LED Awning Light Strip Mod

Discussion in 'My Favorite Mods, Tips, Tricks (and Blunders!)' started by shelmily, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a few of the bigger rigs that have the LED light strips, and really like the looks of them. I decided I wanted to do this, and did a little investigating for what it would take. There are different options available aftermarket, and also many who have done there own mods. I have seen them mounted on the awning tube itself, but didn't want to have to plug and unplug them all the time. I also wanted to be able to use them whether the awning was deployed or not. Needless to say, there is not a factory option for them on my camper. My local dealership said they could retro fit some, and I about fell over when they told me how much. So off to the drawing board I went. There are many LED kits for sale, and some better than others. After a little more research, (l won't go into the details as why), but I decided on a kit from TaoTronics that got good recommendations from some others that have done this mod.

    The kit I chose is 16.4 feet long, 300 LED, waterproof, dimmable, and color changing. Cost was $36.00.
    [​IMG]

    I decided I wanted to wire into my existing porch light and switch, which is in the middle of my wall. I had no easy way to get to that light except either end of the camper. I found out very quickly that doing any electrical work on a Hybrid, is not fun. These things were not meant to be worked on after they are put together. Anyway, I made my decision, and there is no turning back now.

    The hardest part is always the first hole.
    [​IMG]

    I found this little grommet for cable installations at Home Depot. It worked out perfect.
    [​IMG]

    The location I chose is at the front end of my awning, just under the rail. It will put me inside a floor to ceiling cabinet inside the camper. Once I was inside the wall, I had to get over to my porch light location. I needed to use a long run of wire to get there too. I know you can buy regular RGB 4 conductor cable for LEDs, but I couldn't find any local, so I used 18/4 stranded security camera wire instead. Again, I had it, and it worked great. The next part of the install involved me running the wire from one end of the camper to the other, and up to the porch light location. I'm sorry, but my attitude changes in this time frame and I really didn't get any pictures of this part. Let just say after a few hours, busted knuckles, and using my understanding of the English language, (and probably a few others), I got the wire run.

    The LED strip uses a little control box that runs off a AC adapter to 12 volts. I cut the end off of a an old power supply I had with a 12 volt plug, and wired it permanently into the porch light wires. I also removed the bulb from the porch light, and tucked the control box in there.
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, everything tucked in nicely, and no one knows it's in there.
    [​IMG]

    Next I get to hang the LEDs. I tucked them up tight against the awning rail. They came with 3m double sided tape, but I also ran a small amount of proflex caulk along the edge, just to seal it up.
    [​IMG]

    After soldering all the connections, putting everything back into place, I also caulked both ends of the LEDs, and the gap around the wire where it goes through the grommet. Here is what it looks like all finished up.
    [​IMG]

    It was finally time to see what they looked like. Here they are on during the day.
    [​IMG]

    And again at night.
    [​IMG]

    I am very happy with the install, and they are barely noticeable when the awning is closed.
    [​IMG]

    All in all it took an entire day to install them, but at a fraction of the cost a dealer wanted. They look as close to a factory install as I could get, and I can still use them with my porch light switch inside. I am very happy with the results. The kids think they are great, although I am going to have to hide the remote at campgrounds or they will have neighbors going into fits with the light show. The color possibilities are endless, and they can can go from mood lighting to very bright. One nice thing is they wash light across the awning. It's not a bright bulb in one spot. Another thing is they don't attract bugs like other lights, because most LEDs don't emit UV light. I even tested that theory.
     
  2. br9

    br9 Member

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    Very very nice. I really like that. Turned out looking like factory job.
     
  3. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    Thanks for posting this, I have been wanting to to the exact thing to our HTT. I know you were frustrated and didn't get any pictures, but can you share how you were able to get the wire run from the porch light over to where it needed to come out of the wall? That's the only part I am struggling with, and i'd bet it's the main thing deterring most people from doing the mod.
     
  4. msbrown253

    msbrown253 Mike in CT

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    Pretty sure I'll be stealing a variation on this, but adapting it to a PUP will take a little work.
     
  5. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    I will take some pictures of the inside where I ran the wire tonight if I get a chance.

    Actually, I think doing this in a PUP would be very easy. At least the way my old 94 rockwood was laid out it would have been.
     
  6. scrapchick

    scrapchick New Member

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    So cool!
     
  7. Old_Geezer

    Old_Geezer Well-Known Member

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    Awesome....good job.............thanks for getting me thinking about this.

    Kevin.....I think where he drilled the hole he has a cabinet there for the TV and radio that runs from end table cab to ceiling ahead of the door? I also know what he is saying getting from light to the hole as the Roo's roof is a foam laminate. On our Passports this may be a little easier. Access the porch light wiring behind the radio and slide switch. If you drill in right below awning rail you should be able to angle up and hit the space we have in our conventional roof / ceiling. Pull a speaker here... A light there...and you can fish wires anywhere. I pulled HDMI from the TV to rear bunk TV over the bathroom.

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
     
  8. Riveyman

    Riveyman Member

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    Thanks for sharing, I saw someone with this while camping several weeks back and told myself, this is something I want! Will have to add this to my list of things to do.
     
  9. tconroy

    tconroy Active Member

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    I dont have any for the awning but Bass Pro sells ones that are 26" long so I put one on the frame above the step to light up the step a little. It actually lights up the whole underneath of the camper!! They are blue and cost me 9 bucks. Wire to mount it was 10 so for 20 bucks i have led lights. Put a toggle switch on the battery box. the wife doesnt know about them yet so I will surprise her this weekend when we go camping. [:D]
     
  10. COdreaming

    COdreaming New Member

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    Nice!!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  11. mschepac

    mschepac South Jersey

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    I got a similar kit for my hybrid. We love it. I like the dimmability (sp?) I also like that I am not fussing with the lights. With the electric awning, if an overnight storm whips up I can just close the awning and not worry about the lights. I picked mine up off ebay for $12, free shipping.
     
  12. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    KMH, here is a rough idea of how I ran my wiring.

    My floorplan
    [​IMG]

    The floor to ceiling cabinet.
    [​IMG]

    The dinette, wall, and overhead cabinet.
    [​IMG]

    Old_Geezer is right. The hole I drilled through from the outside comes in at the top of the AV cabinet. I ran the wire down through there and followed the AV wiring. I was lucky in that there is a wiring chase that runs from the front corner of that cabinet under the floor back to the front of the dinette. Once I got into the dinette, I had to run it along the dinette and up through the wall between the dinette and the refrigerator. That was the fun part. I ended up removing the back of the dinette panel and cutting an access panel in the wall, to get the wire down through. This wall has about 1/4" clearance, and filled with wires and insulation. If you look at the overhead cabinet, where you see the light underneath in the middle, is directly in line with the porch light. there is a false floor in the cabinet that creates a 1/2" chase in the bottom of the cabinet. I had to remove one of the speakers, and the light to get the wires through to the porch light. I ended up running a chase string down through this are, because I plan on running more wires to do some interior LED strips later on, and I don't want to go through this again. Hope this helps you out.
     
  13. gruss

    gruss Active Member

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    Very very nice.
     
  14. Old_Geezer

    Old_Geezer Well-Known Member

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    Not to get off the LED thing but your Roo has real operating cloth curtains? That's a nice touch. My Keystone and the prior Aerolite had fake non operating decorative curtains only at the sides, but they both had the pull down night shades.
     
  15. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I never really thought about it, but you are right. I looked at a passport when I was shopping for a hybrid, and it had those little side curtains in it too.
     
  16. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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  17. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the cabinet was a big help. I have seen others who have done similar mods, and ran wiremold down the inside of the wall. It wouldn't look bad if you could do it in a corner area, or along the door, but I don't think I would like it in the middle of a wall. I also saw one guy who had run the wire up to the roof, and came down through a refrigerator vent. He hid the wire well, but I didn't like the idea of that much wire being unprotected on the roof. You will have to give it some thought, and let me know what you come up with. I love seeing other peoples ideas.
     
  18. jonesclarinet

    jonesclarinet Member

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    OK so we are doing this mod. We bought a similar light strip kit at BJ's Wholesale a while back thinking we might install it in DD's bedroom. That idea failed, and the lights sat on a shelf at the house until I saw a couple of mods like this on camping forums.
    The kit we bought is Sylvania Mosaic - and it is modular. It comes in 2 foot sections that link together, ours totals 12 feet (coincidence that we have a 12' awning... I think NOT [;)]). I was worried about the sections coming unhooked or getting water in the connections, so I bought some shrink tubing, and put about an inch over each connection.
    My husband cut the transformer box off of the power cord, and wired the end into a mono jack plug (like for the bunk end light) and we shrink tubed that as well. Our plan is to mount the control box INSIDE the roof of the PUP, right near the lifter arm, where the tenting zips together, and just sneak the power connector and remote cord out through that slight gap at the top of the tenting. We are putting 3M hooks along the ceiling over to the ceiling light that has the mono plug. We are hopeful that this setup will work. We heard that some people had problems with the control box shorting out when unplugged from the mono jack (unsure why), but they said if you unplug the cord from the control box instead, there is no issue. We also go 3M auto trim tape to mount the light strip to the side of the roof under the bag awning.
    Right now, all of the pieces are sitting on my desk in front of me ready to go - but we are busy tomorrow, so it isn't going to get done until Sunday.
    I'll try to report back!
     
  19. Tex_E1

    Tex_E1 New Member

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    We are working on this mod for our E1, and plan to do pretty much the same thing with the wiring as JonesClarinet. I went to a local electronics supply house and was able to find the same barrel connector that plugs into the control box, and then next time we open the pup (On Wednesday! :) ) I'll finish the power wiring to the phono plug. Since we store the E1 outside, I decided it would be better if we didn't permanently mount the lights to the outside, so we installed snaps along the edge of the roof and attached the lights to a nylon strap that we put the other side of the snaps into. That way when we go to set up the camper, we can just snap the light strip on the outside. The kit I bought on ebay was like 16ft long, so after cutting it to length for the roof, we have a second strip that I plan to just attach with velcro to the awning support pole for extra light if we want it.
     
  20. jonesclarinet

    jonesclarinet Member

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    Oh NOW you tell me about the nylon strap and snap business. Damn. Oh well!! Stuck ours on with the 3M auto trim tape today and they are awesome !!
    Very pleased. I do hope they hold up against the weather.
     

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