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Old 11-02-2014, 10:22 PM   #1
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LED awning lights

Ok, another little project of mine using LED strips from Amazon. I got this roll of waterproof LEDs with an AC transformer for $15. I chose 'warm white', because I figured the bright white would be too much under the awning. The goal was having less stuff to drag out (like lanterns) for a quicker camp set up.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JSH ... UTF8&psc=1

These LEDs turned out a lot brighter and whiter than the warm white looks in the ad, but they're acceptable I guess. I'm not sure how I could go dimmer without having a strange color, and I wanted useable but not blinding light.

First I rolled out my awning and cleaned the inside aluminum edge with alcohol. Then I measured, cut and installed the strip.

No good pic of this stage, but here's the whole strip lit up in daylight. At least it shows the placement of the whole strip.



Next I drilled two small holes on either end to affix tiny zip ties to lock the strip in place. This way if the adhesive ever starts to give out on the ends, which is where it usually gives out first, the strip won't sag or fall off.







Next is where I hope readers will disregard my work in progress. I'm not sure how I want to wire this permanently, so this is a little ugly. Lots of electric tape and pseudo-soldered bulb bases. I need to get some more heat shrink, and I cringe to see up close pics of another unfinished project, my LED porch light mod with a crooked LED board and now yellowing epoxy. This needs fixing but not today. Don't notice that ugliness, just take in the beauty of the awning strip.

My idea here is to only use this strip when I've set up camp for a few days, so in those circumstances I would rather have evenly spread full-awning light than my porch light, which doesn't spread out or light up by the side doors very well. I wired up to a 2nd bulb base where, for now, I can just pop the lens cover off, swap the bulb bases, and have either light I'm using on my inside switch. As a more permanent install I will probably install an additional toggle somewhere so I can just switch back and forth between either of these outdoor lights, without removing bulbs and lenses. Also, I have the AC transformer so I can just drop the wire to the outside AC receptacle if I'm on shore power at a campground. Like I said, this isn't a completed project yet. It's certainly not waterproof at this stage so I won't be able to use it in bad weather until completed.











And after dark is when I figured out that it's much better than I thought it would be!



These last 3 pics are with the flash off on my camera. This strip puts out a lot of light!







I'll update soon with the finished product. For now, I'm really glad I have $15 and 1 hour in this setup instead of the $50 LED lantern I was about to buy the other day. The cord unplugs and stows easily inside my awning case and of course the awning rolls right up with the strip in place, so very little to think about or store. Mission accomplished.

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Old 11-03-2014, 12:29 AM   #2
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Re: LED awning lights

Not an expert on LED lighting, but I believe you can install a dimmer on them.

Unlike incandescent lights that get "oranger" when dimmed, LEDs maintain the same color temperature no matter how bright they are.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:14 AM   #3
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Re: LED awning lights

Scotty your work in progress is just a smart move---nothing really replaces an actual in-use test.

I've bought and attempted to use that type LED strip, that's a good price for what you have now For less light without a dimmer those strips can be shortened without much hassle and noting but a sharp cutter needed. A dimmer could be added but honestly its just one more thing to wire in and adjust--having the right amount of light at the flip of a single switch would be my approach.

A more secure and permanent mounting solution would be running a small bead of exterior grade silicone along the back side of the strip and held in place with masking tape until cured might fit the need.

Just a few ideas that might be helpful.
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:04 PM   #4
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Re: LED awning lights

Yes, you can find dimmers especially for LED lights. Autozone have one with "touch screen" control, just a small box you can stick everywhere you want. It have five steps you can choose just touching the surface of the box. It works great. Just check maximum amps it accepts to compare with your LED... ;-)
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:36 PM   #5
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Re: LED awning lights

I purchased one that is the size of a iPod nano and use it in the same scenario to dim the strip,on my fiamma
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:12 PM   #6
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Re: LED awning lights

These dimmers/controllers work really well. Can be installed inside the awning and controlled remotely. They have 3 different versions (RF colored, RF white and manual)

http://www.amazon.com/MuchBuy-Contro...led+controller
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:36 PM   #7
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Re: LED awning lights

I came across this magnetic 12V LED strip that I thought about for my awning. I think I might prefer an awning light on the vehicle/trailer side, rather than the end of the awning. Damn thing is from Australia though, so I would have to recreate it here (not that it should be too hard).

http://www.camp4ever.com/30-led-magnetic-light


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Old 11-04-2014, 09:12 AM   #8
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Re: LED awning lights

Very cool on the dimmers guys! Thanks. I just ordered one which only cost $3 and will be mine in a short 18-28 days. Just in time for next summer! I had no idea these existed.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004T9 ... refresh_T1

Gotta love all the crap we can get from China..........in a mere 18-28 days.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:44 AM   #9
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Re: LED awning lights

Here's something I had in my eBay Watch List for a while, but that I never pulled the trigger on since the price was steep. It's an awning LED strip with three different light levels, and can be temporarily mounted with either snap hooks or velcro.

I was going through eBay this morning, and I noticed the price had been dropped substantially so I took a chance and ordered one. No idea how long the price drop will be in place, but I figured it was worth the gamble at the current price of $30 plus shipping.

Thumbnail attached:


http://www.ebay.com/itm/271530672540

Description
•Great versatile access for tents, awnings, caravans,
camper trailers and RV.
•3-phase dimmer switch for diverse individually needs.
•Cigarette socket for vehicle random charging.
•5.5m/216.5" fast connection wire bridges between tents
and vehicle.
•Velcro wrap, ease mounting hooks for quick hanging.
•Fix hooks with mobile Velcro, easy realization of length
adjustment.
•Exceptional workmanship from chips to connection joint.
•Portable specific bag for fast and easy collection in mini bag.

Feature
• Volts: 12V DC
• Wattage: 4.1/9/13.5W
• Current draws: 330/670/1000mA
• Lighting color: cool white
• Light angle: 120 degrees
• Brightness level: 300/500/1080 lumens
• Life span: up to 50,000 hours
• IP44 waterproof rating, water,
dust and moisture resistance.
• Weight: 17OZ/483G(Per Unit)
• Dimension: 47.24"/1200mm X 1.97"/ 51mm
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:06 AM   #10
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Re: LED awning lights

That's pretty neat Herb! Thanks for sharing. I should also report that my dimmer switch for my permanent install came in and doesn't work. It doesn't do anything at all. It is a screwed together housing so I'm going to take it apart and see if a wire is loose before I return it.
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