View Full Version : Fluorescent Fixtures?

05-02-2016, 08:17 PM
I'm thinking of replacing 2 of my 12 volt overhead incandescent lights with Fluorescent Fixtures. I'm not interested in LED lighting for this application because it's the quality of the light, not the power consumption that I am interested in.

Anybody put up fluorescent fixtures that you are happy with? What did you get?

05-02-2016, 11:14 PM
The fluorescent will provide a "cooler" light, more bluish, less yellowish. I don't know if you can get tints on fluorescent like you can with incandescent.

I found this color difference out many years ago when doing available light photography ( with that ancient technology called "film") and the tone of the pictures were markedly different.

The LED's I used a few years ago gave a very harsh glare, not pleasant at all, and lumen output was very low compared to the incandescent.

Let us know how it turns out. Especially if the new lights generate any RFI.

05-03-2016, 08:17 PM
Yeah, the harshness of the incandescent bulbs is what I'm trying to get away from.

I have changed the globe in the fixture over the table and the wall mount between the table and couch. That's cozied things up quite a bit. Now I need to do something with the overhead lights.

If I could get frosted lenses for the fixtures I have I might be happy with that.

05-05-2016, 09:39 AM
Many LED fixtures have frosted lens that defuse the light, LED technology has improved 10 fold and come in a wide variety of temp colors.

05-05-2016, 10:05 AM
If you have access to a sandblaster, you can frost glass easily. I've done it many times, including all the windows of my garage, back when I lived in a stick house.

Fluorescent lamps are available in cool white (bluish), warm white (yellowish, but not as yellowish as incandescents), and probably several varieties of each. I like to use, for example, one of each in a two-tube fixture.

LEDs, too, are available in several color-balance variations; but they are point sources, which I think is what you meant by "harsh".

Over my galley sink is a fluorescent fixture installed, I think, by Damon when they built the Diesel Pusher. It's the best light in the place. In fact, it's the only light in the DP that's worth a flip.

05-05-2016, 12:20 PM
The led light in me new trailer are wonderful. They all have frosted lens covers and do not seem harsh at all. So much better than those little 12 watt bulbs in our previous trailers. I think it is the frosted lens covers that make the light a little softer.

05-05-2016, 08:46 PM
I just ordered a couple of these:


It's a large 10x5 inch oval with a glass shade. It's not florescent but then the quality of light is what I am looking for. We'll see if this will do the trick. I can always change the 921 bulbs to LEDs later.

Once I find LEDs that are bright, affordable and have good reviews for reliability.

05-10-2016, 04:28 PM
My light fixtures arrived today!

I have some chores and errands to do and then I might have time to stick them up.


05-10-2016, 05:33 PM
My light fixtures arrived today!

I have some chores and errands to do and then I might have time to stick them up.


Stick'em up, hombre!

05-10-2016, 08:54 PM
I got the new fixtures installed. :jitter::whistle:

The job took about 15 minutes each. There were no instructions with the new fixtures, I guess no one would read them anyway.

But I found a sticker on the inside of the fixture that said, among other things, wall mount only!. This sort of bummed me out since Camping World said these were under counter and/or dinette lights, not wall mount lights. I figured the problem would be heat. So I let them burn awhile (no pun intended) and gave them a touch.


Then I said I bet none of the other lights are that hot. WRONG!! All of them were THAT HOT. So now I'm in the market for LEDs. All these 8 years of owning that trailer and never realized the lights got that blasted hot.

But they are right pretty, and put out the softer, even light that I had hoped for.

They are thicker/deeper that the OEM plastic lights. Therefore I can't put one in the bath area because it would conflict with the top of the toilet room door.

Now, where to get good, affordable LEDs?

05-10-2016, 11:18 PM
It does look nice, though. And right on the box it says it's an undercabinet light.

Does it use incandescent bulbs that you can replace with LEDs? I have found LED versions of incandescent standard "miniature lamps" (bulbs) at widely disparate prices on eBay; they seem to pay for themselves after a time by lasting forever. And you needn't replace'em all at once.

05-11-2016, 10:07 AM
If it has filaments it's mostly a resistive heater with a little bit of light! My camper had 13 1156 bulbs they drew 23 amps! I now have 15 led's they draw 3.08 amps so at any given time I may use 1 amp tops.

05-11-2016, 06:31 PM

I measured the draw on an 1165 and it was about 1.5 amp if I recall.

One of the LED bulbs with 15 LED's drew about 150 ma, only 10% of the incandescent.

This was 4-5 years ago, and my sources were Chinese, which were all over the place in quality.

I'm sure the technology has evolved, I may start replacing bulbs in my trailer this year, if I can find them cheap enough.

Any sources??? I would be looking for under $2 a bulb. Are we there yet?

05-11-2016, 06:41 PM
It does look nice, though. And right on the box it says it's an undercabinet light.

Does it use incandescent bulbs that you can replace with LEDs?

It uses 921 "wedge" based lamps. And they are right pretty, Sweet Wife likes them and everyone likes a happy camper.

And I found a place on e-bay where I got 20 921 style LEDs for $30 and they are on the way. (and then I found some more for even less.) :rolleyes:

If it has filaments it's mostly a resistive heater with a little bit of light!

That's about it, yes. I'm replacing every 921 lamp in the trailer next week. That only leaves a handful of lamps of oddball types that I want to replace.

These fixtures came with 4 little plastic washers that protect the glass from the mounting studs and nuts. To ease installation I glued the washers to the fixture and the globe with RTV.

05-11-2016, 09:35 PM
The key is to match the lumen output. A 921 incandescent puts out 320 lumen and draws 1.49 amp. You need to know what chip is used in the fixture and how many there are. Some of the common chips are 5050 at 15 lumen each, 3528 at 5 lumen each, and 1210 at 7 or 8 lumen each. For an example, if a LED lamp fixture has 20 5050 chips, it puts out about 300 lumen which makes it pretty darned close to the output of a 921.

Many of my ceiling type fixtures got the stick-on panel type led fixtures. They come with adapters for several different lamp bases on short leads. They match the 921's very well in color, and the spread out panel actually lights up areas better. I generally use the warm white versions.

05-15-2016, 04:12 PM
Well, my LEDs came in the mail yesterday. So today after church and lunch I wandered out to the trailer and replaced 19 (count 'em) 921 incandescent bulbs with LEDs.

This upgraded all 7 overhead dual bulb fixtures and all 5 swivel reading lamps. I have 1 LED as a spare. I'll see how bright they are after the sun goes down. They seem to make a soft, cool light compared to the incandescent bulbs. Each LED "bulb" has 42 individual LEDs and I have no idea what the lumen output is.

I ran all the fixtures for a while and all of them remained cool to the touch. :cheer:

This leaves only the 3 bulb vanity light, the wall lamp by the couch and the light over the dinette. I might leave these alone, as I like the quality of those lights as they are. And this whole exercise was about the quality of the light anyway.

The best part is the Vortex fan I installed a while back will run at full speed even when the light fixture it is wired to is on. :jitter:

05-17-2016, 10:47 AM
Yeah, the cool white/blue color takes a bit of getting used to.

I'm definitely going to leave the incandescent bulbs at the dinette, the vanity and the side lamp alone just to warm things up a bit.

05-17-2016, 11:51 AM
In fixtures that use multiple bulbs, you could have a mixture of cool-white LEDs and incandescents, which makes what I think is very pleasant light. Then you could obtain (at leisure, and waiting for the best price) a supply of warm-white LEDs and gradually replace all the incandescents.

Essentially all white LEDs actually are three-LED combinations -- red, green, blue. Typically each has a separate dropping resistor, and the manufacturer can vary the resistances to obtain any color balance from very blue to very red, or anything in between. The only color they can't get yet is purple, for there are no purple LEDs. Several years ago, but not that long ago, there were no blue LEDs either, so they couldn't mix for white.

Someone mentioned 5050, 3528, and 1210 LEDs. Those numbers indicate the size of the SMD chip that contains the three LEDs, or only one sometimes. 5050 LEDs are 5.0 mm square, 3528 LEDs are 3.5 x 2.8 mm, etc. The larger chips have more external connections, enabling more versatile control. Also they have better heat transfer to the substrate and can run a little more current, so often they are brighter (depending on the choice of resistors).

5050 white (tricolor) LEDs have six external connections, two for each colored LED, so a designer can wire them any way he wants. For example, if he wants to run the same current through the G and B but a different current through the R, he can put the G and B diodes in series and use only two resistors (one for the G and B, another for the R).

3528 tricolor LEDs bring the positive terminals out separately on three external connections and tie the negatives together on a fourth (or vice versa). They require separate resistors for each of the three diodes, because if you put two or three on a single resistor there's no telling how they'll share the current; usually one will have a slightly smaller drop and hog most or all of the current.

1210 LEDs are single-color LEDs. A designer has to use at least three different colors, sometimes four (RYGB) to mix for white light. A single 5050 may easily be as bright as three 1210s. So, if you're looking at incandescent-replacing white LED assemblies, one with 30 1210s won't be nearly as bright as one with 30 5050s or 3528s. Buyer beware.