EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV  (Read 31203 times)

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« on: January 02, 2014, 10:06:27 PM »
This write-up describes how I mounted an LED light strip to the side of my motorhome.

On the awning side of our motorhome, there are only two factory-lights - a white LED porch light and an illuminated door handle - hardly enough light for seeing anything more than the entry area. To make matters worse, light from both of those sources is completely blocked when the passenger side slide-out is extended. I like to relax outside when camping but it seemed rather silly to always have to have a flashlight with me when I was bar-b-cueing, watching TV or just visiting.

With that, I began looking into a variety of 12 volt lighting options to reliably illuminate the awning side of our coach. LED light strips have become very popular with RVrs. Many systems are waterproof/water-resistant and, with some basic precautions, can be installed outside. They're relatively inexpensive, most operate with 12 volts, they come in a variety of colors, including single and multiple color variations - making them very versatile - and they can add different ambiances to the outside area. After considerable research, I bought a waterproof, flexible 3528 light strip that's five meters long with 300 multi-colored LEDs and it came with it's own controller and remote. I swapped the controller and remote for a WiFi controller - more on that later. LED light strips can be purchased from our sponsor, RVLEDBulbs.com.

My awning is about 14 feet long so I had to trim a little off one end of the light strip so it would fit under the awning. I struggled with how best to mount the light strip to the MH, because I'm picky about its appearance and I really didn't want it to fall off while driving down the road. The light strip comes with 3M sticky-tape on one side that will adhere to the side of the motorhome but it's been my experience that those sticky things lose their sticky over time. So I went to Home Depot and bought two 8-foot lengths of a metal strap for about $6.00 (Picture 1). I'm not sure what these straps are normally used for but they're just the right size for attaching the light strips to them. I riveted two of the metal straps together for a total length of 13 feet and then, in addition to the 3M tape, I used silicon glue to attach the light strips to them. I also used the silicon glue to run a bead down the full length of each edge of the light strip. You'll notice in Picture 1 that there are words cut into the metal strap. That's where the light strip attaches. Since the back (sticky-side) of the light strip would be exposed through these word cut-outs, I also ran a bead of the silicon glue down the back-side of the metal strap - completely sealing all corners and edges of the light strip. The manufacturer of these light strips claim that they're "waterproof", and they look pretty well protected, but I wanted to hedge my bets as much as possible.

I didn't want to attach the metal strap directly to the side of the motorhome for a variety of reasons - one of them was, I wanted to direct the light from the LEDs downward somewhat, because the light strip was to be mounted high on the wall, directly under the awning cover. I did this so the awning cover would protect the light strip from the elements as much as possible, but unless light from the light strip was directed downward, the back of the awning cover would block a lot of the light strip's illumination. I also wanted to be able to use the light strip whether the awning was retracted or extended and mounting it under the awning would allow that (My awning is attached to the slide so light from the light strip is not blocked when the slide is extended).

I found some sturdy nylon blocks for less than $3.00 at Home Depot. These blocks already had an angled side to mount the metal strap/light strip to, which would direct the light downward. I mounted these blocks to the ends of the metal strap, and then to four more places down the length of the strap (Picture 2). The nylon blocks were then screwed to the side of the motorhome, into expanding locking nuts, and the holes were sealed. (Drilling into my baby was the scariest part of the entire project). I had a tight area to work in, between the bottom of the awning cover and the top of the microwave vent, but it all just barely fit (Picture 3). In addition to the light strip being firmly attached to the metal strap, I can remove the metal strap and light strip assembly from the MH without having to remove anything from the MH wall.

I covered the wires that extend from the end of the light strip with shrink-wrap, and ran them through a hole that I drilled in the side of the MH, to an unused section in the passenger-side overhead cabinets. That's also where I tapped into 12 volts for some existing interior reading lights. The hole was sealed and is not visible from inside or outside the MH, because it's behind the light strip. Inside the cabinet, I installed a 12 volt WiFi LED controller that is controllable with any smartphone (Picture 4). This controller cost $27.00, has a range of about 150 feet and works great with my iPhone 4S. The light strip and controller draw about 3 amps at max brightness - considerably less when dimmed.

I've attached some pictures of a few of the different colors that the light strip will display. The brightness can be varied to any level and the light strip can display almost any color with a swipe of your finger on the smartphone app. This system is very versatile - controllable from most WiFi equipped devices. I primarily use it for the bright white light it emits, but other colors add a neat touch to the outside area. There are other functions as well, but some are, well... a bit silly in my opinion. If you're into pulsing lights synced to music - it'll do that too. I know this was pretty long-winded but I wanted to explain this fully in case someone else was considering a project like this. Hope it helps.

Kev
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 03:13:22 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

SargeW

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 6407
  • Life is better on the road!
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 12:21:35 AM »
Cool mod and nice write up Kev! This is one that I want to do on my rig eventually. I really like the LED lights, and the color option is pretty cool too.  Excellent job!
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

Rene T

  • ---
  • Posts: 10183
  • Great being on the right side of the grass
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 09:11:02 AM »
Nice job Kev but it seems like a lot of  unnecessary work. I purchased a set last spring and mounted it directly on the bottom of the channel that the awning slides into. The problem with that is that the channel is round so the 3m sticky stuff didn't have much to grab to and the following day, I found the entire strip on the ground. By then it wasn't as sticky as before so I had to purchased another set. I mounted this right on the side of the RV about 1 1/2" below the channel. I used a short 1 1/2" block of wood to mark a line the entire length to give me a line as a guide. It's been there since last June and looks fine. It also survived a trip to Florida. Just make sure that the surface is really clean before applying.  Being down about 1 1/2", it provides plenty of light whether the owning in rolled up or extended. Great for grilling. I was able to run the wires through the side of the RV at the end of the awning channel and this just so happens to be inside a closet where my washer is and also it had 12 volt supply for my bedroom TV. I extended the wires for the electric eye and ran them down the channel for the awning. It extends below  the awning channel about 1/4" which is just right for the controller to send the signal.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 09:15:35 AM by Rene T »
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 12:20:16 PM »
Thanks Marty, it's something I've been wanting to do for a while too.

And you're right Rene - it was a lot of work. It's a good point you made about keeping the light strip level. It would look fairly cheesy otherwise. The metal strap was a good guide for doing that. It was also already powder-coated black, so it's fairly weatherproof and matches the color of the wall that it mounts to. The metal strap itself, however, never actually touches the side of the motorhome - only the nylon blocks do - and they're painted to match the color of the MH.

I should be clear that I DID use the sticky 3M side of the light strip to attach it to the metal strap, but I also used silicon glue to strengthen the attachment and to seal the light strip. I just don't trust the sticky stuff. I also wanted the system to be somewhat modular so I could remove/replace the light strip without unscrewing anything from the MH wall. It's good to hear that yours held up during your trip - that's encouraging. Mine was still firmly in place after a 100 mile trip last weekend so it seems to be attached well, and the LEDs worked great after being sprayed directly with soap and water when the MH was washed - THAT was my biggest concern. Time will tell if it holds up over time.

Thanks again - attach some pics if you've got them. Would love to see other setups.

Kev
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 03:09:11 PM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

cpaulsen

  • ---
  • Posts: 171
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 05:48:23 AM »
I mounted our led strip about 2" under the awning when it is rolled up. I bought 3-6' sections of clear plastic light strip mounting channels @ HD. They came with sticky tape on them but I bought some weatherproof 3M tape and used it on the back of the channels.  Made sure the 5ver was cleaned where the channels attach. Ran the light strip into the channel and then used some one sided 3M tape approx. every 12"  to hold the strip into the channel. I had bought the 120 volt lights. Ran the power cord down the side of my electric awning rail and used clear sticky clips to hold the cord. Mounted an outside electrical box under my storage compartment with a hole to allow the power cord in. Installed another electrical outlet inside the compartment and a timer for the lights. They have been on there in some severe rain and snow and temps down to single digits. Have had no problems so far.
2008 Ford F250/CC/SB/V-10/Montana 3670RL

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 12:58:04 PM »
Yeah, thoroughly cleaning whatever it is that you're sticking these things to is really important if you want them to stay put. I noticed that Winnebago is putting LED light strips on some of their new RVs at the factory now, and they're putting them on the awning roller so the light shines toward the MH when the awning is extended. I also saw another MH at our campground this weekend that had the same setup - the lights on the awning roller. It looked nice, and it seems very useful, but you'd have to have your awning out to use them. That's not okay for us.

I'd love to see some pics of other installations. Gives me ideas.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Rene T

  • ---
  • Posts: 10183
  • Great being on the right side of the grass
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 01:28:31 PM »
I original thought of putting them on the roll but then I would have to contend with the wiring issue. Putting them on the RV sidewall was better for me and the wires arte hardwired to the power source.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

cpaulsen

  • ---
  • Posts: 171
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2014, 07:06:33 AM »
That is why I put them on the side of the 5ver....lights on whether the awning is out or in.
2008 Ford F250/CC/SB/V-10/Montana 3670RL

mrschwarz

  • ---
  • Posts: 799
    • C U on the Road
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 08:00:51 AM »
Nice installation. I would love to see photos of the other installations, too. On my previous coach, I installed a couple of them inside, along the tops of the sliders to provide soft, indirect lighting. I need to do something outside. The awning is not attached to the slider so I cannot mount them under it. Each slider has a Carefree of Colorado topper. The fixture mounted to the top of the slider is pretty massive so I may be able to mount the strip under there.

I'll have to look around to see the best looking way to mount them. Kevin: What departments did you get the metal strips and nylon blocks? Do you remember what they were called? When you remove power to the the Wifi controller, does it remember the last setting? I am thinking of wiring it to the porch light switch.
Michael

2017 Allegro Bus 45 OPP
Cummins ISL 450
Allison 3000
Progressive EMS-HW50C Surge Protector
Air Force One

Visit us at www.schwarz.org

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 01:36:34 AM »
Michael,

Yes, the WiFi controller remembers its last setting when power is removed and then restored - at least it did for about 30 minutes during my pre-installation testing. It's a pretty amazing little device - inexpensive - and so far, reliable. I got the nylon blocks in the Hardware section. They're actually about twice as long as my picture shows them to be. I cut them in half, because I didn't need/want two inches of nylon block showing when I only needed one. They're called, "A-maz-ing Picture Frame Hooks" (or something like that). Each package comes with 4 blocks and the packaging says they're designed to hold pictures on a wall during earthquakes (We have those from time to time out here). I wish I could help you with the metal strap. They come in eight-foot sections, they're very thin gauge metal and they've got words cut into them as shown in the picture.

I think wiring the controller to the porch light is a good idea (makes the porch light switch kind of a "Master Switch"). I thought about doing that but the porch light switch in my MH is not in the slide, but the controller and LED light strip are. I was somewhat concerned about snaking the wires through the slide's wiring harness - looks like quite a challenge. Good luck and keep us posted.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

darthmuffin

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 10:56:10 PM »
Pretty nice!  Where did you get the wi-fi controller?  I just did a quick google for one, didn't find anything under $100.

I also didn't trust the built-in adhesive, so I used some 1/2" 3m auto trim tape (Walmart or any auto store).  Stuck that to the bottom of the awning rail, then peeled off the other side and stuck the LED strip to it.  Holds very well and recommend it.

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2014, 02:25:09 AM »
Thanks. I got the controller off of ebay - new. It cost just under $30.00. It's the identical controller sold on some websites for just under $100.00.
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2015, 09:55:08 AM »
Great write up Kevin.  Thanks for this.  I just received my LED light strip and have been searching for an install process and love your ideas.  Just a couple questions.  Curious as to why you have the bent portion of the metal strip on the bottom.  Does it block any of the downward light?  Could it be reversed and placed on top to use as water protection with more downward directing light?  Also, from most other posts on the internet, I have been finding that moisture is the downfall for these LED strips, even though they claim to be waterproof.  As such, I am trying to figure out how to completely seal them.  Did you silicone the entire strip, not just the edges?  I was even thinking of sealing with clear heat shrink tubing and then attaching to the metal strip with adhesive.  Any thoughts on the clear heat shrink?  Thanks again!
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

Rene T

  • ---
  • Posts: 10183
  • Great being on the right side of the grass
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2015, 10:36:47 AM »
Mine have been up for over a year now and I developed a problem. 1/2 of the strip doesn't work at all. Anyone had that problem? I hard wired the strip so it's going to be a pain to replace the entire strip. It almost looks like I may have a break in the strip causing the end half not to work.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

grassy

  • ---
  • Posts: 560
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2015, 11:14:32 AM »
Great write up and thanks for the share.

I have been thinking about doing this (and indirect lighting on my truck) for awhile..

Yes, I would love to see other projects..

Ian.
2001 Freightliner FL60 Sport Chassis, 3126b, Jake, Air... Brakes, Cab & Rear Suspension, Ultra Shift
2010 Northwood Arctic Fox 29-5T (Silver Fox Edition)

blw2

  • ---
  • Posts: 2604
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2015, 11:31:49 AM »
What did you use to seal the wire penetration?

I need to do something similar for DW.  I'm not sure she'll go for the strip light, since she likes more of a swag of individual white light bulbs..... but your write up has my gears a turnin'

Thanks
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2015, 01:10:17 PM »
Mine have been up for over a year now and I developed a problem. 1/2 of the strip doesn't work at all. Anyone had that problem? I hard wired the strip so it's going to be a pain to replace the entire strip. It almost looks like I may have a break in the strip causing the end half not to work.

Hey Rene.  Have not put mine on yet so I cant attest to the problem personally, however, I have been reading that moisture seems to be the most common culprit for these strips failing.  As such, I am thinking that I am going to completely enclose the strip in heat shrink and then heat it onto the strip, thus ensuring no moisture touches the strip.
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

Rene T

  • ---
  • Posts: 10183
  • Great being on the right side of the grass
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2015, 01:21:32 PM »
As such, I am thinking that I am going to completely enclose the strip in heat shrink and then heat it onto the strip, thus ensuring no moisture touches the strip.

You completely confused me which doesn't take much at times.   :D  You said you are going to completely enclose the LED strip with heat shrink. How is the light going to shine through the heat shrink?  Maybe I misunderstood you.  I guess you need to explain a little. Thanks.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2015, 01:44:07 PM »
You completely confused me which doesn't take much at times.   :D  You said you are going to completely enclose the LED strip with heat shrink. How is the light going to shine through the heat shrink?  Maybe I misunderstood you.  I guess you need to explain a little. Thanks.

Lol...sorry....you can buy completely clear heat shrink tubing from ebay or amazon.  The only thing I can think that might pose a problem is heat but I was thinking that it should be ok since the LED's hardly put out any heat...I like Kevin's install and you can buy clear heat shrink that would fit completely around the entire metal strip, thus alleviating the need to silicone seal the strip I would think.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 01:48:41 PM by desertfox06 »
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2015, 02:00:37 PM »
I also really like the WiFi controller that Kevin installed.  However, being that I have two young children, I opted for the music controller because they love to have dance parties with their young friends and family when camping.  Once they are older and grown out of that, I will definitely install the WiFi controller so as to have a much cleaner look.  For now, the music and IR controller is being installed in a plastic pvc junction box installed near one of my outdoor speakers so that the controller can hear the music.
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2015, 10:37:58 PM »
Yes, you could reverse the metal channel and it would probably work just fine. It really doesn't block any light as it is though. I installed it that way to support the light strip while the silicon glue was drying. After sticking the light strip to the metal channel with its 3M sticky-back tape, I completely covered the entire light strip (front & back) with a thin coat of clear silicon glue (You can see the silicon in one of the close-ups). The light strip is supposed to be waterproof but I wanted to be sure - and I didn't trust the sticky-back tape. The light strip is completely sealed from the elements.

The four small wires go through the sidewall behind the right side of the light strip and neither the wires nor the small hole, which was sealed with Dicor, are visible. It's been on the side of the motorhome for over a year, it's been sprayed with water several times and it still works great. We just used it last week at the Tucson rally to watch the snow fall. :)

I really only use the white light but Cyndi prefers the red light when we're sitting outside. It will do any color you want and it's controlled via WiFi from your phone or tablet. It will also do a bunch of flashy things and synchronize the lights to music that's played on your phone or tablet - I just don't use that feature.

Kev
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 01:20:42 AM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2015, 03:04:27 AM »
Any thoughts on my idea of using clear heat shrink to weatherproof it?  Thanks again.
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

blw2

  • ---
  • Posts: 2604
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2015, 03:19:50 PM »
Any thoughts on my idea of using clear heat shrink to weatherproof it?  Thanks again.

i understand you weren't asking me.... but my 2 cents worth is this

no matter how you seal the ends, water will eventually find its way in, and then it will be there to stay.
I think it might be better to put your energy into finding a strip that can handle the weather....

Brainstorming this a bit.....
I'm thinking that using an aluminum U-channel, rather than an L-angle, then mounting at an angle downward like the OP did....might allow for the LED strip to protected a bit above and below from the legs of the channel.  the downward angle would serve to let water run over and around it, protecting the strip a bit.  the deeper the channel and the steeper the angle, the more the protection offered.
Now is this protection really needed?..... I have no idea.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2015, 05:45:10 PM »
i understand you weren't asking me.... but my 2 cents worth is this

no matter how you seal the ends, water will eventually find its way in, and then it will be there to stay.
I think it might be better to put your energy into finding a strip that can handle the weather....

Brainstorming this a bit.....
I'm thinking that using an aluminum U-channel, rather than an L-angle, then mounting at an angle downward like the OP did....might allow for the LED strip to protected a bit above and below from the legs of the channel.  the downward angle would serve to let water run over and around it, protecting the strip a bit.  the deeper the channel and the steeper the angle, the more the protection offered.
Now is this protection really needed?..... I have no idea.

I'll take advice from anyone so thanks for replying.  The light strip I purchased states that it is waterproof but I don't trust that one bit. I was actually thinking of enclosing the entire strip in the clear heat shrink, not just the ends. I would think this would offer much better protection from the elements. My only worry would be heating the heat shrink tube directly onto the led diode. I'm wondering if the heat from the diode would melt the heat shrink tube. I personally don't think it would because of the low temps from the diodes but I don't know for sure.
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

RLSharp

  • ---
  • Posts: 1802
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2015, 07:17:04 PM »
I was actually thinking of enclosing the entire strip in the clear heat shrink, .....

How would you attach the light strip with the adhesive backing covered with heat shrink tubing? The resulting covered strip would be somewhat round on the back, not nice and flat -- certainly not very conducive to gluing.

R
Richard & Linda
Rochester, NY (summer)
Tucson, AZ (winter)

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2015, 09:14:57 PM »
How would you attach the light strip with the adhesive backing covered with heat shrink tubing? The resulting covered strip would be somewhat round on the back, not nice and flat -- certainly not very conducive to gluing.

R

I figured I would run the heat gun along the back of the LED strip to flatten the heat shrink as much as possible and then silicone glue it to the bracket. Or, I was also thinking of buying heat shrink large enough to put around the bracket after strip has been stuck to it. I've only worked with small pieces of heat shrink with wires, so Im not sure how this will turn out.

Keep the replies comin. Getting a lot of great advice from y'all. Thanks!




There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2015, 12:54:09 PM »
Ok. So after a lot of researching, I have decided to use the clear heat shrink. I found a lot of people had done the same thing, enclosing the entire length of the LED strip in the tube. You can get approx 50' of tubing on Amazon for way cheaper than the HW stores. Not sure if I will be able to directly glue the strip to the side of the rv after doing this, so I may have to either go with Kevin's install with the metal strip but I also like cpaulsen's idea of the clear plastic light strip channels. I will post pics and update on the install. One question I had was about the wiring. The set I bought come with an AC adapter that plugs into the controller and then plugs into an outlet. Can I bypass the AC adapter and hardware the controller into a hot 12 volt source on the RV?  Was thinking of splicing into fridge wires as I had seen this done on another forum. Would I need an inline fuse to be safe?  If so, any ideas on what size fuse?  Any more ideas please throw em this way. Thanks again guys.
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

Rene T

  • ---
  • Posts: 10183
  • Great being on the right side of the grass
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2015, 01:24:01 PM »
I probably would think that a fuse would be appropriate but then again, the line you're going to tie into is probably fused already.  I did exactly the same thing. I came through he side of the RV and tied it into a 12 volt lighter socket which would be used for a TV in the master bedroom.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

desertfox06

  • ---
  • Posts: 16
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2015, 03:40:46 PM »
Just an update after a trip to HD.  They did not have the nylon blocks that Kevin used.  I cant find em online either so if someone has seen em online can you post here?  I found the metal strips.  They are in the tiling section and are used for lining up tile. The only channels for LED lights that they sell are the round ones used for rope lighting, so now the search begins for the square channels.  Cpaulsen, did you use the round channel square?  They sell channels with clear plastic covers online specifically for LED strip light however they are over 20 bucks for only 39".  Way to costly due to amount needed.

Question for ya Kevin.  For me, I personally like the way the LED's reflect off of the underside of the white awning, giving that entire space underneath there the look as if the whole area enveloped in the light.  Do you still get that effect with the lights angled downward?

Thanks again guys.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 05:09:32 PM by desertfox06 »
There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter

06 Ford F350 4x4 LB 6.0 PSD, Garret Turbo, Banks Intercooler, BPD EGR
06 Desert Fox Toy Hauler
06 Polaris Outlaw500

Kevin Means

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 3821
    • Tactical Flying
Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2015, 01:53:30 AM »
In a few of the pics, you can see that light does reflect off the bottom of the awning. I can't offer an opinion as to how the heat-shrink idea will work, because I've never seen one installed like that... but then again, I've never seen one installed like mine either and it's holding up great.

Sorry you couldn't find the nylon blocks in your Home Depot. They are designed to prevent things from falling off walls during an earthquake so unless you live in earthquake country like us, they may not be available. LED light strips are 12 volt lights. If yours came with an AC transformer, you should be able to bypass it with 12 volts. I was able to tap into a 12 volt circuit in the cabinet, right where the wires come through the wall. That circuit is on a 10 amp circuit-breaker but I installed an in-line dedicated 5 amp circuit-breaker/switch for the WiFi box and light strip.

Kev
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 02:07:53 AM by Kevin Means »
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

 

Hosted by Over The Network