Exterior lights

Discussion in 'Lighting, Interior and Exterior' started by firepit, May 11, 2021.

  1. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    I would like to add a porch light or some light/lights under my steps.
    My camper never came with them but now the 2021 models do (Figures).
    How do I go about doing this....I have 2 power outlets below each bunk and
    convertor is below the dinette bench.
    I am no electrician...Do I come off one off the existing outlets?
    straight from the converter ( Don't the converters have a spare accessory port/block/spot
    whatever the correct term is?
    I have a cabinet on each side of the door as you walk in for a switch.
    The outlet below the bunk on one end is attached to the cabinet and is a GFI since the sink is right across from it.
    What is the best way to power whatever light I install?
    I know this a loaded question but any help would be appreciated.
    The camper is 2019 Coachmen Clipper 806XLS.
    Thanks.
     

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  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Just get a battery or solar one. I have a solar one that is a motion detecter i used for a year or two. With the TT i dont bother. The outside light works fine.
     
  3. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    I had one and darn thing worked for like 2 trips and quit working.
     
  4. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    First thing to decide is if you are using 12vdc or 120vac components.
     
  5. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    120...90% of my camping is in electrical spots
     
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    The first thing to do is to look at the back of the outlet and see if you can extend from it or if you have to do modifications. Assuming you're working on a 15 amp breaker 14/2 with ground romex is the minimum wire size you should use. Buy more than you think you'll need because you're going to have some waste at each connection and you need to leave some slack in the wire. The GFI outlet has a power-in side and a power-out side, make sure you extend from the power-out side. My guess is a GFI outlet already has wire connected to the power-out side so you may need to make some wire twist/wire nut connections to extend your new wires, these should be made inside the outlet box.

    You'll need boxes for the switch and the light, I personally prefer metal but I'm old school. Cut your holes and recess your switch box and your light box into the wall. Run wire from the outlet box to the switch box and from the switch box to the light box, leave at least 6 inches hanging out of each box so that you can make your connections.

    Peel off the outer insulation of the wires in the switch box and clamp the wires into the box, the clamp should grab onto the outer insulation, not the individual wires. Strip about an inch off the ends of the white wires and twist the ends together. I like to hold the cut insulation on both wires with a needle nose pliers and make a tight, even clockwise twist of the bare section of wire using linesman's pliers. Trim the twist to a proper length for the wire nut you're using and twist the nut on until it covers the bare wire and cannot be pulled off. Fold this back into the box out of the way. Make small loops in the ends of the bare wires and connect both to the green screw on the switch. Strip about a half inch on each of the black wires, there may be a strip gauge on the back of the switch, form loops and attach one to each gold screw on the switch. Use a good screwdriver and make sure the connections are as tight as you can get them. Fold the wires into the box so that you can push the switch in and start the screws that mount the switch to the box.

    Since this is an outside light hang the gasket over the wires from the box. Make the connections on the light box with the wire nuts that came with the fixture, green to bare wire, white to white, black or color to black. Fold the wires out of the way, align the gasket and mount the fixture to the box. Put a bead of caulk on the top and both sides of the fixture, leave a gap at the bottom to allow condensation to bleed out.

    Now connect the new wire to the GFI outlet. Without a picture you're pretty much on your own for this but basically follow the steps for the switch with the exception of black wire to gold screw, white wire to silver screw and bare wire to green screw.

    Flip the circuit breaker on and test the switch, flip the beaker back off. Tighten down the switch screws and install the cover plate. Flip the breaker back on.
     
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  7. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    Now I understand...I was all screwed up...Maybe I still am?
    All the lights have been looking at are 12V.
    How about this light and can I run it straight to my battery?
    If so do I need to put a fuse in there between the light and battery?
    Thanks
     

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  8. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Ah, maybe simpler. Why would you want to go straight to the battery when you can just tie it into an interior 12 volt circuit? Will you be mounting onto the roof side board under the awning or onto the box wall? Do you want a separate switch?
     
  9. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    I'd use 12vdc components. With two strand wire, come off a fused circuit on the converter with one leg and ground bar the other leg. Then go to your switch, break the hot leg. Run to your light and connect both wires.
     
  10. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    I am thinking simple here...Was thinking of mounting a light under the steps on the frame to light up the steps only.
    with the steps up when traveling they will block and protect the light from debris.
    I can ground to the frame and run the power wire straight over to the battery and use a inline fuse.
    If I buy a light with a built in on off switch it should be pretty simple with no drilling holes into the side of the camper to mount light and no need to hide wires anywhere?
     
  11. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    I'd mount a switch in or near the battery box, right after the fuse, and I'd pay more for a weather tight fixture. I think it's going to catch more water abuse on the road than you seem to be planning for.
     
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  12. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    Was thinking about that and I will pony up for a good one.
     
  13. TSQ

    TSQ Active Member

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    Is this your floorplan? https://www.arrkannrv.com/rv/2019-FOREST-RIVER-CLIPPER-806-XLS-9837

    Do you have a furnace? I believe I can see the exhaust in the picture you posted.

    If so I would suggest picking up something like this (white), or this (amber), mounting it on the side of your trailer above the wheel (like the OEM ones), and running some wiring through the cabinets to tie into the 12V at the furnace. Make sure you pick an LED light as the the furnaces tend to be sensitive to voltage drop.

    I can provide more details if this path interests you.
     
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  14. firepit

    firepit Well-Known Member

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    That's its but I dont want to mount it on the box and drill holes into the side of the camper
    so i am brain storming my options.
     

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