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1  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 27, 2014, 11:51:56 am

Testing three original florescent lights with two 8-watt light bulbs each.
Testing three 33 LED light strips

Each group of three varied within it's respective group by miniscule amounts, not enough of a difference to calculate an average.

Here are the results at battery voltage 12V

Original Florescent Lights operate at a surprising 9 watts for each twin bulb fixture.  I expected it to be around 16 watts.
33 LED strips operate at 3 watts x 2 per fixture, so the LED conversion is a 6 watt fixture.  This I expected.
(a previous LED strip tested prior was determined to be faulty...I won't get into why except that it got crinkled before the test)

We double checked our measurements with two different testers, one a hand-held, the other a much more sophisticated bench top piece of equipment.

The two 33 LED strip conversion reduces power consumption by only 33% because the florescent lights were much more efficient than I expected.

If I had been trying to achieve the same amount of light lumens, I would have reduced the number of LEDs from 33 to 27 per strip, which would make the LED fixtures 5 watts instead of 6 watts.

Given our interior has dark cherry cabinetry, I desired a little more light, achieving an estimated 20% more.  My LED conversion included mood/night lighting which also helps justify to myself that the project was worth doing. We also like the warmer look the warm white LEDs provide over the cold-blue florescent tubes.  If I was going solely for reduced power consumption, I would be disappointed.  

Regarding the fixture over our dinette.  That fixture always had a glare to it, both as a florescent and now as an LED.  It is simply positioned low putting that light in my face when looking across the table to my wife.  Since that fixture is now a little brighter as an LED, I think the glare is a little worse, so the electrical engineer and I are tossing around ideas on that one.  A POT (potentiometer) would be nice to adjust the voltage, but heat is a concern.  So we are leaning towards a really big resistor to simply lower the voltage to the fixture to 9V-10V to a fixed lower light level.
2  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 26, 2014, 11:56:23 pm
I want to get a much better idea of power consumption before and after the conversion.

I am taking to work tomorrow, three additional 33 LED strips to measure power consumption at 12v to see if they vary from the first one.  I also reassembled three original florescent bulb circuits, soldering a jumper instead of the original switch, to keep them turned on for the test.  Surprisingly they stay assembled well enough without the housings they once were a part of.

Three of each should give me a good idea how much they vary.  I will post the results.
3  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 26, 2014, 11:27:40 pm
Nice job Ron. Do u still have the links handy for the LEDs switch and bulbs?  Thanks
Sure, Here they are again.

3-Way Switches on Ebay here.

5 meters in length of warm white LEDs on a reel here.  Be sure o select warm white if you want what I got.

Tonight I changed the range hood light bulb socket and installed the 6th sealed & frosted LED there.  The simple flat rectangular lens that covers the light bulb is faded yellow & ugly (likely from the heat from the stove), and never intended to diffuse the light.  I'll be on the lookout for something better, likely cutting something down to size.
4  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Improvements & Enhancements, 2007 PC-2350 on: August 26, 2014, 01:57:05 pm
Added Improvement #24
5  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 26, 2014, 11:11:43 am
Hey Ron, have you seen the LED strip lights mounted under the awning? I am thinking about them but the cost is real high and I am afraid the strip might come lose or what happens if several LEDs go out. They mount to the side wall just under the awning. What do you think?
If done right, an LED light strip would be awesome.  I think it would offer much more & evenly distributed lighting.  In my Ebay search for my project, I stumbled on outdoor application light strips and I don't think they were terribly expensive either.  LEDs do seem to be very robust in regards to electrical punishment.  It is the manufacturing process, environment & mechanical punishment that is of concern.  Even my 5 meter LED strip had a bad circuit, I suspect from an LED placed backwards or from a bad solder joint.  For me it was easy to cut that circuit out and allocate the pieces into the project.

One thing I should mention.  The 5 meter light strip is actually many sections soldered together, guessing around 15" per section.  It wasn't a problem for my application.  I first tried to work with non-spliced sections but quickly decided to use them without that consideration.  The splice is done very well.  Though the spliced area does not lay perfectly flat for the adhesive, it is too small to be of concern.

Like you say, what happens if the light strip comes loose from under the awning?  Maybe we could come up with a redundant/robust attachment method as a back-up to the adhesive backing.  Our 2007 2350 has the older 14' box awning.  I wonder if I could mount a light strip to the underside of it instead of the RV wall, and screw on some kind of retainer every 12" or so for assurance, of coarse making sure the screw tips do not threaten the awning inside.
6  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 26, 2014, 09:48:07 am
Thanks fellows for the compliments.

Tom, For the porch light I used the push-n-turn sealed & frosted bulb pictured higher up in this thread, called Golden Gadgets.

Cost as follows.

- $12.05 on Ebay for a 5 meter length of LEDs in a reel.  Because I made the strips as long as possible and having the night lights too, I was one strip short.  I bought a second reel to have enough.  Only one reel is required if having 27 LEDs per strip, assuming 9 fixtures.

- $8.42 for 20 3-way switches, though I only needed 9

So theoretically one can convert 10 fixtures for $12, straight & simple florescent to LED.  That is a real bargain.  I tripled the investment to just over $30 to have a little extra light and to have the night-light feature.  I do have a lot of leftover material on-hand in case something fails later.

- $30 per pair of sealed & frosted LED bulbs.  I used 5 in our rig.... Shower, Closet, Outdoor Storage, Porch, & Sanicon.

One final project is my range hood light.  I could use some left-over strips up inside the hood cavity, but favor changing the socket and use that 6th spare sealed bulb.  I could mount that bulb directionally downward toward the stove to be more effective.
7  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 25, 2014, 11:01:57 pm
Thanks lghjr.

Okay, here are my pictures

The florescent light fixture gutted

The LED strips installed.  I selected the angled surfaces for they had a flat surface to bond to, and to direct the light outward

Note the 3-way switch in the center/off position.  Also note the tiny 3-LED circuit.  The main circuit has 66 LEDS, 33 per strip.
Note the other long surfaces had raised lettering which did not offer a flat surface to bond the strips to.
I sure hope the strong adhesive backing will permanently hold them in place.

Here the light is turned on.  The camera adjusted the exposure.  It shows how the light gets dispersed.

Here is a picture I had taken for comparison.  A florescent light is forward and a completed LED light farther back.
The blue tone florescent appears to be just as bright, but it really is a little less.

Here, all fixtures have the main 66 LED lights on.
The room is actually a lot brighter.  The camera adjusted the exposure.

Here, only the 3 LED night lights are on.
The camera adjusted the lighting.  It actually has a nice soft glow throughout

I am disappointed in that the camera could not capture "True" lighting.  Full-On appears much darker than actuality.  Night-Light shows it much brighter than actuality.  Sorry about that.

Here is the sealed LED porch light.  I made a reflector from some industrial aluminum foil, not for food handling, very very stiff.  I cut and shaped it to fit behind the bulb and around the sides of the fixture.  You can see how the light bulb has a larger illumination.  It seems to be a softer light, I think because the LED bulb is frosted and sealed.
8  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Do celebrate your PC's birthday? on: August 25, 2014, 03:17:48 pm
Birthday wishes to both!
9  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Hello to everyone! on: August 25, 2014, 03:16:21 pm
10  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 25, 2014, 12:10:48 pm
Okay, I now have accurate technical data to share.  I took an extra LED strip & a single circuit to work.  One of the electrical engineers here measured power consumption at various voltages, 12V battery voltage being the focus for boon docking considerations.

My strip is at max length that will fit inside my florescent fixtures.
- 33 LED strip (11 circuits with 3 LEDs per circuit)
- measured at 12 volts
- watts is 4.17 per strip (8.34 per fixture) compared to the original 16 watt florescent fixtures
- Measuring the separate single circuit of 3 LEDs was only 0.312 watts meaning the total would be 3.4 watts per strip (6.8 watt per fixture) .  So there is quite a lot of variation from LED circuit-to-circuit and fixture-to-fixture.

I wonder if the 8 Watt bulbs in the florescent fixtures consider the transformer circuitry.  Had I thought of it earlier, I would have brought in an unmodified florescent fixture for an accurate comparison.  Maybe florescent fixtures vary like the LED fixtures.

I am glad I installed the strips at maximum length for more light given our dark cherry cabinets.  If we had the light maple cabinets, I would consider shorter strips from 33 to 27 LEDs per strip, to reduce power by 18%

Another point to note is how the LEDs perform at various voltages.
dead at 7 volts
dim at 8 volts
normal at 9 volts
a little brighter with each additional volt up to 14 volts
11  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Introduce Yourself! on: August 25, 2014, 11:31:30 am
Congratulations Janey! I'm glad it finally worked out for you and you are happy with your new baby.
Congrats & Welcome from me too! 
12  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 25, 2014, 09:30:35 am
Ron, sounds like your project is successful, so far.  What are the finished lumens? for the "day" full on setting, and for the "evening" night light strip?  The strips I am looking at for my "evening" lighting project are approximately 6.5 lumens per LED, so I'm trying to plan how many and how to disperse them.  How about photos of your finished fixtures with lens covers off and on.
I had originally calculated the conversion to have the same lumens of 800 per fixture.  The fixtures ended up being brighter for what I think is two reasons.  My old florescent fixtures had seen some good use so the bulbs had developed dark ends meaning they had lost some light output.  Also, I was able to add a few more LEDs than originally planned.  The fixture allowed for longer strips so I took advantage of it and glad I did.

Yes, I will post pictures of the rig fully illuminated, illuminated with the night setting, and close-up pictures, one lit with lens on, and one turned off without a lens so you see how I installed the long strips and the night light strip.  I first need to clean up.  I've been messing around in there with lots of stuff out of place and some construction debris had come down when removing the fixtures.
13  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 25, 2014, 09:07:38 am
Neat project, Ron!  We have cherry cabinets as well and I might take a look at those LED's.  One difference in our rigs I think, is ours came with three way switches....bright, low and off.

  - Mike
When I learned of the 3-way lighting in the newer rigs, it got my head gears moving.  Our rig is a 2007.  I don't know when the factory switched to 3-way lighting.  That low-light feature is a very nice interior compliment.
14  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 24, 2014, 11:21:48 pm
I received everything so I spent all day Saturday converting all 9 florescent light fixtures to LED.  I bought 3-way switches of the same exact size as the original switches so they snap right in without modifying the fixture.  The center position is  off.  The forward position turns on the two main LED strips.  The Rearward position turns on a tiny 3 LED strip for a night/mood light.  We feel the LED conversion turned out fantastic.  The old florescent lights made the interior feel a bit cold with the dark cherry cabinets.  Now everything is brighter but not too bright, and has a warmer look & feel and should also be much more energy efficient.  The mood/night lights are a very nice addition.  They seem great to have on when watching a movie or just a relaxing evening.  Turning on a particular one makes the perfect night light for our corner bed floor plan.  I can see a night light will also be welcomed in our bathroom for those times at night when you have to go but don't want to be blinded by the main light.

I hope to get some pictures taken soon to share.

I don't want to recommend this LED conversion until I have tested them.  I work with very technical electrical engineers with all kinds of electronic equipment.  I am bringing one extra LED strip to work and have them measure power usage.  One thing that has me a bit concerned is that the LEDs run warm to the touch.   One of my other concerns is the adhesive backing that attaches the LED strips to the original fixtures.  The bond seems excellent, but time and temperature will tell if the bond is permanent.  I did wipe clean the fixture surfaces with rubbing alcohol to assure a clean surface to bond to.

I also installed the sealed LED lght bulbs in the shower, closet, and outdoor storage compartment.  They offer a bit less, but still plenty of light.  I think the porch light and Sanicon light are the same or a bit brighter than before given the original incandescent bulbs in those two fixtures were smaller than the other fixtures.

One other point to make about the porch light.  When the motor home was full-body painted, a lot of overspray got inside the fixture which does not reflect light.  I tried cleaning off the overspray with lacquer thinner but it had no effect.  I am thinking of installing a thin sheet of aluminum for reflectivity.
15  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: 85 Octane on: August 20, 2014, 05:08:47 pm
Maybe I've been wrong all these years.  I had always understood that the lower the octane, the faster the fuel burns, the more volatile the fuel is.  Lower octane gas is sold at high altitude to compensate for the thinner air.  Octane slows the burn to reduce pre-detonation we all know as knocking.  High performance engines have a pre-detonation condition due to higher compression, heat, and other factors which is why they require higher octane.  But like I said, maybe I am wrong.

It would be interesting to compare fuel economy versus octane.  We have always used the lowest octane due to cost per gallon, but wonder if spending more on premium would pay off with improved fuel efficiency.

Regarding power, we never had any issues such that I've wondered if we could have gotten by with the smaller Triton 5.4L-V8 engine.  Especially when not towing.
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