Tough Top Awnings Meets M4 Products!

TheRVgeeks LED Conversion 12 Comments

We create a video mash-up between two of our very favorite companies, showing that upgrading RV lights to LED is child’s play!

We’re all about doing things ourselves. There’s not much we hate more than paying someone else to do something we can do on our own. So discovering sources of retail products that can also be professionally installed is one of our favorite times to go DIY.

Identifying a trusted supplier of quality RV components is always a revelation, and we reciprocate by becoming loyal customers. Never has that been more true than the special relationship we’ve developed with Tough Top Awnings and M4 Products, which is why you’ve seen us feature their products so often and so enthusiastically.

The first time we bought a slide topper from Tough Top Awnings, we weren’t sure exactly how to install it. A phone call to Ray, Tough Top’s owner, quickly answered our questions. And the finished project was better than anything we could have hired a shop to do, since they use the same ratty OEM fabric that failed in the first place. Each subsequent fabric replacement has had the same superior result. We visited their shop in Vancouver, WA and quickly developed a mutual respect and friendship with Ray and his Operations Manager, Tyler.

The first time we bought LEDs from Steve at M4 Products, we were also impressed by both his responsive customer service (even before we bought anything), and the obvious quality of his bulbs. Like Tough Top, we’d given M4 a chance because we’d read universally positive reviews of the products, customer service and ethics of their business.

It means a lot to us that both companies are run by fellow RVers. We know that they “get it” when it comes to working on an RV, since they do it themselves. And of course we’re grateful that they’ve agreed to offer a discount to our viewers, allowing us to become a bridge to helping everyone: a worthy company receives well-deserved attention and sales, and our fellow RVers become aware of what we think are the best products of their kind on the market, while getting a discount to boot.

So when we had the opportunity to combine our two favorite RV-related companies into one video, we jumped at the chance. While visiting the Tough Top Awnings shop in Vancouver, WA, we got Steve and Tyler together on a Skype video call and introduced them.

Since Tyler and Rick (Ray’s son and Tough Top’s webmaster… and another fellow RVer), both needed some LEDs, and we’d already seen the sad condition of Steve’s slide toppers when we visited him in the Desert SW this past winter… well the script writes itself.

The two companies are swapping gear, with Tyler & Rick’s LED upgrades featured here, and Steve’s slide topper replacements scheduled for this winter. We’ll be picking up replacement fabric in Vancouver on our way South to go snowbirding this year, and we’ll install them on Steve’s motorhome… on camera of course!

Thanks to Steve, Ray, Tyler, Rick, Peyton and Jordyn for appearing here. And thanks also to Ray’s wife, Sandy and to Christie (Ray & Sandy’s daughter) for making us feel at home over the July 4th weekend. The food, especially Sandy’s desserts, were outta this world! We’ll plan to diet a little more before our next visit. wink

Be sure to use the coupon code RVGEEKS5 to save 5% on your entire order the next time you buy LEDs from M4Products.com.

And use discount code RVGEEKSROCK to save 5% on replacement awning or slide topper fabric at ToughTopAwnings.com.

And of course watch all our DIY videos to see how to install them!


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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, but our opinions are our own and we only feature products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence. The RVgeeks participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


Comments 12

  1. Pingback: Toad Headlight Hygiene: Does Toothpaste Actually Work? TheRVgeeks

  2. So much more information than I had anticipated!

    You are correct, we purchased our lights through another source before following TheRVgeeks and it’s quite possible the lights themselves are part of the problem. The 2 most troublesome lights are immediately adjacent to the television. When the other lights kill the reception, the reception will usually return in a second or two. The 2 lights next to the TV kill it completely and I’m sure the power source runs close to the 110v powering the TV and associated electronics.

    I will continue troubleshooting using the information you provided in hopes of tracking down a fix.

    Thank you, Steve!

  3. We performed an almost complete LED swap with only the fluorescents waiting for a later date. This RV is new to us and the LED swap was done immediately after purchase. We’ve noticed TV reception interference through the antenna when the LED lights are used. We don’t know if the original lights caused any problems but we’ve heard that LED lighting can cause interferencence. Have you heard that before?

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      Author

      Hi Kyle. First, congrats on your new-to-you RV! And your LED upgrade. We’ve never had any interference, but since we don’t watch over-the-air TV (only streaming through an internet connection), your situation might be different. We’re going to shoot a note over to Steve at M4 and ask that he stop by here to read your comment. He is the true expert on this, so he’s the right guy to answer your question.

    2. Hi Kyle,

      Interference can happen on occasion. One thing I have found is that every RV is different. Fixtures are different, wiring is different, equipment is different, and how everything is used together is different. Due to all of this, if noise is encountered, it can sometimes be hard to track down and resolve. I will generically use the term “noise” that both includes screen disruptions, complete signal loss, and other related issues.

      I looked in our system at M4 and don’t see any orders for you, so I am under the assumption you purchased from a competitor, or under a different name, but am including some general information below that should to others.

      Overall, reports of noise are low with our products, but I can’t say they don’t happen. We do continually try to improve our products and improvements are incorporated into new builds.

      Noise can be line noise or over the air noise. Line noise more typically affects all input devices, but not always. Air noise often is only with certain frequency stations, low signal powers, or with powered digital antennas, full loss.

      Contributing reason can include: LED proximity to equipment, shared power wires, power wires that are very close to equipment wires, poorly shielded coax, bad ground, and sometime non of the above, just an incompatibility. Changing some of the above can resolve issues.

      I have heard of people using “snap chokes” to help reduce line noise. This is an item that is snapped over the power and/or ground wire like you often see on computer monitor wires.

      Sometimes one LED model will interact differently with an RV system, so changing to a different model, which has a slightly different regulator circuit, will resolve and issue.

      Try to isolate your issue by turning off or swapping out lights in the RV in different areas. If it is only a certain light or area, you may be able to change a few and solve the issue.

      I hope this helps provide some insight. We wish every RV was functionally the same and there was a single answer and solution.

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  4. I enjoy watching your very informative videos. You guys do a great job!

    I just ordered and received my first M4 LED bulb which was to replace my outside porch incandescent light. I noticed you replaced the one in both your motorhome and the one in this video with a COB LED light. I was wondering why you didn’t use the 12 LED replacement bulb rather than the COB? Is it because the COB replacement deliver more focused light rather than having to rely on the reflector in the fixture to reflect the rear LED’s in the bulb forward?

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      Author

      Thanks so much, Jeff. Yes indeed… the fixture’s housing is somewhat dull metal and doesn’t do a great job of reflecting light forward. So the LEDs facing toward the back wouldn’t get much of that light projecting outward. The COB lights sends it ALL outward, where it’s needed. And they’ve very bright! Steve recommended these to us as the best choice for this particular application, and we’ve been real happy with it.

  5. As always, great information. You have made me confident that I can RV. Now if the market would only turn around.

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      Author
  6. My wife and I heartily endorse M4 Products. We are awaiting arrival of our second order of LED lights after loving the ease of installation of the first order for our 2008 Newmar Ventana. And the resulting lighting upgrades were remarkable. M4’s processing time is awesome: orders filled the same day and sent priority mail. We had great advice by email and ended with a perfect fit in all replacements. (Hint: Send photos of your old bulbs if you don’t trust your ability to order from M4’s illustrated online catalog. ?) Plus the 5% discount comes in handy when you have as many bulbs to replace as we do. Thanks to M4 and the RV Geeks for that benefit. ?

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      Author

      It’s always great to hear that other RVers are having the same great experiences with these excellent companies & products that we are. Thanks for sharing, David!

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