Introduction: LED Caravan Lighting
One of the biggest drains on your caravans power are the lights. Each of those twin fluorescent fittings draws 8 watts from the battery, that's 16 watts each light, that does not sound a lot until you start counting up the lights in your unit.
How about being able to have all of the lights on and still not draw as much power as one of those fittings? Ahh enter the humble LED..
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Step 1: Tools
First you will need some tools;
A soldering iron, flux and solder
A thin bladed screwdriver
A 'Philips' or cross headed screwdriver
A cordless screwdriver and 4mm drill bit
A quantity of 4mm clear plastic ties - DO NOT use black as these will show up when the light is on! (To work out how many ties you need, if the lights are twin tube, you need six for each one)
A pair of sharp snips to trim the tails off
Extra gas for your soldering iron, just in case!
Step 2: Removal
Right so now we're ready to start. Unscrew the two Cross headed screws securing your light and gently pull the wires through until you expose the connectors. Make a note of which one the red (positive) wire goes to and unplug them both.
Step 3: Rear View
This is what the back of your light will look like. Remove the sticker covering the circuit board and gently prise out the tubes ONE at a time, ensuring that you hold the metal parts and not the glass, if these shatter the resulting shards are very nasty!
DO NOT be tempted to just solder your LEDs on here, as there is a transformer on that board that WILL fry them - as a friend recently found out.. :o/
Step 4: Desoldering
BEFORE trying to remove the circuit board, you must de-solder the two connections at point 1 on the picture. This is where your thin bladed screwdriver comes in handy, as you de-solder the connections gently prise the circuit board up at the edge using your screwdriver. The switch is locked into the light and forcing it will break it, so take your time.
When the board is free, de-solder the next two connections at point 2 on the picture, freeing the wires, don't throw these wires out, they're going back in!
Step 5: Goodbye Tubes!
Be careful in disposing of the tubes as they can shatter very easily. Also throw out the circuit board, that hungry little transformer is no longer welcome!
Finally solder your red wire to one side of the switch (circled). The white one we will use in a while.
Step 6: Adding the LEDs
Shop around! I obtained these LEDs from HongKong for 99p and �1.99 postage per strip. Go for the 'blue white' if you want bright lighting, if it is just 'mood lighting', the 'yellow white' may be better. Dont be afraid to experiment. And VERY IMPORTANTLY, use the LEDs that stand up from the base (see picture two) Make sure that you check which wire is your live, they are not always clearly marked!
Drill six holes at equal distances on the outer edges of the light base, at either end one LED in and another roughly in the middle. Carefully tie these in place ensuring that your LEDs point out at right angles to the holder -see picture! Trim off the tails and turn the fitting over.
Step 7: Wiring the Light
Now we are almost done.
Solder both negatives together and both positives together.
The positive wires we now solder to the other side of the switch and remember the white wire? We now solder the white wire to the negative wires.
Step 8: Let There Be Light!
Carefully re-connect the two wires, remembering to put the positive back to the right one!
Tuck the wires back up into the roof and replace the Philips screws.
Turn on and pat yourself on the back, you are now a 'Green vanner'!
Now, back to my wind generator experiments... Any questions, give me a yell!