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Some more info from one of my blog readers named Grant – he emailed me some good info on the LED upgrade he did on his Cougar Fifth Wheel and lights he chose.
I noticed in your latest newsletter that you have contemplated doing an LED interior ‘bulb’ upgrade on your Cougar 276RLSWE but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I’ve COMPLETELY upgraded ALL the interior and MOST of the exterior lights of my 2008 291RLSWE to LED and am EXTREMELY pleased with the results.
In my case, I did not ‘go’ (for interior lighting) with ‘sorta’ ‘bulb-like’ 921 replacements, but rather wound up going with ‘warm white smd panels containing 36-3528 leds’ for about $3.50 each. I did a LOT of research along the way and ordered and tried SEVERAL different LED replacements for the 921s before setting on these.
These ‘flat’ panels make more sense (IMO) since ALL the LEDs point downward and thus direct the maximum amount of light where you want it (side to side dispersal is not a problem – is QUITE satisfactory).
I LEARNED many things along the way, perhaps, most importantly, that it’s really difficult to KNOW, in advance (before ordering) how satisfied, in the end, you will be. There is/are more than one type of LED out there (e.g. 3528s, 5050s) and even ‘given the same LEDs’, all panels are ‘not created equal’ in terms of light output.
For example, after buying an initial batch of 36-SMD 3520 panels (6×6 grid), I noticed an apparently ‘otherwise identical’ 6×8 panel for the same price (more or less) so I ordered some BUT they turned out to generate only about ½ the light as the 36-SMD panels AND drew 1/3 more current.
If you PERSONALLY would like to try some LED alternative lighting out for a very reasonable price, you might check out THESE: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Warm-White-36-5050-SMD-LED-Festoon-Dome-Door-Light-Panel-Bulb-T10-Adapter-12V-/310714571440?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item4858081ab0
About $3.50 US each BUT about $3.00 each in lots of 10: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10X-Warm-White-36-5050-SMD-LED-Festoon-Dome-Door-Light-Panel-Bulb-T10-Adapter-/390634631425?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item99b42c2da9
I bought some that look and ‘spec out’ identical and they are BRIGHT – 2 to 2.5 times the light output of a 921 bulb at about 400ma (versus 1200-1400ma for a 921).
In fact , they might be TOO BRIGHT for some folks and one might wish to rewire dual fixtures so that one could only turn one ‘bulb’ on at a time. (Add a switch if necessary).
Again, I am VERY PLEASED with this mod – my mods produce about 50% more light at 1/7th the current draw – approx. 10 TIMES more efficient – and has DRAMATICALLY reduced my power needs while ‘dry camping’. Another benefit – my 5ths converter fan used to ALWAYS come on once I exceeded (turning on) 6-921 bulbs. NOW I can turn on every single light – around 27, if I recall correctly – and not have the fan come on. Now, that fan IS quite quiet and you don’t notice it after awhile it’s been running BUT you SURE NOTICE ITS ABSENSE. ‘Like a proverbial tomb inside if there is no OTHER noise…
Anyway, suggest you give them a try – not a lot of $.$$ – and I’m pretty sure you will be happy.
And, oh yes – strongly suggest you make sure you get ‘Warm White’ panels… (unless you like harsh, ‘electrical arc-like’ ‘white’…
Thanks for the tips and links Grant, we have put off the LED upgrade for that very reason, not liking the harshness of the white light, especially my wife Anne. Would be great to limit the fan noise that’s for sure.
When down at the RV show in Quartzsite it was nice that all the vendors had the bulbs on display so you could compare the light. Some of them were getting a lot better producing a pleasing warm light, but were still pricey last year.
Mind if I add the info in this email to my new site http://RVHappyHour.com. Would like to post it in the Mods and Upgrades forum. I’m sure the members would love to read it too
Ray – 4 sure, feel free to use this info any way you choose.
As I say, I did a LOT of research and bought several types of ‘921-compatible’ LED alternative technologies (maybe a half-dozen or so), varying by number and type of LEDs used, color temp, and packaging, measuring light output with digital LUX meter and current draw requirements, before settling of the one’s I did (recommend) so I (think I can) speak from some experience.
I encourage you to give it/them a try. As long as you stay with ‘WARM WHITE’ bulbs – around 3000 Kelvin, you/your wife should be happy. That’s about the same (color) temperature that (still around) standard Incandescent light bulbs run at (including 12-volt trailer bulbs like 921s) so if you/she like(s) those, you’ll/she’ll almost certainly be satisfied with these. Suggest you ‘risk’ a couple-three sawbucks and give them a try.
Jeremy, sounds like a great idea.
I’ll setup a specific group for travel blog related stuff.
Looks like a great upgrade. Nice looking rims. Let us know how they perform for ya.
Likely have to carefully drill the old rivets out and install the new rivets with a rivet gun. Any hardware store should have the tool.
Nice little PDF guide from Valterra on winterizing the RV. Has some great illustrations.
CBreaze is right, hand sanitizer is a good idea, I keep a bottle in the truck and the storage compartment beside the sewer hookups.
Want to hear something gross? In the RV park we spent the summer there is a dump station just off the main roadway, which has a bit of a grade to it.
More then once I’ve seen people pull up and dump WITHOUT A HOSE! They pull tight to the drain hole area and let it go. Of course it overflows and starts heading down the main street. Lucky our site was well away from this.
I think most were the summer rental crowd and just didn’t know any better.
The other one I see quite often is people filling their drinking water tank with the dump station hose that everyone else is jamming inside the poo hose to rinse it out. 😀
Hey James, If you need some ideas, our depart list is published on Love Your RV
Thanks for the info, I have a much clearer picture of what you have to go through. I guess 1000w generator would be ideal to have but they can be pricey for the nice, small and quiet ones
Cool, have fun. Loved our visit to that area, the Arches are amazing.
I guess you could use a protractor and draw out the angles on the pavement with chalk, drive a wheel on the center of the chart and crank the wheel.
Thanks, good idea, I should look into that.
Thanks for the close up view Roger, very creative, I like it.