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46  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
47  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! 
48  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.
49  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.
50  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.
51  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.
52  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.
53  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.
54  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.
55  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Touch-up Paint on: August 19, 2014, 04:16:16 pm
I would call the factory.
56  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: HEAT along the passenger wing wall on: August 19, 2014, 04:15:50 pm
Like many, our 2007 E350 has the passenger side hot floor issue.  I had purchased a kit that wraps the passenger side exhaust manifold but chickened out because I was concerned over the manifold itself.  The kit cost a bit over $100 and didn't look like much for the money spent.  The insulating material would have been held in place using some thin metal wire ties.

I completely lost interest since we have been traveling in places where the temps don't get too high.  You can bet I'll be thinking again during our next hot vacation.
57  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Protecting exposed plumbing inside cabinet on: August 18, 2014, 04:05:52 pm

If you later get more ambitious, you could box in the filler tube to create a shelf above.  Add a tall lip to prevent things from sliding off during braking.

Every PC has little hidden areas that could be utilized for additional storage.
58  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: 2350 Outside Storage on: August 18, 2014, 03:54:19 pm
I know Ron does not even have a ladder on his rig.
I requested the ladder and rack to be included, but disassembled and placed inside our rig, not installed on the rig.  I wasn't sure if I would regret deleting the rack & ladder, so I wanted them on-hand just in-case I later change my mind.  7 years so far, and no real need for them.  The first year we had an incident where I parked our rig in a standard car parking spot and some low hanging tree branches got tangled around the a/c unit.  I was able get out of trouble, but I surely would have used the ladder if it was there.  That was the only time I questioned my decision, quickly learning to be more careful about that hazard.

I seen a number of ladders on other motor homes which never age well.  Dirty & poorly formed caulk blobs around each mounting point was another issue to me.  I also didn't want so many screw holes in the rear wall and roof, dependent on the caulk to seal.

Our rig shown without roof rack & ladder, has a cleaner look to it.

With the ladder, our rig would still fit in our garage, but surely would be in the way of getting around it without opening the garage door.  That was another factor in my decision.
I would give up that space if I could magically change our rig from a 2350 to a 2450.
59  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Converting Fluorescent To LED Just By Changing Bulbs on: August 18, 2014, 03:41:20 pm
While waiting for my 3-way switches to arrive, I researched replacing my incandescent porch and closet fixture style light bulbs.  I have 2 outdoor, 3 indoor, and one in the stove hood.  I purchased 6 of the following off Amazon.

Details can be reviewed by Google-searching:
3x 1156 1141 1003 BA15S RV LED Light Bulb, Cone Shaped, 2 Watts, 240 Lumen, 10-30V DC, Warm White 3000K, 2-Pack  

Supposedly sealed like a regular light bulb, good for the porch, Sanicon, & shower lights that can get wet.  None of the fixtures are weather tight.

1/10th the power but has same color tone and lumens, though not in the direction of the socket

I selected the same color tone as the original bulbs, the color to the left.
It should match the other LED lighting I am converting over to.
60  Main Forum / Photos / Re: 2015 2100 special, home in Florida on: August 16, 2014, 07:26:01 am

I see you built a platform for the crates, offering some large flat storage areas.  Nice practical touch there.  That has me wondering if you could have had the factory build a low profile cabinet-faced platform to match your couch-bed on the other side.  This way if you ever wanted to travel without the cages, you could toss a cushion/matress there for a second couch-bed.  Is there a reason why it would be a bad idea to have such a platform made taller to create additional storage?

Just the gears turning inside my head.
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