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Old 11-24-2015, 11:21 AM   #1
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Patio/Ramp Lightinhg

Spending the winter in Palm Beach area. Up at 5am., sitting on the patio enjoying the beautiful weather (a lot nicer than "home" in Chicago). Wondering if anyone mounted exterior lights on their deck. When the crank out awning is extended the work light is above it, so it does no good. It would be nice to have a little light out there. Waiting for one of you modification pros to do it and post a "lighting for idiots" post.
Rusty
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:30 PM   #2
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I was looking at that just last week... but came to no conclusions. I'd want something permanent, that wouldn't have to be installed & removed every time the patio is deployed... and therein lies the problem.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:25 PM   #3
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Exactly. I would like something like the LED lights under the side awnings. Even same color would be fine. Maybe a splice/continuation off of that? I'm waiting for you to figure it out. LOL
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:41 PM   #4
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The problem... at least as I see it... is the same as it was for adding LEDs on the side awnings for those of us who didn't have them: how to get power to them.

Placing the LED strip itself is easy. It could be placed on the bottom of the rail... or, since they are so thin, directly on the underside of the awning fabric itself. But how do you get power to them in such a way as to... one, be practical... two, be hidden... and three, not interfere with the mechanical working of the awning itself?

Another placement idea is to adhere an LED strip directly to the rig body, under the awning housing.

On my rig, there is a white trim piece installed directly under the awning... and then there is a ˝ - ž inch gap between it and the top of the ramp door. The LED strip could be placed there... and a small hole could be drilled to run the wire back into the rig to pick up power and tied into a wall switch.

Of course, the light would then shine 'outward', away from the rig... but if the awning is deployed, the light would then be reflected from the underside of it to provide a 'glow' for the patio. The downside is that if you are sitting on the patio, looking back towards the interior of the RV... you'd be staring directly into the lights.

I've got other ideas I'm still thinking about... but the above seems the easiest (if not the best) so far.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:46 PM   #5
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Hurry up and figure it out Tom! Then come south to Florida and "visit" me and do mine!
Rusty
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:32 PM   #6
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Rusty, Tom,

What is the distance from your work light down to the awning?

One of those long thin drill bits might do the trick to get you up to the power at your work light.
A trick I learned when I installed a built in vacuum, an old metal coat hanger makes a great "drill" to locate the bottom plate on the wall. I was amazed at how quick it was getting through the floor. The nice thing was all I had to do to hide it was put a little caulk over the hole it made as it was slipping down behind the baseboard.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:09 PM   #7
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About a 15" drop. Might be the way to go. Thanks.
Rusty
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Old 12-09-2015, 02:58 AM   #8
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Ok, finally got back around to this little project this evening... here's a little teaser.

Before I did anything permanent, I wanted to see how it would look at night. Got a roll of adhesive-backed mini LEDs that I already had out, and cut a strip the width of the rear ramp opening. I then just taped them under the awning like I mentioned above, and plugged them in. The photo below shows that they'll definitely light the area:




As you can see, it's dark outside, and the patio is WELL lit. In fact, almost too well lit. I may cut the strip down to about half that size to see if it dims things a bit.

Here's a photo taken standing on the patio, looking back towards the rig. You can kinda see where I have the LED strip taped up above the door.

I'll take more photos tomorrow when I make the mounting permanent.

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Old 12-09-2015, 03:41 AM   #9
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It looks nice but it is bright........I agree maybe cut down on some lights- it might also keep some bugs away!
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Old 12-09-2015, 04:29 AM   #10
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If it's too bright, you could install one of these, about $8 at Amazon
LEŽ RF Dimmer for Single Color LED Strips, LED Ribbon, RF Dimmer for 12V DC LED Light Strips, 8A, Wireless Remote Control for All Dimmable 3528 5050 LED Strip
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o04_s00

I used one on the inside LED light strip I have inside the garage. Works well.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:26 AM   #11
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I knew you'd get around to it Tom. Looks great. Once you get the power source figured out (drop from the work light?) we'll be good to go.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdonoghu View Post
If it's too bright, you could install one of these, about $8 at Amazon
LEŽ RF Dimmer for Single Color LED Strips, LED Ribbon, RF Dimmer for 12V DC LED Light Strips, 8A, Wireless Remote Control for All Dimmable 3528 5050 LED Strip
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o04_s00

I used one on the inside LED light strip I have inside the garage. Works well.
Your inside light strip. Did you pick-up power from the Happy Jack lift?
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:44 AM   #13
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Your inside light strip. Did you pick-up power from the Happy Jack lift?
No, I used an AC adapter. Not sure if the power to the Happy Jac is always live, it it is an intriguing idea!
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:38 AM   #14
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Ok folks... sorry for being a day late on the follow-up. Got the 24-hour bug yesterday, and didn't feel like doing anything. Bleh!

Anyway, woke up this morning feeling fine, so I got to it.

Considerations:

First off was how I wanted to wire it up: 110v AC, or 12v DC. The garage has 2 pre-wired 110v AC receptacles conveniently located on either side of the ramp door opening. If I wanted to use 12v DC, that was going to require finding & tapping into a continuous hot wire from something else already installed. Considering that 99% of the time I'll only have the patio deployed and using these lights when I'm on shore power... why makes things difficult? So I opted for for 110v AC.

Next issue... the LED strip I was using for the trial run was for indoor use only, so I spent part of the day yesterday looking at other options.

You can buy exterior LED ropes at Lowes, Home Depot, and/or the hardware store... but the problem with that is that you only want to use anywhere between 6' - 8'. Most of the ropes they sell are 13' or longer, and they can't be cut to size. And, most of them can't be dimmed... which is something I wanted. (Yes, I saw your suggestions for aftermarket 12v dimmers... but again, I was going to use 110 AC)

I considered buying another 17' LED strip kit from Carefree, like I have underneath my side awning... but $135+ is a tad expensive, knowing full well I was only going to use 8' of it, with no way to wire up and use the remanning 9'.

So I sorta did a compromise...

The photo below shows a product from Sylvania that you can find in stock at any Lowes. On the Sylvania website, it shows it is for indoor use only... however, it looks identical to the type of LED strip that is on my side awning except for the plug-ends that I'll get to in a moment.



Basically, it's a kit that allows you add 2' sections as necessary for your project. The starter kit was $45, and comes with two, 2' sections and the necessary 110v plug, control module, and dimmer control. The expansion kit was another $25, and contains 2 more 2' sections only.

Where & how these expandable 2' sections plug together is why Sylvania doesn't rate these for exterior use. That said, I figure if I just run a few rounds of electrical tape around those joints, then it shouldn't be a problem. Guess I'll find out at some point.

So in addition to a drill, here's what I used for the job:



I began with drilling a ˝" hole through the ramp door frame... and then using an 'expansion bit', made it just a tad bigger for the power connector to pass through. Since I had to drill through BOTH sides of the box frame, the hole had to be made a little further inboard than I'd have liked, or else the frame for the pull-down screen would be in the way.




With that done, I plugged the 4 self-adhesive LED strips together... and then peeled the backing paper off and installed them just under the molding piece below the rear awning.



I then taped the exposed wiring to the frame, and placed the controller box on the inside of the box frame using double-sided adhesive tape pads.



The photos below show the LED strip placement... and various lighting conditions on the patio:






Full Bright White:




Dimmed White:



And finally, a blue tint:

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Old 12-11-2015, 02:45 AM   #15
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Nice job....now do you do house calls?????
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:17 AM   #16
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Looking good, Tom.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:40 AM   #17
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Suggestion: Use an outdoor silicone clear caulk to cover the joints; it will provide a better protection than the tape will.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:37 AM   #18
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You are the guy Tom. Very nicely done. I'll be doing mine similarly. Thanks for the instructions.
Rusty
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Old 12-12-2015, 08:04 PM   #19
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If I purchase the 12v LED light strip I should be able to connect directly to 12v without the 120v converter? I believe there is 12v constant power to the backup camera mounted at the rear of the coach. Just need to tap into that connection and add a switch. Sounds easy!
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:20 PM   #20
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Well, maybe your camera has constant power... but mine only works when my truck is plugged into the pig tail, and my lights are on.
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