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John Laninga

LED lights... not there yet

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So I have been a techie all my life and that applies to my RV too.  So I have been watching LED as a replacement to halogen lights.  In fact, I bought enough to replace all my halogen G4 bulbs three years ago.  But after having them installed for a week we went back to halogen because the light just wasn't enough.  If you look at the lights, they look bright, but they don't cast as much light on countertops etc. 

So I was pleased to see a new G4 LED a week ago that was much brighter.  It was reviewed as being a good replacement for halogen, so I bought enough for my RV.  Again, I changed one side of the RV with the new LEDs and it quickly became obvious these wouldn't work as well as halogen either.  So I ordered new halogens and I will go back to halogen.

In the future, I need to not believe all the reviews and buy less bulbs and test them myself before buying enough for my RV.

== John

 

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Every bulb in our RV has been replaced with LEDs, both 12V and 120V, as appropriate.  In each case I purchased them on the basis of the lumen output compared to the incandescent and/or fluorescent bulbs they were replacing.  I don't rely on "reviews" of bulbs because they are inevitably subjective and most have no objectively measured information.  I have not been disappointed with any of my purchases.  The G4's I replaced all were rated at >500 lumens and a color temperature of ~3000K.  Their output appears to be consistent with those specs.

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I have not seen a good G4 replacement myself, at least that will fit in the little recessed fixtures we have.  For normal sockets I have found acceptable replacement LEDs, but I always check the lumens to make sure they are at least as bright as what they are replacing.  Many will be happy with less light, but not me.  

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Look for quality LEDs, like CREE. They have 8, 12, and 21 LED replacements RV LED replacement bi-pin bulbs. Choose the color and the lumens. Actually much brighter and more usable light than the halogens; takes it down about 5-8 degrees in the room just not having the halogens on.

http://superbrightleds.com

HTH,

Shannon

Edited by lockmup68

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I have replaced all of the G-4 halogen bulbs in my trailer (12 fixtures total) with LED's and find the quality and quantity of light to be very similar. And I love the elimination of the intense heat that the halogen bulbs create. They are dimmable to some degree, but not as dimmable as the original halogen bulbs. 

I've had mine in for a few years now, but think that this is the link:

https://store.marinebeam.com/12-led-side-pin-g4-replacement-bulb-sp-g4-12/

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I have 20 - G4 dimmable halogen fixtures on board. 

Looking for a LED replacement bulb. There is not much room insided the reflector housing for bulbs not shaped like the original halogen.

Anyone know of any? 

Thanks

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Got to agree with docj, check lumen output. When I was first replacing incandescents in my rig I bought "superbright" LEDs from China and one batch was half as bright as the other. For T10 bulbs I look for 200-300 lumens. I prefer 3500-4000K color but with 5-6000 for task lighting (above my desk for example). I have had great luck buying on EBay and paying $1-2/bulb

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We have every light with exception of running lights, led. The little g4s we don't use a lot. Which we didn't when they were halagons either. Our Teton has an abundance of lights 

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I have replaced all of the bi-pin halogen bulbs in our trailer with side-mount G4 Led bulbs. My halogen fixtures are small puck-type fixtures and the LED replacements fit fine. 

I have found that they are not nearly as dimmable as the original halogens, perhaps because the bulbs I buy have a constant current circuit that is rated for 10V - 30V and within that voltage range they are supposed to be constant. If being able to dim the lights is critical you may want to do some research on which (if any) LED lights have a similar range as the halogens.

I see where some similar to mine are rated as dimmable with a PWM (pulse width modulator) dimmer. Pretty sure the dimmer switches in my trailer are simple rheostats so perhaps that is why mine won't dim much.  

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We switched over to some cheap LEDs and were disappointed in that they were not as bright as the original lights. Then another RV'er show us some higher lumen's LEDs from E-bay and now that we have switched to them, they are way brighter than the original lighting. I guess you have to pay attention to the details, even with light bulbs.

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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Blame the fixtures, not the LEDs.  LEDs don't produce a point source of light like halogens do, so yes, they won't produce as much light in a fixture that's designed to capture and distribute a point source of light.  No mystery there.

But in fixtures that are designed to work with LEDs more distributed light output, they outshine (pun intended) almost every other kind of light.  Especially in areas where heat and power efficiency are significant factors.

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19 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Especially in areas where heat and power efficiency are significant factors.

I prefer the led lighting in my RV as much for the small amount of heat generated as for the efficiency of energy use. I have replaced many of the old, 12v automobile type of light fixtures and almost always there will be construction materials above them which have been turned some degree of brown from the cooking heat of that light. With led replacements that doesn't happen. 

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I cant cite any brand or specific models, but ALL my older RV incandescent light fixtures have been replaced with the flat panel multiple LED "lights" which yield more illumination versus the round bulb looking units. The energy savings (we do a lot of dry camping) and heat reduction is huge. Its a no brainer, just shop for the maximum lumens and efficiency versus cost as there are a ton of options at RV outlets as well as E Bay and Amazon etc. I have bough some newer all LED RV light fixtures that produce many more lumens then any of the replacement lamp/bulb older units.  While I was a fan of halogen in years past, I'm pretty well all LED now.  

John T

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Good choice!  The voltage specs of 10 - 30 volts means they're fully regulated and can withstand the normal voltage variations found in RVs.  Unregulated LEDs will start to flicker and partially burn out in short order in RV use.  AC or DC means they're polarity insensitive so they don't care which way they're inserted into the socket.

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Tom, those are the types I was speaking which are flat panel mounted so the light is directed downward as it should be. Of course the more LED's and/or more intensity each provides the most lumens.  I'm sure there will be less wasted heat energy also.

John T

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5 hours ago, Tom_M said:

I replaced the halogen bulb with one of these:

I got mine from a different vendor but mine are self-regulated also and have served very well now for about two years. 

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A word of warning about LEDs that contain a voltage regulator. The ones I purchased are great except for the fact that they radiate RF interference. Mine cause problems with TV reception for some channels that are broadcast on the VHF band. Since most channels are in the UHF band, it usually is not a problem. Higher priced ones may have better filtering that would correct the problem. It would be best to order one or two to start with and see if they cause any problems.

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I'll second that they interfere with TV reception. We only use over the air TV and almost everywhere we go there are channels that won't work with I turn on certain lights. Jst something we have learned to live with.

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4 hours ago, Tom_M said:

A word of warning about LEDs that contain a voltage regulator. The ones I purchased are great except for the fact that they radiate RF interference. Mine cause problems with TV reception for some channels that are broadcast on the VHF band

Interesting! We have not had that problem. 

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On 10/20/2017 at 8:53 AM, noteven said:

I have 20 - G4 dimmable halogen fixtures on board. 

Looking for a LED replacement bulb. There is not much room insided the reflector housing for bulbs not shaped like the original halogen.

Anyone know of any? 

Thanks

Remove the reflector or heat sink in the fixture. Then plenty of room. It is not needed with the leds. 

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46 minutes ago, lockmup68 said:

Remove the reflector or heat sink in the fixture. Then plenty of room. It is not needed with the leds. 

Thanks I''ll check that out

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A note regarding light fixture "reflectors". Its been yearsssssssss since I attended a week long Lighting Seminar at GE's Nela Park but I recall a few things lol and here is my pure albeit rusty "opinion" and as always no warranty, its been too long.

1) I agree there's much much less heat generated by that LED replacement lamp versus Halogen, so heat is not as much of a concern.

2) The flat panel LED's you chose already direct most light downward, so reflectance is far less an issue then if it were a round bulb looking light with some of the LED's up top.

3) That being said, it can still help and NOT harm if there's a reflector (be it white paint or metal etc)  in top of the fixture so any stray light bouncing around  and getting reflected is still directed down where most needed.

4) Best I recall FOOTCANDLES on a surface is a function of LUMENS x Coefficient of Utilization (CU) divided by unit area and the better the reflectance and fixture efficiency, CU, the more footcandles where needed.      

5)  I doubt your eyes will notice much if any difference with or without a top reflector (given the flat panel LED)  and I'm ONLY saying if room and heat allow,  it could possibly help ever so slightly and sure wont hurt.

 

 John T  

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