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Old 09-15-2008, 05:35 PM   #1
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Location: San Diego, CA
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New Interior lights

Owning the van is sort of like owning a boat, there is always something to be worked on or upgraded. I've been adding some new LED lights over the past few months and decided to summarize them in a post.

The first lights that I added were some LED strips from Ikea 'Dioder' that fit perfect under the rear bed supports (we have an EB-50). The strips run on 12 volts, so I threw away the included power pack and wired them to an empty fuse on the van fusebox. There is a switch the cabinetry that is exposed when the rear doors are opened. These lights come in packs of 4 and I have 4 under the rear bed, 2 in the underfloor storage (which is really handy) and 1 in the long side storage compartment next to the bed.

My next upgrade was to replace the two reading lamps with the Flexi-LED fixtures from www.taskled mounted in a small project box in the same location. These lights are nice in that they have 5 brightness settings and by holding the button for 1/2 second they will start at their dimmest settings so you aren't blinded in the middle of the night. They also will turn themselves off after 90 minutes so you don't need to worry about leaving them on while the van is empty.

The next lights I tackled were the the dome light and some step lights, these step lights were something I picked up at Bass Pro shops, they are the basic totally sealed light.

and the domelight is a 3 watt LED from Innovative Lighting ( I've also seen them at West Marine) that I mounted on the ceiling of the penthouse.

Wiring these lights was the most work, because I wanted a manual override for the door switch, as well as a manual override for the dome light timer. I tracked down the little black switch plates that SMB uses and installed a pair of ON-OFF-ON switches about the side door, where the down ON position is tied to the door switch and timer, OFF is always OFF and the upper ON position is always ON.

I then just wired the little spotlight fixture that SMB installed between the front seats to an always hot power source. I found it annoying to hit the button on the light and then realize that I needed to also open a door or twist the headlight knob to get light.

The last light I added was a reading lamp for the lower bed, this is the nicest light that I have found, from http://www.littlite.com. I had used these in the theater sound/lighting business years ago, but they just started selling them with LEDs, and a two position switch with dim red LEDs, then brighter white LEDs. They come in 6/12/18 inch lengths, this is an 18" one with a small clip at the top to keep it from bouncing around. They are available in a dozen or so different configurations, this is the L5/18LED.

So far this has been a pretty nice hobby, and unlike a boat it is in my driveway so it is very convenient to work on.


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Old 09-15-2008, 05:43 PM   #2
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Very nice writeup. thanks for posting. I would like to add the steplights. did you just tie them into the dome light when you open the door or is it also manual with a switch?
If a switch, where did you mount it?

'05 Ford V-10 4x4 SMB "50" White
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:35 PM   #3
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Our 2008 SMB came with a low "porch" light rather than the normal above eye height light. It is just above the textured panel at the bottom of the body. It is switched just inside the side door. It lights up the steps and the ground around them and is great at night because it does not light up a big area.
Greg in Austin
2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cellularSTEVE
I would like to add the steplights. did you just tie them into the dome light when you open the door or is it also manual with a switch?
If a switch, where did you mount it?
I originally tied the step lights into the dome light, but when the quirks of the dome light got to me, I rewired both of them to their own switch.

The switch I mounted over the side door, so you can reach them from the outside step (with a small reach)

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:53 PM   #5
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Very cool!

I don't know why SMB doesn't use LED lighting throughout their rigs. Bugs do not attract to LED's (and draw way less power). Someday i will switch out all our lighting to LED.

Nice work.
Dave and Yoshi [Ki6LBB]
2003 Baja Tan SMB EB50 V10 (SOLD in 2008)
2003 Baja Tan SMB EB DYO 7.3 Diesel

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Old 10-24-2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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This was a nice write-up and they all look to be great additions.


2008 SMB EB-52, Quadvan 4x4, 6.0 PSD SOLD
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