Caravan Ceiling Light LED Upgrade
15 December 2019
One of the ceiling lights in our caravan was starting to get very dim - sometimes hardly lighting at all. The fluorescent tube was obviously starting to deteriorate and needed replacement. Instead of replacing the tube with a new one, which would need to be replaced again in another few years, I decided to upgrade the light to LEDs.
There are three ceiling lights in our caravan. They are Lumo Crown lights. There is an upgraded LED version of the Lumo Crown, which I was considering buying. However, they cost about €60 each and I couldn't justify spending €180 just to upgrade the lights to LEDs. Instead, I decided to buy some generic LED lights and upgrade the lights I have. I bought two pairs of these lights on Amazon
for €45.30 including postage:
The ceiling lights in the caravan work off a 12v supply, so there is no danger while working on them. If you want to be 100% safe, and ensure that you don't short anything out while working on them, you can remove the fuse that supplies power to them.
I started by gently prying the shade of the light with a flat screwdriver:
I removed the fluorescent tube by simply pulling it out of the plastic clips, then unplugged the two wires attached to it.
I then disconnected the two wires that supply power to the light. The two connectors on the supply side are insulated, so there is no danger of them shorting off anything, and I didn't bother to remove the fuse.
I removed the two plastic clips that hold the fluorescent tube by just pulling them downwards:
There are two pairs of wires attached to the little board inside the light. One pair (both white) goes to the fluorescent tube, which I already disconnected. The second pair (red and white) supply power to the board via the switch on the side of the light. I snipped the second pair close to the board:
The most difficult part of the job was removing the two plastic clips that hold the board in place (arrowed in the photo below). I was afraid to use too much force in case I broke the housing of the light. In hindsight, the correct way to remove them would have been to unscrew the lamp from the ceiling, push the centre pin out of the clip from behind, then remove the rest of the clip. I did mangage to remove the clips by just levering them off but I did break one of the clips while doing this.
With the board removed, I was left with just the wiring necessary to run the LED light.
I soldered the LED light to the switched supply (the two wires that had been connected to the board) and covered the joints with heat shrink.
By coincidence, two of the screw holes on the backing plate for the LED light lined up perfectly with two holes in the housing of the original light, so I was able to screw directly into the wood in the ceiling.
I tidied the wires and cable-tied them out of the way:
As the LEDs are concentrated in the centre of the light, I was wondering if the light from them would only be visible in the centre of the shade but the original shade for the Lumo Crown does a very good job of diffusing the light.
The original fluorescent lamp used approximately 550mA of current and the new, LED ones use about 450mA. It's not a huge power saving but everything counts when you're running on batteries. I have also found in the past that if I'm running off-grid and the battery is running low, the fluorescent tubes sometimes struggled to light up properly. I'm hoping this won't be the case with LEDs.
It only took about an hour and a half to upgrade all three ceiling lights in the caravan and I'm very happy with the light that they give out. There's plenty of light from them and it's a nice, warm light.
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