Swapping to Leds lightsIf you like light but are solely relying on your battery-consider the new LEDs. They are amazing, both in light output and the extremely low battery use!
Tried leds a few years ago but was sorely disappointed when trying a couple. They were the pcb board style with single contact BA15s style base(1141/1156 bulb). Very low light out put, and soon started losing bulbs. Other than the low output there's a problem in that our campers when charging can reach 14.6+ volts, just too much for the unregulated led bulbs. So you want to verify voltage range, some vendors don't list.
A post on RV.net from a fella that had installed some of the newer 18 led bulbs, reported 10 months later they were still going strong. Got me reconsidering again. Power you can save is power you don't have to generate, or use for something else, or later. These are rated for 8-30v DC so hopefully will hold up better. Most are recommending the warm white over the white as more natural light. So far others have installed and I've seen no negative comments. The newer style use the lil flat square leds and a switching power supply, which makes them a bit more efficient and tolerate a wider voltage range than earlier LEDs sold for RV use.
This is simple project- remove old bulbs install new ones. These LED bulbs use so little battery power with the equivalent light output, its amazing! I had 2 lights that had wedge style bulb base so I modified them to accept the round base (shown further down page). Now these LEDs are available with the wedge style bases, above right. So for anyone this is a plug & play. There are also the lil square board style available if you want all the light out put shining down, though I don't believe it's needed.
Comparison of light out put.
When I ordered LEDS I balked, only ordered 5 bulbs. A lot of money so I didn't get bulbs for porch lite, entrance light or over the bed lights and one of the bulbs in over sink lite. The 2 lights above bed we don't really use and entrance light inside by door is only on for a few seconds. After installing the new bulbs I was very surprised. Folks said they were great but until I actually saw them, wow...They actually put out a lot of equivalent light and its not funny blue tinge. Now I'm regretting not getting all, they ARE cool. I'm also surprised by the fact my meter shows less than the 0.3 amp draw there rated at. So I want more bulbs and ordered 4 more.
I've installed the new led lamps 1 in the bath, 2 in over sink light, 2 in dinette light, 2 over the bed lights, 1 in range hood and one extra bulb. I also built 2 new light boxes to replace camper fixtures over sink and dinette, linked at bottom of page. These look nicer than the little plastic lights but also spread the light more. The dinette light box I incorporated the fluorescent light as an option.
These new LEDS are awesome! Yes its a lot of money to spend-but money spent on something we get to use over & over. Everytime I turn on a light Im amazed...everytime I check the batts in evening Im stoked. The LAST thing to worry about is how many lights are on-
Ledtrailerlights LED replacement for 1156, 1141, or any white (clear) bulb using a single contact BA15s style base
note there are higher led count available if you require more light, one has 60 leds -but more power usage (5 watts).
Just FYI, incandescent bulbs vs led (lumens=form of light measurement
1141: 18.4 watts - 1.4A @ 12.8V - 264 Lumens (what we have)
1003: 12.0 watts - 0.94 @ 12.8V - 189 Lumens
18 warm white LEDs :3.6 Watt ~(0.3 amps) @8-30V DC - 252 Lumens ( my new replacements)
UPDATE 2014-my install was a few years ago (February 2010). Obviously LEDs are improving. Mine have worked flawlessly I noted the 1141 replacements now have 24 LEDS- so a bit more light (360 lumens) but also use a tad less powere.
A couple of our fixtures, the vent hood light and the porch light use a wedge style base, So I'm changing the sockets because I've not found any wedge style led replacements that would work for us. If your lights have the wedge base you might consider converting to the BA15s style base. UPDATE: These are now being offered with the wedge style base! Some fixtures (porch) they might be too large, ceiling fixtures should work. |
Started with the vent hood light box. Went to local autozone all they had was a thru hole base, I had a unused receptacle mount that had same hole size so worked out well due to deep light box. Allowed me to mount base over a bit to keep the new longer LED centered.
I went to local RV shop to see bout getting something to convert porch light. He had newer style light fixture that had the right socket so I picked it up (top of pic below). He also had some leds, however there the older style 64 led arrays, lil bulb style verses the square leds. These generate a lot of heat, if they are on for extended time they'll burn up. But he offered theses to me for $12 each so I figured I could use them in porch light and entrance light as they usually aren't on that long. We'll see, I picked up 2. When if they burn up Ill replace with newer style. Now we will be fully LED except for our flexible bed reading lights and optional fluorescent .|
Here shown I've already moved the socket from new light to old light. I was going to swap fixtures but decided I liked the old one with its warp around lens better. Plus the new fixture, switched and a bit flatter, when I get round to it Ill install a bayonet base with led in it and mount on side of camper. I rebent the mount clip on socket under the socket to center bulb in housing, filed a bit of plastic so cant pivot & screwed to base. You can see the older style bulb-this is what you don't want. I also had some Lucus metal polish, stuff is amazing, shined the base to mirror finish. Applied a piece of aluminum tape to inside top of light to reflect light down.
(As earlier noted, 3 days after this mod wedge style are now being offered, though porch lite still needed to move socket, don't think the larger led would have fit). As an afterthought (not shown) I added LM7812 voltage regulator to insure this and porch light fixture are not overdriven. The unregulated bulbs should last longer and not run as hot, did dim them a bit but they were pretty bright.
Took 10 pics, no matter what the lens flashed the camera out light on/off flash on or off..
Pic of porch light installed. puts out quite a bit of light, Id say more than the wedge bulb but at 0.4 amps. Course the flash went off.
Last light, the entrance light I added see doorlite page. Using one of the cheaper bulbs in it as its only on long enough to find a light switch when entering camper at night so should last. I also added the lm7812 regulator to this fixture to limit voltage to bulb.
Now that its paid for-hopefully we get the hours out of the new bulbs as folks seem too. Were getting more light at a LOT less battery draw. More light? Well a couple of the bulbs I had earlier at some point replaced the 1141 with some smaller 6CP bulbs. Though dimmer they used 0.5 amps verse 1.4. Now with the new LEDS which a equivalent to the 1141's we have more light. Wont be jumpin up to turn off lights as much!
I might mention that if your trying to conserve battery, but just cant justify the cost of LEDS, that swapping to smaller bulbs is a good option, especially if yours are 1156/1141. At a buck or so you can try/experiment different standard bulbs to get the light that you can see by but save power. I found the small round 6CP (printed on side) to be good, you can see, not overly dim but use almost an amp less than an 1141.
Again the 18 LED bulbs that use the lil square leds (top pic above) are the ones you want. Insure there regulated (will handle 15 or better volts), and about 250 lumens. If you don't mind the blue tinge the white give more light but recommend the WARM white bulbs. There are some bulbs that have higher lumens (linked above) but they use more power.
I had added this note below-though I've since resolved my issues I've left attached. JUST FYI|
These bulbs installed 2/2010 still working flawlessly as of 5/2015. Before stated below discovery I accidentally found, I had not heard of any problems with the new LEDs -. The new LEDs may or may not be an issue and most do not experience any problems. But there is, though very slight, a potential FM / TV interference problem, when you have a very weak fm/tv broadcast signal. Because it was a surprise to me, it might be a surprise for you - so I've left attached for FYI. I discovered this bout half way thru conversion. Im confident enough that I have fixed the problem or that its not a real issue (we don't't listen to the radio often-does not affect CD VCR, DVD or decent signal broadcast) that I ordered 4 more bulbs and continued conversion. Again this probably wont be an issue for you. If you do have any problems there's is an easy remedy-I would not lets this vague possibility sway your conversion.
I installed the moded porch lite the next evening. I was sitting in camper waiting for it to get dark to see how the porch lite worked,& was listening to the radio (which I had just moved and reinstalled under cabinet). As it was getting darker decided 'hey I can turn on a light-their LEDS no power drain" I reached over flicked on light..radio goes completely static, turn off light radio comes in clear?
This is not a problem with any specific retailer, but possibly a design issue with ALL the bulbs that use the internal switching circuit for power regulation. However most do not experience this? Searched around and found this not uncommon, mostly marine use. But found no conclusive fix. Made a post on RV net and got some really good responses, confirming what I though might be a fix. Seems it probably is the way the 'better' bulbs are regulated, an unseen affect though is the power switching is generating noise, weak broadcast signals will allow 'noise' to be picked up and sent thru radio and or TV.
The TV does pick it up also, going thru the DTV box, lights on get some static in screen. BUT, antenna is down and we don't get enough signal here on the 2 local channels so don't know if lights will interfere with actual reception. I think not. I did note the TV is more affected the closer the light, the further away the less interference-the bath light barley, the sink light which is directly below antenna was the worst, so again probably with antenna up, strong signal, wont be a problem.
I had an extra new led and fixture, took to shop & tested several different capacitors to quelch the static.. I soldered 6.8 capacitors between the positive output of switches and brass ground. This virtually got rid of static. So soldered caps to all the fixtures that use the new bulbs/ Another fella SVC Jeff was looking at problem & he used .001 uf caps, however they didn't work for me. The difference might be he was testing on the leds that are on mounted on a flat board, so was able to put caps right at the 12v source. Mine are in bayonet base, so there's a bit of wire between cap and regulator? Read the discussion at RV.NET LED radio interference where a few much smarter than I also looked at the interference issue. So there's still room for experimentation here...
Again were in a fringe area so signal strength is weak, and why I accidentally discovered static issue. We do get 1 fairly strong FM channel and no static is detected. However in searching I've found that this is actually a huge problem. I've found everything from folks spending thousands on home entertainment and then having hundreds in upgrade to leds kill it, to counties/cities installing led traffic lights that interfere with FM broadcasts. It seems we have several industries conflicting with each with little or no regard (or knowledge) of the impact on each other. This is nuts...
Last word if your power panle has LED blown fuse indicatores, the new LED bulbs will 'glow" if on a circut that blew fuse. This is not an issue, the new blubs are able to use the minute power to ground from LED indicators and they will dimly light.
Update built dual light box for dinette see Dinette light page
Built light box for over sink see Sink light page
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