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  #1  
Old 03-14-2011
iamflagman's Avatar
iamflagman iamflagman is offline
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Default 18 inch LED flourescent light replacement

Most of the older 'Birds like mine have quite a few fluorescent lights with 18 inch bulbs, when the fluorescent light bulbs above my galley were turned on that would cause a hissing sound to come through my external speakers for my TV and the bulbs needed replacing at least once a year, I didn't want to mess with replacing the ballast and that didn't guarantee to fix the problem, so I started to look for an LED replacement I found a LED replacement marketed through www.starlightsinc.com and sold on Ebay at http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170567188673&viewitem= &sspagename=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT while it is expensive at $35.95 from the Ebay seller, it should last as long as I have my 'Bird.


It did require drilling two 1/2” holes next to each other and linking them together in the back of the reflector to allow the wire coupler and the wires to be inserted through and clear the reflector when installing the bulb, as the LED bulb has very little clearance between it and the fixtures reflector. The LED light uses the original fluorescent light fixture ends to hold it in place, but it is wired directly to the ON/Off switch. This was a very easy install and the lighting results are extremely good and draw a significantly low amount of power which is great when dry camping and there is no longer the hissing sound coming through the speakers.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2011
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markbragdon markbragdon is offline
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Default LED upgrade

OK, thanks to John Finn's tutorial, I am now able to upload photos. (I think!)
The attached photos describe the process I used to swap the flourescent tubes to SMD led strips. This process included:
1. removing the housing from the coach
2. severing the 12v wires from the coach feed
3. removing the metal deflector (after removing the tube!)
4. drilling the pop rivets (with an 1/8" drill) that hold the ballast/ tube holder assembly to the housing
5. removing the guts that leaves a clean aluminum extrusion assembly ready for the installation of the LED strip
6. trimming the 30 SMD LED strip to 27 LEDs (this allows the 19.5" LED strip to fit into housing- the LED strip is able to be cut into multiples of 3 LED sections).
7. attaching the strip to the back of the housing using Scotch heavy-duty (red) double-faced mounting tape. I also used a short piece the mounting tape on the side of the housing to hold the power wires to the side of the housing for protection against chafing.
8. installing the power connector and threading the wire through an existing hole in the housing to connect to the coach 12v wires.
9. re-installing the housing and diffuser.
The process take less than 30 minutes per fixture after the first one! Helps to do several at a time to get the assemly line running!
Cost is $10.40 per tube for LED parts.
The part # is RLBN-CW30SMD from superbrightleds.com. The power connector for the strip needs to be ordered separately. The strips are also able to be daisy-chained together using a separately ordered jumper connector. The RLBN-CW30SMD led strip is $9.95 ea and the connectors (both types) are $0.45 ea.
I used superbrightleds.com because they have a large selection. I am sure there are others equally as good. I also replaced my gauge lights with leds from this source.
John Finn mention that his deflector had a flat channel in the middle of it which would make a good mounting surface. Mine was an L-shaped deflector which was why I elected to remove everything and mount to the back of the housing.
The light I used was the natural white as oppsed to the cool white. It is a bluer white that doesn't seem to cast a yellow light as compared to the natural white. There is a blue cast to the light when seen through the diffuser.
The current draw with leds is less than 10% of the draw of the tubes. A big help when you are dry camping.
So far I have replaced 17 tubes with the leds. The only ones left are the 6' tubes in the bedroom. Next project!
Attached Thumbnails
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Name:	1 Flourescent light over door.jpg
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Name:	6 fixture and SMD strip-27 leds RLBN-CW30SMD.jpg
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Name:	7 3M heavy-duty double-faced mounting tape.jpg
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Name:	8 LED strip and power connector installed.jpg
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2011
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGloverii View Post
Mark,

Very nice upgrade. I bought a roll of SMD LED stip late last summer, but I was disapointed with the color. They were too blue for my liking. I bought the waterproof strip.

So do you think the LED's are as bright as the flourescent?

I'll be posting my latest LED modification in the next few days. I am in the middle of replacing the 110v flourescent tubes above the airplane cabinets with LED fixtures. The fixtures I am using are even brighter than the 12v LED strips, but need 110v.

Here is the direct comparison in his pictures;

ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT FLUORESCENT LIGHT



REPLACEMENT LED'S



You can ask anybody that has seen them here at 'Birds At The Beach and I would venture to say that most will think they are equal to or in my opinion a better and fuller light array (compare the diffused amount of light shown) than the originals.
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1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
REMEMBER 9/11
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2011
Stephen Stephen is offline
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Default

we have ordered a number of led strips
18 inches long 12volt dc with leads
3M adhesive backed waterproof
price to be posted
we will have them in approximately 2 weeks
get ready for the spring upgrade time
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2011
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Default Thinlite ballast replacement?

We have one of the overhead 12 V fluorescent Thinlites quit working. I checked the bulbs (which were pretty new) and they work fine so I am assuming it is the ballast.

Can you replace the ballast in those lights or do you just have to go for a new light? If you can replace the ballast, anyone have a source for them handy?

Thanks
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2011
Stephen Stephen is offline
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Default

http://www.thinlite.com/
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Email stephen@dupreeproducts.com
www.dupreeproducts.com
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2011
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian View Post
I have had allot of trouble keeping the florescent working.

I bought 40 warm white 1 watt LED's off ebay $2 each, cree brand is best. Soldering 4 in series for each fixture, each. Four in series at 3.6 volts is 14.4 volts. As long as the circuit never exceeds this you will not need a regulator. I finished the fourth one today and they are brighter than the florescent lamps that they came with. The LED base is epoxied to the fixture as a permanent heat sink.
I checked the voltage on the first set charger on full and with engine running and the voltage never exceeded 13.5 volts.

They will run 24/7 for 11 years, 30 years at 8 hours a day. 100,000hrs.

When I find the charger for the camera I will post some pictures in a new post.

I've just given up on the 12 volt florescents.
i'm with ya christian !
i have been thinking about doing something like that and now that you did all the heavy lifting i may get started are you happy with brightness of light fixtures now?
mike
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  #8  
Old 04-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian View Post
Very Happy.

One watt each is overkill x 4 that is four watts per fixture. That way they put out more light than the old fixtures did. Be certain to get the warm white, the color rendition is much better.

Four watts of LED light is what all of the indirect under aircraft cabinet lights up front are getting.

The kitchen/bedroom/entry lights will get another string or two of LED's making them as much as 12 watts. Approaching the 1.5 amps of the old fixtures.
sounds good thanks
mike
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  #9  
Old 04-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Davis View Post
We have one of the overhead 12 V fluorescent Thinlites quit working. I checked the bulbs (which were pretty new) and they work fine so I am assuming it is the ballast.

Can you replace the ballast in those lights or do you just have to go for a new light? If you can replace the ballast, anyone have a source for them handy?

Thanks

I just copied some previous posts about replacing these lights with LED's over to this thread and since they were from an older thread you will have to look back in this thread for them, they are now posts #1, #2, #3, #4 you can just click on those numbers to view each copied post.

They came fromWanderlodge Owners Group> Mechanic's Corner> Electrical> LED Lights and Upgrades (Combined Threads)
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JOHN FINN
FORUM MODERATOR-ADMINISTRATOR
1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
REMEMBER 9/11
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2011
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Lee Davis Lee Davis is offline
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Default Thinlite Parts

I decided to replace the ballast on my Model 716-694 Thinlite (Ballast part # is IB 716). The guy at Thinlite said to call Mike Drake one of their dealers in CA who has the cheapest prices on their parts in his opinion. He is sending me a ballast for $19 plus $6 shipping. Seemed OK to me.

In regard to LED replacements I went that route a few years ago. Thinking I'd gt a lot more light in two spots, I replaced two Thinlite fixtures bulbs (I have 14 of those fixtures) with LED strips (the one under the cabinets over the kitchen table and the one over the sink) and had nothing but trouble. There wasn't much more light and several lights on each strip quit working after a short time (not 30 years, more like 2 months). It took forever to get replacements, and then they sent me the wrong ones. It was a major hassle. I gave up and went back to the fluorescents and since I have so many I have plenty of light anyway. And fluorescent bulb replacement has not been a problem, they last pretty long. And as I recall it was a fairly expensive experiment on just 2 out of 14.

The LEDs are probably much better now, but a couple of years they still were not so hot in my opinion.

I'm going to wait awhile before going that route again.
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