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31  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.
32  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.
33  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.
34  Main Forum / Around the Campfire / Re: Do celebrate your PC's birthday? on: August 25, 2014, 03:17:48 pm
Birthday wishes to both!
35  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Hello to everyone! on: August 25, 2014, 03:16:21 pm
Welcome!
36  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
37  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! 
38  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.
39  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.
40  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.
41  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.
42  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Electrical Nightmare on: August 20, 2014, 03:00:47 pm
Armchair mechanics can never be taken seriously, but since you asked.....

Start with the obvious, simple, easy to inspect things, then go deeper if nothing is found.

After a quick general inspection of the easy stuff, I would electrically disconnect the house from the chassis.  Doing that might be as simple as turning off every circuit breaker and pulling out every fuse in the RV fuse panel in back.  I would also disconnect the two house batteries and insulate each battery cable so neither touches battery terminals, each other, or any other metal.  You might have to disconnect all the way forward at the battery isolator located under the hood up front.  If the chassis works fine again, then I would say the wiring is related to the house.  If the chassis is still messed up, then it is likely a Ford problem, assuming Phoenix did not damage anything chassis related.

Another circuit to isolate is the rear hitch connector & cabling.  Make sure nothing is plugged in there and that cable is not damaged in any way.  Phoenix would have installed it and it might have gotten damaged during the construction of the rig.  I understand the rear hitch cable is a separate part that can be unplugged from the chassis, somewhere in the area of the rear axle.

It does sound like you are getting back-voltage into the chassis in strange ways.  It could be a short somewhere, a power distribution panel connection come loose & touching other wires, or something simply wired incorrectly.  A simple wood screw could be piercing through a wad of wires.  That could create wild electrical behavior.

The idea here is to isolate the house from the chassis, and then reintroduce one circuit at a time to determine which circuit is making the chassis go bonkers.  If you can narrow the trouble circuit down to one, then you know where to look for a problem.  If it's a number of circuits, then you need to inspect for damage where they travel as a group, or a common feed to them.  
A professional repairman will likely follow something similar to what I have outlined.

Mind you I am not an expert here.  Just sharing how I would go about trouble shooting it.

Something inside me wants to say that it just might be related to the rear hitch wiring or the PC modified wiring behind the kick panel just to the left of the driver's left foot.  Phoenix reworks some chassis wiring there for the running board lights.  They install an in-line fuse there.  Pull that hidden fuse and see if all is well.
43  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Fire extinguishers, suggestions please on: August 20, 2014, 11:18:46 am
We have one right where PC-USA mounted it against the kitchen cabinet by the main entry door.  It seems ideal for both inside and outside coverage, and has never been in our way.  I never considered additional extinguishers, but if I did get a second one, I think I would mount it in the outdoor rear storage compartment, a place to get to if the inside is too filled with smoke.  It is also located opposite the engine area.
44  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: REFINSIH THOSE YELLOW LATCHES AND TRIM on: August 20, 2014, 11:06:48 am
Like you say Sparky, unpainted rigs have a collection of raw plastic parts & trim that yellows from sun exposure.

I had wondered if our rig was unpainted with yellowed components, I might consider having the entire rig painted, even if only plain white.  But that provides opportunity for something more extravagant.  Taking the rig to just anywhere can cost a fortune, but the factory might be able to bring the cost down to consideration.
45  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Touch-up Paint on: August 19, 2014, 04:16:16 pm
I would call the factory.
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