DIY 12 Volt Bedside or Table LED Lamp- Parts List & Pictures Included- Under $20

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by kmh1596, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    I have always thought that a lamp that was 12v powered would be great for a camper. One that would work when dry camping, or with hookups. I couldn't find one anywhere, so I set out to make one, and am very satisfied. For under $20, and in less than 10 minutes.

    Materials:
    Lamp- Wal-Mart, $7 before tax (though any candelabra (E12) socket lamp could be used, or a traditional lamp with socket adapter: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Uplight-Table-Lamp-Mahogany/16783642

    [​IMG]

    Bulb- E12 Candelabra 12V DC Warm White- $3.50, ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/221343362623?var=520215742204&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

    [​IMG]

    12v Male Socket- $5.99 before tax, Radio Shack: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3806057#
    [​IMG]

    Instructions: Cut plug off of end of cord, replace with 12v male socket. Electrician friend told me that the part of the cord with the "ribs" on it is the "negative" wire. I confirmed with a test light before installing the bulb, so I wouldn't put reverse polarity to the LED bulb.

    Total Invested: $16.49 before tax, and it took me less than 10 minutes.

    Results:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This mod required that I have a 12v socket to plug it into. I always put these in every camper i have, and have even done the install on the campsite for a few fellow PUP members. The Radio shack ones are very well made.

    12v Socket: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3896268&locale=en_US


    I have another lamp which I will likely be trying with the 12v 6mm plugs that you see on the end of the bunk lights. Will depend on where i decide to use it, and/or where I think the lamp would be useful.

    The hardest thing to find here was the Candelabra bulb that would work with 12vDC.

    If my math is right, this lamp draws .29amps (3.5W/12vDC=.29amps). A typical 1156 (single center post) bulb found in many overhead fixtures draws ~2amps each, so I'm satisfied with this lamp drawing less than 15% of that!

    This could be done with a regular lamp as well, just would need an E26 (Edison) to E12 (Candelabra) base adapter like this:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Standard-Light-Bulb-Base-E26-to-Candelabra-Base-E12-Socket-Reducer-Adapter-/140996791896?pt=US_Lighting_Parts_and_Accessories&hash=item20d4104e58

    The rest of the pictures in the process of this mod can be seen here:
    http://smg.photobucket.com/user/kmh1596/library/2012%20Passport%20235EXP/12%20Volt%20LED%20RV%20Lamp

    Personally, I'm pretty psyched about this mod. Maybe too psyched. I just think it will make the camper a little more like home, with a bedside lamp. My HTT is in the shop, or else I'd post some pictures of it on the nightstand. [8D]
     
  2. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

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    Not bad, but you can find LED lamps at truck stops for under $10 that run on button cell batteries. We've had one clipped to our computer desk for over a year on the same batteries, and since it has a clip, it gets mounted to the visor in the car pretty quick.
     
  3. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    Thanks, but I was trying to make it a little less like the truck stop, and a little more like home. ;) . This lamp will be more for ambient light than something to clip onto the visor. To each his/her own. ;)
     
  4. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    Pretty cool! Very awesome job! I may steal this idea one day towards the end of the year
     
  5. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    Please do, I hope to see what you come up with!


    Wal-Mart has the same exact lamp now for $14.97, but instead of being in a box and needing the shade attached by the buyer, it is fully assembled and ready to go. I'd rather pay the $7 and screw the shade on myself. [8D]

    I picked up two, so will be making the other one soon, with this end on it:
    [​IMG]

    This will allow it to plug into these, which I have near each bunk, or the same port on the side of the overhead light by the sink.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. brianbigdogsmith

    brianbigdogsmith Camp more Camp more often

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    We picked up some small led lamps that run on AA works for us and we like to try to keep camping like camping not being at home or we would go out and buy a fifth wheel.
     
  7. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    To each their own, I guess. I like the lamp, and thought it was pretty neat. Also don't have to worry about any AA batteries. Having a 12 volt lamp doesn't mean I need a 5th wheel. [8D]
     
  8. Hanne

    Hanne New Member

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    Kevin, I like your lamp idea!
    We use battery camping lanterns in the PUP, but in our TT I would like to have a small lamp. The overhead fixtures are too bright & harsh (with cold white LED bulbs) when we are just sitting watching a movie. Right now I use a battery candle, but it's not quite enough light. We just might steal this lamp idea after we add a few more sockets.
     

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