Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let There Be LED Light

These reading lights are four of the most often used lights in our motor coach. Positioned in pairs over the sofa and love seat, they are not only good reading lights but give the coach a warm home feel when the florescent lights are off.  

With two, three, or four of these lights on for hours at a time we found them getting very hot. It turned out two of them had the wrong size bulb. Each fixture is labeled for use with lamp type number 1139. Even with the right bulbs these fixtures get hotter than I would like so I thought this might be a good place to try LED lamps.

LED lamps are available from numerous sources ranging from local RV stores to the Internet. Color (light temperature) was every bit as important to us as the low heat, energy efficiency, and long life.  

With so many options we found exactly what we want on the Internet. Each of the four LED lamps purchased came individually packaged in anti-static plastic bags. 

The new LED lamps look every bit as high-tech as they are. The lamps we selected are smaller and shorter. This model has four LEDs on what I'll call the bottom. Other designs have the LEDs on one side, two sides, around the body in all directions, or around the body and on the bottom. This varies by lamp type it replaces and the fixture in which it's used. Some have a translucent cover to resemble a conventional lamp. 

The new LED lamps sit a little further back in the fixture than the conventional bulb and as a result throw a little narrower light beam. That also means that installing them can be a bit tricky. The bayonet base requires the side pins to be in the proper position as you push the lamp into the socket and twist into position. On these adjustable fixtures it's important to hold the movable portion so that the pressure of pushing the lamp into the socket doesn't damage the fixture itself. 

These LEDs mimic the warm glow of a tungsten filament bulb. The photograph above contrasts the color temperature of the lamp light inside the coach to the daylight out the window.  

While not objectionable to us, the LED (left) is a little more yellow than the original incandescent bulb (right). This is, again in our opinion, much better than the blue tint of many LED lamps. 

This is our first foray into using LED lamps. I think we'll move slowly. Maybe we'll try a LED conversion on the first 12V florescent fixture that stops working. More likely I'll try the brighter LED lamps to replace the backup lights on the rear of the coach. Seems like we arrive at campsites after dark fairly often and a little extra light would be helpful for backing into spaces in the dark. 

If you were wondering, we purchased the new reading LED lights from M4Products.com and were pleased with the price and very fast shipping.  

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