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Bruce and Jean's Tiny Travel Trailer - The Boxcar

LED Lighting Conversions


I've been meaning to post some pictures of the various led light conversions I've done for the new camper and finally got around to it today. My goal was to provide good, quality light using only LEDs and avoid the common pitfalls associated with LEDs. I wanted diffuse light (no glare bombs), good color rendition and a yellow/incandescent color. Most of the conversions are based on the information found on this web site:

DIY LED Conversion

This conversion is better than most RV options I've run across for two reasons:

- The star emitter he uses has a higher light output and *MUCH* better color rendition than the LEDs I've used in the past. Its a nice, full spectrum yellow light as opposed to the sickly blue light that most el-cheapo LEDs have. I like a 3500K color temperature but more on that later.
- It has a driver that takes care of the voltage swing that teardrops have when they are on battery versus the charger. I've had multiple light failures using Superbright LED products, I think because they don't typically use drivers.

That being said, here's a light I made using LED striplights instead of emitters. It was supposed to be a fluorescent like work surface fixture with shielding to prevent glare. This one is over the sink:
 


Led Lights

I originally used a single LED strip but added a yellow one to get a whiter color. The nice thing about this one is it puts out a lot of light but only uses 0.2 amps. I'm not sure I'll keep this light as three of the LEDs have burned out, even with a 12V regulator. Its also a little too blue for my tastes, but not bad:


Led Light over Sink


Here's an area light for the kitchen area that uses four - 3 watt emitters. It puts out tons of light but draws 1.0 amp. The light is very incandescent like. Note how the ceiling has light on it, I really like the effect of this light but it uses almost as much juice as an incandescent would.

LED Area Light

I angled the emitters so it throws light high up on the wall and gets rid or the "cave" feeling in the kitchen. It also shines light into the cabinets a little.

Close Up

Here's an el-cheapo eBay LED that I'm using for a night light. The *only* good thing about this light is that it uses less than 0.1 amps. Note the ugly blue light. There have been studies that show blue light like this interrupts sleep and can cause phantasmagoria (google that!). I only plan on using this so there's a light on when we come back from sitting around the campfire.

El Cheapo eBay LED

Here's a picture of three LED lights over the bed. The ceiling light has the emitter conversion. The strip light in the front bulkhead is just for bling. Notice the difference in light quality between the overhead light with emitters versus the LED strip. The reading lights have been converted with a G4 LED replacement light.

More LED Lighst

Here's a closeup of the overhead light showing the dual 3 watt emitters. I just roughed up the aluminum with a wire brush and glued them on using the Thermal Adhesive from the article. I picked this fixture because the entire base can serve as a heat sink to get heat away fro the emitters. It still gets a little warm. The LED driver is covered in heat shrink and you can see it through the hole in the reflector. This uses 0.5 amps and would be my choice for a tear galley or interior.

LED Emitter Close Up

Anyone who thinks LEDs are too dim hasn't tried the emitters! The lens knocks the light level down a bit but turns the emitters from a glare bomb into a nice diffuse source.

LED Light Bright!

Here's a picture of the reading lights in action. They have kind of a green color that I don't like much but they put out plenty of light and use around 0.1 amps per head. I ordered three different light from eBay and settled on these as the "best" . I'm still not all that happy with them and I'll probably keep trying other lights till I get one I like better.

LED Reading Lights

I even converted the porch light to LED with a single 3 watt emitter. It use a 6500K color temperature versus the 3500K I used for the interior lights. Everything has a price and good color requires more power. I sacrificed the nice yellow color for maximum light. But, all three of the porch lights still use less power than a single incandescent porch light. I wonder if bugs will be attracted to them?


Light Porch Light

Here's a closeup of the emitter. The jury's still out on how long it will last. Its exposed to dust and moisture so we'll see.


LEd Porch Light Close Up


I just added a wireless switch so I can control the outside lights with a keyfob. One push of the button and all the exterior lights come on. That should scare the monsters away!

Here's some of my ideas, now get out there and experiment with your own LED conversion!!

 

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