Amateur handyman wants LED strip lights

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by streetdaddy, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    Let me start by saying I know very-little-to-nothing about electrical wiring, so this may be a doomed endeavour before I've even started...

    I want to put in some LED strip lighting along the back of a strip of wood that runs along side windows of my van. I have unscrewed a box above one of my saloon spotlights to get at the wiring, and what I'm wondering is: can I somehow power the LED strip lighting from the wires that are already going to the saloon spotlight? For example, put some sort of splitter so I can plug more lights into the same set of wiring...

    Any tips or links are appreciated... even if your tip is to leave it alone! :RollEyes:
     
  2. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Yes you can, just use electrical connecter blocks if out of site :thumb:
    Dont forget to put a seperate switch in line though if you want them to work independantly of other lights:Doh:
    And dont go putting multiple strips from the same source without finding out what the cables are good for amps wise, 1 strip of leds should be ok from eack spot as they are very low powered
    Geo
     
  3. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    a lot of us have replaced the bulbs in the motorhomes

    A lot of us have over time replaced the bulbs in the motorhome (ours is a Winnibago Aspect RV) .. RV's are just the same ... we have put led replacement bulbs in to reduce the drain that normal bulbs have on the habitation batteries. Not cheap, they work out around £9to £10 each.. I have change around 20 of them.

    But as Geo has said do not overload the wiring, but I feel sure like he that if you are sensible in the number of leds in the run you can just add them with a snap connector.. an in line switch means you do not have to have them on all the time.. There are lots of them for sale at the shows.

    Bob:thumb:
     
  4. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    If your lighting strips are going to be concealed by trim ( ie above top lockers or under pelmits) you can get led strips from halfords. They are not encased hence the need for concealment but are easy to fit self adusive, just solder on power leads, they function between 6volts and 15volts so ok for van power and come in bright white or warm white as well as colours.

    I used them in my gecko vivaruims in the past, but they have gone now so sorry no pics
     
  5. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    Thanks fellas - I'm still a little bit unsure of how to go about running the LED's from the existing wires to the saloon lights, but I will post up a picture later of what I'm looking at and see if anyone can give me further advice...
     
  6. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    Here's a picture of the wiring to a saloon light:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    It's simply a matter of connecting two extra wires from the screw connector and put the switch in series with the wire connected to the side with the red wire.

    It would appear that you are not very well informed about electric wiring and would recommend you get someone who knows what they are doing to assist. Although 12v will not give you a shock, the available current is high and could potentially cause a fire.
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    very easy......

    firstly do you want a switch or just to come on with the other lights ?

    secondly...DISCONNECT YOUR LEISURE BATTERY FIRST !!!

    if you want a switch then connect exactly as it already is AFTER the white connector block.....

    ie: take a wire from the green/brown (live) wire in the connector block to the new switch...from the second terminal on the switch take a wire to the new led light.
    from the white/brown wire (earth) in the existing block take a wire directly to the new led light.
    if the led doesnt work when connected simply swap the two new wires at the new led. (some led's are polarity sensitive)

    if you dont want a seperate switch then connect the two new wires, one to the black wire at the existing switch and one to white/brown wire at the terminal block...again if it doesnt work simply swap the wires over.

    a single led strip shouldnt use much over an amp at most so the wire doesnt need to be particularly heavy.


    be warned......some leds need a driver module and are designed to run on 230v.
    if you buy one of these, then it possibly wont work on 12v.
     
  9. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    I appreciate the disclaimer :Wink:

    So based on the combined wisdom from above, I would get LED lighting strips that are low voltage (< 12V), and then (with the help of an experienced electrician):

    1. Disconnect the leisure battery and ensure all switches are off
    2. Install a switch for each LED strip
    3. Connect the switch +red wire to the screw connector (Green-brown)
    4. Connect the switch -black wire to the LED
    5. Connect the LED -negative wire to the screw connector (Brown-white)
    6. Reconnect the leisure battery
    7. Flick the switch, and ...

    Admittedly I'm a little hazy about the connections to the LED that would be available... Someone above mentioned soldering, maybe I can avoid that if I find suitable strips.
     
  10. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    I'm looking at these LED strips http://goo.gl/4B3oc which claim to be 12V, and they suggest the use of this 12V driver http://goo.gl/zy95L to prolong the life of the strip by keeping the current constant (I presume).

    Should I be taking the need for a driver module as a warning that it might not work?
     
  11. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    The 'driver' you mention is for running your strips from the mains and isn't what you need. The strips will work from 12v without it however you should bear in mind that your van voltage is often more than 12v if on hookup or the engine running which could damage your LEDS.

    I would suggest you use something like this, which is regulated to run on variable voltage, and also requires no soldering. It might be a bit more expensive, but these are a good firm I have used many times, and they go to all the shows.:thumb:

    http://www.atenlighting.co.uk/product.php?productid=17532&cat=264&page=1
     
  12. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I used strip lights in my self build and they burn out within 4-5 months due to the charge voltage being 14.5V.

    The next batch I am fitting will have one of these
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/260661311540
    I bought this and am currently rewiring the van.

    The LED's I am using are these
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/230496370329
    At £1.95 each they are fantastic value.
     
  13. SC 05 OUT

    SC 05 OUT Funster

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    these are what I have used

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/dc-12-v-led-strip-218015


    they opperate on/up to 12v not 15v as previously stated so you would need a unit to stabalise to voltage to 12volt, they do need the contecting wires soldering to the termianals, but they can be cut to lenght and are self adusive.
     
  14. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the link! I like the look of this model with the built in switch/driver. Do you know if the cable leading to the switch has positive/negative wires at the end so I can wire it up to my electrics? I have message them about it anyway...
     
  15. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    yes they will but what colour will be anyones guess !

    doesnt matter really as i said, if it doesnt work turn the wires round :thumb:

    just connect one wire, possible red or brown, to the terminal block connection which goes to the existing switch....the other wire, possible black or blue, to the other terminal block connection. job done :thumb:
     
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