S which I take is a 0.5A Bridge Rectifier. My guess that's to fix the polarity problem.
With the reading lights, I got unlucky and the bulk $1.50 LEDs were facing up. Upon further consideration I found these LEDs were a little too bright for over-bed reading lights, and left them installed facing up, producing indirect light. The indirect light is a little whiter/bluer still probably due to the reflective surface in the lights. This totally does it for reading lights.
After learning this, I installed one pair, one facing up, one facing down, in the bathroom because that's what I had left at that point. It works out quite OK actually one LED providing ambient light and one facing down. The only downside is that here you can see a difference in color temperature despite the two LEDs being the same. This is again because the reflected light looks different.
Overall at $40 this was an easy and straightforward mod with a few minor pitfalls. Next time we get caught somewhere dry camping in bad weather, we'll be able to run all the lights, without the repercussions.