Autumn, a little girl of a visiting friend, got a burn on her leg one day when the light fixture fell down onto her lap when she was sitting on our couch! I felt horrible that she got burned while sitting inside of our motorhome. Also, the fire implications were not acceptable either.
That didn't set well with us, so back then in about 2007 or 2008 we removed all of those dangerous hot halogen lights and replaced them with these cheap 12 volt brass RV bullet light fixtures.
The 12 volt bayonet type bulb in these worked well, but they also generated a lot of heat. The worst part is they drained a lot more of the electricity. Think about it, they are like a car automobile bulb. How fast does a bulb drain down your car battery if you leave a car door open or the overhead dome light on? Multiply that by 8 or 10 or 12 fixtures throughout the motorhome?
Over the years, the RV industry finally started coming out with LED light bulbs that would fit in the bayonet type fixtures. These bulbs were very very expensive! About 10 years ago we bought two of them. I think they were about $20 each!
(this was the greenish one)
Yes, they saved on the energy consumption when we were boondocking without hookups. But the light from them was an eerie funny green on one and a really icky pure blue white on the other. I really didn't like them, but we would use them when we were boondocking, because it was the best we had at that time.
(this was the blueish one)
Fast forward to now in 2020. John Williams said he added some 12 volt LED puck light fixtures to his kitchen area, where he used to have just the Thinlite brand of fluorescent 12 volt fixtures. He said it made a huge difference to the lighting over his sink and countertop in his Safari. The lumens were much higher, and they cast a lot of light with the 3 watt version. The amp draw is only two tenths of an amp per hour.
I wrote to him and asked where he had gotten them and what type did he use. We need to use 12 volt DC dimmable puck lights, not 120vAC household ones.
I wanted something that would be bright enough--- not the 1 watt or 2 watt, I wanted the 3 watt with proper lumens and I wanted the warm white light. Not the cool or bright. Had to be warm so it looks like a nice normal glowing light. And that is just what John had found.
Honestly, I hate fluorescent or LED lighting to begin with, but it's the way of the future and I'm glad they're finally designed it where it's a warm white for the LED spectrum.
John shared the link to the lights he purchased on Amazon as well as the dimmer switch because it's nice to make a chain of lights dim down or brighten up as desired.
We decided to order up a set of 12 and replace all of the undercabinet lights as well as add four new lights to the kitchen area cabinets to shine down over the countertops.
Here is the link:
By looking around on Amazon,
you can also buy them in multiples of
4, 6, 8 or 12 as well.
(Buying them in a set of 12 comes out to $6.50 each)
you can also buy them in multiples of
4, 6, 8 or 12 as well.
(Buying them in a set of 12 comes out to $6.50 each)
The box came in 4 days. But then we quarantined it for a couple days to eliminate any risk of virus. We don't take any chances with the upswing in numbers now, especially in our part of Wisconsin.
The description gave the measurements of the lights and we knew it would be close to the existing holes we had on our 25 year-old motorhome.
Steve pulled down one of the existing bullet light fixtures and test fit the new light into place. It was just a tad too tight. So he got out his deburring bit and put it on his drill. He did the shaving off while I held a tray underneath to catch any of the sawdust. He was able to round out the opening just a tad bit more to snugly accept the new puck light fixture.
He tested each light from the switch to make sure that they are connected properly and that the light fixture itself does not happen to be defective. That would be a bugger to get it all up and in place and have the light fixture itself be bad? That has happened to us with projects sometimes.
We started with the two bullet light fixtures over the loveseat. These are the lights that we use most often when we are boondocking for during the evening to settle back and watch TV or play cards or Yatzee etc.
We used the existing ON/OFF swiches that were already mounted in the cabinetry. Tah dah! Look at that!
One down, eleven more to go---
Soon we got the second one done over the loveseat. It sure made a difference with the warm beautiful light shining down, giving us just enough illumination for reading or comfortable evening atmosphere.
Two down, ten more to go---
(this was a "sit down job")
Wow! Look at that! It lights up the whole area with beautiful light that also reflects off the mirrored backsplash. Now it looks like FOUR lights! LOL
The whole bathroom now has enough lighting ---- and mainly I like it because there isn't any more of that ugly greenish glow that came from the old LED light bulb.
Three done - Nine to go!
We took a little break. So now I had time to take a "BEFORE" picture in our bedroom. The light fixture on the left is an LED with the funny bluish glow. And the fixture on the right is the bayonet type 12 volt bulb --- so not only don't they match, but neither one is what we really wanted in the bedroom. Especially not for over the bed if we are reading.
It was kind of awkward to work on the light fixtures from sitting on the bed. While Steve worked on the wiring or the enlarging of the holes, I was next to him holding up a tray to catch any of the plastic wire stripping pieces or the sawdust from the drill.
Look at that! The beautiful warm glowing light aiming down over the head of our bed. The existing switches for these two light fixtures are down on each side of our bed, located on each of the side walls. We use them often at night from the position of lying in bed. We really are glad these have been changed, now that they harmonize, look the same, and illuminate the room and the bed.
and the artwork too...
We bought this framed print at an auction. It had been hanging in our bedroom,, and I stared at it for hours on end while I was so sick a few years back. It has a peaceful calming effect on me. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and this print was so reminiscent of autumn camping days on a lake somewhere in the U.P. of Michigan.
I always wondered which lake?
I wondered if I had ever stood in the same spot?
It is by a Wisconsin Photographer by the name of Nick Bristol.
His web site is at: http://www.nickbristolphotography.com/home.html
That was enough for one day,
Five down, Seven to go!
Now the next three lights are going to go along the entire passenger side of the cabinets. The remaining batch of four lights are going to go under the kitchen cabinets to shine over the kitchen countertops. So yesterday, we went out to work on the ones along the passenger side.
We had a little helper with us. Sweet little granddaughter Claire was over for the day and she was going to come and help Grandpa. She was really good at picking up anything that he dropped on the floor. She would hand him things and although the process was taking a little longer, she knew she was "helping".
Now, with these next three lights, we had to remove everything out of the cabinets because he wanted to string all three fixtures together and put them on a dimmer. Presently each of the lights operate separately with individual switches. By removing everything from the cabinets he was able to lift up the false bottom. Now he could gain access to the area where the wires needed to be run, to join all three together.
The silly little girl kept us entertained with her antics, and we kept her occupied while we were trying to get the light fixtures wired up into place.
John Williams had also shared with us a link for the dimmer switch that he had purchased for his run of lights under his kitchen cabinets. It needed to be a 12 volt dimmer. But we need two dimmer switches, and they were a little costly at $17 each. Here is the link for the single switch:
But while looking for that, I found a dual switch from the same company with the same device features. It was only $7 more. The only thing was it was connected down the middle so it could be two switches side by side mounted on a wall. We looked closely at the diagram on Amazon and figured we could probably just buy the double switch and cut it in half ourselves?
Which is exactly what we did! Steve carefully sawed it in half with his little oscillating tool cutting blade. What a guy....
One of the original fixture holes was a little too big and the fixture would be falling out. The other two holes, we had originally installed ourselves to make a special cut out for a switch access when we had first installed the bullet fixtures. The old bullet fixtures had a surrounding flange that covered up that notch, but not these new LED ones.
Somehow we needed to cover up that extra notch cut out and that bigger hole. What could we use as a spacer to cover it up? And securely attach the LED light into place?
Well well well, we were going to use a trick that I had come up with years ago when we replaced the 2 map lights up in the front cockpit area. Those had left a big square hole that we needed to cover up for a round fixture.
What did we use back then? We used a blank CD painted black for those light fixtures! It worked very well and has held up well over the last 14 or 15 years.
So this time, I went and looked in my stack of CDs. Yes, I still have CDs. In my stacked towers of blanks I found three black spacer plastic discs that were used on tops and bottoms the towers of discs. I guess it prevented scratching during shipment? So now I didn't even have to paint any old CDs, I already had some nice black disks all ready to go.
Steve carefully drilled out the exact size hole in the middle of the plastic discs using his drill press and clamping all three together to get the exact size hole on all three discs.
Now these were the perfect size spacers to go between the light fixtures and the overhead cabinets. Two or three little dabs of a hot glue gun held them up into place perfectly so the light fixture could be inserted into the centers. The clips on the back of the lights then held up tight into the wooden holes by bending out the clips a tiny bit further.
The dimmer light switch that will control all three of these lights is wired in a perfect location, right near the center of the three dimmable LED lights. This is where it makes the most sense, between the kitchen and the living room to turn them on, turn them off, or dim them down if we are watching TV.
Look at that!
(it really is centered, just distorted by the camera angle)
Here are all three
along the passenger side
of the cabinets:
and a "Wide Angle" shot...
Eight down - four to go!
(I listed these for sale on our local Facebook Marketplace
for $20 for the pair if anyone is interested.
New they would be $55 each)
The four lights fit perfectly into the new holes, and the wiring all joined up down at the far end, for the dimmer switch to control all four lights at the same time.
This sure improves the task lighting when we are doing things in the kitchen. But then we can dim them down for less draw and more "mood lighting" during dinners.
ALL TWELVE LIGHTS ARE DONE!