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LED Lights

LEDs, ("Light Emitting Diode") are semiconductor diodes that convert applied voltage to light.  For years they have slowly replaced bulbs in many applications like digital displays and the like.  Within the past few years "super bright" LEDs (as compared to LEDs that have been around for years) have come to the market and are now starting to replace lights that need to be bright.  Traffic signals and auto taillights are two examples.  The advantages of LEDs is their long life and low voltage draw.

So, let me think about this, long life and low power usage.....   Sounds like something I want to use when I am dry camping.  Anything that will extend the battery in the pop up is great for me.  The first product I have purchased were replacement bulbs for my overhead lights.  I found these at superbrightleds.com.

LEDBulb.jpg (8671 bytes)

To the left you see two LED lamp replacement modules for my overhead lights.  These are designed to replace 1156 bulbs and are rated to draw only 85ma (that's milliamps or .085 amps) This is a great savings over standard bulbs.  Now some pop ups do not have overhead fixtures that take incandescent 1156 bulbs, but have flat wedge base bulbs.  The wedge base style is also available.   You will not that the base of the led lights is on a short wire lead.  This allows you to plug in the bulbs and aim them down.  LED lighting is directional in nature and this system allows these lights use in RV fixtures.

QT.jpg (14858 bytes)

Now, the first problem I had was how to mount them.  They are small rectangular circuit boards with 24 LEDs on one side and the wiring on the other side.  Plus, the light fixture didn't lend itself to modification.  So I  used an old standard in my toolbox "QuickTac", or in this case "HandiTac".  Available at any home improvement store this stuff is like modeling clay but is used as a glue like substance. 

QTMount.jpg (9585 bytes)

Roll the QuickTac into small balls and stick them to the back of the lighting units.  You can then stick them to the top of the interior of the light fixtures in the location the bulb would normally go.  Connect the bulb base into the fixture and you are good to go.

LEDFixture.jpg (11322 bytes)

Here is what my fixture looks like in use.  The fixtures on the new Niagara have three position switches; Off, one light on, or two lights on. I replaced the first bulb to come on with the LED unit so that I could run it alone.  Note that the LED unit (on the right) is not as bright as the standard incandescent 1156 bulb, but for normal lighting it works fine.  When brighter lighting is needed I just move the switch to the last position and it turns on the second bulb which is still an incandescent 1156.

I added these to all three light fixtures in the 05 Niagara.  While they do not provide the light an incandescent 1156 does, for just puttering around the pop up at night they are fine.  When more light is needed we just throw the switch and add the incandescent 1156s into the mix.  This seems to be a great way to conserve power when dry camping.

 

MoonBeam Lights

(c) 2003 by Visual Systems & Support Inc.

I was lucky enough to test two sets of MoonBeam Lights which had been set to Pop Up Times for review. After Dave tested them, he has let me have them to see how they work as most of our camping is "dry camping".  From the manufacturers web site they describe them as "MoonBeam Lights are 12-Volt DC, LED lighting units, originally designed for the Pop-Up Camper. They are an excellent alternative to the standard, bright and glaring incandescent bulbs found in most pop-ups and RVs".

They appear to be very sturdily built, but are so light weight that they can be mounted with Velcro.  Each one consists of four LED light modules, which each module being controlled with its own switch.  They plug directly into the 1/4" power outlets on most pop up lights, so they are easy to hook up.

They are all custom built, so you can pick the color of LED (blue, red green amber or white) and if you want the module flush mounted or mounted on the end of a gooseneck.

P0002364.JPG (250286 bytes) To the left you see an entire gooseneck system.  All four modules are at the end of individual goosenecks so each one can be aimed in a different direction if you like.
To the right is a all panel mount system.  While this one has four different color LED modules, you get to choose what color or colors you want.  For an all panel mount system like this I suggest the optional swivel bracket unless you are only looking for spot light in one area.  This one is mounted directly over the galley in our Niagara. P0002365.JPG (310289 bytes)

I give this product a thumbs up.  After using them on a few camping trips they are nice for spot lighting.  I have one mounted over the galley and using it allows me to make a midnight snack without waking up the world.  The second one  (with the gooseneck heads) is mounted over the dinette table.  The gooseneck allows the light to be directed where needed.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

  Revised: May 08, 2007

 

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