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Fluorescent Light LED Conversion
Total Views: 3673 - Total Replies: 5
Oct 29 2013, 5:47 am - By KevsKnight

I like to use one of the fluorescent lights in my kitchen reqularly. It quits on my regularly. This last time it bonked out it wasn't the switch or the bulbs this time. It was the ballast (or other innards). I looked at the cost of replacement, and the one I needed was around $50. I decided to convert it over to LED, as the cost was close to the same ($53.61 with shipping). Figured the LEDs would last a lot longer, and it would take all the other inner workings out of the equation if it does have problems.


The conversion was pretty simple. I ordered the LEDs and connectors from superbrightleds.com and got them in a couple of days. All of the guts for the light come out, and the LEDs are wired to the switch. Pretty much just like that. Below are some pictures and explanation of what I did.


Standard RV fluorescent light fixture. This one is counter-sunk into a hole cut into the cabinet (over the sink).  The type listed: RVL18RC-W. Uses two 15W tubes.



Light opened up, tubes removed. Note the switch is not the original - yours will probably be white. 



First step is to drill out the rivets that attach the ballast assembly and the four sockets. Each socket has 1 rivet, the ballast assembly has three. I used a drill with a small bit on the back side of the light and drilled the center out of the rivet. They just fall out after that.



These are the LED strips I bought. I got two, and two connectors.



Connectors for the LEDs to the wiring.


The LED strips are a little longer than the fixture. I used wire cutters to cut off 6 of the LEDs on each strip.



I then cut three small strips of double-sided tape to attach them to the fixture.



Wiring was simple. The wire coming from the switch is the positive wire. There are tiny markings on the LED strip to identify which one should be positive and negative. Bundle the positive wires from the strips and connect them to the wire coming from the switch. The negative wires are bundled and connected to the incoming negative wire. The supply positive wire connects to the spade on the switch (the odd-colored one).



Wired up and dangling from the cabinet. I used another piece of double-stick tape to hold the wires in place.



Finished and installed. The light is a very pleasant cool white light - much nicer than the yellow tint from the flourescents. I believe there is slightly less light than the flourescent tubes. If I do another one, I will cut the strips in half and order 4 connectors, and stagger the strips in the fixture. It will be a little more light than this current setup.



I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Oct 29 2013, 6:00 am - Replied by: zennomads

Do you have a shopping list? Mine burn't out a week ago.
Zen Nomads - Wanderers in search of enlightenment
Oct 29 2013, 6:25 am - Replied by: Technomadia

Great job, Kev!


When our ThinLites burnt out last year, we considered doing a similar conversion.. then discovered that ThinLite now sells LED fixtures. We opted to just put those in instead, which gave us the extra feature of 2 levels of light. Been super happy with them! They were a couple bucks more expensive than doing a conversion with parts, but not too much. 


 - Cherie 

Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

Oct 29 2013, 6:50 am - Replied by: KevsKnight

To get exactly what I got above, you would need:

2ea Cool White strips

2ea Connectors


However, if I was to do another one, I would look at other options. There is this from Amazon.  Also the connectors and end caps from there. Also, if a ballast was working, I would probably leave it - not drill it out. But, with it gone, you can put in 4 strips in each light if you wanted.

The available space inside those fixtures with all the guts gone is about 17.5" x 4.5".


I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Oct 29 2013, 6:59 am - Replied by: KevsKnight

I thought of those, Cherie, but I went down the conversion route for some unknown reason. I think I needed a project :)  I like the light much better with the LEDs. I might end up doing more, but will look at doing it a little cheaper.


I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Oct 29 2013, 5:06 pm - Replied by: LiveWorkDream

Sweet. We did a similar conversion using squares instead of strips, and detailed how at http://wp.me/pcxXa-1mn.


Admittedly, your steps are more detailed but we offer some links for sourcing parts on the cheap!

Working and Living Our Dream Life
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