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Do you want to update the old RV interior lightning then you have landed in the right place? Changing Interior lighting the look, feel and mood, right.
Then how can you change it and what are the options you have, get seated and read the article to know everything about RV Interior Lightning.
Disclaimer: I am not an electrician and whatever I have learned about electricity, light fixture, and in general, is either what I found online or through experience. So, please call an electrician if you are unsure about anything and be safe.
*This post contains affiliate links to products.
Why you may want to upgrade the RV interior lights?
For me, there are two possible reasons for this.
- The old incandescent bulbs are boring and old fashion, they lack style.
- They use too much power as they are not from the new age, as LED bulbs which consume less electricity and give more light.
Basically, for RVs, there are two kinds of lights available, 120 volts and 12 volts. For 120v one, you need a generator or shore power and is similar to the lights available at home. 12v can run on battery power.
Incandescent or LED lights
You should be the judge here because it’s your RV, your taste and the need. I am here to give information on what option you might have, but still, both should be compared.
Do you know why?
- Less consumption of energy
- Bright non-tainted light
- A lot of options available
You get many options with LED lights that are not available in the old bulb. Even you like the old light color that is also available with LEDs today. So, nothing should pull you towards the Incandescent bulbs, if you are really not fond of using them.
Why LEDs are so efficient?
LEDs are so efficient because they do not use direct heat to produce light as an incandescent bulb. The incandescent bulb gives a much wider spectrum of radiation because it heats the metal to light up. (tungsten filament is used in incandescent bulbs)
With visible light incandescent bulb also gives UV light and infrared light, which causes it to consume more power than LED.
LEDs only produce visible light that is a much narrow spectrum of radiation, needing less energy.
What is an LED light?
LED is an abbreviated name of Light Emitting Diode. They consume less electricity giving bright light. Earlier LED lights were expensive but now RVers are using it in their RV for lightning purposes.
Why Use LED lights?
RV users know how important is to save electricity for other uses. Where electricity rate varies so much across the country you want to save on it.
LED lights consume less electricity and can illuminate without draining your battery too fast.
How much energy you will save?
Taking about energy saving, an incandescent bulb runs on 60 watts and for an average of 1000 hours, LED lights run on 12 watts and have a life expectancy of 25000 hours.
You do the math!
I personally like LEDs because they illuminate the RV better than the old one and saves a good amount of energy.
Many RV also has fluorescent or halogen lights in their interior but the problem is they give tainted light. Tainted in the sense they offer near either yellow or green light.
Talking about the light fixtures they often burn due to halogen and incandescent lights which becomes hot. LED is the future!
Decorative Interior LED RV Lights Options
There are many options to choose from according to the requirement or your taste. Just pick the right one for your RV matching the interior and color.
Under Cabinet LED Lights: they come in a variety of colors and why you need to turn on the kitchen lights when you can use the under cabinet lights. Get a wireless ultra-thin LED light bar like this one.
Battery Operated LED Floor Lights: you know how much calm and cooler it looks when you switch on the tabletop or floor lamps. These lamps also come in different colors and style, only thing is that you chose the right one. You also have the option of choosing the rechargeable one.
Battery-Operated Stick-On Tap Light: these are simple lights that can be used anywhere you find the best place for them such as closets, cabinets. It very easy to use them as well, all you have to do is stick and tap. These are round lights which very look very decorative like this one.
Solar Ice Rocks: repurpose in the thing today! Anything which can be used for multiple things is the best. You have to charge this thing and bring it back in the evening to illuminate the RV like this one here.
Reading Lights: if you are fond of reading then this thing is for you. They are easy to install and gives cool light for the readers. Just switch it on when you read your favorite book like this one here.
Decorative Exterior LED RV Lights
When you park your RV it’s a home and you need exterior RV light for safety and ease.
Exterior LED Lights: this comes with a motion sensor which is good when you are in an unknown place. Simple yet useful light like this one with a perfect light beam.
So, You Must Buy Or DIY
I will recommend buying a light fixture because it is not easy to craft something with that finishing unless you have good knowledge about it.
You have great options available at the online store so it’s not worthy of it if you have less time.
But, if you like to make then do not hesitate to show your skills, perfection comes with experience that what I know. Look around yourself there are plenty of things which can be used for it things like empty jars, decorative objects, bowls, and even dishes.
The decision is up to you.
What To Do?
RVs do not have 1 or 2 lights, there can be 10 to 15 or more light fixtures in your RV. So, I will not be practical to replace all of them especially when their price could be anything from $50 to 300 each.
If you are out of budget then you could buy half and DIY half yourself. In this way, you have to spend less or you can buy a set of 5 LEDs for dome light from here.
What Type Of Light Fixtures Do You Have?
Before renovating you must know what type of light fixture you have in your RV. Commonly, there are three types of light fixtures.
- Battery operated lights that you have to operate at the fixture.
- Hardwired overhead light fixtures which can be switched on or off at the switch plate on the wall.
- Then you may have standard RV dome lights that are wired into the RV power system but have to be operated at the fixture itself.
If you determined the energy source of the lighting it will become easy for you to plan according to your will.
Another thing you should consider to use any light fixture that can be used at home. Yes, you do not have to buy only RV light fixtures, especially if you have a generator. There are so many options out there pendants, sconces, flush mounts and chandeliers.
You can use an LED light dimmer Switch like this one, that waterproof, aluminum finish, and built-in resistant.
What Challenges You Might Face?
Replacing RV lighting has its challenges and knowing them before moving is better. So, here I have addressed some of them which might come in your way.
- The horizontal and vertical space around the light fixture may vary or limited according to the RV make. You have to make sure your lights are not on the heads or doors way. You have to measure before you consider buying anything.
- All the light fixtures may not be hardwired, the electrical lines must be connected to a switch or power source. It will all depend upon the make, some lights may be battery operated fixture that can be on the wall and others may be hardwired to a switch.
- You may not get many options when you search to buy RV Light fixtures.
Important Things You Should Know
While you may select any light fixture but you have to know something before you bring anything. Limitations like volt, watt, bulb size, quality, and color may come in your way. So, be right to choose the right one.
- Volts: you have to select the right volt bulb for your fixtures. The light bulb needs to be of the same power as the power source that will depend upon the RV. Most of the RVs have a 12 volt DC system. Check it in the owner’s manual.
- Watts: A light bulb and a fridge consumption of watts are different. Where light bulb runs on lesser watt a fridge runs on higher watts so, be careful. This is especially important if you are on generator power.
- Size: right size matters especially with bulb otherwise it will not fit with the fixture.
- Color: it depends upon the taste and interior of your RV. There are different options available depending on what you select a cool or warm color. Cool light is generally the brightest and appears to be white. The warm light generally offers a gentle blush due to the traditional interior color.
- Quality: quality of anything matters, generally you should avoid to bring in anything which is of bad quality. Buy once and for all!
You must take care to see the review of the product and never buy it in bulk. First, ensure the thing which you are going to buy is of good quality or not.
Hack For Updating RV Lightning
If you want a light fixture that isn’t hardwired with an electrical source then use this trick.
You have to buy a battery-operated LED puck light like this one and keep it inside the fixture. You can operate it with either by remote or pushing the light. The good thing is that you can even time it.
You can even pit the LED puck light inside the beam, into sconces and hang it anywhere on the wall, inside cupboards or mounted under kitchen cabinets.
You can also use a bigger flush mount light fixtures for a slide-out area or for bedroom.
How Can You Move In RV With Chandeliers And Pendants?
If you move with a chandelier or pendants chances are that it will move and possibly can do some interior damage or injury to a person. So what to do?
A simple solution will be to tie them before you move. This will make sure it stays in its position in the entire trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put LED bulbs into halogen fittings?
Generally, LED lights are not compatible with halogen fittings, I have pointed out some problems that can occur when LED lights are tried to install in halogen fitting.
Always call an electrician for any electrical job if you are not an expert. If you can take preventive measures you will not have any problem.
- Transformer issues: halogen transformers provide more power than what LED downlights needs. If you replace the transformer with an LED driver it will regulate the voltage. If you will not replace the transformer then it will transfer excess power to the LED. You will need to change the transformer or not you can tell it by checking that halogen have pins or pegs to connect them to the circuit. A transformer is needed for pins, peg doesn’t need them.
- Lower Light Output: high voltage halogen transformer can damage the LED and can also lead to lower light output. The LED needs less power than halogen that’s why they draw minimum power from the transformer, this results in dim or no light.
- Dimming, Buzzing or Flickering Lights: these problems arise when LED downlights are used without LED drivers. LED needs DC power and if you use them in an AC circuit it will lead to voltage fluctuations, that result in flickering, buzzing or dimming.
- Short lifespan: LED needs constant DC current supply for maintaining efficiency. Fluctuations that comes from the AC outlet shorten its lifespan.
- Voiding Warranties: if you use LED in fitting that is incompatible then it can void warranties.
How do you change a dome light?
You need minimum tools to replace dome light, here goes the process:
- Switch off the dome light. You can check the owner’s manual for that.
- Then you have to remove the bulb lens cover, there are mostly two screws that hold the lens. If there are no screws then you have to pry the lens with a flat head screwdriver. Place the screwdriver opposite to the light switch and press in, the lens will pop out.
- Now unscrew the bulb from the dome socket, and screw a new bulb.
- Replace the dome cover.
How do you test a 12 volt LED?
You can test a 12 volt LED in two ways. First, by a multimeter and second, by a coin cell battery.
By testing it by multimeter gives you a clear reading as to how strong each LED bulb is. The brightness of the LED tells you about the quality. If you don’t have a multimeter then you can also test it with a coin cell battery. I have gone through both methods.
Testing with a multimeter
- for this, you have to purchase a multimeter that can take diode readings. Generally, a multimeter can check volt, amps, and ohms. You need a multimeter that can test diodes also. Remember to buy a digital one as an analog model are harder to read and is less accurate.
- Now hook the red and black test leads into the multimeter. The red is for the positive charge and the black is for a negative charge.
- After that, you have to turn the dial on the front side of the multimeter clockwise away from the off position.
- Now connect the black lead to the cathode side of the LED and red probe to the anode side of the LED. Always connect the black probe before the red probe as doing it reverse may not show accurate reading.
- if the LED is not damaged then you should see the reading on the display. When you see no reading on the display then try once by starting it again. If you have performed the test right and there is no reading then the LED might be damaged.
- A good quality LED will give bright light and a bad one will be dim.
Testing with a coin cell battery
- Using a coin cell battery is best as it will not pass enough current to damage it.
- You have to buy a coin cell battery that is made to hold the type of coin cell battery like CR2025.
- Now connect the black lead to the cathode and red one to the anode.
- If the connection is right then the LED will glow if not try again.
- If it does not glows then the LED might be damaged.
Can you use LED lights in any fixture?
Yes, you can use LED lights in any fixture, as long as the LED bulb uses less wattage than the fixture.
If the LED bulb label says “100 watts LED equivalent” that does not mean that the bulb runs on 100 watts. It means that the LED bulb produces light that is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb.
If it is written on the socket not to exceed “60 watts” then it means the danger of high heat that is produced by an incandescent bulb. So, if the fixture says not to exceed 60 watts then also you can use a 100-watt equivalent LED bulb.
Light is measured in a lumen, not watts, so an 800 lumen LED bulb gives the same amount of light what a 60-watt incandescent bulb produces. So, you can use 100W, 125W and 150W LED equivalent in a 60-watt fixture because all of them will consume only 60 watts.
A 150W LED equivalent will produce 2600 lumen using only 30 watts. That is 2.5 times more than an incandescent bulb in the same 60-watt fixture.
Which is a brighter halogen or LED?
LED bulbs are much brighter than halogen or incandescent bulbs of the same watt.
That was all the information that I have for updating RV interior lighting. If you have not changed the old lightning and you are facing problems with energy-saving then you might consider doing the same.
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Tanmay Sarkar is the person behind writerzmag.com. An RV enthusiast, lover & admirer. Whatever I learn about RVs and RVing, I share it on this blog. Learning is a lifelong experience and it should be shared with people who have the same hobby and love as you… This blog is and shall be for the people who love and want to know about RVing…