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Author Topic: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV  (Read 29847 times)

Kevin Means

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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 »
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SargeW

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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!
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Rene T

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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 »
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Kevin Means

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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
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cpaulsen

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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

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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

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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
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cpaulsen

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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.
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mrschwarz

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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

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Kevin Means

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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
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darthmuffin

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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

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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
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desertfox06

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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

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Rene T

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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
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grassy

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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.
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blw2

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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
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desertfox06

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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

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Rene T

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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

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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

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desertfox06

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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

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Kevin Means

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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

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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

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blw2

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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)
í13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
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desertfox06

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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

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RLSharp

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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
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desertfox06

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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

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desertfox06

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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

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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.
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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

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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 »
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2015, 09:25:17 AM »
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 would think that someone who has them in their Home Depot, If they could get the SKU Number for you, you should be able to order them through your HD or online.   ???
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 09:27:29 AM by Rene T »
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2015, 10:17:55 AM »
Here are the Home Depot QuakeHOLD A-Mazing Picture Hooks

http://www.homedepot.com/p/QuakeHOLD-A-Maze-ing-Picture-Hooks-4-Pack-4338/100137543
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2015, 12:19:43 PM »
Here are the Home Depot QuakeHOLD A-Mazing Picture Hooks

http://www.homedepot.com/p/QuakeHOLD-A-Maze-ing-Picture-Hooks-4-Pack-4338/100137543

Thanks John.  It shows my local HD having 11 in stock!  Could not find em anywhere and even the workers said they did not know what they were!!  Oh well, guess i can order em online and pick em up.  Thanks so much for posting!
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

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2015, 12:32:09 PM »
Thanks John.  It shows my local HD having 11 in stock!  Could not find em anywhere and even the workers said they did not know what they were!!  Oh well, guess i can order em online and pick em up.  Thanks so much for posting!

I would go back to them and have them punch in the numbers or the name. They should find it.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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desertfox06

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2015, 12:37:01 PM »
Good idea Rene.  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

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2015, 07:20:31 PM »
That's an useful rig for awning lumination. I wonder what kind of material does the body made of ? Ruber or Aluminum?

As far as i know this Led strip lights with color changing function are made of Ruber which will getting aged easily and it has a shortage on heat disspation.

And i will be recommended to use a Led awning light like the attachment instead of a color changing one.


As this have been posted for almost a year ago, was the Led Strip Light works well ?
Eric
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2015, 03:46:23 PM »
Great Information.  fixing to do the same thing this weekend to mine.   Thanks for the insight on dos and donts
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2015, 06:02:14 PM »
Put mine up last weekend. First I enclosed the entire length of led strip in clear heat shrink and flattened it down as I went along. Did this for extra protection against weather. Then I placed 4" strips of Velcro at equal lengths on the back of the heat shrink. Put the opposite pieces of Velcro on the trailer. Now I can remove when trip is over. I tied into an outdoor light that is not used for the electrical. Controller then velcroed onto trailer near a speaker to use the music function. Worked great.
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2015, 10:40:25 AM »
Thanks for the helpful Ideas on installing the LED Light Strips.  Lots of good ideas and it helped me make a decision on how to was going to install mine. 

I installed mine about an inch below the Awning Channel.  I used 3 inch masking tape to mask off about an inch below the awning channel.  Then I sprayed 3M 91 Adhesive between the awning channel and the tape. I also sprayed the light strip with the adhesive. The adhesive that comes on the strips just wasnt good enough to stick for a long period of time (learned from my sons mistakes).  I let it sit about 15 mins then put the lights up. I also put some silicone on the end that I cut to ensure no moisture could cause a short hopefully extending the life of them. I tapped into the Porch light circuit to turn them on/off.  They dont budge at all.  since I did install them up under the the Awning in an effort to protect them from the elements as much as possible for reasons stated in this thread I thought since the awning was rolled up it would restrict the light when the awning was rolled up which it did to some extent but I was pleasantly surprised when all was said and done that there was still a lot of light projected.  Definitely more than the Porch light gave at any rate.  I also verified how much amp draw the lights had which turned out to be 3 amps for the 14 feet I installed.

Another Great use for LED Light Strips.

Since I do a lot of loading and unloading my truck in the dark and usually in a hurry.  I installed 2 runs of Light Strips under the bed rails of my truck using the same method above with the adhesive. As they are up under the bed rails they are protected for the elements for the most part. I ran the wiring through the back of the cab with all the connections in the cab and siliconed the holes on both sides that i drilled and i also mounted a pull switch on the Dash next to instrument light switch for easy of access.   Since the Light is reflected down on the bed its not blinding and provides plenty of light without the risk of killing the Battery if left on to long. Now fumbling around in the dark for tie downs and anything else I put back there is easy to find.

Thanks Kevin for the WiFi Idea.  Ordered swithes for both the RV and the pickup.

Thanks again for all the good info. 

Louis
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 10:54:02 AM by Phayhome Racing »
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2015, 03:00:59 PM »
Light strips are unregulated, which means they need 12 volts, not the 13.5-14 volts the RV converter supplies when you're plugged into power.

I'd use something like this to feed the strip.   It's called a dimmer, but it's actually a combination dimmer and regulator.  Inside is a full electronic regulator board that can take anywhere from 12-24 volts while putting out LED safe voltage.

The wifi controller does the same thing, so you don't need both.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 03:07:13 PM by Lou Schneider »

desertfox06

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2015, 03:50:48 PM »
Light strips are unregulated, which means they need 12 volts, not the 13.5-14 volts the RV converter supplies when you're plugged into power.

I'd use something like this to feed the strip.   It's called a dimmer, but it's actually a combination dimmer and regulator.  Inside is a full electronic regulator board that can take anywhere from 12-24 volts while putting out LED safe voltage.

The wifi controller does the same thing, so you don't need both.

Lou, the light strips we are all using here already come with a 12 volt controller.
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

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2015, 02:57:40 PM »
I would go back to them and have them punch in the numbers or the name. They should find it.

If you can't find the Quake Hold! clips at HD, you can get them as an add-on item from Amazon --> http://www.amazon.com/Quakehold-4338--Maze-ing-Picture-Hook/dp/B000FJQQQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426622137&sr=8-1&keywords=quake+hold+4338
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2015, 07:32:44 PM »
Great Idea you have there.
We added these same lights on the side of our travel trailer, they held up well until our controller box broke off, and found the strip hanging, the sticky tape was useless, but the box and lights are ok, anyways we went to home depot and bout enough aluminum U channel  x 2 for 9.99 a piece, we are going to use the idea of attaching it to the channel similar to your idea using the silicone to stick it in the channel, but will attach the channel to the RV. We did add some in a channel inside the rv, a warm white with dimmer, they look lovely.
Thanks for giving us the idea of using silicone and metal channel. :)

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2015, 07:16:44 PM »
mine are siliconed to an aluminum channel which is screwed to the wall under the awning, staying up great, no problems, but you have to make sure they are the waterproof ones and that the control box is protected. Also just took the interior lights down from under the cabinets and installed led light strip in a channel, and used small molding that covers the channel, pretty neat. Used grab it to attach the molding, stained the wood molding to match close to the color of the cabinets.

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2015, 08:04:43 AM »
Light strips are unregulated, which means they need 12 volts, not the 13.5-14 volts the RV converter supplies when you're plugged into power.

I'd use something like this to feed the strip.   It's called a dimmer, but it's actually a combination dimmer and regulator.  Inside is a full electronic regulator board that can take anywhere from 12-24 volts while putting out LED safe voltage.

The wifi controller does the same thing, so you don't need both.

Thats good information. I guess I assumed that I would have 12v at the porch light. But a dimmer/regulator is a good idea.

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2015, 11:47:47 AM »
Thats good information. I guess I assumed that I would have 12v at the porch light. But a dimmer/regulator is a good idea.

The lights I bought on Amazon came with a 12 volt regulator that you can splice into any 12 volt wire on your coach. I erred on the the side of caution and also added an inline 5 amp fuse.
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

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2015, 12:37:01 PM »
When drilling the hole to run the wires through, how do you know where to drill? With my luck, I would drill into wiring in my RV.
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2015, 02:58:35 AM »
Steve,

I remember having the same concern. I knew where I wanted to come through the wall, which was an area behind some overhead cabinets, so I picked a spot that didn't have any obvious mounting holes for the cabinets, and which was offset from any light fixtures. Then I drilled a shallow hole through the inner wall with a small drill bit. I was very careful to not drill very deep. I used a tiny screwdriver to poke around in the hole and when I was reasonably sure that there were no metal stringers or wiring bundles where I drilled, I used a large drill bit and enlarged the hole. Once again, I did not drill deep. I just wanted to open the hole up enough so that I could see into it with a flashlight. Then I dug around with the screwdriver until I reached the outside wall. That told me there were no obstructions. Then I just drilled through the outer wall. It worked for me.

Kev
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #48 on: September 27, 2015, 04:13:35 PM »
Hereís an update to our LED light-strip projectÖ

Iíve always thought it would be nice to have the area under the right front slide illuminated, because when the light-strip under our awning is on, the slide blocks a lot of the light, making the area under the slide pretty dark.

I bought a white weatherproof LED light-strip and cut it down to 14 feet. Iíve never trusted the sticky-back tape on those light-strips, so I bought some six foot lengths of shelf-brackets and then riveted them together to make one 14 foot section. These shelf-brackets have a small channel in them that the light-strip fits nicely into. Before attaching the light-strip to the metal channel, I riveted several aluminum brackets to it, so I could screw the final assembly in place (Picture 3).

I attached the light-strip to the recessed channel with its sticky-back tape (Picture 1), and then covered the entire front and back of the light-strip with clear silicon glue (Picture 2). The glue holds the light-strip firmly in place and completely seals it from the elements. When it was dry, I mounted the assembly under the lip of the slide (Picture 3).

As you can see, the light-strip hangs upside down, so itís very important to use more than just its own sticky-back tape to hold it in place Ė trust me, the sticky-back tape alone wonít hold over time.

I tapped into 12 volts at the outside TV entertainment center and installed a two-channel 12 volt dry contact switch to turn the light-strip on and off remotely (Picture 4). I used the second channel to remotely control my porch and entry lights, which are on the same circuit. The switches themselves are completely sealed, they come with two remotes and have great range (I tested it to 100 feet, but itíll go further).

Picture 5 is a view from under the slide, looking up at the illuminated light-strip. The remaining pictures show the difference in area lighting. Itís pretty nice Ė especially being able to control it with a remote.

Kev

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2015, 09:20:47 PM »
Nice work Kev! That looks great!  Except you are giving me more projects on the rig.....
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #50 on: September 30, 2015, 08:55:35 AM »
Nice install, looks great. That channel you used almost looks like a tile edge. I mounted ours on the awning roller which is good for us as it is always out when we are camping. I thought about doing the RGBW but the wiring is a little trickier when mounted as such. For ours I installed a pigtail plug on the porch light so after the awning is out I just plug an extension cable into it and the light strip. For those planning to do this mod keep in mind that RGB lights use a combination of red, green and blue light to make white, and as such makes for a very cool white light. If you want your white light to be warm you need to use RGBW which has RGB chips and warm white chips on the same roll. Lucky for me I own an LED lighting company so I have 100's of rolls on hand to play around with;) Another thing to keep in mind is anything with a remote control will draw a tiny bit of power even when off, with these RGB controllers it is less than a watt.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 08:57:57 AM by waynestractor »
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #51 on: September 30, 2015, 12:41:32 PM »
That's why I put it in Marty... just to get you to do yours! ;)

Good point about the power draw Wayne, it isn't much, but those "isn't much's" can add up if you're not careful - something to be aware of if you're boondockers like us. I've got a Trimetric battery monitor and a pretty large house battery-bank (840 AH), but before I install anything, I always check the Trimetric to determine its draw. In this case, both remote switches together draw less than .3 amps per hour.

Speaking of amps, I've noticed that the five meter RGB (multi-color) light-strips draw almost four amps at full brightness, no matter what color is being displayed. The five meter white (only) light-strips only draw about two amps. That's a significant difference if you leave them on all night.

I see what you mean about how the metal channel looks like a tile edge, but they're just those metal shelf brackets that have the notches in them so you can adjust the height of the shelves.

Kev
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 12:43:45 PM by Kevin Means »
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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2016, 09:59:24 AM »
Has anyone sprung for the $150 light strip or most everybody using the ones that are around $20?

http://www.amazon.com/Boogey-Lights-KRV-VS-MC-BK-AWNING-S-Hi-Intensity-Awning/dp/B010RGKSR6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459176979&sr=8-1&keywords=boogie+lights

The differences seem to be maybe a few more "special effects" and perhaps more importantly a three year warranty.  They seem to claim they are engineered tougher but I'm skeptical.

They claim they are "All Boogey Lights products are designed, assembled and supported in the USA. 3 year warranty." but it also says the product originates in China.

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #53 on: September 07, 2016, 10:30:58 PM »
I would love to install one of these strips under my awning, but I would like to run the 12v to the strip from the outdoor light which is about middle of the strip, can I solder in the power and ground somewhere mid strip?

Kevin Means

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Re: Adding an LED Light strip to Your RV
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2016, 12:07:31 AM »
Hi molsonice02... welcome to the RVForum. Yes, it is possible ro cut away the clear rubbery covering on a light strip to expose the foil material that carries the 12 volts, but you've got to be careful not to cut through it. Soldering small wires to the exposed foil takes a steady hand, a clean low wattage soldering iron with a small tip, and when I did it, I found it helpful to use a magnifying glass. Once the wires are connected, be careful not to pull too hard on them or twist them.

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

 

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