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Modification of RV Florescent Fixture for LED Operations

We present a well-written how-to submitted from a customer.

Modification of RV Florescent Fixture for LED Operations

In our new 5th Wheel RV, we received some ceiling mounted 12VDC florescent fixtures. They were equipped with 2 each 18”, 15W tubes and electronic ballasts. The fixtures are a “Low Voltage RV Luminaire” from “Direct Sourcing Alliance” identified as “Type RVL 18RNB-W”, “2 x 15W”, “Input Rating: 12V DC, 30W”. Their performance has been dismal with operation limited to, initially 30-45 minutes before shutting down due to overheating of the ballast. The “on” time got progressively shorter over the next few weeks. The overheating was certainly not due to ambient temperatures which have been in the low 70s or cooler. On disassembly for conversion to LED operation it was discovered the ballasts have discolored due to high heat (see closest end of ballast in Picture 2).

During review of options for LED conversion I was looking for a natural light color temperature with equivalent lumen output to the two 15W florescent tubes. I settled on the SuperBrightLEDs part number RLBN-NW30*3SMD which is a 19.5 inch rigid strip with 30 each 3SMD modules. The advertised light output was 603 lumin at a color temperature of 5600K. The two 18”, 15W tubes were stated to produce 825 lumins each so I was a little concerned about light loss especially since I was going to have to cut 6 LED modules off each of the two strips to fit inside the existing fixture. I bought a 3rd strip but in the end did not use it as the light was ample.

I first started by removing the “guts” of the florescent leaving some length of the switched power wires for future use. See pictures 1, 2, and 3.

RV Kitchen LED

Picture 1

RV Kitchen LED

Picture 2

RV Kitchen LED

Picture 3 – Cleaned fixture with switch circut leads

After cleaning the interior of the fixture with alcohol for acrylic tape adhesion I fitted the rigid LED strips and cut 6 LED modules from the length, then mounted the strips using 3M double sided acrylic tape. Finally, completed power connections to existing fixture switch circuit. See pictures 4 through 10.

LED in Package

Picture 4 – The LED strip as packaged

LED Strips

Picture 5 – 6 LED modules cut from strip to fit in fixture

LED Connection

Picture 6 – Molded power connector “C21-P06” LEDs

LED Strip

Picture 7 – Power connector C21-P06 plugged in to strip header

LED in Fixture

Picture 8 – Double-sided tape mount (3 places)


LED Power Connections

Picture 9 – Power connections to existing switch circuit

Completed fixture

Picture 10 – Completed fixture (minus cover)

LED Light in place

Picture 11 – LED Fixture in place

Measured luminosity – 2380 Lumens at 12”; 812 Lumens at 24” (with cover installed).

Original Florescent fixture was 497 Lumens at 24”.

For technical questions, don’t hesitate to call us toll free at 866-590-3533. Our customer service and technical support teams are available from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT on Friday.