Converting RV Lights to LEDs – Part 9: Basement & Utility Lights

TheRVgeeks LED Conversion 14 Comments

Even though we’ve been in the process of upgrading our incandescent, fluorescent and halogen RV lights to cool, energy efficient LEDs, it’s been just that… a process. It’s not that it’s all that difficult. We just keep realizing that we still have more lights to convert!

During a visit with our friends from Tough Top Awnings earlier this year, they were installing some of the same great M4 LEDs that we use into one of their RVs. As soon as we saw the fixtures and round-base bulbs, we were like “Hey! Those are the same fixtures we have in our basement compartments!” And of course we realized that we’d neglected to upgrade them.

Even though Warm White or Natural White are our bulb colors of choice in the living area, Cool White is our choice for work areas. The light is much brighter than the old incandescent bulbs, and of course uses a fraction of the power. While we were down below, we also upgraded the lights in both our engine and generator compartments.

Lastly, we spotted a sleek LED fixture on the M4 website, and knew it was just the ticket for pumping up the poor light levels in our bedroom closet. Of course we’d already replaced the original bulb in the closet light fixture with a much brighter LED, but this was one of those cases where a second, larger & brighter fixture made a much-needed world of difference.

The short video above covers these latest LED updates.


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Comments 14

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  2. That upgrade makes your coach look like a brand new King Aire!

    Bonus: now you can stop thinking about upgrading to something newer.

    At least till the sun comes up ;)

    1. Post
      Author

      Hmmm. Well, John. Are you implying that our coach looks old in the harsh light of day? :-P

      We’ve done so many custom upgrades that we don’t think much about a new rig. Good thing. We’ve seen the price of those fancy King Aires! :)

      1. No, not suggesting that your coach looks old. Let’s call it, uh, experienced. :)

        It’s really your two-piece front window that indicates age – and this video does not show that. Thusly, in this blog, your rig now looks like a new King Aire!

        I have not looked at the 2017 prices; but whatever the cost Newmar will still be good on the what-you-get/dollar ratio.

  3. I changed all the bulbs in my Rialta that I sold now I would like to change all the bulbs in my Monaco Cayman. Can you advice me on a basic order? Then I can change all of them.
    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Barney! M4’s “natural white” is very popular. It’s a very clean, bright, light without any blue cast. Very good illumination, like daylight color, so very good for work areas like over the kitchen counter, the bathroom, overhead lights, etc. We also have some of their “warm white” lights in places where we’d typically want softer light for entertaining, like in our wall sconces. Even though M4’s “cool white” isn’t nearly as far toward the blue end of the spectrum as other brands we’ve seen, but we generally only use that color in places like outdoor lighting and in the basement, where very bright utility light is needed.

      We recommend starting out with a small selection of lights that would fit in more than one place. For example, if you have wedge-base bulbs in more than one area of the RV, try buying a few in warm white and a few in natural white. The you can try them out in both places and see what works best where. We found that some areas of the RV worked great in either color (like over our dining room table), and some we definitely wanted one way or the other (bathroom vanity = natural and wall sconces = warm). After we tried out a small assortment that way in various locations, we ordered the remainder based on first-hand experience. We found that we were able to use everything we ordered in one spot or another with nothing going to waste.

  4. I would like to replace our incandescent basement storage lights with LED’s but a larger problem for us is that the compartment lights have to be turned on inside our Tiffin coach each time before they can be used. After a few minutes they have a timer that turns them all off again to keep one or more from running down the batteries I guess. For me this make all of them almost useless. I’ve resorted to flashlights instead of depending on using them. Do you have any suggestions on how I could bypass the timer?

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s interesting, Roger. Sounds like a great idea (in concept, anyway) and we didn’t know that Tiffin had that in place on their coaches. Your RV is so new, we are guessing that you have the multiplex system (lighted, push-button panels that control lights, etc) and not standard RV switches. If so, we’d assume there’s a way to re-program the system. Even if you can’t bypass the timer, maybe you could at least extend the amount of time it stays on.

      We’d recommend asking about that in one of the online Tiffin forums… either on iRV2.com) or the Tiffin RV Network. Someone there may have been able to find a way to bypass the timer or re-program it. If that doesn’t work, you should probably give Tiffin a call to find out if it’s something that’s even possible to do (we bet you won’t be the first person to ask, LOL!)

      Sorry we can’t be of more help.

  5. Thanks for this article as I have been considering changing the bulbs in my bays to LED lights,
    One question I have is do the cool lights have a slight blue tint to them?
    Thanks again for the article.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Don. “Cool white” is indeed on the bluer end of the color spectrum, and we don’t like them at all for indoor use, except in work areas, like the basement, where we think they perfect. M4’s cool white bulbs are not nearly as “blue” as other brands we’ve seen (that make everything look like Frankenstein’s lab LOL). Inside the RV, we prefer a mix of M4’s “natural white” for good bright clear light with no blue cast at all, and some “warm white” for softer mood lighting in places like our wall sconces. We went with cool white in the basement and are really happy with them, but would be fine with natural white down there, too. One thing we love about M4 is that their color rating is so consistent. You know warm white will be like incandescent and natural white will be like daylight.

  6. Do you have the small soffit lights above your sink area in the kitchen? What led replacement did you use for those fixtures?

    Thanks
    Barry

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Barry! We have a fluorescent fixture directly above our sink that we converted to natural white LED tubes: http://www.m4products.com/t5-tube-nw-natural-white-12-t-5-led-tube-light-4500k-t5/ We love natural white for interior work areas, like the kitchen. It’s nice and bright with no blue cast at all. 12″ fluorescent tubes require a bit more work to replace than most other lights. If you also have those, here’s the video with step by step instructions: http://www.thervgeeks.com/electrical/convert-12-fluorescent-tubes-to-led/

      We also have three small halogen fixtures in the ceiling above the kitchen counter, which we replaced with natural white pin-base LEDs: http://www.m4products.com/g4-6-5630-side-nw-natural-white-elite-series-smallest-g4-t3-samsung-5630-leds-side-pins/

    1. Post
      Author

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