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Old 10-30-2014, 04:43 PM   #1
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LED conversion and a disturbing discovery

One of the small things that has "bugged" me about our Sabre 31RETS-6 is the indoor lighting. It is fairly dim and depressing as it always has a yellow rather than a white glow to it. In addition when we are running off camp ground power the lights would gradually dim as, I guess, the battery voltage fell then they would suddenly brighten as the charger kicked in.

I decided a change to LED lights may help as they are a whiter light, use less power and are tolerant of any voltage input from 8-30V. I ordered 10 to start with, just to see if they would work. They did! The light was much brighter and the dimming issue went away, we were happy campers. I ordered a second batch of LED's, enough to do the whole rig, stupidly I went to a different supplier. When the new lamps came in they didn't work. After a little playing I discovered they did work if you plugged them in upside down! Interesting.... I tried a few more lights in the trailer, some worked with the LED's in the right way round and some didn't.

A little investigation showed the problem. The original factory lamps didn't care about positive and negative voltage, they just lit up regardless of which way round they went in. The first set of LED's SHOULD have cared about the voltage as they are semiconductors, but some clever person foresaw the problem and put a bridge rectifier on the circuit board at the input pins. This meant that they worked either way round.The second set of LED's were a little cheaper, these didn't have the rectifier to sort out the voltage polarity issue.

Rather than order new LED's I decided to rewire the sockets where the LEDs didn't work in the correct orientation. This meant taking the fixtures off the ceiling. What I found was a little scary. The ceiling appears to be wood type panels with a plastic finish. The plastic finish was melted and discoloured under many fittings, this being in spite of heat shields being built into the fittings. Also many of the sockets showed signs of heat overload as they were badly discoloured (brown instead of white). In fact on a couple of fittings the clear lens cap had started to discolour from the heat and was showing signs of melting.

Anyway all lamps have now been converted to LED, the light is much better and more consistent and the heat generated is negligible compared to the factory bulbs. I don't know if the heat issue poses a real fire threat or not, but it was certainly an eye opener when I discovered its effects on the ceiling and fittings. At around $1.50 each I am very pleased with the conversion to LED's. Just remember, try to get the lamps that are not polarity dependent.

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Old 10-30-2014, 04:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for the tips outlined in your post. Where did you get your LED bulbs from, if you don't mind sharing?

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Old 10-30-2014, 05:06 PM   #3
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They were off e-bay, not sure if I am allowed to "advertise" them here or no. If you want more specifics drop me a PM
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Old 10-30-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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My electronics knowledge must be getting rusty......I though a bridge rectifier only worked with AC power?
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Old 10-30-2014, 05:44 PM   #5
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Very clever and versatile, these bridge rectifiers!

Self-Correcting Polarity Protection

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Old 10-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #6
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Purchase "error free" led's. They don't have a polarity.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:14 AM   #7
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All LEDs have polarity. Error free does not mean that.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:29 AM   #8
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I agree, at the lowest level each LED has polarity, but on some of the multi LED lamps that I used it was possible to insert them either way due to on board circuitry.

If I understand correctly "error free LED's" have a small resistor in the circuitry that will allow the LED module to be used in vehicles that are able to detect a "blown" bulb and display an alert. Without this resistor the alert would be on continuously.
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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I bet you the heat issue is why my 2014 came with all LED's... they likely figured out that normal bulbs created too much heat!
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:00 PM   #10
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My 2015 in all LEDs inside, but the porch lights and the cargo lights are still incandescent. I am converting them all to LEDs this weekend while we are out camping.

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cover, led

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