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Old 09-27-2009, 10:05 PM   #1
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SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

The SMB supplied penthouse ceiling lights each have two 9 watt florescent light bulbs. I want to replace the on-off switch with a 2P2T on-off-on switch and rewire the bulbs so that I can turn one bulb on or both bulbs on. That would give me the choice of two wattage levels (ie: 9watt or 18watt) when dry camping and save some battery amps when lower light levels are adequate. Have anyone all ready done a similar modification to those lights??? Can the fixture electronics handle having one light tube turned off for extended periods??
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

I don't think the fixture will allow that. It seems if one bulb burns out, the other won't light.

Try removing one bulb, and see if the other will light. If it does, then you could add a 2nd switch to select one bulb or both, in addition to the main switch for power. Or, a DP3T switch to do both functions.

I simply replaced the large fluorescent fixtures with the smaller incadescent fixtures (from SMB Indiana) with LED bulbs for 2 stage lighting with less power draw. My measurements showed the fluorescents drew more power than the incadescent fixtures did.

I've got a couple of spare fluorescent fixtures if you want to play with them.

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Old 09-28-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

I feel your pain, Len. The light towards the rear of the upper berth is blinding. I always want to duct tape a pair of underwear over it to tone it down.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:20 AM   #4
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

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Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
I've got a couple of spare fluorescent fixtures if you want to play with them.
I do if he doesn't. PM me and we'll work something out.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:55 AM   #5
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

Thanks for the response,

I will remove one and see if the other stays on or not. That might stop that project right there.

Thanks for the offer of lights, but I will pass. Thanks again.

Up date

You are correct removing one of the light bulbs turns the other tube off. Dang

My old florescent lights had a three way switch. Off, 8 watts (one bulb) and 16 watts (two bulbs). Made it possible to save amps when needed.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

What's odd is that SMB installs a two way florescent fixture above the rear door for the lower berth, but only the overpowered blinder in the upper. ??
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:47 PM   #7
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

The upper one is intended to light the entire interior when the PH bed is not in the way. We always use the PH bed, and it has never been an issue - nobody wants to read in bed!

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Old 09-29-2009, 01:39 PM   #8
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

If the florescent light could run on either one tube (9 watts) or two tubes (18 watts) when background lighting is desired and the full output is not house battery load could be reduced. Could save about 0.7 Ah per fixture. With limited house battery amps available that could add up. In other words being able to change power levels in light fixtures could be a desirable plus when dry camping.

I am in the process of adding a extra switch to each of me four double bulb halogen fixtures (3 out of 4 done to date). That will let me select using one of the fixtures lights or both. With a choice of 5w, 10w and 20w halogen bulbs I can optimize each light for the tasks it might be needed for. For example: rigging one of the fixtures with a 5w bulb and a 20w switched bulb. I can use the 5w output to chase shadows away if desired while we are elsewhere in the van. If I need to be working in the area near that light I can through the switch and have 25 watts of halogen lighting, which is normally very adequate for detail work.

For those who like to read in bed having an adjustment on the nearby light fixture could really be desirable. My wife likes to read in bed. I zonk out as soon as I hit the pillow and find no pleasure in holding a book up over my head. Specially with bifocals. For those who do not read in bed the light level is of course a non issue.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #9
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by LenS
For those who like to read in bed having an adjustment on the nearby light fixture could really be desirable. My wife likes to read in bed. I zonk out as soon as I hit the pillow and find no pleasure in holding a book up over my head. Specially with bifocals. For those who do not read in bed the light level is of course a non issue.
For reading upstairs at night, I just bought a small LED surface puck light and mounted it on the ceiling. Tapped into the fluorescent power, added a small toggle switch on the fluorescent housing and snaked the power over to the new LED. Works great.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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Re: SMB 18 Watt Ceiling Lights

Sounds like a great idea. Don't those pucks operate on three 1.5 volt AA or AAA batteries. That would add up to 4.5 volts and you are hooking it to 12-14 volts??? Maybe I am thinking of the wrong puck. Or maybe they are very voltage tolerant. How about a photo. Really does sound like a great idea.
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